Photos: Teo Sijia, Tracy Lee (@tracyleemeileng) via Instagram
Video: Vanessa Lim
Contrary to rumours, actress Tracy Lee isn’t leaving acting or Caldecott Hill - she has merely converted her full-time contract to a per-project one after the former expired.
The new arrangement will give the 30-year-old more time to spend on other pursuits, Tracy said. “Personally I’m quite fond of children, and two years ago I was considering going to Australia to study early childhood education,” she said. “But at the same time I can’t let go of acting.”
To accommodate her two passions, she’ll be studying part-time in Singapore instead and will likely start class during a later school term, due to her busy filming schedule.
The Malaysian-born actress has been helping out at the infant care centre a friend established to gain practical experience, and is organising a once-weekly holiday camp for 4- to 6-year-olds this December to teach them about Singapore’s history and culture.
“I’ve taught Sunday School at church, so I’ve no problem teaching children.” Tracy said. And after she earns her qualification, she plans to open her own nursery. “Right now it’s most important to gain experience, listen to feedback from parents, and see if there’s anything I can do to improve the holiday camp,” she said.
If Only I Could
Tracy is appearing in the Channel 8 drama If Only I Could, which debuts on May 30, as Kai Qin, a close friend and secret admirer of Elvin Ng’s married character, De Gang. After their collaborations on No Limits, C.L.I.F and C.L.I.F. 3, Tracy and Elvin are friends in private, so the intimate scenes shouldn’t be too awkward to shoot, she said.
“During filming, trust and chemistry are vital, and we’re good friends to begin with - we talk about anything - so I’m not worried at all,” Tracy said.
But the actress is quick to clarify she doesn’t play the run-of-the-mill third party in If Only I Could. “I don’t consider myself the mistress!” she said. “Those are typically scheming women who lure away married men, but this role is different.”
Xi Wen (De Gang’s wife, played by Paige Chua) endures marital problems and suffers a stillborn child, and together with a former schoolmate also going through family and health issues (played by Rui En), the pair travel back in time to start their lives over and avoid all the mistakes they’ve made. But the two long-suffering wives realise they’re worse off than before.
Tracy’s character is close friends with Xi Wen, but the latter is unable to get close to people emotionally and keeps pushing her husband away. Though Kai Qin is in love with her friend’s spouse, she never considers breaking up their marriage, Tracy said. “That’s how devoted Kai Qin is,” she added.
With more time on her hands, Tracy is eager to indulge her travelling habit. “My life is simple - if I’m not working, I’m travelling,” she said, and added that in a year she may go abroad seven or eight times.
Her latest trip was a month-long tour through the US, including stops at the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge and New York City. But despite the gorgeous views and good food, the trip wasn’t without mishaps. Tracy’s luggage was delayed after missing her connecting flight and it arrived five days later by FedEx.
“My valuables were with me the whole time, so it wasn’t too bad,” Tracy said. “But I had to wear the same outfit for five days, and that was uncomfortable!”
But when she does go overseas, she’s on vacation and not retiring, she said. “A lot of people think I’ve left the company and I needn’t work anymore!” she said.
If Only I Could debuts May 30, 2016, 9 pm on Channel 8.
This story is translated by Zara Zhuang.