Since her debut in 2003 as the Star Search female champion, Felicia Chin instantly became a recognisable face amongst Channel 8 viewers.
As one of the Seven Princesses of Mediacorp in the 2000s, the rising star was slated/groomed/ nudged to be one of the successors to Caldecott queens, Zoe Tay and Fann Wong.
In first part of the "Hear U Out" episode on Mar. 4, the 36-year-old actress shared with host Quan Yi Fong her struggles at the start of her acting career.
Binge-eating and purging
The actress shared how she used to cope with stress by binge-eating, and subsequently, purging.
"Everyday, I would go to 7-Eleven to buy two bags of food and eat at home," she admitted, "Because I felt so sad and I felt that I did so poorly."
Her stress levels climbed particularly high when she struggled to shoot the final reaction of a scene and she was frustrated that she was unable to perform according to the director's expectations.
Furthermore, numerous scenes had to be shot within a day so the production crew would not be able to wait for the actress to grasp the emotions required for the reaction shot.
During those situations, Chin's heart sank, and she took the feelings of disappointment and "uselessness" home with her, which fuelled her binge-eating.
Ironically, she confessed that binge-eating did not bring her happiness and she felt even sadder after looking at the food wrapping and empty ice-cream cartons.
Besides the reminder about the sheer amount of food she had eaten, knowing she had a morning shift the next day made her feel worse as her sodium intake would cause her to look swollen the next day.
Eventually, she started to reflect on her unhealthy eating and sleeping habits that may cause weight gain, so she started to forcefully expel the food by self-induced vomiting.
"This situation persisted for the first one to two years," she revealed.
Other than the make-up artiste's observation that her eyes were swollen, Chin found it difficult to communicate such problems as her friends were still in school.
She also identified as a person who would not confide her negative emotions in others as she viewed it as "complaining".
"Portrait of Home" and Pierre Png
Chin disclosed that she did not receive many words of encouragement in the first few years of her career, but she encountered many kind-hearted actors, namely her "Portrait of Home" co-stars Louise Lee, Xiang Yun, and Liu Lingling, whom she cherishes.
Another actor whom she collaborated with on "Portrait of Home" was Pierre Png.
In the 2005 television series, Chin played Png's love interest, whom she had her first on-screen kiss with.
"His lips are very thick," she remarked when probed about the experience.
Chin then shared that she had nightmares while filming this show but it was not over the kiss scene with Png.
According to the actress, over 20 scenes for a long-form drama like "Portrait of Home" can be shot in the studio in one day.
With three cameras in the studio, each scene is filmed in one take, so everything from the lines, position, and lighting, had to be precise.
She recalled a particular period when she was just shooting scenes with Png non-stop and Png only had a few lines.
"He was only saying 'Mermaid' throughout the entire show," Chin said.
Their shoots apparently took place from morning to night, "maybe even past midnight", for a period of time.
On the fourth day, Chin just fell asleep on the living room floor without removing her make-up the moment she reached home.
She dreamt that someone was yelling at her to enter the scene, causing her to jolt awake from anxiety and rush to work, only to realise she was on the afternoon shift that day.
When asked about how she felt about being paired with Png, she felt very touched as he never showed any annoyance towards her when she did not perform well, which helped her in preventing any escalation of her anxiety.
"He's quite chill," she added and acknowledged that she was very thankful to him.
In recent years, Chin said, she has worked with Png a few more times, and he is always very encouraging.
Chin had also shared her concerns about her acting abilities with Png who allegedly recommended her to veteran theatre actor, Lim Yu-Beng, who helped her to improve her acting and boosted her confidence through his words of encouragement.
Top images via meWATCH.