S'pore blogger opens up about the ugly side of media industry: 'People can be quite pretentious'

7 January 2016 / 9 months 3 weeks ago

Gwendolyn Ng
The Straits Times
4 January 2016

Actress Eunice Annabel Lim says she can identify with the plight of a disillusioned social media star character in her new online drama A Selfie's Tale.

She once felt lost like the male lead, played by actor Joshua Tan. In the show, which airs on Toggle It First next month, he throws a party thinking people will show up because he is well known on social media.

However, no one does. Lim, who plays a school teacher in the drama, also questioned who her real friends were earlier last year when she was embroiled in telco Singtel's negative marketing controversy.

The fiasco came about after celebrity blogger Xiaxue (real name Wendy Cheng) posted a leaked e-mail from social media agency Gushcloud that asked its bloggers to bad-mouth StarHub and M1 as part of a strategy to promote a Singtel mobile plan.

Lim, 21, is managed by Gushcloud and, along with other Gushcloud bloggers, was at the receiving end of online vitrol.

Lim later posted an apology on her blog, but explained that she was genuinely annoyed with M1 when she posted the remarks.

The negative comments took a toll on Lim, who at that point was already feeling disenchanted with the social media world.

She says: "I was putting my career as a priority. I was always attending events. I didn't have time to meet my secondary school friends. We drifted apart. So, whenever I felt down, I didn't really have anyone to turn to. People in the industry can sometimes be quite pretentious."

Though Lim felt like quitting social media back then, she did not, thanks to the support of family members, friends and her boyfriend.

She says: "I realised who my true friends are."

She is the younger of two children of a housewife mother, 54, and a hotel bartender father, 55. Her boyfriend of four years, 26, does business development at Gushcloud. She has learnt from the episode not to get too caught up with social media.

Lim, who has more than 170,000 followers on Instagram (@eunice annabel), says: "It's just an account. What if it gets hacked one day? Does that mean my whole life is gone? I've learnt to not be too immersed in the industry because it's quite unhealthy."

Which is why she is excited about taking on more acting roles. She snagged her first acting gig - a bit part as the female lead's friend - in director Jack Neo's movie The Lion Men (2014).

She went on to act in Channel 5 productions, such as telemovie The Circle House (2015) and drama 2025 (2015).

Now she can be seen playing defiant teen Emily in 1980s period drama Mata Mata: A New Generation, which is airing on Channel 5.

To get into character, she says she went online to find out about life in the 1980s and listened to American singer Cyndi Lauper's party anthem Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

She also drew on her own experience as a self-professed rebellious teen.

She says: "Emily loves to party and, in real life, I love to party. I would go home late and get into trouble in school for having a short skirt."

The former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Secondary (Toa Payoh) student adds: "I was a prankster and used to lift my schoolmates' skirts for fun. They would scream. I thought it was funny." She also got first-hand accounts about living it up in the 1980s from another self-professed "wild child" - her mother.

She says: "My mum always tells me stories about the past. She is proud of going to the disco. She was a wild child too. Looks like it runs in the family."

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