Mediacorp actor James Seah nearly gave up on acting after his 'poor' mandarin led to few work opportunities

He's starring opposite Joanne Peh in his latest project.

Mandy How | March 15, 2021, 10:22 AM

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The name James Seah might be appearing on your screens a lot more often.

The 29-year-old Mediacorp actor has recently clinched his first drama lead role in "Mind Jumper", a crime series where he stars opposite Joanne Peh.

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A post shared by 谢俊峰 James Seah (@jamesseah)

In the show, Peh plays a chief accountant who has 15 months left to live, after being diagnosed with an unusual brain tumour. But her first radiation therapy leads to a new power — the ability to read minds.

Seah's character, the head honcho of a private investigation company, then enlists her help to solve cases and indict the guilty.

When we point out that the plot and genre of "Mind Jumper" is not typical Mediacorp fare, Seah concurs.

"I do agree that it’s a little different from local dramas as the script is well crafted and the angle of the story is unique. The production team (Ochre Pictures) invested a lot of research into this show," he told Mothership.

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A post shared by 谢俊峰 James Seah (@jamesseah)

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A post shared by Joanne Peh (@joannepeh)

Origin story

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A post shared by 谢俊峰 James Seah (@jamesseah)

Seah is no newbie in the industry, having taken part in the 2010 Star Search (the same batch as Jeffrey Xu, Sora Ma, and Romeo Tan).

Despite finishing as a grand finalist in the competition, Seah remained relatively low profile in the early days of his career.

The actor, who tells us that he's been in the industry for eight years so far, felt that he "wasted a chance" when starting out, due to his poor command of Mandarin.

This resulted in Seah not having a lot of jobs in the first two years, and he nearly gave up on acting.

"My career looked bleak at that point in time. I was almost considering pursuing another career. However I gave myself a few years to prove myself, to improve my craft and command of the language. Thank God, things became better, I managed to get more jobs, and here I am."

On set

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A post shared by 谢俊峰 James Seah (@jamesseah)

Now, eight years later, the actor has successfully auditioned for his first lead drama role with a "pretty confident" performance.

Although thrilled to receive the good news, Seah candidly admitted that stress and anxiety soon took over.

"I feel that I’m often quite critical and hard on myself. Knowing it’s my first lead role, I knew that I can’t afford to make any mistakes and it had to be perfect," he said.

When asked what’s the difference between working with newer stars like Herman Keh and Tasha Low, as opposed to veterans like Peh, Cynthia Koh, and Xiang Yun, Seah gave an answer that any cast member would be happy to hear:

"After 'Action!' there is no newer or veteran actors. There are only just the characters and the scene. However, there will always be a takeaway when acting with different actors as they all bring a slice of cake to the table."

Working with these actors, Seah has since learnt to enjoy the filming process and rid himself of unnecessary stress.

Real life vs. reel life

Those who have been following Seah for a while might know that the actor is engaged to influencer Nicole Chang Min.

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A post shared by nicolechangmin 曾敏 (@nicolechangmin)

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A post shared by nicolechangmin 曾敏 (@nicolechangmin)

If you're wondering how Seah manages his relationship with Nicole vis-à-vis his career (e.g. having to do kissing scenes), the actor is relatively tight-lipped about their dynamics.

We got a one-liner out of him: "We respect and we are supportive of each other’s career so we will be more understanding towards one another."

We'll be respectful and stop asking so many kaypoh questions too 🙃

"Mind Jumper" is now available on MeWATCH.

Top image via James Seah's Instagram page