Photos: Elis Ching, Denise Camillia Tan/Instagram
Video: Genice Ooi
Malaysian-Chinese actress Denise Camillia Tan may be a new face to local viewers, having signed with Mediacorp three months ago, but her showbiz portfolio is impressive, to say the least.
The 24-year-old was but a mere fashion design student who decided to sign up for a beauty pageant spontaneously five years ago, egged on by her mum and the people around her, who felt that she “had the potential” for it.
Denise then went on to win the pageant, and was crowned Miss Astro Chinese 2012 at the age of 19, and the first runner up of the Miss Chinese International Pageant a year later. After her stint as a beauty queen, she signed with Malaysian broadcaster Astro, and appeared in a number of Malaysian and Hong Kong productions, like the 2016 Hong Kong spy thriller The Hiddens, which was partially filmed in Malaysia as well.
“My mum actually encouraged me to join [the pageant], because I used to be very shy, so she wanted to help me become more brave. Joining the pageant was the one thing that actually helped me to step out of my comfort zone as well,” Denise shared with Toggle in an interview at the imaging session for upcoming Channel 8 drama, Mind Matters, where she’ll be playing a character suffering from a mental disorder.
Other than Mind Matters, the 24-year-old has a slew of Channel 8 drama appearances lined up, from While We Are Young, which is in the midst of filming, to Have A Little Faith (she plays Rui En’s younger sister in the show), which debuts next week (July 3).
The actress, who was first introduced to local viewers as Liao Shasha in Channel 8 drama Legal Eagles, said, “[I guess] it can be considered a stroke of fate [that I joined Mediacorp]. I never thought that I’d come to Singapore to further my career, as I’ve always been in Malaysia. Everything just lined up at the right timing, and so, I came to Singapore.”
Currently staying with her relatives in Singapore, Denise let on that she has only been in Singapore for a few months, but she’s adapting well.
“It’s a whole new start for me, but everyone has been very good to me, from my seniors and friends, to my relatives,” she smiled. “The very first time I reported for work was for Have A Little Faith, and I was so confused, and unsure of where to go and what to do that I ended up reaching the company an hour early!”
Denise shared that local actress Hong Huifang, who she grew close to after working on Legal Eagles together, was especially helpful to her when she was settling down in her new life.
“When we were filming Legal Eagles, Huifang jie shared with me some acting advice, and told me that she will sometimes head out to just sit down for a few hours, and observe the people there, from their gazes, to their actions and even their little quirks. She’ll then work these observations into her acting, she told me. It’s a really good piece of advice, and I’m really thankful to her for that,” Denise recalled.
(Continued on next page: Denise on the time she had to hit Rebecca Lim in the face – twice.)
A few days before the imaging session for Mind Matters, Denise filmed a pivotal scene for While We Were Young, where she had to muster up the guts and give her co-star, Rebecca Lim, a slap
“I was exceptionally nervous and worried whilst waiting to film the scene, because I had to hit Rebecca in the face. When I hit her, I felt really bad and kept apologising, but she kept saying that it was fine,” Denise revealed, adding, “We had to retake the scene as the positioning wasn’t too good during the first take. Luckily, the second take was good, because I don’t really hit people often!”.
The 24-year-old also gushed about her experience working with Ah Jie Zoe Tay, whom she described as an actress whom she “looks up to the most.”
“She’s really very nice. When we were filming our first scene, I had a lot of props in my hands, so she taught me slowly how to put down and handle my props one by one.”
Denise shared that she’s looking forward to working with each and every one of her future co-stars, as “you’ll get something new from every different actor that you work with.”
Fresh and full of ideas, the former fashion design student also let on that she hopes to create her own fashion label someday, though it’ll have to remain a pipe dream for now, as she focuses on her acting and hosting career.
Fans of the actress can catch her every Saturday, 9pm on The Sheng Siong Show, where she is a guest host.
Have A Little Faith debuts July 3, 9pm on Channel 8; watch it on Toggle-It-First.
While We Are Young premieres October 30, 9pm on Channel 8.
Mind Matters debuts on January 1, 2018, 9pm on Channel 8.