Carla Dunareanu: Social media’s Little Miss Sunshine

The exuberant actress-host is all about spreading good vibes online


“I love comedy, it’s my favourite genre to play and watch as a viewer,” Carla Dunareanu, who recently bagged the much coveted ‘Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress Award” at last year’s Asian Television Awards, declares during her interview with Toggle.

It’s no wonder then, that she shines as Wendy, a 30-year-old PE (physical education) teacher, and a “hopeless romantic”, in the latest Toggle Originals series, LifeSpam.

We dropped by during the filming of Sara (played by Wendy Cheng, also known as Xiaxue) and Henry’s (played by Andrew Lua) big blow-out wedding on a balmy Saturday afternoon, with all the main cast members gathered to witness the couple’s union.

As the wedding wears on, Wendy gets drunk on the free-flow champagne offered, prompting a sudden outburst – or two, during the charged confrontation between Sara and Henry.

Will Sara and Henry “resolve their differences”? And will Wendy finally run into Tarun (played by Kishan J) after all? Keep your eyes peeled for the next episode of LifeSpam, which will be released tomorrow (Sep 8), to find out. 

Read on: Carla shares why she dislikes the “Negative Nancies” of social media, and the most extreme thing a fan has done for her.


Toggle: Can you share with us why you decided to take up this role?
Carla: I was really excited to work with Maker Studios, and I love working with people who are in their creative phase and really discovering their direction and what they’re all about. Thirdly, I love comedy, it’s my favourite genre to play and watch as a viewer, so it seemed like a perfect fit [for me]! The character as well, she’s a PE teacher, and I’m a super active person, so when they told me that, I went, ‘Where do I sign up?’ immediately.

What’s the most annoying type of Instagrammer to you? 
I really don’t like people who use social media as an outlet to vent their frustration or get pity. I curate my Instagram and social media sites, and I always try to put out positive messages, because I feel like that’s my responsibility. But, there are loads of people who have a much larger following [online] as compared to me, and some of these people, they use their [social media] platforms to get pity from people. They’ll post a picture of themselves going, ‘Oh, I’m so heartbroken at something or the other’. 

To me, it’s like they’re asking for attention, and I don’t like that, because that’s the kind of stuff you message your mum or your sister about. You [should] reach out to someone whom you love and could actually advise you properly [in these situations]. I feel like so many people actually use it as a counselling tool, when the people who are actually advising you, might not have your best interest at heart. It really rubs me the wrong way, and I tend to unfollow people like that because it affects me and when I read it.

Do you have any social media habits/quirks?
My Instagram [account] is really active, I love Instagram Stories. I’m happy to use Instagram because I’m really candid, and I like to film myself with no makeup on. It’s really raw and unrehearsed and I always want to show that side of me to my audience because I need them to know, especially when they’re young and impressionable, that this is real life. The travelling and all the fancy stuff is just an aspect of my life, but my real life, it’s really just waking up in an HDB apartment, with my mom and my nieces, the real things that happen in my life, which I don’t try to mask. 

I think that a lot of the young kids nowadays are really idealistic. If they look at you, and they see that what you have is so unattainable, it doesn’t give them confidence because they just feel so far removed from you, when in truth I’m just like everyone here.

What’s the most outrageous thing a fan has done?
I once had a fan come for every single show of mine, when I was doing a stage show in the Philippines. She came for every production, and I thought that was the sweetest thing ever. I gave her some free tickets to the show, because I didn’t want her to spend money every time, and I was just so amazed at her support.

The show ran for about three weeks, and we performed every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so she came for more than 10 shows. In between the shows, she’d text me to ask if I wanted any food or drinks. If I happened to post that I was having a sore throat, she would actually go out, and buy medicine for me. I was so overwhelmed at her support. 

Now, time for some hypothetical questions. If your 14-year-old self were in Cindy’s shoes, you would’ve…
I think I’d probably be a lot more immature compared to Cindy. At 14, I thought I knew a lot of things, [when] I [actually] didn’t know anything.  I think if I woke up from a coma and thought that I was still fourteen, I’d probably still be hanging out at Cineleisure and Far East Plaza, eating the chicken rice there, meeting up with my friends and watching midnight movies.

Would you ever choose to go on a social media detox?
Absolutely, it would save me a lot of time. I don’t take social media that seriously, although it does kind of add on to the job in this day and age, [as] clients ask about it. But in the larger picture, its really just something that takes up your time. So I would do it [social media detox] just for the reason of that, to save the amount of time checking who liked my picture, and who commented on it.

Thinking of a caption is one of the most annoying things in the world sometimes. Sometimes I just want to post a picture without a caption, but no one’s going to understand what I’m posting [without a caption], especially if it’s a client-related post. I’d be happy to delete my accounts, honestly. I think I would have a lot less anxiety and stress.

Catch the first four episodes of LifeSpam here. New episodes of LifeSpam will be made available from 10am every Wednesday and Friday

The anti-social (media) club: Narelle Kheng
Jonathan Cheok on his “wet” kiss scenes in ‘LifeSpam’

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