Photos: Channel 5, Instagram
Vanessa Vanderstraaten says it has been “a strange year” for her, thanks to her roles in drama series Lion Moms and upcoming telemovie Baby Bumps, which airs on April 30 on Channel 5. In Lion Moms, she plays a single mother to a young boy; in Baby Bumps, she plays a woman who decides to pretend to be pregnant to see if it can change her scepticism about having children.
“Do I really look that old?” laughed the 27-year-old in an interview with Toggle.
On a more serious note, the FLY Entertainment artiste admitted that these projects, coupled with the fact that many of her friends recently got married or are expecting little ones of their own, have put “a little bit” of pressure on her to do so as well.
That is, until she tries to talk herself out of it. “I’m so not ready to have a child, like, it scares me,” she said, adding that the burden to move on to the next stage of her life is lessened due to the fact that her mother had her quite late, at the age of 36.
It also helps that her boyfriend of three years, actor and fellow FLY artiste Andrew Lua, is in no rush to tie the knot or have children. “I’m very grateful that he’s very understanding as well – it’s true that Monkeys (his Chinese zodiac) and Dragons (her Chinese zodiac) get along!”
In the meantime, any “good news” we hear from Vanessa will be purely related to her career instead. “I have a couple of projects in the works,” she told us. “I can’t say what they are yet but I’m creating online content. That’s my ‘good news’ – marriage, babies, that one another time lah! (laughs) I want to focus on other things right now.”
Vanessa and her boyfriend Andrew (Photos from their respective Instagram accounts)
Baby Bumps premieres on April 30, 7.30pm on Channel 5.
Read on for more from Vanessa’s interview about Baby Bumps, what she personally thinks about motherhood, and more:
Toggle: Tell us about your role in Baby Bumps.
Vanessa: Tan Kaili is someone who is dealing with loss and her identity as a woman – she’s not sure about having children or if she even likes children, which comes into conflict with the expectations of her as a woman living in Singapore. Her loneliness drives her to a point where she’s desperate enough to pretend to be pregnant with a smiley face cushion to see if she can form a connection with this bump and if it changes her mind about being pregnant.
Was it more challenging to play a single mum in Lion Moms or a pretend-pregnant woman in Baby Bumps?
I don’t know which one was worse: pretending to be pregnant or pretending to love a kid! Lion Moms was more emotionally difficult but it was physically uncomfortable to wear the fake bump because it was a 2.5kg silicone belly that kept falling off me half the time, plus it made me sweat so it was icky and gross.
How long did you have to wear the fake bump every day?
I had to wear it for an average of eight hours a day, even when going to the bathroom or having lunch, because it takes two people to put it on or take it off.
What was it like having a (fake) baby bump?
It was weird, you know! It causes you to sit differently, and for some reason I could not stop rubbing it.
Were there any funny incidents with the bump on set?
There weren’t any accidents or anything like that, but whenever the four of us who had to wear fake bumps for the show got together, we would just jiggle them. And we would do “high-fives” with the bumps like bros. (laughs)
What’s the most interesting thing you learned about pregnancy while making this show?
An early sign of pregnancy involves our nipples darkening so the baby can find the nipple. This absolutely did not help me in the role, it’s just a fun fact. (laughs)
What kind of mother do you think you will make?
The worst! (laughs) I’m afraid I’ll turn into the very overprotective, awful mother, you know, like the kind who would call the school to complain that their child can’t go to a camp because it has no hot water. But at the same time I think it’s also very important for the child to grow up independent. A lot of parents these days mollycoddle their kids, so whenever I hear about parents putting their feet down in front of their children, I have respect for them.
Which kind was your mother?
The second one. She used to lie to me and my brother (Justin Vanderstraaten) about how much she earned so we would foster this understanding of, “Oh, I can only buy one toy.”
How many kids do you want one day?
If I have children, I would want at least two. Having one child puts a lot of burden on them to look after two parents when they grow up, and having a sibling teaches you lots of stuff. Sometimes I want to kill my brother, sometimes he’s my best friend, sometimes he’s my partner in crime, and sometimes he’s my McDonald’s kaki at 2am.
What else are you up to?
I’ve been doing a lot of hosting these days, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for a second season of Lion Moms. I also volunteer for the Cat Welfare Society.
You’ve done mostly Channel 5 stuff. Will we ever get to see you in a Channel 8 drama?
I think my Mandarin has a ways to go. I wouldn’t say no, because it would be challenging and a lot of fun, but I’d be scared lah! I’d be scared of having to take directions in Mandarin as well. I could memorise a script but my vocabulary would be the problem. Andrew’s mother only speaks Mandarin at home so she would be my go-to help if I need it.