08 Apr 2016
The nominees of the Toggle Celebrity BFF award
Photos: Dion Tang
Videos: Foong Mien Shi, Tan Shiqi, Vina Chia, Teng Siew Eng
Following the crowning of Xu Bin as the Most Outstanding Duke winner last year, this year’s Toggle Award will be based on a showbiz hot topic that has made headlines countless times - Celebrity BFFs (or the celebs who are BFF no more). As such, we have come up with a shortlist of five BFF pairings for the Toggle Most Beloved Celebrity BFF award this year that – we think – both fans and viewers can identify with.
In no order of ranking, they are the Noon Talk buddies Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin, longtime BFFs Chen Hanwei and Zoe Tay, ‘Fang siblings’ Dennis Chew and Rui En, the ‘double Jie’ Shanghai brudders Ian Fang and Jeffrey Xu, and hot mamas Kate Pang and Vivian Lai.
The BFF pairings share more about their friendships, from their first impressions of each other to how they hit it off, in this gallery. Click on for more!
08 Apr 2016
Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin
Xu Bin and Aloysius’ personalities are like the north and south poles and perfectly complement each other. They became friends in 2012 when they met in Bali, at the set of Timeless Love, which was directed by Dasmond Koh, who is both their mentor and boss. It’s safe to say that no one knows their strengths and weaknesses as well as Dasmond, which is why he’d often send them to go on business trips together, just like their last trip to Malaysia in March, before this interview took place.
“I am the outgoing and interactive one whereas he (Aloysius) is more detail-orientated, thoughtful. Which is why he is able to pick up on things that are overlooked and will remind me about them,” said Xu Bin, when he explained on how they make up for each other’s shortfalls at work.
As the label mates see each other in the office, training sessions and at work events at least three times a week, it’s no wonder they see each other as family and brothers, as well as “classmates”, since they are both mentored by Dasmond.
Added Aloysius, “There is not much rivalry between us. He (Xu Bin) helps and shares as much as he can – with no reservations. He is not self-centered… I hope for him to do well or even better than me. This friendship we have is hard to find today.”
Watch the video below to find out more about Aloy and Xu Bin’s friendship!
08 Apr 2016
Chen Hanwei and Zoe Tay
Hanwei and Zoe’s friendship is one known – and envied – by many on the Hill. They go way back to 1988, as Star Search contestants who “could not stand the sight of each other”. Things started to change when the competition was whittled down to 12 contestants and Zoe and Hanwei had to take the same bus back to the west side of Singapore where they both lived.
“The driver would let her alight first before [driving] me back to Malaysia. We became friends who could talk about anything under the sun, after a few months of bus rides together where we laughed at and talked about others. We probably ‘clicked’ because we are both straightforward people too,” Hanwei said.
It helps that they were both surviving on small paychecks back then too, so roughing it out together as newbs in the industry kept them bonded, said Zoe.
“Although I was the [Star Search] champion, my salary was not much higher than his. We had to scrimp because we were attending classes and had to pay for our meals. He even had to travel to-and-fro from Malaysia and it was tough because we had early call times and classes. But his parents would pick him up after work – he’s a spoilt kid! (Chuckles) Sometimes when there’s a jam at the causeway, he’d come to my house for dinner before his parents pick him up too.”
Watch the video for more exposés as Zoe and Hanwei play tattletales and tell on each other’s little secrets!
08 Apr 2016
Dennis Chew and Rui En
Their natural chemistry and adorable onscreen relationship as the ‘Fang siblings’ have won them plenty of new fans, but did you know Dennis and Rui En go way back to the early noughties – even before their first collaboration on The Dream Makers, when the then-YES 933 deejay hosted her first fan meet at The Esplanade in 2002?
“I remember she sang many times during the rehearsals and did a lot of sound checks. [At that point in time] I was impressed by her because she had high expectations of herself. I had a really positive first impression of her,” revealed Dennis, who added, “After she started acting, I began to hear things about her… and when I really got to know her, I began speaking up for her to change people’s impressions of her.”
According to the radio deejay, they began warming up to each other after he started to crack plenty of jokes – not just any joke but “dirty jokes”, said Rui En. “Not many people can make me laugh [apart from Dennis], another one would be Aileen Tan who complained that she was covered in bruises after filming Life is Beautiful [with me]. The both of them, especially, can be very obscene and vulgar. They don’t think before speaking and sometimes my first reaction is to just hit them.”
“For Dennis, what you see is what you get and I like this type of people because most people in the industry are not like that,” she added.
Watch the video and see how the two interact in real life.
08 Apr 2016
Ian Fang and Jeffrey Xu
They’d have drinking sessions together at each other’s houses and fly back to their hometowns in China together during festive breaks, but before they became known as the ‘Double Jies’ (both Ian and Jeffrey have the same ‘Jie’ at the end of their Chinese names) today, they shared a “complicated” relationship.
“Our relationship only improved over the last few years. It was not as good before that and whenever we saw each other, we’d pretend not to see the other party,” recounted Ian as Jeffrey added, “Some things happened and the seeds of doubt was sowed. But after we cleared things up, we became very good friends.”
So what exactly happened in that one particular phone call which changed their friendship and, probably, their lives around?
“It was at about 11 or 12 at night. We spoke for about an hour and he shared with me a lot of his thoughts and I felt that he really cherished me [as a friend] and treated me as one of his buddies. The best thing about him is he is not prideful or egotistical, he is not afraid to show me his weak side – a side that nobody else knows,” shared Jeffrey.
Watch the video to learn more about the ‘Double Jies’ brotherhood and tight friendship!
08 Apr 2016
Kate Pang and Vivian Lai
These two hot mamas bonded on the set of My Fair Ladies and hit it off after attending a few birthday gatherings with the rest of the hosts and crew. As people on the “same wavelength” the two “sisters” have no secrets between them, said Vivian. “She understands what I’m saying, I understand what she’s saying, but people may not understand what we’re saying.”
“And she’s the first person I’d talk to for a lot of things, Kate chimed, “For example, when I was pregnant she was the first one who knew about it. Whenever I encounter any difficulties in life, I’d always speak to her first and she’s like my mentor in life.”
All seriousness aside, the two are friends who’d gossip, grumble and do all sort of zany things together. Remember when Kate and Vivian randomly locked lips – on national television – at Star Awards 2011 and made headlines the next day for the brazen act? Well, after that eyebrow-raising kiss, the duo found their way to many magazine covers, but Kate insists – till this very day – that it was an “unintentional” act.
“[In hindsight] that’s the best thing she has ever done for me… I was so nervous about how it blew up and [Taiwan singer] Alien Huang even told me to be appreciative because he has never made it to headlines before,” she chuckled.
Kate and Vivian share their not-so-good first impressions of each other in the video below.