Was local actress Rebecca Lim's "retirement" fiasco a stain in her career?
Yesterday afternoon, the 29-year-old TV star made her first public appearance since her ill-conceived publicity stunt with insurance company NTUC Income where she had led fans into believing that she was quitting showbiz.
Lim was candid about the impact the incident has had on her professional life.
"I can't say it was nothing, it was definitely quite an experience," she told reporters at the unveiling ceremony of the Star Awards 2016 Top 40 Most Popular Artists at Mandarin Orchard.
"It was a learning point for me and I've grown a lot through this (saga). Well, I'm glad it's over. Thankfully."
She also explained why it took her nearly two weeks to formally apologise on her official Instagram account and Facebook page.
Last Thursday, she posted on her social media platforms: "Recently, I've been reminded that being an artist comes with great responsibilities. I know I have upset many of you, including those dearest to me. Please accept my humblest apologies."
Lim told TNP yesterday: "I would have responded earlier, but it has been a very busy period for me.
"Around the same time as this incident, my maternal grandfather had a heart failure and fell. He was hospitalised.
"So over the last couple of weeks, I've just been filming my new Channel 8 drama The Dream Job and heading in and out of the hospital to visit him.
"I didn't have time to gather my thoughts."
When quizzed if she was affected by the harsh and negative remarks by netizens, Lim said: "Over the past couple of weeks, I've kind of kept myself out of social media. I don't read every single comment, it's unnecessary.
"Through this entire experience, I'm glad to know that there are so many people who truly support and care for me."
Despite the online resentment caused by her marketing gimmick, Lim's appeal appears not to have waned. She made it into the pool of nominees for Top 10 Most Popular Female Artists.
This year's Star Awards, which celebrates the best in local Chinese television, will be aired live on April 17 and 24 on Channel 8.
"To me, every nomination is a blessing, I don't take any of this for granted," said Lim.
She was shocked that hotshot actors Ian Fang and Desmond Tan were excluded from the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artists nominations.
"I think it's a pity," she said.
"I'm extremely surprised at Ian's exclusion. Ian had a great year, having starred in many mega TV productions. Plus he released a rap single last December. He's very talented."
Fang, 26, said he felt "very sorry" for letting his fans down.
"I'm feeling okay. I'm just worried about my mum because she knows how hard I've worked over the past year," he said.
"In any case, even if the whole world is against me, one thing's for sure: I'm already the best actor in my mum's heart. And that is the most important."
Said 29-year-old Tan: "I think one of the main reasons why I didn't make the Top 40 cut was because I was away from Channel 8 for more than a year.
"I was heavily involved in Channel 5 productions like Spouse for House and the series Mata Mata Season 3.
"I have no regrets doing more Channel 5 work, as my involvement in those productions came at a time when Channel 5 was going through a rebranding and expansion phase."
First-time nominees for the popularity awards include comedian Chua Enlai, rising actors Aloysius Pang and Jeffrey Xu, as well as model-actress Sheila Sim.
There were also veteran faces such as "Mr Unbelievable" Chen Tianwen, who was sidelined last year.
Chen, 52, told TNP: "I know the Unbelievable viral music video and local movie (Mr Unbelievable) would help to increase my chances of winning slightly, but I'm still not confident of making it into the Top 10.
"Traditionally, the Top 10 is dominated by younger artists, and most of my fans are aunties and uncles who show their support silently.
"If I do make it into the Top 10 this year, that would be unbelievable!"
This article was first published on March 4, 2016.
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