5 things we learned about Florence Tan at her 20th anniversary party

The newly-signed FLY Entertainment artiste shared bits and pieces of her personal life as well as anecdotes from her career with fans (and us)

Florence Tan celebrates her 20th year in showbiz with fans, family and friends
Florence Tan celebrates her 20th year in showbiz with fans, family and friends
28 Aug 2017

Florence Tan celebrates her 20th year in showbiz with fans, family and friends

Photos: Camelia Ting, Joanna Goh, FLY Entertainment
Video: Genice Ooi


20 years ago, Florence Tan was crowned the female champion of Star Search 1997 and subsequently made her acting debut playing three different roles in Immortal Love the same year. She had such good onscreen chemistry with co-actor Chew Chor Meng they were paired together in a handful of other dramas, including 1999’s Wok of Life, 2000’s Hainan Kopi Tales, and 2013’s Joys of Life.

It’s no wonder Florence labelled him as the actor whom she had “the most number of onscreen pairings with” in a show reel played at her 20th anniversary party. And this was just one of the many anecdotes the 40-year-old had to share with fans, friends and family members who attended the intimate gathering last Saturday.

Apart from having giving fans a firsthand account—and no-holds-barred commentary—about her acting career, Florence also treated them to a short tune on the piano (she picked up the instrument after her daughters started going for classes and now holds a Grade 2 certificate for it) and a live rendition of Faye Wong’s ‘Ma Zui’.

We learned several things about Florence from the party: she loves the colour white, her favourite local dish is Char Kway Teow, and she’s not that great of a singer – something she candidly admitted to, too, but she was a great sport and clearly is someone who sets out to achieve anything she has set her mind to (according to Dennis Chew, who was invited to host her party, while Florence “can’t sing as well as she looks,” she spent hours practicing the song at Karaoke places - with her twins in-tow, for the past few days).

Florence’s camera-shy husband who is known as “Jack” even took the stage with their 9-year-old twin daughters Viola and Novea at one point, to share more about his actress wife, their relationship and how things began between them. For those wondering about their love story, click on for the full reveal and other nuggets of information we learned about Florence at the party!

#1 Florence and Jack got to know each other better via MSN messenger
#1 Florence and Jack got to know each other better via MSN messenger
28 Aug 2017

#1 Florence and Jack got to know each other better via MSN messenger

A little-known fact about how Florence met her current husband Jack: they were introduced to each other via a common friend in 2005, but it was not love at first sight for them, according to the couple. But one thing led to another. Florence recounted how they used to chat “occasionally” via the now-defunct MSN Messenger and revealed that it was an intense discussion about an F1 race that turned their relationship around.

“I told him I was watching an F1 race and he started talking about it. He shared a lot of professional knowledge about the sport with me and started explaining the technicalities of the race and rules to me… and it turns out, he worked in the engine department with Mercedes which explained why he was so familiar with the sport. Since then we started talking more frequently about our common interests with each other,” she said.

They got married one year later in 2006 and Florence left her life and acting career behind in Singapore to follow her husband where he is based in Dong Guan, China. She tells us she has no plans to relocate back to Singapore yet – something she “dreams of doing all the time.”

“Since my husband is based in Dong Guan, I need to be at where he is. Maybe ‘cos I’m a Malaysian girl at heart, so I have the mentality that I need to follow and stick with my husband wherever he is. I'd still come back to visit Singapore and Malaysia whenever time allows,” she said.

#2 Her daughters are still her priority
#2 Her daughters are still her priority
28 Aug 2017

#2 Her daughters are still her priority

After she gave birth to Viola and Novea in 2008, it was Florence’s mum who spurred her to return to acting five years ago. According to the Malaysian-born actress, her mum reminded her that she needed to “take care” of herself as a woman even after becoming a mother. And that independency is something Florence hopes to impart to her twin daughters as well.

When the two girls were in Singapore for the past three weeks during their school holidays, the actress made it a point to bring them with her to work every day, when she was filming Channel 8 drama Mind Matters. “Firstly, I want to expose them to my work environment, secondly, I want them to know that it's not easy to earn money - you need to be hardworking and persevere, especially for girls, you need to be independent and hardworking.

“So, it may be hot on set, there may be mosquitoes and it may be boring for them, but I think it's a kind of life experience,” she quipped.

Florence also shared that she has no plans to resume acting full-time because her family is still her top priority and her daughters are still growing. She may do one to two shows on a yearly basis now but bulk of her time (10 months) will be spent as a full-time housewife and mother.

