Pow Served H.O.T.

The best thing about snagging the leading role in an upcoming local drama, says rookie actor Shane Pow, is that his mother will be able to catch him in almost every other episode.

"She would tune in to my previous shows and she would ask me why didn't I appear. I feel happier now that I can tell her to watch me in the drama almost every day," the eloquent actor tells Life!. The 23-year-old MediaCorp artist, who is managed by Beam Artistes, has come a long way from his first blink-and-you-miss-it cameo role in last year's home-grown drama Yours Fatefully.

Starting the new year on a good note, he will be one of three young hunks fronting the new Media- Corp Channel U drama, Served H.O.T.

He plays the role of Zhuang Hao Lun, who is part of a trio trying to get their hands on a secret laksa recipe from an established eatery. The prized recipe will be given to the one person who can tell the restaurant's owner Li Yue Niang (played by actress Xiang Yun) what the secret ingredient in the recipe is.

Pow had been talent-spotted at the Manhunt Singapore finals in 2011, and he says he never had six-pack abdominal muscles before the contest and was once a "fat kid".

To pursue his showbusiness dreams, the mass communications graduate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic decided to shape up for the 2011 Manhunt competition. During the three months leading up to the contest, his daily diet was 1kg of boiled chicken breast and he worked out six days a week. He shed 5kg to weigh 68kg and made it to the Top 10 of the contest.

Since then, he has starred in nine MediaCorp dramas, including It Takes Two (2012), C.L.I.F 2 (2013) and Recruit Diaries (2013). He revealed that he will be taking on hosting assignments on Channel 8 variety shows next year.

The bachelor, who is dating a schoolmate from his polytechnic days, was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Star Awards earlier this year.

The son of a 48-year-old housewife mother said: "I feel proud that I have achieved something that I can tell my mother. She can feel proud of me."

1 Why did you take part in Manhunt?

I joined Manhunt as a platform to enter showbusiness because it was organised by talent management agency Beam Artistes. I also wanted to shape up for my 21st birthday beach party at Sentosa. I was motivated to train to have a memorable party.

2 Was it your childhood ambition to enter showbusiness?

I wasn't very good in maths or science. So careers such as banking or accounting were out for me. My strength lies in my language. I watched a lot of TV, I thought to myself it would be pretty cool if I had the chance to act.

I hosted school events such as prom night in my polytechnic days. When I was 19 years old, I signed on to be a part-time presenter on the sports segment with online news site RazorTV.

3 Who is your idol?

I admire veteran actor Li Nanxing. Since I was young, I've watched him in dramas such as The Unbeatables and The Vagrant. He has such charisma and on-screen presence. My mum really loves him. The only time I got to be in the same drama with him was when I had a small role in the police drama C.L.I.F 2. But I didn't have any scenes with him. I hope to get a chance to act with him.

4 How supportive is your mother of your career?

My mum will buy a few copies of any magazine when I appear on the cover and pass them to my aunties. She'll watch all my shows. Recently, she became addicted to the messaging app WhatsApp. She'll send audio messages to her friends to remind them to watch my shows.

5 You're a former Manhunt finalist. Are you worried that the audience will remember you only for your body?

I get that a lot. When they hear that I took part in Manhunt, they tell me to take off my clothes. But I don't get offended.

I joined Manhunt to get into the industry. It doesn't matter to me if people stereotype me as a guy who is all muscles and no brains. I think that I'm quite smart in the way I planned my career. Though I do hope that they realise I have substance after watching my acting.

6 What's the one ideal role you want to play?

I want to take on an extreme role, such as the late actor Heath Ledger's Joker. He really brought the character to life and left such a strong impression on the audience. Perhaps I could play a character with a split personality or a villain.

7 What would you be doing if you weren't in showbusiness?

I majored in public relations and radio broadcasting in polytechnic. I would probably work in marketing or public relations. I'm quite sure I wouldn't last very long, though. I did an internship in a small public relations agency in 2010 and it was horrible. I would go to work, switch on the computer and I couldn't wait to go for lunch and get off work.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I don't want to be remembered as just an idol. I hope people can relate to me. I'm an ordinary person doing something I like, which is acting and hosting. I'll be hosting a lot of variety shows on Channel 8 next year.

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