What’s in my bag: James Seah and his love for ‘basic’ underwear

James Seah tells Toggle what are his travel necessities when he goes overseas to ‘Jalan Jalan’

What's in James Seah's bag?
What's in James Seah's bag?
24 Nov 2018

What's in James Seah's bag?

Photos: Teo Sijia
Video: Charlene Chong


Are you a light or heavy packer? Organised or messy? A last minute packer or a well-prepared traveller?

These were a few burning questions we posed to the cast of Channel 8’s newest long-form drama series Jalan Jalan at the show’s press conference last month, where we invited them to bring and share with us some of their must-have travel essentials when they are on an overseas trip. 

It was an intimate session, to say the least, with the actors airing some of their insecurities and deepest, darkest secrets, and we had it all captured on camera.

We picked up a couple of interesting celebrity trivia about the cast of Jalan Jalan: there is a self-professed fitness nut who needs to work out every day when he’s travelling because of his sweet tooth; a gadget girl who can’t live without her arsenal of techy stuff (even though it weighs a ton); and an idiosyncratic traveller who packs two of everything, just to name a few…

This week, we have James Seah who plays Guo Hao Yang, a second-generation hotel owner and Dawn Yeoh’s love interest in the show. The Star Search 2010 contestant rose to fame on Channel 5 series Tanglin and is currently filming two concurrent dramas at the same time – Jalan Jalan and Hello From The Other Side

James’ perfectly curated Instagram feed is a mix of his best #OOTD (outfit of the day) shots, #workinglife chronicles and vacay moments with his social media influencer girlfriend Nicole Changmin, who just made her acting debut on Toggle web series Glitch. Thus begets the question: how many outfits does he pack on a typical holiday and won’t his bag weigh a ton?

(Continued on next page: James tells us about that one time he couldn't fit into his character's pants after a holiday)

What's in James Seah's bag?
What's in James Seah's bag?
24 Nov 2018

What's in James Seah's bag?

“No lah, [we don’t plan our vacations around scenic stuff to take nice pictures], it’s more like we like seeing nice scenic places and we like going to such places, so we don’t really ‘plan’ for social media. It’s all for the ‘gram but that’s because we enjoy scenic spots,” he quipped. 

His luggage is almost never overweight too, said James. “My luggage is always ‘underweight’ but then it becomes overweight ‘cos other people will know that mine is underweight and they will put stuff in my bag. (Laughs)”

One thing he's really committed to when he is overseas, according to James, is exercising on a daily basis to keep his figure trim and lean. Especially since he’s such a dessert fiend who can’t say ‘no’ to sweet treats. 

“After I eat I will feel guilty lah, and then the trip won’t be as enjoyable. So everything is inter-linked,” he shared. 

The one time he didn’t work out on a trip, he suffered horrible consequences when he went straight to filming for Tanglin after he got back – and had a hard time zipping his pants. “[There was] no solution! You just got to tahan the tightness lah (laughs), and after you change out of your wardrobe, you are like… Ahhh.” 

So what are James’ travel must-haves, and what sort of exercise gear does he travel with? You’ll be surprised to learn that his underwear—no kidding—takes up a quarter of his luggage. Read on to find out why.  ​​​​​​​

#1 Extension cord
#1 Extension cord
24 Nov 2018

#1 Extension cord

"Why did I bring this? ‘Cos in certain hotels [when] they plan their rooms’ structure, their [electrical sockets] are usually located at the end of the room and their bed is on the other end. Usually when I’m on the go, I have to charge my camera, handphone, batteries, laptop and the Wi-Fi egg. That’s right, five devices. Just nice!"

#2 Protein powder
#2 Protein powder
24 Nov 2018

#2 Protein powder

"What’s this? Is this Milo? No… this is protein powder! If you drink protein powder you know that it’s just a scoop of it so that’s like one serving, two servings of it. You know why I drink protein powder? Because one of the requirements when I book hotels [on my trips] is there must be a gym. And if there’s no gym, then there must be this…"

#3 Exercise equipment
#3 Exercise equipment
24 Nov 2018

#3 Exercise equipment

“This is not a hose, it’s a resistance band. You can do push-ups with added resistance… I’m more or less the kind of person who must work out every day. I try to lah. Unless I’m too tired during the trip like when there’s a lot of trekking or outdoor activities to do. [But] if there’s a gym, [I’d] probably be there 45 minutes to an hour every day – before I hit the breakfast buffet (laughs). If not I’ll pop in for a quick 20-minute session at night. I’d take the protein powder after my workout.

“And if this is not enough, I have another equipment here – it’s called the TRX. It’s the thing you hang on your door and you can do your push-ups or single-legged squats, or whatever you want to do with this (laughs). So if [the place I’m staying at] does not have a gym I will bring this. After I eat I will feel guilty [about it] lah, and then the trip will be less enjoyable. It’s all inter-linked! (…) It’s just so I can eat more – I have a sweet tooth too.”

#4 Multi-vitamins and supplements
#4 Multi-vitamins and supplements
24 Nov 2018

#4 Multi-vitamins and supplements

“I think my immune system is quite weak so even if I’m not travelling, I will still consume my multi-vitamins. ‘Cos I take quite a few types, it’s more convenient to have it all in a bag. It’s not all multi-vitamins, I have like Omega-3 fish oil, and things like this muscle building supplement that helps increase lean muscles. Very guy stuff lah.”

#5 ‘Basic’ underwear
#5 ‘Basic’ underwear
24 Nov 2018

#5 ‘Basic’ underwear


“Because I tend to workout everyday so imagine the amount of underwear I’ll need ‘cos its soaked and you need to change right? So I realised that almost a quarter of my luggage is underwear (laughs). [Ed: Sometimes you need multiple changes in a day?] Yes, yes. Look at the designs! (…) very basic [and in] dark colours. And you can wear grey when you wear white pants. I love basic stuff. Now you know James Seah loves basic underwear (…) I’m a bit of a clean freak lah. So it’s important that I wear fresh and clean underwear. 

[Ed: So it means you wash your gym clothes when you’re travelling?] Yes, if I run out of it, I will. And I also make it a point to wash ‘cos it stinks after a workout due to perspiration, so I will wash them and store it away. I just use the hotel soap – whatever that smells nice works. No detergeant ‘cos I might confuse it with the protein powder and drink it (laughs).

James and his girlfriend Nicole Changmin
James and his girlfriend Nicole Changmin
24 Nov 2018

James and his girlfriend Nicole Changmin

Photos: Instagram/James Seah

James' vacation pictures
James' vacation pictures
24 Nov 2018

James' vacation pictures

Photos: Instagram/James Seah

James' #OOTD pictures taken during his vacations
James' #OOTD pictures taken during his vacations
24 Nov 2018

James' #OOTD pictures taken during his vacations

Photos: Instagram/James Seah

Jalan Jalan is now showing weekdays, 7.30pm on Channel 8. Watch past episodes of Jalan Jalan on Toggle.

WATCH: James exercises to eat more during his holidays

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