updated 28 May 2014, 02:55
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Wed, Jan 08, 2014
The Sunday Times
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Taking comparisons in their stride
by Yip Wai Yee

Who: Teh May Wan and Teh Choy Wan, both 31, former models

Former MTV VJ Teh May Wan used to beat her twin Choy Wan to all the jobs. In their modelling days, when they were in their early 20s, May Wan would snag the gigs because she was then the thinner of the two - weighing around 50kg to Choy Wan's 60kg. They are both 1.7m tall.

May Wan, now 31 and the older sister by a minute, says: "We would be up for the same jobs and, unfortunately, Choy was on the heavier side. And you know how it's like in Asia, you always want skinny. So I would get four or five jobs ahead of her and I'm sure she must have been really upset, especially since, as twins, we were always associated as a pair for the longest time. So suddenly if one sister is more 'appealing', it's like, 'What?'"

Choy Wan says: "People in the industry can be pretty cut-throat with their comments and I would always hear things like, 'How come you're bigger than your sister, how come you're not as pretty?' When I was younger, that was quite hard to take, but I think I've developed a thicker skin over the years. It helped that May would always be there to support me."

Things changed for the better after they snagged the joint hosting gig on channel MTV, where they hosted the segment known as Double Trouble and interviewed music acts, such as Backstreet Boys, from 2005 to 2006.

Daughters of a Malaysian-Chinese mother and a Norwegian father, they were then affectionately known as May & Choy. The Malaysian-born stars are Australian citizens and Singapore permanent residents.

Choy Wan says: "After that, we had that niche of being the twin act and that was actually quite nice. We're so close, so it was nice to have the comfort of working with your sister."

In 2007, they also made their silver screen debut as the Durian Sisters in Royston Tan's getai movie 881. May Wan adds, however, that there is a drawback to being a double act.

"The bad thing is, because we were always known as twins, people have that twin tag on us forever. No matter what we do, if they just see one of us, they'll always ask us, 'Hey, where's your sister?" she says

These days, they are doing more individual hosting gigs, especially after May Wan got married in 2009 and became a mother a year later.

Says May Wan, who has two daughters aged four and 21/2 with her Indonesian businessman husband, 36: "My priority is my family now and I'll usually take on only jobs that are a few hours long, because my husband and I don't have help and I'd like to go back to my kids."

When she is working, either her parents or her parents-in-law will help to look after the kids.

Choy Wan says: "When May first got married, she also lived in Indonesia for two years before she came back here, so that's really when I started getting gigs on my own. Now that we're in our 30s and at different places in our lives, there is none of that 'oh, I got a job but the other one didn't'. No matter what we get, we're really proud of the other twin.

"But the thing about twins is that you'll forever be compared. Now... people are still comparing us. They keep asking me when I will finally settle down and have babies myself."

She will be getting married in November to an Indonesian property developer, 34.

May Wan says: "She got engaged five years after me, so she's been dealing with the question of 'when is your turn' for the past five years. But she's become really confident of herself and it wasn't like a case of 'oh, no one loves me' even before she met her fiance."

Despite separate jobs, they still meet regularly - about three or four times a week, says May Wan.

She adds: "We're as close as ever. We're each other's biggest fans and also each other's biggest critics. Other people may tell us that we're doing a great job, but only we will whisper to the other one things like, 'Hey, you look too nervous' or 'You're speaking too fast'. We know each other so well, so even if we had a tiny twitch of the eye, the other will know that something is off."

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