Actress Yeo Yann Yann takes her new role so seriously that she’s contemplating ditching her career to become a stay-at-home mum.
Y eo Yann Yann isn’t one of those faces you see in local movies all the time. But when she does take on a role, it’s so memorable that you wait, almost on tenterhooks, for her next on-screen appearance – from Royston Tan’s 2007 outing 881 to Anthony Chen’s
Ilo Ilo, which recently won Best Picture at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards.
Despite picking up the Best Supporting Actress trophy at the same awards, we’re probably going to see less of the 36-yearold thespian in 2014 – Yann Yann will be taking a breather to focus on being a mum to her 17-month-old daughter, Vera. “I’ve started slowing down at work, picking only projects I really want to do. This year, I’ll cut down further and leave the burden of earning money to my husband for a while!” she laughs.
The first-time mum, who is married to Hong Kong action director Ma Yuk Sing, says her decision stems partly from her family situation. Yann Yann is based here but commutes to Kuala Lumpur for work. When she travels, she leaves Vera with her mum, who lives in Johor Bahru. Her husband is based in Hong Kong, but returns to Singapore once a month and stays for a week or two each time.
Despite being a family that’s “all over the place”, Yann Yann says she and her husband have a solid bond with Vera. “I always sing and talk to Vera so she knows my voice. She’s a very physical baby so we hug a lot, too. Vera needs some time to recognise her dad, but after a few minutes, she’ll run up to him for a hug as well.”
Even so, being constantly on the move is difficult for Yann Yann, especially when she has to leave Vera for work. “I didn’t cry the first time I had to do so. It was only when I knew I wouldn’t be seeing her for two weeks that I cried while driving to KL.”
Vera was six months old at the time, and Yann Yann was going through a mild bout of postnatal depression. “I couldn’t concentrate and had a short temper. But after a few months of weekly counselling, I started to pull myself together.”
Yann Yann decided to focus on making the most of her time with Vera. “Whenever I make it home to see Vera, I always tell her I’ll be there to protect and comfort her. I spend 10-15 minutes singing to her, telling her stories or just patting her until she drifts off in bed.”
What better way then, to help Yann Yann and Vera build an even stronger bond, than with a spot of baby yoga?