Why Diana Ser keeps rejecting acting offers

The mother-of-three is surprised she still receives acting offers; plus, Jeanette Aw teases about her upcoming directorial debut

Why Diana Ser keeps rejecting acting offers
Why Diana Ser keeps rejecting acting offers
19 May 2017

Why Diana Ser keeps rejecting acting offers

Photos: Tammi Tan

It’s been a while – to say the least – since we saw Diana Ser in a drama (she officially left Channel NewsAsia in 2006), but that hasn’t stopped her from receiving acting offers once in a while, much to the bewilderment of the host herself.

We caught up with the 45-year-old last night (May 18) at the unveiling of a new collaboration between German luxury brand Montblanc and humanitarian organisation UNICEF, which aims to raise funds to provide quality education for underprivileged children. Diana and Jeanette Aw were two of the evening’s special guests, and each of them designed a commemorative postcard for the event.

“Incredibly enough, the acting offers still come on and off; I don’t understand why!” said Diana with a laugh, revealing that her latest invitation came in just the day before our interview.

She rejected it, of course. “I always give a standard reply: don’t make me bring you down! I’m flattered by their interest, but I feel that I don’t have the talent to act. Telling stories through hosting is my forte, and as for telling stories via acting, you’d better leave it to the real pros.”

Diana doubts that her husband, actor-turned-banker James Lye, would ever return to television either. “His heydays are over, but many people still remember him,” she said. “We’ll be out and someone will walk past and say, ‘That’s James Lye!’, but no one cares about me. (laughs)”

When asked if there is anything that might convince her to make an acting comeback, Diana said it would depend on whom she would share the screen with. Her dream co-star? Hollywood hunk and Montblanc ambassador Hugh Jackman. “I’ll carry his towel, I’ll do anything! (laughs)”

For now, she is content with her various hosting gigs, as well as her online portal Crazy About Chinese, a website – and, as she said her friend calls it, “an expensive hobby” – where she introduces engaging ways to get children to enjoy learning Mandarin, with assistance from her youngest daughter Jaymee.

“I’m really passionate about nurturing bilingual kids, so I’m hoping to put more energy into [Crazy About Chinese] this year,” she said.

Continued on next slide: Does Diana consider herself a tiger mum?

Does Diana Ser consider herself a tiger mum?
Does Diana Ser consider herself a tiger mum?
19 May 2017

Does Diana Ser consider herself a tiger mum?

Diana’s parenting style to her brood of three (10-year-old Jake, 8-year-old Christy and 6-year-old Jaymee) is quite well-documented, thanks to her regular guest columns on TODAYonline. In one piece from last year, she labelled herself a “Mummy Monster” for getting angsty over her oldest boy’s see-sawing grades.

“The hardest thing for me is trying to balance between pushing them just a little bit more so they will work harder, and not pushing them too much,” she admitted. “I would say I’m a tiger-ish mum because part of me is a little bit traditional, and when it comes to academics, I’m rigorous about discipline.”

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s all study and no play at home. “I have to be the disciplinarian or the kids will run amok, but at the same time, I goof around with them,” she said, adding that she tries not to punish them just for poor results. “I mugged like crazy for my O-Levels but my grades weren’t what I expected and I felt stupid, which I don’t wish upon my children.”

While it sounds like Diana’s the proverbial “bad cop” compared to James, she shared something quite interesting and ironic with us. “Although my husband is the softer, gentler and more playful parent, if I tell the kids, ‘If you don’t toe the line, I’m going to tell Daddy’, they get scared!”

“It’s like escalating a serious matter to the CEO,” Diana continued, chuckling. “I’m just the COO, only in charge of operations! (laughs)”

Continued on next slide: Jeanette Aw to make directorial debut

Photo: Diana Ser/Instagram

Jeanette Aw is finally set to make her directorial debut
Jeanette Aw is finally set to make her directorial debut
19 May 2017

Jeanette Aw is finally set to make her directorial debut

After a long time of thinking and talking about it, Jeanette is finally set to take on a brand new role: as the director and scriptwriter of her own short film.

