Kym Ng told to pose 'topless' for album cover in the 90s as she was deemed not famous enough

She asked the studio to be cleared for her "topless" photoshoot.

Karen Lui | April 07, 2021, 02:43 PM

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Previously appearing as a guest in the Qi Yuwu episode, Ng recently found herself in the hot seat in Guo Liang's talk show, "The Inner Circle".

The candid host and actress shares about feeling underserving of her second Best Variety Show Host award, shooting her "topless" debut album cover, and her first acting gig as a courtesan.

Cried in the toilet after winning award

While she was very excited the first time she received the Best Variety Show Host award, Ng disclosed that it was not the case when it came to winning it the second time.

"I felt a lot of pressure," Ng admitted, "because the other nominees were you (Guo), Diana See, Wang Yanqing," and Sharon Au.

Screenshot via meWATCH.

"It was very memorable for me. That day, everyone believed I'd win. I thought, it can't be me, please don't let it be me."

Ng was referring to her second win in a row for hosting "City Beat" during the Star Awards 1999.

In response, the award recipient ran to the toilet and cried.

Confused by her reaction, her manager asked her, "What's wrong? You should be happy, why are you crying?"

"I don't know why they let me win. I'm terrified. I feel like I'm under a lot of pressure," Ng had replied back then.

The veteran host then explained, ”There are many types of variety programmes. Some involve proper hosting. My specialty was acting-based [hosting].“

Ng did not feel that her work was "substantial" compared to her colleagues. "If you really treated me as a host, I felt unworthy."

To lighten things up, Guo jokingly asked if she could donate the award, to which Ng responded with a laugh, "No, why should I donate it when I've already won it? It's not like I robbed anyone."

Going "topless" for debut album cover

Despite being known for her hosting talent, Ng actually started her showbiz career as a singer.

Her debut album had generated quite a lot of buzz due to a risqué cover picture where she appeared "topless".

Ng's debut album in 1992 made the news with its risqué cover. Screenshot via meWATCH.

"After I had stripped, I was wearing a coat," Ng explained, "When we were about to shoot, I squeezed and held the necessary parts in place. When I was done, the coat was removed and I started posing."

Ng's first album, "Truly Yours". Screenshot via meWATCH.

While Guo admitted that the photos turned out well, he remarked that it was unlike Ng to perform such a stunt.

Ng explained that after she agreed to do the album, she was told that they decided to go with such an album concept as no one knew her back then and her skills were "mediocre."

Hence, they needed to rely on a gimmick or something eye-catching to encourage people to listen to her songs.

Screenshot via meWATCH.

Although she agreed, she had one condition — the studio had to be cleared with only a female photographer and other female make-up staff present.

Ng re-enacts her debut cover shoot 29 years later, albeit fully clothed this time. Screenshot via meWATCH.

Despite Ng's modesty about her singing talent, she went on to release more albums.

Ng's second album, "A Young Lady's Monologue." in 1994. Screenshot via meWATCH.

"When I release an album, [I received] S$100 for one song, S$1,000 for 10 songs. If I didn't work, I'd have no money!" Ng revealed.

Ng's third album, "Chasing Emotions" (a pun on her name) in 1999. Screenshot via meWATCH.

"I thought I'd be rich if I became a singer and I'd be famous so I signed the contract," Ng confessed, but reality turned out different for her.

"Why am I not famous? Why is there no money?" were some of the questions that hit her.

It was so bad that she had "zero income".

Without a monthly salary, she had to take on singing gigs at dinner-and-dance events or on television shows.

Ng singing on a television show, "Variety Tonight", in 1994. Screenshot via meWATCH.

First acting gig

Ng later got her first acting gig was playing a courtesan in 1995 period television series, "Strange Encounters III".

Screenshot via meWATCH.

When asked about her views about the role, Ng blurted, "As long as there was work to do, I'd go [for it]!"

According to Ng, the courtesan role was initially meant for the "voluptuous Margaret Lee," but who was unable to take on the role as she had a fall.

Caption translates to "Margaret Lee (right) was the first choice". Screenshot via meWATCH.

She believed that her risqué album cover may have allowed her to be regarded as a replacement for Lee.

When probed about how her family reacted to her first role, Ng divulged, "My older brothers laughed at me."

Although Ng had dreams or becoming rich and famous initially, she soon developed a more practical mindset and focused on making a living.

"My family was pretty relieved. I did not have any salary as a singer so they hoped I'd take on more acting gigs or participate in the television productions. I was pressured not to stay at home and had to find a job."

Top images via meWATCH.