Photos: Teo Sijia
Video: Charlene Chong
Age is catching up with Jayley Woo, who—at 26 years of age—tells us she’s in a race against time (and youth) to turn her lofty dreams into reality when we caught up with the newly-independent actress at the imaging session for a brand new long-form Channel 8 series Jalan Jalan on Monday.
The actress is no longer signed to Mediacorp’s The Celebrity Agency and had spent a year mulling over her decision to work with the TV company on a project basis instead.
Jayley shared that the main propeller behind her choice of going ‘freelance’ stemmed from her desire to “start doing things I really want to do” - like releasing songs, learning how to dance and gaining new experiences from travelling and attending acting classes.
The process of arriving at this life-changing decision was emotionally-draining, to say the least, but having a supportive family unit and an elder sister who has ‘been there, done that’ convinced her that it was the best option to go with. Never mind the absence of a fixed monthly paycheck.
TV SIBLINGS: Dawn Yeoh plays big sister to Jeremy Chan, Jayley Woo and Joel Choo in upcoming long-form series Jalan Jalan.
“[My sister Hayley Woo] has been a freelancer all along and she did share that it’s not that tough and you have more freedom. Of course, it’s worrying to not have a monthly salary to fall back on, but my parents scrimp and save too,” she added. “I’ll still give them a monthly allowance of course, but the amount now depends on how many jobs I have in a month.”
Things are looking positive for Jayley: the actress will be filming Jalan Jalan which co-stars Chew Chor Meng, Dawn Yeoh and Jeremy Chan, to name a few, till March or April next year, plus there are work collaborations with her elder sister on the horizon, which is a sign of things to come.
A few brands have also expressed interest to work with the Woo sisters which, according to Jayley, is something new and refreshing for them as there were certain restrictions that did not allow them to do so previously. But it is now a thing of the past, and “offers have been coming in,” she beamed.
As she starts to slowly check items off her to-do list, Jayley tells us one thing she really wants to do is enroll in an acting school in Shanghai to upgrade herself as an actress after filming for Jalan Jalan wraps in 2019. Learning about her sister’s experience from her month-long acting school stint in Taiwan made her “envious” and all the more determined to expand her horizons abroad too, she explained.
“I am serious about acting and I hope to attend classes for it. I’ve been learning all these years via watching shows and am a self-taught actress, but I really want to learn more about the craft because what you learn by yourself is different from what you pick up at classes.”
“I really have an interest in acting and I hope to be in this line for a long time. If I want a long-lasting career, [I think] it’s time for to me to go to school.”
WATCH: First look at the boisterous siblings of 'Jalan Jalan'
(Continued on next page: Jayley tells us more about her experiences in China)
Jayley, Hayley with Lee Teng and Nicky Wu at the Ed Hardy fashion show in Shanghai. (Photo: Instagram/Hayley Woo)
What’s the deal with Jayley and China?
China is not just the place she hopes to school at, it’s also the land of new opportunities for Jayley. Although she declined to further elaborate on her “ongoing talks” on a collaboration in China, she was more than happy to share about the eye-opening experiences she had at the Pearl of the Orient during a recent holiday.
Thanks to Lee Teng who was hosting a programme in Shanghai, she and Hayley were invited to pop by the studio for a look. “I was stunned. Rich folks are a dime in a dozen in China – you have the rich and then there’s the super-rich. This is a whole new world and I’m so insignificant in comparison,” she said.
The sisters also attended the Huayi ELLE Starry Night party (held as part of the Shanghai International Film Festival) where they had up close and personal encounters with the who's who in China's showbiz, and they even had the chance to rub shoulders with Taiwanese actor Nicky Wu at an Ed Hardy Fashion Show in Shanghai.
“I saw Chang Chen (at the Huayi Brothers party) and he was standing so close to me, but I didn’t ask for a picture. I told myself I might work with him in the future – and I didn’t want that to be a talking point between us,” she joked.
But what about that picture she took with Nicky, we asked.
“I definitely had to take a picture with Nicky Wu. I personally love Scarlet Heart and he’s so suave in real life. When he shook my hand – I didn’t want to wash it, y’know? (Laughs) Just talking about it makes me so excited. I haven’t been this star struck in a long time, plus he’s super nice too.”
Jalan Jalan debuts Oct 30, 7.30pm on Channel 8.
Catch Jayley in Toggle series Glitch when it debuts on Nov 2018.