Maid-in-waiting now a star

Maid-in-waiting now a star
Mediacorp actress Rebecca Lim.

SINGAPORE - It was in December 2006 that the glamorous sobriquet - 7 Princesses - was coined by a local magazine. It referred to seven MediaCorp actresses who were anointed as the successors to Caldecott Hill queens Zoe Tay and Fann Wong. The list included the likes of Jeanette Aw, Jesseca Liu, Felicia Chin, Joanne Peh and Rui En.

Rebecca Lim, then a part-time actress, was not among the royal selection.

She tells Life!: "I was quite upset that I wasn't in it or I wasn't even close to it."

At the time, she was juggling filming with an accountancy course at the Singapore Management University and recalls: "There was a running joke at SMU that 'There are seven princesses but Rebecca is like the maid of the princesses.' I would laugh but deep inside, I'd be a bit hurt because I'm human, right?"

Those days are far behind her and, if anything, she is now a rising star.

Her career has been on a hot streak in the past few years, beginning with her turn as trainee lawyer Wendy Lim in The Pupil (2010). It was her first full-time contract role and she went from finishing her final exam paper to turning up for work on the set the very same day.

It catapulted her into the spotlight as she beat more established actresses, including co-star Janice Koh, to win Best Drama Performance In A Leading Role at the regional Asian Television Awards.

She says: "It was a very unexpected win. I told my parents to pick me up at Pan Pacific hotel at 10pm because that was when the ceremony ended and they had to wait for two hours. When I finally came out, they were like 'Why so long?'"

That same question could well have been asked by those hoping for her career to take off but the long wait has sweetened the fruit of success.

"Because for so many years, compared to my peers, this didn't happen. It was practically nonexistent, this whole career thing. Now that things are starting to be better and more substantial, it is heartening."

From an inauspicious start flubbing simple lines in Mandarin, the bilingual star has gone on to make waves in the Mandarin entertainment scene as well.

Lim, 28, was named Best Supporting Actress for her role as a free-spirited sales manager in The Dream Makers, a drama about what goes on behind the scenes of show business, at this year's Star Awards. At the same ceremony, she also made it to the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes, her third such consecutive accolade.

Suggest that she has arrived though and she swats away the thought with a laugh: "I don't think I've arrived. I hope the arrival point is much further and higher. I would like to think I'm midway through the journey, a plane that's taking off, not landing."

Cheerful and humble, she is personable and likeable during the interview over iced coffee at Woodshed cafe in Rangoon Road. That easy-to-like factor comes across in some of her roles as well, such as the eager cop in period drama Mata Mata 2 (2014). But you sense that it is no act that she turns on or off. Instead, it comes from some place deep and genuine.

The way she is dressed reflects a thrifty nature and also suggests that family and friends are important to her.

Her Burberry bag was a gift from the fashion house after it dressed her for the Star Awards one year and she happily points out that her Dior shoes were bought at half-price.

The geometric print dress is from her friend's label, Exhibit, and the ring she is wearing is a custom-made piece incorporating diamonds from her grandmother's jewellery.

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