“I’ve completed my script, confirmed my cast, put together my crew, and now I’m pulling resources and funds together,” she shared exclusively with us, her eyes glimmering with excitement. “I’m really looking forward to having full creative control over a whole project of my own. It’s time! (laughs)”

The 37-year-old went on to reveal that the movie will touch on Alzheimer’s, a topic that’s close to her heart as she lost her beloved godmother to the disease many years ago. “I want to raise awareness and let people know that they’re not alone,” she said, adding that she hopes to be able to capture the emotions she felt while going through her own difficult time with her godmother’s condition.

Fans will be happy to know that in addition to her work behind the scenes, Jeanette will also be in front of the cameras, playing the daughter of a person battling Alzheimer’s (the rest of the cast remains a secret for now). However, she stated that she may gradually shift her focus to just directing for her future filmmaking endeavours.

But don’t worry, there is still plenty of Jeanette to be seen on screen in the near future. After shooting for long-form drama 118 2 wraps in about two months (or less, if they’re really fast – fingers crossed!), the busy bee will jet off to Japan in July to continue filming for Ramen Teh, which also stars Japanese actor Takumi Saito and is directed by Singapore’s own Eric Khoo.

Well, let’s hope her packed schedule doesn’t cause her to fall sick again. Over the past two weeks, poor Jeanette suffered from a huge, painful ulcer, which was followed almost immediately by a sore throat, flu and cough.

Thankfully, she reassured us that she’s feeling a lot better now. “Yesterday, my body just decided to give up and I crashed for 12 hours. I think all those late nights might have triggered [my sickness].”

Click through for more photos of Diana and Jeanette at the event!

Photo: Jeanette Aw/Instagram

Diana Ser and Jeanette Aw tell us about their postcards
Diana Ser and Jeanette Aw tell us about their postcards
19 May 2017

Diana Ser and Jeanette Aw tell us about their postcards

The artistic Jeanette chose to illustrate her original character Sol for her Montblanc x UNICEF postcard. “I took two days to hand-paint this rather than using digital software,” she said. “What I really wanted to achieve was to have different silhouettes of people interwoven into her hair, since UNICEF is about people coming together to spread love.”

As for Diana, she chose a photograph of her with Ratna, an 11-year-old Indonesian tobacco farm worker who was featured in an episode of info-ed programme Innocence Lost, to be printed on her postcard.

“Ratna was one of the few females on the show, and somehow I feel more protective of the girls,” said Diana, when we asked her why she picked this shot. “When a child learns how to read and write, they will be able to take control of their destiny, and I hope that’s what girls, especially, will do.”

Watch Diana Ser in Innocence Lost S1 and Innocence Lost S2.
Watch Diana Ser in
The Prime Years.
Watch Jeanette Aw in 118 2.

Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser
Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser
19 May 2017

Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser

Jeanette Aw shows us her postcard with her character Sol
Jeanette Aw shows us her postcard with her character Sol
19 May 2017

Jeanette Aw shows us her postcard with her character Sol

Diana Ser shows us her postcard
Diana Ser shows us her postcard
19 May 2017

Diana Ser shows us her postcard


Diana Ser checks out the new collection
Diana Ser checks out the new collection
19 May 2017

Diana Ser checks out the new collection

Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser speak to guests at the Montblanc x UNICEF event
Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser speak to guests at the Montblanc x UNICEF event
19 May 2017

Jeanette Aw and Diana Ser speak to guests at the Montblanc x UNICEF event

Jeanette Aw talks about her painting of Sol
Jeanette Aw talks about her painting of Sol
19 May 2017

Jeanette Aw talks about her painting of Sol

Watch:
Jeanette Aw finally realises her dream of directing
What would convince Diana Ser to return to acting?

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