Joey Swee returns to acting to “escape” from sons

Toggle Original series ‘A Lonely Fish’ is Joey Swee’s first Mediacorp drama in 8 years after she left the TV station in 2009


Photos: Joanna Goh

The year-end semester examinations are finally over. Like most parents with schooling children, the sweet smell of freedom is calling out to former actress Joey Swee, now on a self-declared “short break,” after being “cooped up at home” supervising and caring for her three sons.

“I want to come out [to work] and get doted on and be taken care of by people,” Joey chortled, during an interview with Toggle at the imaging session for Toggle Original series, A Lonely Fish (working title), and jokingly lamented, “I don’t wish to always be the one taking care of others.”

The former actress, who tied the knot with her Indonesian-Chinese businessman husband 12 years ago, will play actress He Ying Ying’s onscreen mother in the upcoming six-episode series (each episode is 30 mins long) which is written and developed by three student-interns from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, based on a seed concept brainstormed at a script-writing workshop in the school.

Apart from working on 85 percent of the script, the three students will also get to experience life as an acting extra and production assistant – and will round off their journey with a video journal that is part of the show’s behind-the-scenes footage.

A Lonely Fish will be Joey’s first Mediacorp drama in eight years, following her departure from showbiz in 2009 (she was last seen acting in Perfect Cut in 2008).

The 40-year-old who is now a full-time homemaker and mother did not disappear from the limelight entirely during her years of inactivity and has guest-starred on Channel U talk show Mars Vs. Venus and acted in a cable TV series in the last two years.

Joey plays husband and wife with Star Search 2001 alum Dennis Toh.

Like a teenage schoolgirl free from the shackles of examinations, Joey was raring to start filming again. Her excitement was palpable as she gushed about “being in the limelight again” as well as getting “pampered” by fans and the people (read: production crew) around her.

While she enjoys the ‘attention,’ the mother of three boys - Algernon, 3, Jefferson, 8, and Kynaston, 11 - ruled out a full-time comeback for the time being. She intends to take things slow for now, soak up the atmosphere of the new TV station and bask in the company of her old colleagues again.

“It feels good so far,” she chirped, when we asked if she’d consider taking on a longer project. “But it really depends if there are sparks between us, if I’m happy doing it and how things are like in this new environment.”

Speaking about former actresses Cassandra See and Florence Tan’s recent acting comebacks in Mediacorp dramas, Joey said: “A lot of them have older children, but for me I might still stop [acting] for a few more years. It depends on timing since my youngest child is 3 years old – it’s harder to be away from him.”

Indeed, it’s much harder when she’s on solo-parenting duty on weekdays, as her husband is based in Jakarta, Indonesia for work. Just how tough is it? We talk to Joey about her weekend husband-and-wife lifestyle, her tiger mum ways, and her plans for a fourth kid – or not.

Read on for more!

(Continued on next page: Why Joey won't allow her sons to enter showbiz)

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