Jeanette Aw flies solo

Going independent: Jeanette Aw says goodbye to Hype Records after 15 years; does not renew contract with Mediacorp too

Jeanette Aw 1
Striking it out on her own, Jeanette tells Toggle: "I need to assure many people that I’m not retiring from showbiz. I’m still open to drama collaborations, and overseas projects."

Photos: Jcode

Jeanette Aw is taking her showbiz career to the next level. After “a good run of 15 years” with Hype Records, the local actress has parted ways—amicably—with the company, and with the blessings and support of head honcho Ken Lim. Similarly, she did not renew her contract with Mediacorp.

Calling it a natural progression, Jeanette, who has been in Europe the past two weeks for the Paris and London’s Fashion Weeks, told Toggle via an interview she had thought “long and hard” before coming to this decision.

“We all grow as individuals and with time, we start to have different ideals and move in different directions,” she explained. Plus, the desire to produce her own films grew stronger and it was “just a matter of time” before the 38-year-old would spread her wings and fly solo.

Elaborating on her decision to go independent, she said: “I guess sometimes I meet with certain frustrations at work and being vocal isn’t a good idea at all. And I’m done with always being on the receiving end of instructions and not being able to contribute in a bigger way.”

Apart from her company, Jcode, which has been fronting her social media platforms and blog, Jeanette registered another company, Picturesque Films, in 2012, when she first toyed with the idea of branching into film-making.

Five years on, she finally fulfilled her dream of producing her own short film with The Last Entry which is in the post-production phase right now; the short film will be released in the second half of 2018 as she plans to send it in for short film festivals and competitions.

Jeanette on the set of her directorial film project 'The Last Entry'

“Producing my own short is liberating,” she enthused. “Especially when I started with preparation by writing my own script, and then pulling the team together, planning the shots and finally being on set and making sure I get everything I want!”

“It’s the creative control I love,” said Jeanette, who plans to start on her second production soon.

Despite her intentions to venture behind-the-cameras and produce more films of her own, the actress assures us that she is not retiring from showbiz and remains “open to drama collaborations and overseas projects."

When asked if going solo will affect her contract with Mediacorp which will not be renewed, too, Jeanette said: "I’ve not thought about renewal [with Mediacorp]. I’ve always been under the “out-sourced artiste” category, so I guess this doesn’t change my status with them."

Ultimately, she is looking to get out of her comfort zone with this career move – especially since she feels her career has “hit a plateau” and is in need of “new challenges.”

“I believe that one needs to continually renew and reinvent the self to grow and be better. I’m doing just that, putting myself out there into the unknown and learning a new set of skills, managing different facets of a film/production and challenging myself in new ways.

“It’s extremely exciting and it keeps the passion alive. I guess I’ve always been an overachiever as well, there are still many things I want to do and pursue, and staying put doesn’t allow me to do any of those things,” she said.

So, what is the best thing about going solo? 

“Creative control. I can’t emphasise that enough,” she quipped, relishing in the sweet taste of independence.

In the meantime, fans who can’t get enough of her can look forward to Ramen Teh, a Singapore-Japan co-production helmed by local auteur Eric Khoo, slated for a release in 2018. Alternatively, re-watch Jeanette’s past shows like 118 S2 and The Dream Job on Toggle.

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