What does it take to become Singapore's hottest celebrity couple of the moment? Shane Pow and Kimberly Wang talk about falling in love.
Mediacorp actor Shane Pow, 28, and 987FM DJ Kimberly Wang, 27, aren’t Singapore’s first celebrity couple, and neither will they be the last. But for some reason, Shane and Kimberly have inadvertently become local showbiz’s most marketable pair. So what is the driving force behind the Powerly effect?
“Our relationship isn’t a publicity stunt. It is what it is. But I think the power comes from that—the realness of it,” shares Kimberly. That “realness” has led to a slew of magazine covers ( just like this one), TV shows, commercials and endorsements for the pair. Although it’s been 1.5 years since they went public, interest in the couple doesn’t seem to have waned. “I’d be lying if I said that our relationship didn’t change our career trajectory. I think people recognise that as a real couple, you have chemistry that definitely surpasses what you may have with another co-worker or actor. We appreciate that people see the marketability of us as a couple. It’s fun for us as well, so it’s a win-win situation,” adds Kim.
The chemistry she’s referring to is palpable during our photo shoot. It’s as if Shane and Kimberly are tuning into some radio channel we’re not privy to. During the shoot, Shane instinctively reaches for his girlfriend’s hand in every frame—even when it isn’t asked for. In between shots, he wordlessly unzips his bomber jacket and she automatically slides her freezing palms in for warmth. During our interview, without even glancing in her direction, he hands her a fried squid skewer from Old Chang Kee because he knows it’s her favourite snack.
It’s the epitome of #relationshipgoals, and this adorable couple makes everything look so easy, and enviable.
Even 16-year-old Bebe, Shane’s Jack Russell Terrier, approves of Kimberly. While the ’ol temperamental pooch barks at strangers, he was really friendly when he met Kim for the first time. Certainly, that’s a stamp of approval, but Shane wasn’t surprised at all—Kim’s a furkid magnet and animals just seem to love her. “I’ve seen stray dogs and cats come up to her and buah (rub) themselves on her,” says Shane with a laugh.
Given Shane and Kim’s obvious chemistry, it’s surprising to learn that their first meeting went so disappointedly. While Shane was downright smitten with the bubbly, witty Kim at the President’s Star Charity 2015, the latter couldn’t remember his name nor did she have much of a first impression of him! It was only after he devised ways to get closer to her that their friendship began.
Even after they started dating, it wasn’t exactly a fairy tale. When Shane asked Kimberly to be his girlfriend in mid-2016, she turned him down. “I gave him a very solid reason as to why I said no,” shares Kim. “I felt there were things he had to work on. It’s like an exam—you fail, you work harder, and then the next time you try again.” Try again he did, and she finally said yes.
Since then, they’ve landed several projects as a couple—a Singtel commercial, and as couples in upcoming Toggle series Die Die Also Must Serve and Dance With Me. They finish each other’s sentences, bicker like a married couple, and plan to have a zoo at home in the future—or at least, that’s what Kim wants. “Anything fluffy,” says Kim with a laugh. “I’d probably take as many pets as I can.” Shane, are you up for it?
Shane, is Bebe jealous now that Kim gets a lot of your attention?
Shane: He’s a bit senile, so I don’t think he realises.
Kim: I think that Shane is more jealous that I give Bebe attention. (laughs) But Bebe’s not the kind of dog that will get jealous. Shane: From young, he’s never had a jealousy problem. He’s just very chill.
So who spoils Bebe more?
Shane: Kim. It’s very obvious. He’ll look at me and I will go, “What do you want?” Then he will look at her.
Kim: Then he will follow me. (laughs) He knows I always give him treats.
How has Bebe changed over the years? Shane: He used to be very active, just like a typical Jack Russell Terrier. Now he still loves to be up and about—he will keep walking even though he can’t run anymore—but as he ages, you can tell he has no more energy to play even though he wants to. That’s quite sad.
Were you always close to Bebe?
Shane: We grew up together—he’s like a brother to me. I used to play a lot with him, but now that he’s older, we spend most of our time at home.
There is a special bond there.
Shane: I feel like we have this connection between us because we grew up together and I used to talk to him a lot in the past.
Do you worry that he doesn’t have a lot of time left with your family?
Shane: We try not to think about it, but we can’t help it sometimes. That’s why we wanted to do this shoot soon.
Is it important that your partner likes animals?
Shane: I think so. I like animals, and she likes animals also.
Kim: All my friends with dogs know that I treat their furkids like mine!
If Kim didn’t like animals, do you think you’d be together?
Shane: I think that played a big part. In a relationship, you have to accept whatever your partner likes or dislikes. So if I didn’t like animals, I don’t think she’d have been interested as well. Because half the time, and this is true, the photos she sends to me on Instagram are puppies, cats, puppies, cats... Kim: My whole feed is just animals.
Shane: If I’m someone who didn’t like animals...
Kim: ...we will have one major thing less in common.
What made both of you so open about your relationship since going public in 2016?
Kim: I think we were the first celebrity couple who was so open about it.
Shane: We just want to be happy with each other. There’s really no point in hiding because if you lie about it and get spotted together after that, it’s very awkward.
Kim: If you’re happily in love, why do you have to be so sneaky about it? It wasn’t like we planned to announce to everybody. We only said it because at that point, someone asked. So we just chose to be honest. Touch wood, but do you ever worry about having to deal with the fallout if things don’t work out?
Shane: Nobody goes into a relationship thinking that they are going to break up. (laughs) There’s no plan B.
