updated 30 Apr 2012, 06:41
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The New Paper
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Maia fights fears in movie
by Tan Kee Yun

CELEBRITY blogger and former Singapore Idol finalist Maia Lee, never one to be shy or inhibited in front of cameras, unexpectedly found herself facing her biggest fears in her movie debut.

In The Gang, a local short film based on secret societies of the 1960s and ’70s, she plays the leader of all-girl gang Red Butterfly.

You’d think that with her wild child reputation and a glaring full-sleeve tattoo on her right arm, filling the shoes of a feisty da jie da (Mandarin for big sister) would be a walk in the park.

But Maia, 26, said it posed challenges she hadn’t foreseen.

“On my first day of the shoot, as part of the script, I had to do an intimate scene with an older man,” she revealed.

“It felt so awkward during our first few tries because the actor (who’s in his 50s) was around my dad’s age.

“You know, I don’t normally have such close contact with my dad.”

Maia was speaking to The New Paper at the signing ceremony that would make her an official artiste of film production company Kelvin Sng Productions (KSP).

The Gang, slated for release early next year, co-stars another KSP artiste, former MediaCorp actor-host Louis Wu.

“Shooting that particular scene brought back some bad memories as well,” added Maia.

She claimed that when she was 5 years old, she was “molested” by a guy 13 years older.

“I don’t like strangers touching me. I’m not even fond of massages,” she said.

It wasn’t the only discomfort in the film she had to grit her teeth and overcome.

Another tough scene featured her character being tortured.

“I was tied up and trapped in a tiny cage,” said Maia.

“It was definitely not pleasant as I’m a little claustrophobic.”

While the mental hurdles weren’t easy to leap over, there is no doubt that acting has become Maia’s newfound love.


Her only earlier acting experience was a cameo in the final season of local sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd.

“Acting’s a new direction I’m taking and I see it as my current top priority in my career,” she said.

The straight-talking lass brushed off criticism that she is basically just playing herself in bad girl-type roles.

“Stereotyping is very sad,” she said. “People should know that I’m not like that (referring to her gangster character) at all in reality.”

Indeed, the single mother of two – son Tyrese is 7 and daughter Julka recently turned 1 – tells us unabashedly that she is becoming “increasingly auntie-fied”.

With a chuckle, she breaks down the routine in a typical day of her life: “I wake up, make breakfast for my kids, bathe Julka, play with her and take her out for a walk.

“Before I know it, the day’s almost gone.

“The only time I have for myself is at night, when I spend most of the time surfing the Net.”

Maia has cut down on partying to a minimum as “it’s hard to take my kids along to chill out”.

And guess what her favourite hobbies are these days?

“I like making clothes and accessories for my children,” she said, flashing a wide grin.

“Earlier, when I was into muay thai, I would go online to look for videos on boxing and fights.

“Now, I just use the Internet to source for fabric, or material on parenting and kids. Yes, I’m totally an auntie!”


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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