Actress Priscelia Chan on the art of positivity

Actress Priscelia Chan on the art of positivity

Be passionate about what you do even if you have nothing to show for it, says the 35-year-old, whose efforts finally paid off at this year's Star Awards.

She took home the Rocket Award - given to the artiste who's shown the most improvement - for her role as a jealous, wilful wife in Mediacorp Channel 8's The Journey: A Voyage (2013). The trophy is Priscelia's first since she joined the industry 15 years ago.

"Entertainment is a game of luck and timing - much depends on the opportunities you get. Once I learnt to respect the industry's caprices, it became easier to press on.

There's a Chinese saying, tai shang yi fen zhong, tai xia shi nian gong (a minute on stage requires 10 years of training). I've always believed that if I work hard to give a good performance, I'll be rewarded in time to come."

Use Your Time Wisely

The naturally vivacious actress never stays unhappy for more than a day.

"Time is wasted on moping. Yes, I feel upset when I don't win. But I'll also ask myself why - for example, did I do the script justice, or did I deliver my lines right? Then I make it a point to one my skills instead of feeling miserable," says Priscelia matter-of-factly.

Learn to Look Forward

When awards elude her, Priscelia recalls precious moments to remind herself how much she loves her job: "When someone recognises me on the street and tells me they enjoy watching my shows and to keep up the good work even though I didn't win, it really spurs me on."

That said, staying positive is hard work - you have to constantly remind yourself to keep at it, admits Priscelia. "Make time for self-reflection every day, whether it's keeping a journal or thinking about what you're grateful for. Eventually, it'll become a habit."

Life Never Pans Out the Way You Want It to

"I went through a phase in my 20s when I felt like I had to follow everyone else's path in life - get married, have a kid, own a house and car, and have a career that rakes in money. The turning point came when my mother passed away nine years ago - she'd been unwell for a while, but I never expected her to leave so suddenly," she says.

It made Priscelia realise that she needed to start living her own life and doing the things that make her happy.

Build a Support System

Priscelia counts herself lucky to have the loving support of her family and friends, especially her husband (actor-turned-businessman Alan Tern). They were buddies before becoming a couple, so the foundation of their relationship is strong, she says.

"We go on coffee dates at least once a month to spend quality time together. Alan always knows how to cheer me up - sometimes he gives me a hug out of the blue and tells me he's proud of me or that he thinks I'm the best. And when I feel disappointed about missing out on an award, he jokingly says: 'Why do you need one? You already have the best award - me!'"

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