Photos: Tammi Tan
Singapore sprinter Timothee Yap, who competed in this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, seems like an unlikely addition to Dasmond Koh’s arsenal of artistes – but in September, the 22-year-old joined the host’s talent management agency NoonTalk Media.
“The reason (Dasmond signed me) was because he wants to raise the profile of sportsmen like myself in Singapore,” Timothee explained in an interview at yesterday’s imaging session for 2589 Days Apart, an upcoming Toggle Originals series.
In 2589 Days Apart, Timothee makes his acting debut as Zheng De Lu, who starts out as an 18-year-old JC (junior college) student who’s not doing well in school but excels at running. “Dasmond heard about the role and I went to audition for it,” he revealed. “I think I was chosen because (the drama) is centralised around track and field.”
While he is understandably nervous about taking on his first role, Timothee is optimistic about being “well-prepared” when filming commences next week, thanks to his NoonTalk friends. “Dasmond, Aloysius (Pang), Xu Bin, and (Zong) Zijie have been helping me (rehearse my lines),” he said, beaming at the mention of his boss and label mates. He added that although he is more comfortable with the English language, memorising the all-Mandarin script was not as difficult as he thought.
Timothee also seemed relatively unnerved when we told him that he will have a kiss scene with co-star Felicia Chin in the drama (a last-minute change that he was not previously aware of). “I don’t think there’s any need for mental preparation – just go with the flow!” he chuckled. “It’ll be good to work with an experienced actress like her.”
When asked if he’s concerned about locking lips with someone else’s girlfriend (and upsetting a certain duke), Timothee shrugged and said, “No lah, we’re just being professionals and doing our jobs, so I think there shouldn’t be any problem.”
Timothee and his NoonTalk label mate and friend Zijie
Although being a part of NoonTalk has clearly opened up many opportunities for Timothee, it also means that there are new sets of rules – set by Dasmond – in his life, such as not being able to club, drink or date.
“I think you have to understand why he has these guidelines, which he doesn’t force us to adhere to,” he reasoned. “He has a lot of experience in the industry so he’s been there, done that, and I accept his rationale behind it.”
However, he admitted that out of all the restrictions, the one he might have the hardest time obeying is the “no dating” one. So would he go ahead with a romantic relationship behind Dasmond’s back if he met a girl he really likes? “Da Ge (Big Brother)…” he smiled to our camera, beating his chest as if to say, “You can trust me!”
In addition to being an athlete and budding actor, Timothee is also a second-year law student at the National University of Singapore (NUS). “It’s a bit hectic, but right now I’m on a semester break so I’m taking the opportunity to film this drama,” he said. His daily training sessions, on the other hand, go on as usual as he aims to participate in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
As for which area he will choose to concentrate on in the future, he said that for the next few years at least, his sports and studies will come first. “Acting is somewhat of a hobby for me, so whenever I have time or when there’s a suitable role, I’ll pick it up,” he elaborated. He also sees himself working in a law firm after he graduates in 2019 (if all goes well), but said that he “won’t give up acting and sports”.
WATCH: What kind of a boss is Dasmond like?
2589 Days Apart is now available on Toggle-It-First. New episodes will be available for free every Monday and Friday from May 15 - 29. For more information, visit the microsite here.
Sprinter Timothee Yap: ‘I want to write my name in Singapore’s history books’