A new wave of girl power in showbiz

These kids are coming to a TV (or bus stop) ad near you soon

L-R: Shalynn Tsai, Joanna Theng and Chantalle Ng
L-R: Shalynn Tsai, Joanna Theng and Chantalle Ng
02 Mar 2017

L-R: Shalynn Tsai, Joanna Theng and Chantalle Ng

Photos: Joanna Goh
Videos: Foong Mien Shi, Vina Chia


Chantalle Ng, Shalynn Tsai and Joanna Theng are no strangers to showbiz. Their names may not ring a bell, but their famous parents’ would - that’s Lin Meijiao’s daughter (Chantalle) and Chen Xiuhuan’s daughter (Shalynn), and celebrity favourite, ophthalmologist Dr Julian Theng’s daughter (Joanna) we’re talking about.

This bunch of kids (and some more) are often seen hanging out together backstage at large-scale events such as the Star Awards or year-end countdown shows while their ‘rents are hard at work, and now it’s their turn to take a shot at this “fame” thing.

In a couple of months’ time, Chantalle, 21, Shalynn, 17, and Joanna, 19, will be unveiled as the new faces of Sunsilk and their faces will be plastered all over the island, from print ads and TVCs (television commercials) to billboards at bus stops and MRT stations.

The man who made all these possible is celebrity hairstylist-turned-talent manager, Addy Lee, and the girls are currently managed by his artiste management agency, Starlist.

Addy clearly has a knack for mining new talent and grooming second-gen celebrity kids (remember how he raised Quan Yi Fong’s daughter, Eleanor Lee’s star profile with a hair ad?) It helps that he has a way with their parents, too, like how he successfully convinced Xiuhuan to allow her second daughter, Shalynn, to take on this five-figure endorsement gig, as well as participate in other upcoming projects which, we’re told, will be revealed in time to come.

In their interviews with Toggle, the girls tell us that “uncle Addy” means serious business – he places a lot of emphasis on their schoolwork and if their grades start to slip, they’ll be put in “cold storage” for three months.

“Uncle Addy prioritises our studies so I can only schedule [jobs] during my holidays,” shared Chantalle, a Year 2 student studying information systems at SMU (Singapore Management University). “This shoot actually takes place during my recess week so it doesn’t clash with my school work,” she quipped.

Things are slightly trickier for Shalynn. The Raffles Institution student had to convince her parents – especially her mum, who is adamant about her daughters not following in her acting career path – about her interest in performing before they finally gave her the green light.

It all “started because of music,” said Shalynn, who took the plunge because she wanted to explore different platforms and avenues to play more violin. “I also made it clear that I won’t give up on my studies,” which includes getting a degree, the budding musician added. “So on that end, she (her mother) was reassured.”

(Continued on next page: How did their training programme in Beijing go?)

Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle
Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle
02 Mar 2017

Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle

Last December, Shalynn, Chantalle, Calvert Tay (Zheng Ge Ping and Hong Hui Fang’s son) and Marcus Guo (Guo Liang’s son) attended a month-long training programme in Beijing, China, where they honed their acting, speaking and performing skills. The kids had to keep to an extremely gruelling schedule but the payoff was evident.

Chantalle, who was the oldest trainee of the lot, successfully overcame her fear of talking to the camera thanks to these classes, and is more “comfortable” and “confident” in front of it now.

“If we’re not dancing, we would be doing weights,” she added. “We also had to wake up quite early in the morning and prepare ourselves [because] everywhere we went there were cameras filming us.”

The long-haired lass sheepishly recalled breaking down in tears during her stint in China because it was too tough. “I called my mum and told her I cried and she’s like ‘Oh my God, you’re such an embarrassment!’” she chuckled.

“I hope it’s something that when I look back on [in future], I can laugh about it. (Laughs)”


Are there plans to do more acting projects in future? What do these girls hope to get out of showbiz? Read on for more.

Chantalle Ng, 21
Chantalle Ng, 21
02 Mar 2017

Chantalle Ng, 21

This self-professed animal lover had an earlier start in showbiz compared to her peers featured in this story. Before she was officially signed under Addy’s agency, she did small part roles in Channel 8 dramas such as World At Your Feet and 96 °C Café. Chantalle could be the next to follow in Eleanor’s footsteps what with the commercial endorsements knocking on her door – she is the poster girl of Murad and soon-to-be Sunsilk, and has scored a one-year sponsorship deal with Pet Lovers because of her love for dogs and strays. 

Click on for our interview with Chantalle!

Chantalle Ng, 21
Chantalle Ng, 21
02 Mar 2017

Chantalle Ng, 21

Toggle: What are the challenges of being a ‘famous face’?
Chantalle: The first is I hope to not just be a ‘vase’ (as what people say) and base everything on appearance. I hope for people to get to know my personality too. And I hope that it wouldn’t turn out that (vase) way too.

Do you make it a point to read what people are saying about you online?
Yes, I do. The first time I read it was during the 96 °C Café drama (bottom right picture) when I was 16 years old. I was a lot chubbier then – although I’m still chubby now—but my friends always joke about me saying I’m like ‘Moon Face’. At that time, I think I was very awkward… The comments online can get really nasty and I think it’s just something you have to learn to cope with and know to take in the constructive comments and not the criticism.