“When they first started school in Hong Kong three years ago, they were really terrible in Cantonese, so I stopped working for two years and I spent all my time at home, working with them to overcome this problem. I did make cameos in some shows then but I’d be on set for 15 days maximum and that's all.”

Moving forward, bulk of her time will still be focused on the Chinese market as there are more opportunities and she has more friends in the industry to help her out. “As for Singapore, it'd still be fun to come back occasionally [to act] since my mum and family are living here,” she said.

#3 Florence and Dennis Chew became fast friends after a drinking incident
#3 Florence and Dennis Chew became fast friends after a drinking incident
28 Aug 2017

#3 Florence and Dennis Chew became fast friends after a drinking incident

We were surprised to see Love 97.2 deejay and actor Dennis hosting Florence’s party on Saturday and it turns out they have been long-time friends with each other. “When I invited Florence to guest on my radio programme, she said yes immediately without any hesitation, so when she asked me if I could host her party too, I immediately said yes,” Dennis revealed during the party.

According to Dennis, their friendship started many years ago when Florence was still a TCS (Television Corporation of Singapore) actress. The both were hosts for a variety show and had to have dinner with several bosses. Dennis, who can’t hold his liquor well, had told Florence about it, and when he was offered a strong alcoholic drink by one of the bosses present, a gutsy Florence swopped in and drank it on his behalf.

“That was when I knew she was someone who is loyal to her friends,” he shared.

#4 Hawick Lau is an actor she really hopes to work with in future
#4 Hawick Lau is an actor she really hopes to work with in future
28 Aug 2017

#4 Hawick Lau is an actor she really hopes to work with in future

Best remembered for her roles and characters in period shows, Florence is one of a few local actresses who has chalked up an impressive acting resume in China co-productions. She played a haughty Guo Fu in Return of the Condor Heroes, Xiao Zao in Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre, Cui Niang in The Little Fairy, and has worked with the likes of Alyssa Chia, Gao Yuan Yuan, Alec Su, Hu Ge and Benny Chan, just to name a few.

When asked to name an actor she hopes to work with in future, Florence replied: “Hawick Lau - I haven't had a chance to work with him before. He's very good looking… and when he was filming a palace drama in Heng Dian (China) for eight months, I was filming The Legend of Zu and there were some scenes which required them to film at our location too, so I’ve seen how he's like when the cameras aren’t rolling. He'd take selfies with the palace maids etc. He's very cute and looks like an easy person to get along with in real life.”

L-R (clockwise): Legend of the Condor Heroes, Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre, The Little Fairy

Photos: Mediacorp


#5 She looks up to Chinese actress Sun Li
#5 She looks up to Chinese actress Sun Li
28 Aug 2017

#5 She looks up to Chinese actress Sun Li

The former Star Search contestant who’s currently one of China’s top-billed actresses is someone Florence looks up to because of how she learned about the intricacies of acting from Sun Li’s projects.

“Her character looks completely different when she's filming at home and for her outdoor scenes. She’s that attentive that she has different kinds of makeup for difference scenes and that has taught me that one type of makeup is not fit-all... As a viewer, I can see how hardworking she is as an actress and that's what I respect about her,” said Florence, who revealed that she tried to pay the same level of attention and detail to her role in upcoming Channel 8 series, Mind Matters.

Florence added that she tried to emphasise that her character was in different frames of mind via the type of makeup she wore too. “When I had outdoor scenes, I’d apply a brighter lipstick and when I had to film indoors for scenes at home, I’d opt to apply a paler shade instead,” Florence quipped, as she gave examples of how she approached her role.

Mind Matters debuts on January 1, 2018, 9pm on Channel 8.

Florence Tan and her fans, family and friends at her 20th anniversary party
Florence Tan and her fans, family and friends at her 20th anniversary party
28 Aug 2017

Florence Tan and her fans, family and friends at her 20th anniversary party

Florence and fans
Florence and fans
28 Aug 2017

Florence and fans

Florence and fans
Florence and fans
28 Aug 2017

Florence and fans

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
28 Aug 2017

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
28 Aug 2017

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
Florence Tan 20th anniversary party
28 Aug 2017

Florence Tan 20th anniversary party

Florence and her family
Florence and her family
28 Aug 2017

Florence and her family

L-R: Florence, Viola, Novea and Jack

Watch:
Is Florence Tan ready to return to her life as a housewife?

Related:
Catching up with TV comeback queen Florence Tan
Actresses who relocated for love

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