updated 29 Apr 2011, 23:08
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Sun, Apr 24, 2011
New Straits Times
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Stripping herself for a role

SHE was a contestant in Miss Malaysia Tourism 2009. Although she didn't take home the title, she was voted "Miss Loving Heart".

This year, cinema lovers will get to see her in Mamat Khalid's Apokalips.

In the meantime, 8TV viewers can catch her on Quickie three times a week. She has also appeared in numerous TV commercials. Yes, Megan Tan likes to dabble in everything.

Her foray into show business started when she was 10. That time, she was given the task of hosting a children's programme on TV2 which she did for four years.

Indeed, the limelight is no stranger to this 23-year-old lass from Penang.

"I'm open-minded. I like to try everything to see whether I like it or not and so far, I like what I've tried. And I want to discover more," said Tan when met recently.

Pretty and eloquent, I was immediately taken in by her seemingly "unreal" 24-inch waist! How does she maintain it? Could it be work pressure?

"I used to be twice as big in school, but people never believed me until I showed them my old photos.

"Since all the weight went to my face, I didn't find the need to exercise. It was not a priority.

"But now, I go to the gym twice a week, eat healthier food and in small portions.

"I love desserts. Since I'm from Penang, I love spicy food, too. I eat what I love. But I only eat everything in small portions, so spending money on me on a buffet is a waste.

"Contrary to popular belief, I don't believe in depriving myself of food. The more you starve yourself, the more you will put on weight."

Born in Penang, Tan grew up in Kuala Lumpur. Although Hokkien is her mother tongue, she speaks fluent English and Malay.

After hosting the children's programme for four years, Tan took a break for five years to give full attention to her studies.

"I had to be realistic. Despite my interest in TV work, getting a good education has always been my goal.

"I've always wanted to be a psychologist. I enrolled in Segi College and studied psychology majoring in psychology and communications," said the lass who obtained a first class Bachelor of Science Honours degree last December.

Her interest in TV started when she watched Quickie, which she is currently hosting.

"I watched Quickie about seven years ago. I was so impressed by Marion Caunter, who was hosting the programme at that time, that I remember telling myself, 'I'm going to do this when I grow up'."

When Quickie Search came up in 2009, it was Tan's dad who heard about it first and urged her to give it a try.

"I was a nervous wreck that I spoke so fast during the audition. To my surprise, it worked. Little did I know that because Quickie was a short programme, it required you to speak fast."

Two weeks later, Tan got a call and made it to the top six. She was sent to grooming classes to polish her presentation and hosting skills.

In January last year, she was thrilled as both she and Naqib were announced as the winners.

Being on TV brings with it other opportunities. Before Mamat Khalid offered her a role in Apokalips, director Aziz M. Osman had approached her.

Tan didn't have any acting experience, but Aziz saw something in the girl and offered her a lead role in his movie C.E.1. The movie revolves around robots and was shot two years ago.

"I was still in college then, but I decided to take study leave. It was worth it. People were like, 'Wow! You've never acted before and yet you got the lead. How?".

"TV hosting is easier because you only need to be yourself. Acting requires a different approach. You need to strip yourself off and play your role.

"The script was mostly in Malay and a bit in English. It was a challenge in terms of getting into character, not so much the language."

If C.E.1 saw her took the role of a scientist, Apokalips was more adventurous.

"In the movie, all the actors had to do their own stunts. Someone with martial arts background came and trained us. It was exciting," said Tan who also did a dramedy (drama comedy) for 8TV last year.

For someone so young, I asked how she managed to look and be so confident.

"To be honest, initially I felt intimidated as I'm still young and fresh like raw meat. Just the feeling of not being able to deliver my best can get me down.

"But I want to inspire young people and to dare them to dream and not be afraid of it. You only live once so you might as well do what you love and do it the best way you know how.

"I count my blessings every day. Family is also very important to me. Success means nothing if you have nobody to share it with.

"My dad is my biggest critic. He watches me religiously even when I'm not on the show.

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