Photos: Toh Zi Yi, Xiaxue/Instagram
When it comes to the world of online fame (or infamy), one name comes to mind almost immediately – Xiaxue (also known as Wendy Cheng). The 33-year-old first became known to the public in 2003, when she started an online blog. Readers became attracted to her outspoken and no-holds-barred writing style, and she soon became one of the first full-time online bloggers in Singapore.
14 years later, Xiaxue has since welcomed her first child, Dashiel Sayre (also known as Dash), 4. She has also ceased blogging as frequently, moving on to other social media platforms that have since popped up, namely Instagram and Twitter where she has a combined following of over 900,000 followers, as well as YouTube, where she has over 200,000 subscribers.
Other than branching out into making YouTube videos, Xiaxue also has her eyes set on conquering the acting world, having landed a lead role in the Toggle Originals series, LifeSpam. With her bright pink hair and oh-so-trusty mobile phone in hand, Xiaxue’s portrayal of Selfie Sara, who’s well and truly enamoured with the world of Instagram likes and online validation is spot-on.
Though this may be her first time trying out acting (she previously had a guest-starring stint in xinmsn web series Let’s Play Love back in 2011), the 33-year-old shares in an interview with Toggle that she has always wanted to venture in the world of acting, adding that Sara sounded like a fun role to portray.
We dropped by the LifeSpam set during the filming of Sara’s fairytale-wedding-gone-wrong one Saturday afternoon and witnessed a dramatic breakdown on set. When the clueless DJ accidentally plays a “diss track” written about her by her husband-to-be, Henry (played by Andrew Lua), Sara’s world crashes down right in front of her eyes, culminating in a tear-filled confrontation between the couple.
While the script originally called for Xiaxue to cry as her character comes to terms with what happened, she shared that she was ultimately unable to do so, and had to resort to wielding her impressive makeup skills to create a tear-stained makeup look on the fly.
“I asked Andrew how he cries on the spot, and he said that actors actually use several methods, from using eye drops to thinking about something that’s very sad or emotional to you,” the first-time actress let on. “I tried [my best to cry], but somehow, having a film crew waiting for you to cry is very difficult, and I just couldn’t [seem to get the tears to flow].”
Continued on next page: Xiaxue reveals her online celebrity crush, and if she’ll ever choose to go on a social media detox
Toggle: If you were to come up with your own “Go Viral Instantly” plan, it’ll be to...
Xiaxue: Leak a sex tape! Just kidding (laughs)
What’s the most annoying type of Instagrammer to you?
I guess people who buy followers or likes are the worst!
Since you mentioned that Instagrammers who buy followers or likes are the most annoying to you, do you keep track of the number of likes your photos get? Its been mentioned before that there's a certain "prime time" to post pictures on Instagram in order to get the most likes, do you take note of your of "prime times"?
It's hard not to keep track, per se, because there is an average number of likes and it’s very noticeable when the amount of likes are out of the norm. I don't bother with prime time but I do know if I post at four in the morning, which I would love to, the likes are less. Sometimes I still do so though! Many of my posts are actually posted in the middle of the night because I'm nocturnal.
Is there a certain hashtag or online trend that you wish you could delete off the face of the earth?
I hate all slacktivism, so things like Kony2012 or the ice bucket challenge [are really] annoying to me.
You tend to be pretty open about your life, and what you share online. Is there a certain line that you draw when it comes to sharing aspects of your life with your followers?
I’m a very open person. To me it's very simple, if you want privacy, then you shouldn’t be famous. [However], I don't believe in oversexualising myself, as that will result in a lack of respect from people. I'm also careful not to overshare when it comes to Dash or my friends and family, because while I might not have a problem with being open, they might have [a problem with that].
Would you ever choose to go on a social media detox, just like Sara in LifeSpam?
No, I love social media and I’ve never felt like I needed a detox.
If you could describe your online persona in one sentence, it'd be...
Loud, pink and frivolous.
What are the boons and the banes of social media, to you?
It's great that we get loads of free stuff. Unfortunately, those things also count as income so your [income] tax goes up.
Is there someone that you admire and want to get to know more online?
I actually really like reading [local singer] Stefanie Sun's blog! She is an excellent writer with very interesting thoughts, I would love to meet her and chat with her [in person].
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen an influencer or YouTuber post online?
I recently saw an influencer take a selfie at the hospital with her dying grandma. I was very disgusted and amused at her antics. (Do you follow her on Instagram?) [No], I don't follow her, but [if I did, I’ll] definitely unfollow!
Hypothetically, if your 14-year-old self were in Cindy's shoes, what would she have done?
My 14 year old self would be delighted to find herself famous! I would probably immediately use my fame to get a nose job [for] free.
What's your social media pet peeve?
Humble bragging is definitely one of my pet peeves, I absolutely can't stand people like that! I also find it irritating when people post inspirational quotes as their captions, especially when the quotes are not even relevant to the picture. Like, are you so stupid that you can't even form a sentence [about your picture]? Surely they made you do oral examinations in school where you had to look at a picture and talk about it, right? Use those skills for goodness sake!
Catch the first seven episodes of LifeSpam here. The last episode of LifeSpam will be made available from 10am tomorrow (15 September)
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