Without a doubt, Rebecca Lim is one of the most popular actresses in Singapore. The TV sweetheart is a familiar face on both Channel 5 and 8, and has acted in notable dramas such as The Pupil, C.L.I.F and the You Can Be An Angel series.
Apart from having acting chops, she is also an advertiser’s darling, having endorsed everything from cars to jewellery, supplements and skincare.
She has even appeared on the covers of numerous fashion magazines (including Her World) and flew around the world to attend fashion shows and events before the Covid-19 pandemic.
To celebrate the 33-year-old’s upcoming birthday on September 26, here are nine things to know about the down-to-earth star.
1. She was in a beauty pageant
Before Rebecca became an actress, she was a beauty pageant contestant. She was participating in an inter-junior college pageant when she was asked to audition for Miss Universe Singapore 2005.
During the auditions, she stood out from the rest when she brought along a one-piece swimsuit and IC photo instead of a bikini and model portfolio.
However, this didn’t stop her from getting through and she ended up winning fourth runner-up and the “Miss Photogenic” title.
And perhaps most importantly, the pageant was also where she was spotted by Mediacorp which kick-started her acting career.
2. She has a double-degree
Rebecca may be in the media industry now but in an interview with The Straits Times, she said that when she was studying, she was more of a science-stream student (she studied at CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls’ primary and secondary schools and Victoria Junior College) and her involvement with the arts was limited to moving props during school plays.
She began acting part-time while studying at Singapore Management University (SMU) and graduated with double degrees in Accountancy and Law.
3. The Pupil ignited her passion for acting
After signing on with Mediacorp full-time, Rebecca got the leading role in critically acclaimed 2010 Channel 5 legal drama The Pupil.
It was her first full-time contract role and she went on set the very next day after sitting for her final exam paper at SMU. Playing an apprentice lawyer called Wendy Lim, she and held her own among veteran actors like Adrian Pang and Janice Koh.
She eventually won the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2010 Asian Television Awards for her performance, and has called it the show that made her fall in love with acting.
4. She struggled with her Mandarin
Although she is effectively bilingual now, Rebecca used to struggle with her Mandarin. Surrounded by English-speaking friends and family, she got an A2 for her O-level Chinese but was unable to speak it well.
In interviews with the media, she has talked about how she had to repeat a simple line, ‘Mr Chen, you have a meeting at 3.30’ over 20 times when she acted for the first time in 2006 drama Family Matters because she couldn’t get it right.
She was also heavily criticised for her poor command of Mandarin in 2008’s The Truth where she co-starred with Joanne Peh and Tay Ping Hui.
Undeterred, she took Mandarin lessons, listened to Chinese music and read magazines like i-Weekly.
All the hard work has paid off and she is now one of the most prolific Channel 8 actresses. She even landed her first Hokkien-speaking role in 2018 dialect drama Eat Already? 4.
5. She has won Best Actress at the Star Awards twice
Despite a rocky start acting in Channel 8 dramas, Rebecca has since gone on to win the prestigious Best Actress award at the Star Awards twice.
She first won in 2015 for playing Zhang Xueqin in Yes We Can!, and again in 2018 for playing Lin Mei Zhen in The Lead.
Throughout the years, she has also amassed a total of eight Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste awards, which is a testament to her popularity.
6. She is passionate about charity work
Right before the circuit breaker measures kicked in this year, Rebecca made the news when she and her assistant personally packed and delivered 400 care packs to the elderly and less privileged staying in one-room flats and frontline heroes in essential services such as taxi drivers and cleaners.
However, this isn’t a one-off thing. The actress has been quietly doing philanthropic work for the past few years, organising Chinese New Year lunch and lo hei sessions with old folks who live alone and delivering care packages with her fan club members.
She is also a Goodwill Ambassador of the Singapore Cancer Society where she helps to raise awareness of the fight against cancer.
7. She wants a simple wedding
Although she has no plans to get married yet, Rebecca has an idea of how her ideal wedding will be like.
During an interview with AsiaOne at a jewellery brand event, she revealed that she isn’t keen on the idea of a destination wedding as it involves too much planning and rules out a beach wedding as she hates the sun.
Instead, she prefers having a simple solemnisation ceremony followed by a buffet spread.
Simplicity is also key when it comes to her engagement ring. She describes her dream ring as being a simple ring with a small but shiny and good-quality diamond.
8. She is also popular overseas
Rebecca may be no stranger to winning awards, but did you know that she has also won an award in South Korea?
At the 2016 Seoul International Drama Awards, she was the first and only Singaporean to receive an Asian Star Award, a people’s choice award that recognises people popular with the Korean audience.
The jury had watched clips of her performance as a bar hostess in Channel 8 period drama The Journey: Our Homeland. Other recipients of the award at the ceremony included veteran Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong and popular Taiwanese actor Jasper Liu.
9. She auditioned for Crazy Rich Asians
If things had gone differently, Rebecca could have been Pierre Png‘s unhappy socialite wife in Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians.
She auditioned three times for the role of Astrid Leong-Teo, but ultimately lost the role to British actress Gemma Chan.
Rebecca said in an interview with local media that she thinks she did “really badly with the accent” as she was asked to put on an American accent.
Although she couldn’t pair up with Pierre in his Hollywood debut, Rebecca has gone on to star with him in Channel 5’s Singapore-Thailand co-production Missing and Channel 8 police drama C.L.I.F 5.
They will next appear in the upcoming Channel 8 drama Jungle Survivor.
Tentatively scheduled to air at the end of the year, Rebecca plays an ordinary housewife who discovers that her husband, played by Pierre, is having an affair with his colleague, played by Felicia Chin. Who’s getting The World of the Married vibes?
This article was first published in Her World Online.