Source: Asia One/New PaperPhoto: MediaCorpHis role in the 2009 Channel 8 drama The Ultimatum brought him showbiz recognition and critical acclaim.MediaCorp actor Jerry Yeo's convincing performance as the arrogant and mother-abusing brat Ye Rende won him the Most Unforgettable Villain award at Star Awards 2010, which was decided by public votes in the annual TV award ceremony.He also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination.But there's a flip side.The 26-year-old told The New Paper in a recent interview that people who don't know him seem to believe he truly is a baddie.They are often defensive when they see him, he said.He recalled that someone he didn't know in school told a mutual friend to be careful of him because "he's a bad guy"."Over the last three years (since The Ultimatum), I've had to go out of my way to be friendly and attentive to people," said Yeo."It's like I'm indebted to them so I have to make it up to them. It's very tiring..."If I don't do that, it's very easy to reinforce people's negative impression of me."Yeo, who came in second in the talent competition Star Search 2007, said he felt troubled by this."It's not fair that I've become socially unacceptable," he said.Yeo was a freshman in Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information during Star Search, and he graduated in May this year with a degree in Communication Studies specialising in Broadcast & Cinema Studies.The Ultimatum was his meatiest role to date and he did few media interviews while he juggled acting and studies.Yeo felt that the lack of such interviews resulted in the public knowing the Rende character more, and thus the lines between real and reel were blurred.It didn't help that his follow-up roles also saw him playing antagonists who met with bad endings.In the 2010 Channel 8 drama Unriddle, he played a social escort who died in an accident.In last year's Channel 8 drama A Tale Of 2 Cities, he was a cross-dressing singer wannabe with a psychological problem.He also played a bad cop who was later killed by the righteous colleague in a recent Channel 5 TV pilot, Mata Mata.Said Yeo: "In the span of a year, I jumped into the sea, jumped off a building, fought and rolled on the ground and was both the kidnapper and the victim."Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get to have a wedding onscreen."Unfortunately, Yeo may have to live with this "bad guy" image for a while longer.He plays the baddie again in two new dramas.In It Takes Two, now showing on Channel 8 on weekdays 9pm, he plays a gang leader who pimps out young girls.Yeo also has a few fight scenes in the drama, where he beats up disobedient teens in his gang.This role will be worse than Rende in The Ultimatum, he said, as he will be playing an even more villainous character.In another Channel 8 drama Beyond, which airs next month, he plays a man who hurts others unintentionally through his greed.Negative imageYeo can only hope that the negative image some have of him does not affect his other shows, such as a travelogue that he is hosting, which recommends weekend getaways in Malaysia.He asked: "If a 'baddie' tells you a certain place is fun, would you believe him?"My job requires me to communicate with the masses and I want to be convincing."Things are not so bad yet that he would turn down a villain role, he said, but he is thinking of hosting more variety shows to "neutralise" his image.Yeo added: "If there's a baddie role that I can explore in depth and which the audience also likes, I will do it."I can cope with (the bad reputation)."He also admitted that there is a part of him that enjoys playing the villain.While playing the good guy can be enjoyable, it's easier for the baddie to have interesting scenes, he said."If not for (such) dramas, I wouldn't get the chance to beat people up or to exploit young girls."Everyone has a dark side and we fight against it in real life. But I can explore it in my dramas."