Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city

The actress is taking part in an acting course at the Beijing Film Academy ahead of her first leading drama role

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city

It seems like just yesterday when Bonnie Loo emerged victorious during the fourth season of Campus SuperStar in 2013. That same year, she started filming her first dramas and made her debut in 2014 with C.L.I.F. 3.

After accumulating some acting experience (she chalked up close to 10 supporting roles since then) she has been acknowledged for her efforts in more ways than one. Not only is she nominated for the Best Supporting Actress at Star Awards 2017, she will also take on her first leading role in year-end Channel 8 drama series, Nanny Hero, with Li Nanxing and Cavin Soh.

Speaking to Toggle over the phone from Beijing, where she is currently in the middle of an acting course in the famed Beijing Film Academy, Bonnie was positively brimming with excitement of what lies in store for her.

“When my manager told me about coming here for the course, I told her ‘Of course I’m interested!’ Our course instructor, Feng Yuan Zheng, conducted around 10 classes in Singapore but I was only able to attend about two or three of them while he was here. When they told me that he would be conducting the class again, I was really excited to learn more from him,” she gushed.

Despite her busy schedule, the singer-actress has adapted quickly to living on her own for the first time in her life.

She shared, “We have lessons from Monday to Saturday, and we end at about 6pm. Our school is pretty far away from the city, so there aren’t shopping malls and such around. I’ve been going out to explore the area with my classmates, and everyone has been taking very good care of me.”

(Continued on next slide: Bonnie on the three biggest hurdles she is facing while in Beijing)

Bonnie on the three biggest hurdles she is facing while in Beijing
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie on the three biggest hurdles she is facing while in Beijing

The total duration of the course is one and a half months, after which the students will put on a musical to showcase the acting chops that they acquired during the course. Bonnie, however, will be unable to make it for the production as she will have to jet back to Singapore for the upcoming Star Awards and her drama filming.

The biggest hurdles for her in her first overseas experience have been the language barrier, as well as the frigid temperatures and lack of internet connectivity. “You’d think that we won’t have an issue with communication but the Mandarin we speak back in Singapore is really different. Moreover, my classmates come from different parts of China so the phrases they use and their accents vary quite a bit,” Bonnie explained.

“Even the scripts that we’re looking at are very different from what I’ve seen back home – I can’t say that I can understand everything fully so I end up having to guess what certain parts are about!” she added with a chuckle.

Being in Beijing has also opened Bonnie’s eyes to seeing acting from a different perspective as her a classmates are majoring in production rather than acting.

“Instead of working to be an actor, they are all looking to be directors one day and so their thoughts and observations are from the point of a director or cameraman, which helps me to understand things from a different viewpoint,” she explained.

(Continued on next slide: Bonnie’s uphill task of getting online – and staying online)

Bonnie’s uphill task of getting online – and staying online
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie’s uphill task of getting online – and staying online

Given that this is the first time Bonnie has ventured overseas for work, she confessed that her parents worried about her being able to adapt to life on her own. “To be honest, I feel like a country bumpkin who came to the city for the first time!” she laughed.

She added, “It’s the first time I’m in a country this cold. When I first arrived, I wrapped myself with so many layers because I was freezing! I knew that it would was cold, but not this cold, so the clothes I packed weren’t warm enough for this weather.”

While she has since gotten used to the temperatures, which are hovering around zero degrees Celsius, she has been facing the never-ending struggle of being able to connect to the outside world. “The biggest problem is getting online! I’m staying in the student accommodation that they have on campus, I thought they would provide free Wi-Fi, but they don’t. I purchased an internet bundle but I’m having trouble establishing a connection and maintaining it,” the 22-year-old mused.

The choppy internet was evident during our 45-minute phone call, which was interrupted at least twice. Bonnie, however, took it all in stride and chuckled that it was “pretty normal” for her to have issues with connectivity.

(Continued on next slide: Bonnie reveals that her lack of confidence is her biggest barrier in acting)

Bonnie reveals that her lack of confidence is her biggest barrier in acting
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie reveals that her lack of confidence is her biggest barrier in acting

After catching up with Bonnie on how she, the hothouse flower (her words, not ours), has been doing out in the world, she revealed to us that the biggest problem with her acting is not technical – it’s all in her mind.

“I think my biggest problem is that I don’t have confidence in myself and I’m really afraid of the cameras,” she expressed. “The directors and crew all know about this – all of them have confidence in me but I don’t have that same confidence in myself.”

She continued, “I do fine when we’re practicing but once the cameras start rolling, I suddenly tense up and I’ll suddenly lose the ability to cry during the emotional scenes, so I hope that this is a problem that I can work on.”

After a short pause, she went back to her usual bubbly self. “Now that I’ve worked my way up to getting my first lead role, I hope that everyone can see the hard work that I’ve been putting in so far,” Bonnie chirped, “I think I’ve accomplished the goals that I’ve set out to do in the past two years – be a guest at a performance and act. Moving forward, I think there are bigger things for me to aim for, and in particular, I’d really want to be part of a movie and hold my own concert one day.”

Click on for more photos of Bonnie in Beijing!

Photos: Bonnie Loo

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city
17 Mar 2017

Bonnie Loo: Small girl conquers big city

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C.L.I.F. 4’s series of unfortunate events
Nightmares on the set of The Dream Job


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