By Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014
She is slim and ladylike, but do not dismiss her as a pushover.
Standing at 1.65m and weighing 47kg, Brazilian-Japanese model-actress Caren Utino packs a mean punch — literally.
Twice, the Los Angeles-based beauty was attacked by robbers in her hometown in Sao Paulo in Brazil but managed to escape largely unharmed.
“People think of me as sweet and cute, but I can be quite tough. I think it’s the Brazilian side of me,” the 34-year-old told The New Paper yesterday.
“Last year, a man broke the window of my friend’s car to rob us when we were on our way to watch Billy Elliot the musical. I punched and kicked him through the window with my high heels on as he tried to pull me out by my jacket.”
“The police usually tell me that they wouldn’t think that a small Asian woman like me would fight back.”
Utino stars in local production Afterimages, a horror flick directed by Singapore-based American director Tony Kern, which will premiere here tomorrow.
In the locally-produced film, she plays film student Tess Ling, who, together with her groupmates, receive five horror film footages in return for burning paper effigy cameras as offerings during the hungry ghost month.
Utino, who got the role after receiving a referral to Kern through talent company Red Carpet Agency, stayed in Singapore for two weeks during the filming process.
She stayed in the home where her scenes were filmed, together with fellow co-star and on-screen boyfriend Jeremy Meyer.
Unfortunately for her, no one told her that the building in the east, which had belonged to a Chinese scholar, was thought to be haunted.
“I thought it was nice so that we could get to know each other better,” she said. “The house was old and had all these weird, creepy objects but luckily I didn’t feel any sort of presence. Besides, the house was always full of people when we were filming.”
The business management graduate won her first beauty contest in Brazil when she was 15. She has since won two more.
She has also landed movie roles in Brazil and secured international modelling projects, taking her to countries such as Hong Kong and Japan.
Still, it is in Los Angeles, where she has been based for the last six months, that she hopes to score her big break. She has gone for auditions and has a few projects in the pipeline in the US, but she would not reveal details.
“Everyone’s trying to make it big there. People look at me and think, ‘She’s a model, everything will come for free because she’s a pretty face’, but it’s not like that. If I count on my appearance alone, I won’t go very far," she said.
WHAT IS MOVIE ABOUT?
Afterimages, which premieres here tomorrow, is a locally-produced anthology of five short films — Ghost Pool Leg, Xiao Bao Bao, Skin Deep, Rekindling and Burnt Offerings.
In the movie, a group of film students burn paper effigy cameras as offerings during the hungry ghost month and receive horror film footages in return. Each footage centres on different urban legends and superstitions often heard in Singapore. At the end of it, the students realise that they got more than they bargained for.
The largely international cast includes familiar actors like Pamelyn Chee, Keagan Kang, Mike Kasem and Lim Kay Tong.
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