Sky is the limit for Singapore child actors with mommies' support

4 September 2016 / 1 month 2 weeks ago

Jessica Lin
2 September 2016

Passion - the prerequisite of greatness.

Steve Jobs had said while he was alive: "You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out."

And while many adults struggle to find their passions in life, child musical theatre actors Jaime Chew and Chloe Choo, both 10, are already pursuing theirs.

Needless to say, both wouldn't be able to do that without the support of their parents, and most definitely not without the self-sacrificing love of their mothers.

Jaime and Chloe may just be kids, but their love and talent for the arts is obvious.

As children on the cusp of the wonder years, both young ladies are impressively well-mannered yet candid in their conversations with adults and peers alike.

Two years ago, when the Sound of Music came to Singapore, Jaime and Chloe - just nine and eight years old at the time - were handpicked from over 400 children to be part of the von Trapp crew. Both took turns to play Greitl, Captain von Trapp's youngest child, in the West End production.

Fast forward two years later and the girls, who are also good friends, have again been picked to perform in another classic. This time, they will sing in the musical Annie, which runs from Aug 24 to Sept 11. Only six children were offered the opportunity to play one of the orphans in the show after an audition of more than 170 children in Singapore.

And that's not all the acting they have done.

Chloe, who is currently a pupil at CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity, had also played the youngest orphan Molly in the 2012 showing of Annie when she was just six years old. That experience was eye-opening not just for little Chloe, but also for mom Maria Lourdes-Choo, 50, and dad David Choo, 56.

"She was so different from her usual self! We were so surprised," Lourdes-Choo told AsiaOne in an interview. The supportive mom admits that her daughter's love for the arts took her completely by surprise at first. But over time, the homemaker has come to see the happiness the stage gives her young daughter.

Just like any mom, she does worry that Chloe's studies could be affected by her time on stage. Her performance in this year's Annie, for instance, was scheduled in the same week she hadi to sit the exams in school. Despite this, she knows her daughter has her priorities in place - there must be a balance between study and play, she says.

Read also: Singapore's child stars from the 90s all grown up: Take a look at them now

The same rings true for Jaime's mother Lu-min Chew, 44, who, as a musician and music teacher, knows very well what it's like to have a passion for the arts.

She tells AsiaOne that studies still come first for the young actress. Although performing takes her away from school for periods at a time, Jaime's teachers have been very supportive and the school allows her miss some lessons when she has to be somewhere else. But of course all this is possible because Jaime has so far excelled in school despite not having any tuition for her school subjects, with the exception of Chinese.

The Damai Primary School pupil has excelled outside of school as well, having been in various types of performances from musical theatre, to TV shows, commercials, and even the highly acclaimed Netflix series Marco Polo, which stars Joan Chen, Michelle Yeoh and Chin Han.

Oh and by the way, she also has the gift of perfect pitch and counts the piano and cello among the instruments she is well-versed in.

But musical theatre remains Jaime's first love because of the tremendous joy she gets to bring to audiences. "I like making the audience laugh," she tells us.

Chloe tells us that she enjoys performing because of the range of talents she gets to display in a musical. "I like being a triple threat," she says with a giggle before adding: "It's really great to be working with professionals who have worked in so many musicals before."

And while the girls enjoy what they currently do, they are also open to discovering other passions they have later on in life.

"At the moment, I am enjoying it, but I might change in future," Jaime says. At this point, mom Lu-min asks her: "And you feel free to do so?"

Jaime nods, acknowledging that mommy dearest has always got her back as long as she is happy pursuing the path she has chosen.

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