She may admittedly have had a slow start, but Rebecca Lim’s star is fast ascending, with Zoe Tay endorsing her as the next queen of local TV. In an exclusive interview, the actress talks gratitude, greatness and growth.
At the beginning of The Truth, a 2008 drama on Channel 8, a riveting performance by a young woman in her first major Mandarin-speaking role sets tongues wagging. With her fragility and sense of hopelessness, the fresh-faced beauty makes a memorable first impression – as does the actress who plays her.
Almost a decade on, Rebecca Lim, 30, has come a long way from the girl who appeared on our screens when that drama debuted, and she hasn’t taken her journey for granted.
“I never knew my career would turn out this way,” she confesses. “For so many years, compared to my peers, my career was practically non-existent. Now that things are starting to be better and more substantial, I feel very blessed.”
Rebecca’s turning point came around 2012, when she won praise and her first Star Awards nomination for her role in Unriddle 2. She’s since gone on to win seven Star Awards, for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and five for being one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes (at press time). Her Best Actress nomination for her role in You Can Be An Angel 2 this year may increase that count.
Despite these achievements, Rebecca is still surprised people think she can act. It’s this gratitude and humility that has led to her success despite the demands it makes on her schedule.
“I’ve just completed filming our mid-year blockbuster, The Lead. Usually, I’ll only have one off day a month during this period. But I believe a good mindset is important: I’m thankful that I’m busy, that I have a job and that people want to hire me,” she says.
When she’s not working, Rebecca is a far cry from the glamorous character we’ve come to associate her with on the small screen, or the myriad of advertising campaigns she’s fronted. She is the ambassador for Australian supplements brand Swisse, as well as SK-II, Goldheart and Mercedes-Benz. “Being so busy has also trained me to be a lot more disciplined in every area of my life, including my free time. I use it wisely and set my priorities right, spending time with people I love and treasure, and doing simple things I enjoy like a relaxing facial, or just lazing at home watching television,” she says.
“I’ll watch anything from Japanese dramas to Korean dramas, and everything in between. And I’m currently trying to catch up on all those Oscarnominated movies that came out a while back.”
It’s perhaps this ability to switch off from the media glitz and glare, and find refuge in the little things in life, that has allowed Rebecca to bounce back from her poorly-communicated “I’m retiring” stunt for an insurance company. The actress’s goody-two shoes reputation took a hit last year when that campaign went viral for the wrong reasons. Fans who believed she was retiring from showbiz felt deceived when it was revealed that she was only communicating the importance of planning for retirement.
“I learnt a lot through that experience. I believe that in life, we will always be surrounded by trials. It’s either we are going into one, in one, or just out of one. And each trial teaches you how you look at the situation anew,” she shares.
“I don’t dwell on sad or bad things that have happened to me. Most of the time, I just pray and believe that things will eventually get better.”
Things are definitely set to improve for this future queen of television. In May, Rebecca is set to film a 20-episode drama, When We Are Young, where she will play a teacher alongside the Queen of Caldecott Hill, Zoe Tay. Zoe has always been forthcoming about her admiration for Rebecca and has reportedly already anointed the younger actress as her successor, a fact Rebecca is genuinely taken aback by.
“The first time I heard it, I was shocked and super happy. Anything that comes out from her [Zoe’s] mouth carries a lot of weight,” exclaims Rebecca.
“She’s someone whom I really respect and admire. So, to have a veteran I admire say something so wonderful and so humbling at the same time, it’s surreal and very encouraging. It gives you that extra oomph to go forward and keep working hard.” W
*Catch Rebecca in Mandarin series The Lead, which will debut on Channel 8 on May 22 at 9 pm.
"THE FIRST TIME I HEARD IT, I WAS SHOCKED AND SUPER HAPPY. ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT FROM HER [ZOE’S] MOUTH CARRIES A LOT OF WEIGHT"
– On Zoe Tay’s comment that Rebecca would be her TV successor.
Leading Lady Beauty Secrets
How does one of the most in-demand stars on TV stay gorgeous on the inside and out when she’s busy filming? We’ve got the scoop on Rebecca’s beauty and wellness regime…
“I always ensure I drink plenty of water, and eat regular meals to maintain my health. Never take your health, or that of your loved ones, for granted.”
Supplement Your Diet
Leading a busy life, Rebecca also relies on her trusted Swisse supplements to ensure she’s getting the necessary nutrients her body needs. It’s worked so well for her that she’s now the ambassador for the brand. “I supplement my diet daily. Swisse Hair Skin Nails and their effervescent vitamic C drink are my go-tos. I consume so many supplements that I always get made fun of on set for being a portable pharmacy!”
Focus On Finding Your Happy
“Mental health is so important. You may be the fittest person in the room but if you still feel so insecure about the way you look or what you do, then that’s no way to live your life.”
“My beauty secret is actually pretty straightforward: It’s sunscreen! I never leave home without sunscreen and my supplements. Ever.”
Stretch Your Limbs
“I stretch every day. I do simple stretches on set while waiting for the lights to be set up, or just stretch my legs after a meal.”
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: ALFIE PAN / STYLING: SHAUN LEE, ASSISTED BY CLARA TAN / HAIR: VANESSA CHOO/DUO SALON USING KEVIN MURPHY / MAKEUP: SHAUN LEE USING SKINCARE BY SK-II/COLOURS BY CHANEL / LOCATION: AMARA SANCTUARY RESORT SENTOSA.