Ben Yeo went through 'low point' after winning Top 10 award in 2017, had to borrow money to tide over

Prior to this, not many people knew what the host/actor was facing.

Karen Lui | January 29, 2022, 11:26 AM

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Actor-host Ben Yeo has gained attention in recent years for his F&B ventures, including hisΒ S$28 artisanal chee cheong funΒ and Hainanese Chicken Burger in collaboration with McDonald's.

The foodie/host/actor appeared in the latest episode of Quan Yi Fong's talk show, "Hear U Out", to share more about his struggle in showbiz, as well as business ventures in fashion and F&B.

Screenshot via meWATCH.

Accidental foray into showbiz

His first showbiz appearance was on "Snap", a televised talent competition hosted by Bryan Wong in 2001.

According to Yeo, he initially did not want to participate in it.

The actor said knew nothing about showbiz and while he was "okay" with the occasional modelling for fun, he had no aspirations of becoming an artiste at all.

Yeo set off on his accidental foray into showbiz when he suggested to his foreign friend who "looked a lot like Takuya Kimura" to join "Snap".

The friend agreed and offered to split half the winnings with Yeo if he won, Yeo said.

The caption translates as, "I was picked." Screenshot via meWATCH.

Yeo then accompanied his friend to the audition and was unexpectedlyΒ chosen over his friend by Wong.

The host eventually won the competition and made his debut in showbiz.

Early marriage and poor career planning

Yeo's trendy and stylish image as a newbie did not last long as he soon got married in 2006 at age 28.

"I always tell my wife that I don't regret marrying her but I regret getting married too early," this man said on national TV.

The avid cook admitted that he lacked shrewdness, which would have allowed him to better plan his career path in showbiz back then.

If that were the case, he would not have married so early and instead choose to delay it until he had established a stable career.

After the news of his marriage broke, all his young female fans disappeared and he gained older female fans instead, he added.

Considered leaving showbiz

The 43-year-old admitted that he had considered leaving showbiz.

Yeo had observed his career reaching a plateau each time he won an awardβ€”a phenomenon that he cannot explain.

The second time he clinched Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes in 2017 impacted him worse than his first win in 2012.

"I was going through a very tough time and even faced financial issues. I'm very grateful to my close friends, my mother-in-law, and my mother. I borrowed money from them to tide us over."

The caption translates as, "During his low point in life, family and friends helped him financially to tide over." Screenshot via meWATCH.

Quan, who is close friends with Yeo, appeared shocked to hear this, and asked why he did not approach her for help.

Yeo replied that he did not tell many people about his situation and mostly dealt with it quietly.

He clarified that it wasn't that they couldn't get by, it was just that "money was tight."

Furthermore, he agreed that it was difficult for him to seek help after working in the industry for a decade or two and felt "stuck" at that time.

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This low point in life drove him to start his live stream three years ago.

It motivated him to be more diligent in carving a niche for himself, and he hoped that live streaming would create some business opportunities.

"After persevering for three years, I finally see some results," he said.

Screenshot via meWATCH.

Did part-time mozzie fogging

In the episode, the Mediacorp artiste candidly shared that he had to close down both his shoe and fashion apparel stores.Β 

When he was 21 years old, he opened his now-defunct fashion boutique but admitted he was "young and ignorant" at that time.

Yeo borrowed S$20,000 from his mother while his business partner invested another S$20,000.

"It was the happiest but toughest time of my life," Yeo said. "I was doing what I like but sometimes, I couldn't even make S$400 a month and had to replenish stock."

How did he make ends meet in such circumstances?

The actor-host revealed that he resorted to doing part-time work in the morningβ€” mosquito fogging, specifically.

Fear of being out of work

Yeo also shared with Quan that he constantly fears that he'd be out of work.

Each time he tells his wife that he has nothing to do for the day, she would encourage him to take a break, he said.

The caption translates as, "Bearing the heavy responsibility of the family finances". Screenshot via meWATCH.

However, the father of two claimed that is easier said than done, as he is unable to be at peace with himself for not doing anything.

Reflecting on this insecurity, Yeo said,Β "Perhaps I have this fear because I'm the sole breadwinner, so the responsibility is rather heavy."

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Top images via meWATCH.