What’s the nastiest comment you’ve read about yourself?
I think the nastiest [comments] are those that involve my mum… because I feel that you can scold me but you can’t scold my mum. Those are the ones I really get affected by.

What do you hope to achieve in your showbiz stint?
I’m at this stage of my life where I’m still figuring out what to do after I graduate, so it’s nice to have two years to do this part-time. After that I hope to be sure and know what I want to do. (Ed: You haven’t thought of doing this full-time?) I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent heading towards this direction because it’s something beyond our control. I hope to do my best and explore the opportunities (and) if there’s a chance, I’ll continue doing it or else I’d do something related to my degree.

Shalynn Tsai, 17
Shalynn Tsai, 17
02 Mar 2017

Shalynn Tsai, 17

This tanned lanky teenager scored a supporting role in a short film produced by “uncle Jack” (Jack Neo) for SG50 film project, Seven Letters. As a classically-trained violinist, Shalynn has amassed a wealth of performing experience at various music recitals and festivals and was originally supposed to study music in London this year but decided to remain in Singapore to be with her family.

Click on for our interview with Shalynn!

Shalynn Tsai, 17
Shalynn Tsai, 17
02 Mar 2017

Shalynn Tsai, 17

Toggle: Is joining showbiz something you’ve always wanted?
Shalynn: Actually I never thought that I’d be entering showbiz because I’ve always been very serious about my studies. But watching my mum act has been very inspiring because I realised (from) behind-the-scenes that it is a lot more difficult than it looks. Plus I really like performing and this can be another platform where I can relieve my stress.

Your mum has done her fair share of commercials during her heyday, did she give you any advice?
She did mention that it’s really going to take a long time so I should just relax and have good expressions. Last night at 10pm I was trying to drink water and she’s like: ‘No! Don’t drink! If not you’re going to be bloated tomorrow.’

Does your mum monitor what you post on social media now?
Actually I’m quite conservative about what I post on Instagram – especially my captions. I’d let my older sister read it before I post because it can get quite sensitive, especially if it’s public.

Do you make it a point to read what people are saying about you online?
On Instagram it’s still OK - so far I haven’t gotten any negative comments. I know that being in showbiz it’s difficult to have only positive comments. My mum did say there’d be a lot of different views of how people look at you. But I think I’ll just take it with a pinch of salt and I wouldn’t want to let it affect me too much.

How did your siblings react when they found out you’d be doing your first commercial shoot?
Oh, I didn’t tell them at first and I went home with brown hair and they were like: ‘Oh! What happened to your hair?!’ and when they learned I was doing a commercial for Sunsilk they were like: ‘Oh, that’s big!’ They were very supportive.

Additional photos: Shalynn Tsai/Instagram, Jack Neo

Joanna Theng, 19
Joanna Theng, 19
02 Mar 2017

Joanna Theng, 19

This ACJC (Anglo Chinese Junior College) graduate did theatre studies in school and once played the younger version of Rebecca Lim’s character, Margaret Chin, in the second season of Channel 5’s Mata Mata: A New Era. Unlike Chantalle and Shalynn whose parents are actors, Joanna’s dad is a reputable eye doctor – Doctor Julian Theng from Eagle Eye Centre. Chances are, you may have scrolled past pictures of Joanna and her family hanging out with the stars (they are family friends) at events or have seen them guesting on Channel 8 variety shows such as Dad @ Home.

Click on for our interview with Joanna!

Joanna Theng, 19
Joanna Theng, 19
02 Mar 2017

Joanna Theng, 19

Toggle: Is joining showbiz something you’ve always wanted to do?
Joanna: This is a very new experience and it’s also new grounds for myself… I’ve been a ‘Science’ kid all the way until JC. For my A-Levels, which I just completed, I studied biology, chemistry, mathematics but there was this one other subject – theatre studies and drama – and that totally captivated me. I was drawn to the arts, theatre scene, and now I’m exploring media. It just opened a new door for me, so I think that’s what I’m doing here as well (smiles). 

If given the chance, is there any actor or actress you’d like to work with?
When I was in Secondary 4, I had an opportunity to act in a Channel 5 drama entitled ‘Mata Mata.’ I actually played a younger version of Rebecca Lim. I was actually already quite a big fan of hers, but after the experience I was like: ‘Oh my goodness, I’m playing mini Rebecca Lim.’ And she did mention to me ‘good job’ and said we should play sisters the next time we’re in the same show. So that’s been a dream since - and yes, that’d be Rebecca Lim.

Will you consider doing more acting in future?
After Sec 4, that’s when I really got to study acting in-depth for my A-Levels. I grew a lot in terms of my acting, I think. Looking back, I wasn’t sure of my acting abilities in Sec 4 but I’ve definitely grown as an actor and it’s my quiet hope that I’d be able to use these skills that I picked up somewhere down the road.

The team behind the photoshoot
The team behind the photoshoot
02 Mar 2017

The team behind the photoshoot

Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle
Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle
02 Mar 2017

Addy with Shalynn, Joanna and Chantalle

Addy and Chantalle
Addy and Chantalle
02 Mar 2017

Addy and Chantalle

WATCH: Meet Chantalle, Shalynn and Joanna

Related:

Eleanor Lee casted in Chinese blockbuster drama
The PA diaries of Xiang Yun’s son, Chen Yixi
Celeb kids giving their parents a run for their fame
Celebs on their famous children

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