Zoe Tay preps for sons’ teenage years with new drama

The actress plays a teacher alongside Rebecca Lim and onscreen mother to newcomer Calvert Tay in ‘While We Are Young’

Zoe Tay preps for sons’ teenage years with new drama
Zoe Tay preps for sons’ teenage years with new drama
27 Apr 2017

Zoe Tay preps for sons’ teenage years with new drama

Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Vina Chia, Genice Ooi

Newly crowned Best Actress Zoe Tay is looking forward to her next production, Channel 8’s While We Are Young, for more than one reason: not only will she get to work with a bevy of fresh faces (most of whom are her showbiz friends’ children), she will also be taking this as an opportunity to learn more about teenagers before her own kids become one.

“Sooner or later, my sons will get to that stage [of being a teenager],” said the 49-year-old actress – who is mother to Brayden, 12, Ashton, 9, and Nathan, 6 – at yesterday’s imaging session for the upcoming series, in which she plays junior college teacher Fang Ting. “I can’t claim to be fully prepared for it, so I want to take this chance to do some research!”

With many young newcomers – including Zheng Ge Ping and Hong Hui Fang’s son Calvert Tay, Lin Meijiao’s daughter Chantalle Ng, Xiang Yun and Edmund Chen’s daughter Chen Yi Xin, and Guo Liang’s son Marcus Guo – on board the 20-episode drama, Zoe will finally get the rare opportunity to talk to teenagers and learn more about them, which will hopefully come in handy when she has to deal with her brood at their age in the near future.

At the moment, Zoe’s boys have yet to display any signs of teen-like rebelliousness, but she sees it possibly happening when they’re older. For now, their behaviour was enough to cause her co-star Rebecca Lim to pipe up, “They’re such good boys!” (A comment Zoe brushed off with, “You haven’t spent enough time with them!”)

In While We Are Young, Calvert takes on the role as Zoe’s onscreen son Tang Yi Jie, and if Calvert’s real mother’s reaction to the collaboration is any indication, the 17-year-old is in good hands. “Hui Fang told me, ‘I’m so glad it’s you!’” she recalled with a laugh. “I really like Calvert, he’s a very obedient and respectful young man.”

We saw why Hui Fang was so happy when we witnessed Zoe’s motherly side during the imaging session, when she eagerly pulled Calvert to the backdrop to take photos. “This is going to go up all over the media so make sure you look good!” she told him, while trying to get him to pose more comfortably with her. The poor teen looked like he still needed some time to adjust to all the attention, but with Aunty Zoe – as we heard him call her – there with him, we think he’ll be just fine.

While We Are Young premieres October 30, 9pm on Channel 8.

Read on to find out how Zoe would deal with various situations involving her [real-life] sons, from them failing classes to – gasp! – getting a girl pregnant before marriage:

How would Zoe Tay react if any of her sons…
How would Zoe Tay react if any of her sons…
27 Apr 2017

How would Zoe Tay react if any of her sons…

Got into trouble at school: “I would want to hear both sides of the story [from my son and the teacher] before making any judgement calls. I believe in letting the child explain himself, while also telling him why he might have gotten into trouble.”

Failed his exams: “I would definitely want to get to the bottom of it and find out what could be causing this. Is he stressed? Is he having problems in class? With their studies being monitored so closely, it’s unlikely that they would fail completely, so I would want to know why.”

Skipped classes: “That is absolutely unacceptable! That deserves a spanking!”

Refused to eat her cooking: “I have three kids, as long as any one of them eats it, I’m okay! But that’s why I deliberately prepare dishes that I know they would eat. If they don’t like it, it’s fine, because I know that my cooking is not the best! (laughs)”

Gets into a relationship, but doesn’t introduce her to his girlfriend: “That depends on how old he is. I personally think that 16 years old is still too young to date. This is why it’s important for parents to have a proper discussion with their kids about this issue during the teenage years. Relationships are complicated!”

Gets a girl pregnant before marriage: “Wow, that one. I would faint. There would be a lot of things to consider.”

Dates a girl 20 years older than him: “I would faint again! I don’t believe it would happen.”

Dates a girl 20 years younger than him: “I don’t think I’ll even be around to see that, so I won’t have the chance to react to it! (laughs)”

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
27 Apr 2017

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai

“What’s interesting about my role is that at school, I’m [Zoe’s character’s] superior, but at home, she’s my boss because she’s my mother-in-law!” said the 30-year-old with a chuckle about her role as a straight-laced teacher. This is her fourth collaboration with Zoe after The Dream Makers, You Can Be an Angel Too and You Can Be an Angel 2.

Click through for more photos from the While We Are Young imaging session!

Zoe Tay and Calvert Tay
Zoe Tay and Calvert Tay
27 Apr 2017

Zoe Tay and Calvert Tay

Zoe Tay as Fang Ting
Zoe Tay as Fang Ting
27 Apr 2017

Zoe Tay as Fang Ting

Zoe Tay as Fang Ting
Zoe Tay as Fang Ting
27 Apr 2017

Zoe Tay as Fang Ting

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
27 Apr 2017

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai
27 Apr 2017

Rebecca Lim as Zhong Ai

Rebecca Lim will pair up with Zhang Zhen Huan, who plays her husband Tang Yi Wei
Rebecca Lim will pair up with Zhang Zhen Huan, who plays her husband Tang Yi Wei
27 Apr 2017

Rebecca Lim will pair up with Zhang Zhen Huan, who plays her husband Tang Yi Wei

Calvert Tay, Zoe Tay, Zhang Zhen Huan and Rebecca Lim take a family photo
Calvert Tay, Zoe Tay, Zhang Zhen Huan and Rebecca Lim take a family photo
27 Apr 2017

Calvert Tay, Zoe Tay, Zhang Zhen Huan and Rebecca Lim take a family photo

WATCH:
Who was more rebellious - Zoe Tay or Rebecca Lim?
How would Zoe Tay react if her sons...

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