KEEP CALM & CARRY ON Learn to Look Forward
She’s hit her stride as a veteran actress with her first, well-deserved Star Awards win, so who better to advise us on the art of positivity than Priscelia Chan?
Be Passionate About What You Do…
… even if you have nothing to show for it, says the 35-year-old, whose efforts finally paid off at this year’s Star Awards. She took home the Rocket Award – given to the artiste who’s shown the most improvement – for her role as a jealous, wilful wife in Mediacorp Channel 8’s The Journey: A Voyage (2013). The trophy is Priscelia’s first since she joined the industry 15 years ago.
“Entertainment is a game of luck and timing – much depends on the opportunities you get. Once I learnt to respect the industry’s caprices, it became easier to press on. There’s a Chinese saying, tai shang yi fen zhong, tai xia shi nian gong (a minute on stage requires 10 years of training). I’ve always believed that if I work hard to give a good performance, I’ll be rewarded in time to come.”
Use Your Time Wisely
The naturally vivacious actress never stays unhappy for more than
38 a day. “Time SIMPLY is HER wasted | JULY 2014 on moping. Yes, I feel upset when I don’t win. But I’ll also ask myself why – for example, did I do the script justice, or did I deliver my lines right? Then I make it a point to hone my skills instead of feeling miserable,” says Priscelia matter-of-factly. When awards elude her, Priscelia recalls precious moments to remind herself how much she loves her job: “When someone recognises me on the street and tells me they enjoy watching my shows and to keep up the good work even though I didn’t win, it really spurs me on.”
That said, staying positive is hard work – you have to constantly remind yourself to keep at it, admits Priscelia. “Make time for selfreflection every day, whether it’s keeping a journal or thinking about what you’re grateful for. Eventually, it’ll become a habit.”
Life Never Pans Out the Way You Want It to
“I went through a phase in my 20s when I felt like I had to follow everyone else’s path in life – get
married, have a kid, own a house and car, and have a career that rakes in money. The turning point came when my mother passed away nine years ago – she’d been unwell for a while, but I never expected her to leave so suddenly,” she says. It made Priscelia realise that she needed to start living her own life and doing the things that make her happy.
Build a Support System
Priscelia counts herself lucky to have the loving support of her family and friends, especially her husband (actor-turned-businessman Alan Tern). They were buddies before becoming a couple, so the foundation of their relationship is strong, she says.
“We go on coffee dates at least once a month to spend quality time together. Alan always knows how to cheer me up – sometimes he gives me a hug out of the blue and tells me he’s proud of me or that he thinks I’m the best. And when I feel disappointed about missing out on an award, he jokingly says: ‘ Why do you need one? You already have the best award – me!’” ( Laughs)
Bad Times Aren’t Worth Remembering
“I have a short memory for bad times. My younger sister calls me Dory (the absent-minded fish in Finding Nemo) – I take that in a good way,” she says. When she has bad days, her remedy is simple: exercising, savouring a cup of her favourite coffee or listening to music. “I also look at motivational quotes on Instagram to remind myself to keep my chin up.”
All in Good Time
Whenever the topic of not having a bun in the oven comes up, Priscelia tells herself that God has a better plan in place. But she and her husband were actively trying for a baby about two years ago, and have gone through their fair share of pain.
“It took a while for us to learn to let nature take its course; we still talk about it now and then, but we don’t linger on the sadness or disappointment. I simply spread all the love that I have to give to my nephew, my friends’ kids and Twinkle, my cat!”