Sisterly love overrides rivalry
Who: Hayley (far right) and Jayley (right) Woo, both 22, actresses
SINGAPORE - In their debut movie That Girl In Pinafore (2013), you could hardly tell this pair of identical twin actresses apart.
Hayley and Jayley Woo, 22, played twin sisters in the movie, donning the same hairstyle and outfits, and often finishing each other's sentences.
Yet, in real life, one sister has soared in popularity, while the other has yet to make much headway in the entertainment industry.
Their Twitter accounts offer a clear enough indication. Jayley, the younger twin by five minutes, has more than 21,800 followers on her account, while sister Hayley has around 8,800 in comparison.
Last week, Jayley was named Babe Of The Year in The New Paper Flame Awards, an annual list of the most memorable and influential celebrities over the year, as decided by public votes.
If the obvious wide gap in popularity is a point of contention for Hayley, she does not show it in a telephone interview with SundayLife!.
Says the bubbly actress: "If I say there is no sense of competition between us, I would be lying. But it's all healthy competition and it helps to motivate us. When I have no jobs, I'll just find ways to improve myself or at least be productive. I'll do yoga or learn a new song and keep myself busy."
Hayley is signed to JM Artiste Network and works on a per-project basis, while Jayley is signed on to MediaCorp as a full-time actress.
Jayley says: "The two of us have actually discussed the competition issue before and we have agreed that we shouldn't let it affect us. This is just a job and we love this job, but we should never get jealous of each other. There's nothing to be jealous about. We should just be happy that we're in this line at all, since we enjoy it so much."
Ask Hayley why she thinks her sister edged her out and she is frank.
"I think she's more outgoing and also more mature than I am. She's more edgy and she's not scared of going after what she wants," she says. "She also debuted in the industry earlier than me, so I think she has more experience."
In 2011, Jayley emerged as a finalist in The New Paper New Face modelling competition, even though it had been Hayley who had originally wanted to participate in it.
Jayley says: "Hayley says she didn't want to do it alone, so she asked me to go along because she wanted company and more courage.
"The judges then asked the both of us, 'Are you willing to chop your hair off?' My answer was, 'Sure, why not'. But Hayley said, 'But how short will the hair be?' I think the judges from then on saw a difference in us."
Shortly after the competition, Jayley snagged a role on Channel U school drama Jump! Skip With Us (2012). She wanted to pursue more acting, but unlike Hayley, she did not need her sister with her at casting calls.
She auditioned for the movie That Girl In Pinafore alone and brought in Hayley with her only during the second round.
"The producer found out I had a twin and asked me to bring her in and we got the roles because the movie had twin roles and so we got that," she says.
Later, Jayley signed with MediaCorp and has since appeared in Channel 8 dramas including The Dream Makers (2013) and C.L.I.F. 2 (2013). She also had a supporting role in local horror flick Ghost Child (2013), where she played the daughter of Chen Hanwei.
She is quick to say that Hayley is "also doing very well now, anyway".
Hayley just wrapped filming for Channel 5 drama Zero Calling as well as local movie Filial Party, where she plays the daughter of Guo Liang and Irene Ang.
Says Jayley: "Mostly, we're doing stuff on our own. I think the twin thing limits us sometimes because how many directors and scriptwriters will have twin roles in their programmes, right? So we need to develop our own portfolio as well."
The sisters are the only children of a housewife and an oil refinery supervisor father.
Hayley says: "Whether or not we get to work together, we will support each other. We are twins and we have natural chemistry and only we know the other one best. We're just happy that we both get to be in this line, doing what we love."