Photos: Kimberly Wang, Channel 5
Not only was Channel 5’s Rojak her first major production in 10 years, Kimberly Wang had to take on one other challenge in her role as a twentysomething aspiring writer: her first onscreen kiss.
And though her partner was, as she described, “handsome, awesome, nice, sweet and actually a good friend of mine” (watch the show to find out who it is), it didn’t stop Kimberly from succumbing to the awkwardness of the situation and breaking out in nervous laughter.
“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, seriously, ahhhh!’” the 25-year-old 987FM DJ recounted. “I can hug and hold hands (for the camera), but a kiss scene is a whole different ball game.”
“I think that was the most number of NGs I had in the show,” the self-professed shy introvert said. It took her three tries before she could stop herself from backing away instinctively, and then the kiss had to be filmed from two other angles. “I was not very cooperative!” she said with a laugh.
In Rojak, Kimberly plays Patricia Lim, a girl who impulsively quits her job in law to work on her novel, and rents out rooms in her inherited bungalow for an income and writing inspiration. The unusual living arrangement brings together an Indian psychotherapist (played by Malaysian actress–host Dhanya Nambiar), an American software designer (played by Singapore’s Carla Dunareanu) and a Kiwi bartender (played by Auckland native John Haslett Murphy).
“Nothing works out as (Patricia) planned lah,” Kimberly said. “It’s like a very dysfunctional group of people who try to survive together and that’s what makes it fun.”
The cast bonded from the first day they met, and being surrounded by dedicated crew members over five and a half weeks of filming late last year kept Kimberly going when she had to juggle 12-hour shoots on top of hosting her 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. weeknight radio show.
“It makes you want to do your best so you don't let others down — everyone's doing their best, so who are you to do less than that?” she said. “People are my kryptonite.”
In fact, when the quartet was filming Carla’s final scene on her last day on set, Kimberly ended up crying the most. “We didn't even need to pretend to be upset, we were all (legitimately) upset,” she related. “And the moment they yelled, ‘Cut!’ I was still weeping.”
“I actually started with acting instead of radio, so acting has always been something that’s in me, and I didn't realise how much I missed acting until I did Rojak,” she said. “It's a familiar feeling you lost and found again and oh my gosh I really do miss it. I didn't expect it.”
While the DJ is open to more acting roles now, one thing you won’t catch her doing is sex scenes, and even kiss scenes will be extremely unlikely. “I wouldn't even consider it, not if I can help it,” she said.
So was The Kiss in Rojak really that repulsive? “Kissing someone is like a massive thing for me,” Kimberly said. Even her boyfriend at the time couldn’t quite understand her aversion to it. “He told me, ‘You very bad leh, (this actor) I also want to kiss, why you like that?’”
Rojak debuts May 4, 9.30 p.m. on Channel 5; watch it on Toggle-It-First
Find out more about Rojak here
Hear Kimberly on 987FM’s The Happy Ending, weeknights from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.