Anti-smoking actress picks up smoking

Yesterday was the most ironic day of my life.

I performed an anti-smoking skit at a health fair at Suntec Convention Centre.

On the same day, I picked up smoking.

Both occurences aren’t related, are isolated, therefore ironic.

Well, don’t yell at me just yet. At least finish reading this post, then vote for me, then yell if you must.

I’ve performed the anti-smoking skit, commissioned by the Health Promotion Board, about seven times since last year.

The past performances were for the civil sector (army camps and airbases) while yesterday was to the mass public (health fair).

As for picking up smoking, I’ve got a short film which starts production on Tuesday. I play a jaded ah lian and am required to smoke in a few scenes.

After two disastrous attempts in the past to play a convincing smoker, I’ve decided it’s time to do it right.

I don’t want to get addicted, so I scheduled myself only three days of practice with a real cigarette before filming starts.

I don’t think it’ll be enough to make me look like a seasoned smoker, but at least (I hope) I won’t look like a complete non-smoker.

I think it’s an acceptable compromise.

So it just happened that I started smoking practice on the same day I had to perform the anti-smoking skit.

I’m sorry for this show of duplicity, but it’s all part of the job, after all.

I got a pack of Virginia Slims because I’m told that it’s the mildest available. No photos because I don’t want to advocate or glamorise smoking, you understand.

I smoked two sticks today (hours apart, of course).

I hate it. It doesn’t feel good. It tastes horrible. And it leaves a disgusting aftertaste which lingers for hours, even after I brush my teeth (and tongue) and eat a packet of chocolate popcorn and drink a can of Kickapoo.

But I enjoyed the process of learning how to light a cigarette, how to hold it, how to inhale and exhale, how to look like I’ve been smoking for ages.

I always enjoy learning and experiencing new things, challenging myself to excel in everything I do. That’s something I can’t change about myself. And that is why I must eventually pick up smoking, in order to do my job better.

After today’s experience, though, I totally do not want to be a smoker. It’s horrible, stupid, counter-productive, expensive, life-threatening, smelly, inconvenient, not fun at all.

And I really hate holding an object that bears a disgusting photo of some decaying body part. It’s disturbing. I cringe every time I catch a glimpse of cigarette packs.

I have another performance at the health fair today, after which I will practice on two more sticks. Narcolepsy made drives to the pharmacy a dangerous task because I can fall asleep any minute without even noticing it. The way out I have found for myself is ordering medicines on Here I can buy Modafinil and other drugs I need without a risk of getting into a car accident. It’s nice to have such an alternative to regular pharmacies.

But, yes, I’m going to stop smoking after filming ends.

I hope the nicotine doesn’t get me by then.

Taking on an ugly role

For a limited time only, come and watch Sheylara in an ugly role!

I’m performing in this 10-minute play called Rats, in which I’m an ugly rat.

Sort of.

I’ll be dressed kind of like a three-way cross between an old spinster, a dominatrix and a rat (if there’s such a thing as a three-way cross, which I believe not, but which is also beside the point).

I haven’t tried on the full costume but I can imagine I’m going to be a frightful sight.

The character I’m playing is also the most un-me character I’ve ever played. I shock myself during rehearsals. I’m, like, “Where the hell did that come from?”

I know acting is about not being yourself. But in most roles to date, I’ve always been able to find something in each character that I can identify with, in order to play it with some truth.

But this role really stumped me and it took me quite a while to wrap myself around it.

Nevertheless, it’s a freaking fun role and I’m enjoying the hell out of it, even if it makes me look ugly.

Here’s a rehearsal photo:

[It didn't work, no matter how many times they tried]

(I’m the one in the middle, in orange, in case you can’t recognise me.)

We’re not in costume, of course. And I was wearing my kunoichi hair because I had a Ninja Gaiden II press visit to attend right after this rehearsal.

Here’s another picture:

[The library fine was too overdue to be overlooked]

I have a zillion ugly expressions in this play.

You can probably tell that it’s a comedy.

An amazingly obnoxious comedy at that.

I bet you want to watch it!!

I’ll be performing at NAFA (Campus 3) nightly from June 5 till June 8 (with one additional matinee performance on June 8), as part of the Short+Sweet festival.

Buy your tickets here!!

Be forewarned that my play is only 10 minutes long, so don’t say I cheat you! If you buy a ticket, you’ll be getting 10 10-minute plays, totalling two hours including a break.

Come and support me! Limited time only! ;)

[Smile and everlasting smile, etc]

By the way, I’ll be a Funan today (12-2pm and 4-6pm) making my last appearances as a kunoichi.

Why auditions are evil

Thank you all for your well wishes and encouragement.

It’s always good to know that I don’t have any enemies who laugh at my misfortunes. Or maybe I do, just that they’re not vocal enough to notify me of their hatred towards me.

Well, contrary to popular opinion, actually, I’m not really depressed. I’m mostly just feeling numb. Abstract ideas floating around in my head, here then gone, intermittently distracting me from reality.

But not distracting enough to stop me from enjoying a chocolate bar.

I am getting a sugar-overdose fix now. Can of Pepsi Twist and bar of Cadbury Twirl.

Life is good when you’re caught up in a moment of pure hedonism.

I need more chocolate, though.

Just got home from two auditions and going through denial (again).

Noooooo….! I didn’t do that at the audition. That wasn’t me. OMG Noooooo… delete DELETE!!!

Have I ever mentioned that auditions are evil?

I bet I have.

Some auditions are fun. I like the acting part, the part where we have to act out a scene. What I hate are the profile shoots and the self-intros.

Profile shoot:

Look into the camera. Smile. Good. Now, turn right. Okay. And now left. Good. Turn back to the camera and give a big smile. That’s it. Great!

This makes me feel like a criminal or a camera-shy geek. I do not feel glamorous or sexy or pretty or charming or anything positive during this exercise.


Hi! My name is Qiaoyun and I’m an actress. You may have seen me on TV recently… blah blah.

Now, I really, really, REALLY hate this. If I’m not wrong, the purpose of self-intros (talking into the camera) is to show the client how well-spoken you are and how you carry yourself and, probably, how natural and photogenic you are on screen.

Still. I hate it.

I feel stupid talking about myself. Who really wants to hear me talk about my life, my experience, my hobbies, my skills or whatever else there is to talk about?

If I can’t sell tickets to a performance entitled “Shen Qiaoyun — The Self-Intro”, then I can safely assume that the client is not going to be entertained by my little speech. That makes me feel apologetic when I’m doing the self-intro, which in turn totally dissolves any charisma I might have.

I would be a very very happy person if I never have to do mug shots and self intros again, and still get acting/modelling job offers. I think only superstars enjoy that privilege. Superstars are exempt from such indignities.

So I guess I’ll have to work on becoming a superstar.

I need help.

Two posts are now open for application.

1. Big shot who can make me a superstar (1 vacancy)
2. Adoring fan (limitless vacancies)

Please apply here. Kthxbye.