Celebs who went back to school (after becoming famous)

Learning is a lifelong journey - even when you’ve already found success in your career

Celebs who went back to school (after becoming famous)
Celebs who went back to school (after becoming famous)
31 Dec 2018

Celebs who went back to school (after becoming famous)

To many people, returning to life as a student long after you’ve already entered the workforce can sound like a daunting task, but that certainly didn’t stop the following famous folks from going back to school to pursue their degrees (or higher), or simply to attain certifications in various skills and interests of theirs. After all, learning is a lifelong journey that never stops.

P.S. Perhaps one of our New Year’s resolutions would be to endeavour to manage our time as efficiently as this ambitious bunch, or at least be as bold as them in their pursuit of knowledge.

P.P.S. All the best to those going back to school!

P.P.P.S. What do you reckon it was like being classmates with these people!?

Read on for more...

Jeanette Aw
Jeanette Aw
31 Dec 2018

Jeanette Aw

It’s no secret that Jeanette loves to whip up sweet treats (as evidenced by the yummy creations she has displayed on social media), and in June this year, she enrolled in a patisserie course at the Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok, Thailand, bringing her one step closer to turning her hobby into a certification.

The 39-year-old actress is certainly taking her studies - which she aims to complete by April 2019 - very seriously, even turning down jobs in order to fulfil the academy’s strict attendance requirements. However, that doesn’t mean she’s given up on showbiz projects entirely, working on a short film in the midst of blazing through the Intermediate part of her course.

We don’t know how you do it, Jeanette, but [baker boy] hats off to you.

​​​​​​​Photos: Instagram/Jeanette Aw

Eleanor Lee
Eleanor Lee
31 Dec 2018

Eleanor Lee

In 2015, local host Quan Yifong’s only daughter became known as the “Apple girl” in China when she starred in a commercial for the tech giant. Since then, she went on to land several huge acting gigs (including one opposite Leon Lai) and even make her singing debut.

Just building up an impressive portfolio didn’t seem to be enough for the up-and-coming starlet. In July 2017, it was revealed that she was accepted into the prestigious Beijing Film Academy. She started school in September last year and will soon join the likes of Vicki Zhao, Liu Yifei and Huang Xiaoming as notable alumni.

Photos: Instagram/Quan Yifong

Nicky Wu
Nicky Wu
31 Dec 2018

Nicky Wu

Proving that one can never be too old (not that 46 is “old”) to don a graduate gown and cap, Nicky proudly attained his Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Beijing’s Peking University last year. The Scarlet Heart star is said to have juggled his work and studies for two years, and reportedly spent up to NT$4.1 million (approximately S$185,000) on his school fees.

Then, as if having one Master’s degree weren’t enough, the actor enrolled in another programme from the same university in England soon after graduating. However, with his first child with wife Cecilia Liu on the way, it’s unclear how being a dad-to-be might affect his future study plans.

Photos: PBE Media

Sharon Au
Sharon Au
31 Dec 2018

Sharon Au

Sharon described leaving her decade-long entertainment career at its peak to become a student at Tokyo’s Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies in 2005 as “the scariest, bravest thing” she had ever done in her life, but also noted that “huge risks are the only ones worth taking”.

After graduating and returning to the Lion City six years later with her new International Political Science and Law degree (very fancy), she took up a number of posts at Mediacorp - including Assistant Vice President and head of now-defunct online portal styleXstyle - before moving to Paris earlier this year.

It looks like life is always about adventures for the 43-year-old.

Photos: Wordpress/Sharon Au

Wang Leehom
Wang Leehom
31 Dec 2018

Wang Leehom

Leehom was still a student at Williams College when he made his showbiz debut, juggling constant trips between America and Taiwan to record songs. By the time he graduated from Berklee’s Professional Music programme in 1999, he had already released five albums, including his breakthrough record Revolution.

In 2016, the 42-year-old returned to both his alma maters to be honoured with honorary degrees in music. “When I was a kid, Mom always wanted me to be a doctor. Today, I finally became one,” he gushed on social media.

