updated 21 Jul 2014, 20:50
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Sun, Apr 13, 2014
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Tosh Zhang puzzled over his appeal
by Stacey Chia

While his YouTube videos are full of swagger, complete with hip-hop hand gestures, actor Tosh Zhang is surprisingly humble in person.

When asked about his appeal among females, the 24-year-old shrugs bashfully and says: "I really don't know why. Maybe because I rap and break dance?"

Despite not possessing typical good looks, the 1.81m-tall actor has over 104,000 followers on Instagram. This is more than what Channel 8 heart-throbs Elvin Ng and Desmond Tan each have.

He says that he receives lots of fan mail and one even included a marriage proposal.

"I'm not your cookie-cutter kind of guy and I'm by no means hunky," says Zhang, who rose to fame after playing the demanding platoon sergeant Alex Ong in Jack Neo's 2012 army movie Ah Boys To Men.

Next Friday, he will reprise his role in the musical version of the movie which will be staged at the Resorts World Theatre till April 27.

He says that acting on stage has proven to be more of a challenge than in the movies.

"I have to dance, sing and remember my lines all at the same time. My movements need to be more exaggerated as well in order for the audience to see it," says Zhang, who has never performed in a musical.

"Besides, I'm not much of a singer. Rapping is more my thing."

He says he attended vocal lessons to prepare for the musical.

The cast, most of whom are from the movie, have been rehearsing daily since February.

Without revealing too much, he says that the script is rather different from the movie, so fans can expect new and better jokes.

The New Media graduate from Republic Polytechnic was singled out for his rants on YouTube and invited to audition for Ah Boys To Men back in 2012.

"I'm glad that I went for the audition. Initially, my parents were not keen on me acting. They said: 'Why do you want to audition when you can't even act?'," says Zhang, who gave up his spot in an Australian university to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. His parents run their own business.

Given his busy schedule, he does not upload material on YouTube as often as he used to.

Now, he does it only when he feels strongly about something. His most recent video about people behaving badly online was uploaded a month ago.

Zhang, who is single, has been cast in a movie to commemorate Singapore's 50th anniversary. Another of his upcoming projects is Ah Boys To Men 3.

"I hope I don't ever have to go back and study again. If I do, it would mean that my acting career has failed," he says.

This article was published on April 11 in Urban, The Straits Times.

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