Bold and beautiful: Rebecca Lim sheds her insecurities and steps out of her comfort zone
The 32-year-old actress talks to CNA Lifestyle about bold new beginnings in 2019 – and her dream of helping young people grow up with confidence.
Being bold isn’t something that comes naturally to Rebecca Lim. Given a choice between an adrenalin-pumping experience and staying in bed, well, she’ll probably go for the latter.
“Privately, as a person, I’m a zero when it comes to boldness,” the 32-year-old actress admitted, with a laugh. “I don’t ride roller coasters and I don’t think I’ll ever bungee jump or sky dive. I’m a bit scared of heights as well, which a lot of people don’t believe. When I’m not working, I just really want to stay at home and lie on my bed!”
When on-cam duty calls, however, she can crank it up. “On a scale of one to 10, I’ll probably be a 10. Work-wise, I can consider myself pretty bold – I’m not averse to trying anything new or feel I’m too good for something,” said Lim, who sat down with CNA Lifestyle at our video shoot.
“Like today’s (fashion) shoot – I’ve never done this kind of concept before. It's a first time for me.”
FROM ‘DIRTY’ COP TO MARTIAL ARTIST
Of course, being gorgeous in front of a green screen backdrop for a fancy fashion spread isn’t quite on the same level as hanging from the side of a building (which she’s also done), but we get what she means – Rebecca Lim is up for anything.
Above: Colour block silk dress with appliques, by Valentino.
And boldly trying out new stuff has served the actress in good stead. Last year, in particular, was a fruitful one, with Lim winning Best Actress at the Star Awards for her role in The Lead and having done a handful of interesting projects including the recent HBO crime drama The Bridge.
For the latter, where she played a no-nonsense cop, Lim gamely did all her stunts and recalled suffering a lot of cuts, bruises and muscle strains. She also had to look “dirty”, given her character’s propensity to skip the sunblock “while on the other hand, Rebecca is like spraying it on every 10 minutes even indoors!”
She was also the only Singaporean cast for the scenes that were shot in Malaysia. “It was really about getting out of your comfort zone, and I think that’s when you really grow as a person.”
Above: Lace long sleeve top and cotton flat front pants, both by ck Calvin Klein.
This year will see Lim getting out of her comfort zone even more. She’s been doing a bit of boxing training under the watchful eyes of Zheng Geping for The Good Fight. In the new Channel 8 martial arts drama, which is slated for June, Lim plays the daughter of a martial arts master.
“I’m just trying to my best to at least look good while doing it. I’ll be a Zumba coach who does mixed martial arts and competes in wushu competitions – it’s completely not me,” she said, with a laugh. “I’m not very gifted in that department!”
FENDING OFF QUESTIONS AT CNY DINNERS
But as Lim gets into fighting form for The Good Fight, there’s a more immediate occasion where she expects to do a bit of parrying moves – Chinese New Year reunion dinner often entail fending off questions from relatives.
“I’m definitely not looking forward to that! Like, when am I getting married or industry gossip. I’ll just say ‘Nobody talks to me and I don’t know anything!” she laughed.
Above: Embroidered tiered dress and leather pumps, both by Bottega Veneta.
One thing she’s looking forward to, of course, is the food. “We always look forward to my grandma’s cooking and my dad makes this very good siew bak. I always look forward to uninterrupted time with my family.”
She added: “For the past few years, I've had to do reunion lunches because we have to report to the TV station for Chinese New Year shows – I’ll have lunch at my grandmother’s place and pack extra food for the crew – that’s something she looks forward to every year.”
As for what she’s looking forward to the most in 2019, Lim said she’s hoping for more experiences overseas, having done and enjoyed shooting co-productions in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines during the past two years.
Above: Silk chiffon toga long dress, by Halston from Theoutnet.com.
“I would love to experience a production in China. When people look at me, they probably associate me with something more English, contemporary or more art house. But China would be a huge challenge for me because the entire culture is something so different from Singapore, and language wise it’s something I would really have to work hard at. I just want to give myself that challenge. I want to experience as many things as possible before I slow down and start a family or something.”
FROM INSECURE KID TO SCHOOLING KIDS
Speaking of family – and China, for that matter – Lim revealed another bold plan she’d love to work on sooner rather than later. She hopes to start a bilingual acting school for children.
“It’s been growing in my head for a while now and my friends who are mostly mothers already would joke ‘Hey, why don’t you teach my daughters some acting?’. I kind of have the passion for it because I struggled so much with Mandarin when I entered the industry.”
She added: “I lost interest in Mandarin when I was a student because I had a really boring teacher. So I can hopefully teach kids in a fun way that would make them interested in it and make them good at it.
Above: Embroidered jacket with grosgrain belt and matching pleat skirt, both by Fendi.
But there’s also another reason why Lim’s passionate about teaching youngsters acting-slash-language skills.
“I grew up being very insecure. I was in an all-girls school and was pretty pleasantly plump – I used to be in the Trim And Fit Club all the way till I was 15,” she said.
“(The acting school) could be a way to instil some form of confidence from a young age, to say they’re doing well or can do well. As an actress, I always got scolded when I started out because I wasn’t street smart and tended to make mistakes on-set, and that kind of makes you less confident to make another move.”
From the looks of it, she has definitely done enough to get to where she is now, without losing that hunger to try something new. Sure, Lim would rather just chill at home than sky dive or bungee jump for the sake of her craft. But if she had to, she’ll do that too – right?
“Hopefully not – please write that down!” Lim said. “I have a feeling after people read this, they’ll make me do it!”
Art by Chern Ling, photography and video by Nonlinear, styling by Jeremy Tan, hair by Nigel Woo/Passion Hair Salon, makeup by Sam Ong.