Wang Leehom - we mean, Doctor Wang Leehom will be bringing his Descendants of the Dragon 2060 World Tour to Singapore on January 5, 7pm at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets are available on SportsHubTix.

Photos: Facebook/Wang Leehom

Pornsak
Pornsak
31 Dec 2018

Pornsak

Did you know that the Thai-born actor, host, restaurant entrepreneur and all-around nice guy has three degrees? And two of them - a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Monash University and a bachelor’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) from the Guangzhou University Of Chinese Medicine - were obtained after he had already entered showbiz. That overachiever.

Pornsak has shared that he was inspired by a National Day Rally speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the importance of early childhood education. As for TCM, he had seen how it cured his elderly father’s swollen hand many years ago, something that western medicine could not do. Now, he can personally tend to his dad as a certified physician himself.

​​​​​​​Photos: Instagram/Pornsak

Ariel Lin
Ariel Lin
31 Dec 2018

Ariel Lin

Is Ariel secretly a time-travelling, teleporting ninja? During her year in London pursuing her Master’s degree in acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama from 2013 to 2014, the actress still managed to take on work engagements in Taiwan and China, while also completing her coursework and fulfilling minimum attendance requirements... and being so low-key that some students only found out she was in the same school as them on graduation day.

And somehow in the midst of all that, she managed to squeeze in time to plan for her wedding, which took place on Christmas Eve the same year she graduated. How on earth did she do it?

Photos: Weibo/Ariel Lin

Kit Chan
Kit Chan
31 Dec 2018

Kit Chan

Following the release of her debut album Do Not Destroy the Harmony in 1993, Kit dropped out of her Drama diploma course at LASALLE College of the Arts (a typical Singaporean parent’s nightmare, if we dare say so) to concentrate on her blossoming singing career, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

After making a name for herself both in Singapore and abroad with a host of Mandopop hits (and of course, everyone’s favourite National Day song ‘Home’), she returned to LASALLE to pick up where she left off, majoring in Music this time and graduating with honours in 2006.

Photos: Facebook/Kit Chan

Special mention: Bonnie Loo, Shane Pow
Special mention: Bonnie Loo, Shane Pow
31 Dec 2018

Special mention: Bonnie Loo, Shane Pow

Bonnie and Shane were sent to the Beijing Film Academy by The Celebrity Agency for a brief but fruitful acting course last year and this year respectively, at the invitation of Chinese actor Feng Yuan Zheng.

Spending a few weeks on foreign soil immersed in a foreign culture was nothing short of an eye-opener for the two young artistes, who learned to view their craft in different ways that they may never have been exposed to if they had stayed in their comfort zone.

Photos: Bonnie Loo, Feng Yuan Zheng

Special mention: Julie Tan
Special mention: Julie Tan
31 Dec 2018

Special mention: Julie Tan

In 2016, the adventurous actress took a six-month break from acting to enroll in a three-month acting course at the New York Film Academy. During her time in the Big Apple, she was schooled not just in the ways of acting (which she told us she was able to apply to her role in The Lead), but also auditioning and directing.

We’re sure these lessons came in handy when she was writing her own movie script, which, when we checked in with her a couple of months ago, she said may start being made into a film in April next year, if all those negotiations go well.

Photos: Instagram/Julie Tan

Special mention: Stefanie Sun
Special mention: Stefanie Sun
31 Dec 2018

Special mention: Stefanie Sun

When the singer claimed her $500 worth of SkillsFuture Credit (a national movement that aims to help Singaporeans develop their potential) in 2016, she chose to spend it on a course on basic watercolour techniques at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, making it all the way up to the Advance 3 level before stopping.

Her newly acquired knowledge eventually inspired her latest album A Dancing Van Gogh, and she also got to show off some of her wicked artwork at the press conference to promote it earlier this year. Hey, whoever said learning how to paint is useless?

Photos: Instagram/Stefanie Sun

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