Edmund Chen to son Chen Yixi: “You need to improve”

Up-and-coming actor Chen Yixi shares what he learned from auditioning for an acting school in China


There was a time not so long ago when Chen Yixi and Chen Yixin, the children of celebrity couple Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun, declared that they probably would never follow in the footsteps of their famous parents to become actors.

Fast forward about two years, and that statement has turned into a classic example of speaking too soon: not only did they go on to appear in several Channel 8 dramas, Yixi quit his design job to pursue a full-time showbiz career, and two weekends ago, both siblings jetted off to Shanghai, China with fellow second-gen star Tay Ying to undergo a rigorous selection process for an entertainment training course at a school called Motown.

When we caught up with Yixi at last week’s launch of Lights. Camera. Singapore, the 27-year-old Mediacorp artiste admitted that if not for Edmund’s insistence, he wouldn’t have even tagged along for the trip, which was organised by celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee for Yixin and Tay Ying (the girls are signed on with Addy’s 3X Media Production).

“I happened to have a free period, and my dad has always told me that as an actor, you should keep finding ways to improve yourself, so when this opportunity came up he was like, ‘Go! And you might as well take care of your sister,’” he chuckled. “He also told me that if I didn’t go for this one, he would’ve found something else for me anyway.”

Edmund Chen sending kids Chen Yixi and Chen Yixi off at the airport (Photo: Instagram/Edmund Chen)

You might be wondering, why the sudden persistence?

Well, according to Yixi, his dad caught a couple of his dramas and, “He was like, ‘You need to improve’. (Laughs)” Now, this doesn’t mean that Edmund thought his son was doing a bad job – he just believes one can always be better. “He would point out certain scenes and make comments like, ‘Oh, you can go slower’ or ‘Feel the weight of the line you’re delivering’.”

“Besides,” Yixi continued. “As an actor that’s just starting out, it would be dumb to not take any opportunity to learn that comes along - I should embrace and cherish it, rather than deny it.”

And so, despite being fearful and stressed out, Yixi found himself reciting a cheem (complicated) sounding, poem-like phrase from the script of a Chinese period drama in front of a panel. The audition also required participants to do a little “freestyle”, so Yixi broke into a “random hosting segment” that garnered praise from the judges.

“They were like, ‘Oh, you can host!’ and I was like, ‘I can…?’ (Laughs) I guess I learned something new about myself that I didn’t know before - that I can host in Chinese very well!”

Chen Yixi, Chen Yixin, Addy Lee and Tay Ying speak to the Chinese media; Chen Yixi during his audition (Photos: Instagram/Addy Lee, Chen Yixi)

Continued on next slide: Yixi wants to prove that he's serious about acting

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