Jason Oh and his daughter Vanessa
Photos: Tammi Tan, Jason Oh/Instagram
Recently, former actor and one of the “Five Dragons of Mediacorp” (remember that bunch?) Jason Oh was out and about with a pretty young woman when he was approached by an eagle-eyed stranger, who looked at his female companion and asked, “Is that your girlfriend?”
He quickly clarified that the lady in question is actually his 24-year-old daughter, Vanessa, but as icky as it sounds, we honestly can’t blame anyone for jumping to the same conclusion. For starters, Jason may have turned 50 in August, but he has impressively retained the boyish handsomeness that launched him into heartthrob status in the 90s, which makes it believable that he’d be able to land a lovely lass like her.
That is precisely what happens with his character in upcoming Channel 8 drama Fifty and Fabulous, in which he takes on the role of an investor who gets tangled in an extramarital affair with a beautiful twentysomething fund manager, played by newcomer Denise Camillia Tan.
You read that right: Jason is making his big acting comeback, six years after his last local television appearance in Channel U’s Secret Garden.
In an interview with Toggle at yesterday’s imaging session, Jason shared that for the past seven years, he’s been busy with his full-time painting business (you can check out his portfolio on his Instagram account @jason_qinwei, which he excitedly showed us on a giant iPad), although he claims that he’s always missed acting.
He finally put his longing into action earlier this year by ringing up an old friend and ex-colleague – who used to be a director but is now in artiste management – and shocking her with his declaration of, “I want to act again.” Within hours, she called him back and offered him the part in Fifty and Fabulous to him, which he gladly accepted.
(Left) Jason shares loving looks with his daughter Vanessa. (Right) Jason's co-star in 'Fifty and Fabulous', Denise Camillia Tan
According to Jason, he and Denise will share many intimate scenes in the series, including make-out sessions in a swimming pool (ooh la la), but the seasoned veteran assured us that he’ll feel no awkwardness. “How many times have I done it?” he chuckled.
Denise, on the other hand, admitted earlier that she’s “quite worried” about getting hot n’ heavy – or at least, as hot n’ heavy as a free-to-air channel will allow – with a man who’s literally twice her 25 years of age, especially for her first time stepping into such mature territory.
We don’t think she has anything to fear: Jason told us that he plans to have discussions with her to build up their chemistry, and we’re sure the experienced thespian will expertly guide her when the time comes.
Jason’s showbiz-loving genes have clearly been passed down to his daughter. While Vanessa’s “regular” job is selling items on online shopping platform Qoo10, she has also dabbled in theatre and appeared in several local short films.
(Left) Jason as Yang Yuncong in 1996's 'Legend of the White Hair Brides'
She has inherited her papa’s good looks too: when she suddenly showed up at the imaging studio and was introduced, everyone could not help but comment that she can join the likes of celeb offspring Shalynn Tsai (Chen Xiu Huan’s daughter) and Chantalle Ng (Lin Mei Jiao’s daughter) as one of the next generation of local stars.
And her dad won’t stop her if she chooses to pursue a career in entertainment. “She has expressed an interest in acting ever since she was little, and even took various acting classes,” said Jason. “As long as she wants to act, I am okay with it; it’s her decision to make.”
Unfortunately for fans, Jason’s step back in front of the cameras does not signify a full-fledged return to screens. “I will still accept roles if I have the chance, but my primary focus remains on my art,” he said. While he declined to go into detail about the financial success of his trade, he let on that one large oil on canvas typically fetches around $5,000 to $7,000, and that he mostly caters to private collectors.
His art takes precedence over his love life as well. Although it has been “donkey years” (as he laughingly put it) since his marriage to Vanessa’s mother ended, Jason doesn’t seem too keen on finding himself a second wife, emphasising that he wishes to concentrate all his energy on his paintings and, of course, on his occasional TV gigs.
Fifty and Fabulous premieres May 30, 9pm on Channel 8.