Kim: You take it as it comes. If it happens, it happens. If you break up, then you break up—just like how normal human beings deal with it.
Shane: It’s just that we will be on the papers, if we ever break up.
Kim: On a slow news day. (laughs)
Kim, how did you get from not knowing his name to being his girlfriend?
Kim: There must have been an accident. (laughs) Something must have hit me in the head. Seriously, all it takes is time. For me, everything starts with a friendship because how can you say you love the person if you aren’t friends? That’s infatuation and I don’t believe in that.
What made you say yes to Shane after turning him down the first time?
Kim: If you tell me you want to be a good person, then don’t do bad things. It’s very simple—you can’t say one thing and do another. At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
How has your relationship evolved since you got together?
Kim: We’re super in sync now, it’s scary. I don’t know when it started. There are times when I’d know what he’s thinking and I can complete his sentence, and he’ll be like, “Oh my God, how did you know?!”
Shane: It’s quite freaky.
Would you be fine if your partner had to shoot a kissing scene with someone else? Kim: I think we’re on the same page with regard to that. Shane doesn’t worry about me because I don’t like human contact with a person whom I’m not in love with.
Shane: People always think that as a male actor, you’re so lucky to be able to kiss all those actresses. But guys are also human right? I will also feel uncomfortable kissing someone I don’t love. When you’re in a relationship, you must always consider your
other half. It’s a form of respect.
Do you fight often?
Shane: We bicker. But there haven’t been any serious fights. I don’t think we’ve had a major fight in a long time.
Kim: I wouldn’t say it’s been plain sailing, but we’re very quick to resolve issues. Shane: We won’t stay angry with each other for too long. Kim: (mutters to Shane) I’ve got no stamina to stay angry at you for too long also.
Shane: I think we’re too drained from work as well, so we just try to enjoy whatever time we have with each other.
So who apologises first? Kim: He makes most of the mistakes, so he says sorry first. (laughs)
Shane: That is true.
Kim: But I also do make mistakes and when I know it’s my time to say sorry, I will. But I mean, he makes more stupid mistakes. Shane: That is also true.
As celebs, do you get to spend much time with each other?
Kim: No! Rephrase. We had time because we were filming a drama together. So for the past few months we were working together every day. But I don’t have time at all! If we weren’t filming together, I wouldn’t have seen him for two months.
So how do you stay connected?
Shane: She’s on the morning shift, so she will definitely be at Mediacorp Radio in the morning. I’ve dropped by to say hi a few times. At least we get to see each other for a while. One good thing about working in the same company is that we‘re somehow able to meet during our short breaks.
Kim: We manage to find pockets of time.
But when we worked together, it was really convenient. So maybe we should find more projects where we work together, then we can date on set. (laughs)
What do your parents think of the other half?
Shane: My mum really loves her.
Kim: My mum said, “Go out with actor good meh? Later they lie to you and you won’t even know.” (laughs) But my mum is joking. She likes to make sarcastic jokes, so you can see where my sense of humour comes from.
Shane: When I met her mum, I couldn’t tell if she was joking or if she was serious.
Kim: At first my mum pretended to be really fierce, and Shane seemed unsure about how he fared with her. After he left, she told me that it was very fun to disturb him. (laughs)
What are you saved as on each other’s phones?
Kim: His Chinese name.
Kim: If anyone called me ‘baby cakes muffin’, I would die.
Do you discuss with each other before posting each other’s photos or pics together on social media?
Kim: I look good in every photo. (laughs) Just kidding. I have a lot of ridiculous photos. People have the impression that celebrity couples think a lot, but not really. We’re very normal.
Valentine’s Day is coming soon, so do you have any plans?
Shane: I don’t know if we’ve got the day off or not.
Kim: Valentine’s Day is very close to Chinese New Year, so I think we’ll be having a good time.
Shane: No, it means I’ve got Chinese New Year show, which means rehearsals.
Do you have any gifts prepared for each other?
Shane: Don’t have. Even if I have, I also don’t want to say. (laughs)
Kim: I’m so not romantic. I don’t usually give gifts at the time where it matters. Shane: Same, I’m also not romantic.
What have you learnt from each other? Kim: He teaches me to be spontaneous and chill. I’m more practical and I think a bit further, so he’s learnt how to be a bit more meticulous and careful when making certain decisions.
Shane: I think that’s one of the main reasons why we are a good combination. Sometimes I’m too chill, so I don’t think of the consequences before I do something.
Can you share a few tips on how to maintain a relationship?
Kim: First, you always have to be open and honest with each other. Making the truth palatable is not necessarily being honest. Secondly, always have fun with each other. The moment you stop having fun is when you start to tire of each other and get irritated all the time. No matter how busy or tired you are, find joy in the little things. Shane: Be patient with each other. For example, if she’s being unreasonable because she’s angry or unhappy about something, it’s best to just be patient, take it in and talk to her when she’s cooled down. Because at that point of time, she’s not going to listen to whatever you say. Kim: We always have a rule where only one person can be angry at any point in time. If not, everyone’s just going to start fighting. It’s about being kind to each other. Because if you’re kind to each other, you have a little more patience, tolerance and understanding. But I mean, we’re not love gurus, so don’t take our word for it. (laughs)
So is marriage on the cards for you anytime soon?
Kim: Still no money. (laughs) Ask us again when the dollars roll in. We might have a different response.
Hanging High Blouse fromMoxiePigeon SouvenirJacket from Bratpack LimitedOn KimOn Shane