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Mon, Dec 05, 2011
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Hello, Sexy!
by Teo Kuan Yee

When you invite Ann Kok for a photo shoot, expect heads to turn. The petite actress shows up in a pair of denim shorts and a sexy tank top that show off her sun-kissed tan and cellulite-free legs to good effect.

The ensuing four-hour photo shoot, with four clothing changes, sees her morphing from sophisticated glamazon in a striped jumpsuit with a plunging neckline that reaches down to her navel, to a Lolita schoolgirl in a bright yellow top and shocking pink feathery skirt.

Sizzling Hot

Depite her age-defying features and well-endowed figure, the 38-year-old Mediacorp thespian is quick to downplay mention of her sexy image.

In fact, Ann doesn't even consider herself sexy - though many will beg to differ. Back in 2009, ratings reportedly shot up - to 977,000 viewers - after she appeared in a skimpy bikini in one scene in TV drama Housewives' Holiday.

She was also once voted among the world's Top 10 sexiest women in a local men's magazine poll.

Beyond her sex symbol image, Ann also made the headlines for another reason - her supposed dalliance with TV hunk Dai Yang Tian, who is 11 years her junior.

So does she consider him marriage material? It's a question which makes her break into peals of girlish laughter and she stops short of giving me an answer.

How would you describe your relationship, I persist? She returns a blank stare. Do you guys go out, for movies and food, perhaps? Yes, she replies, and that is all she will say.

She does, however, tell us that she doesn't believe in the concept of Mr Right. Her ideal partner?

She says: "No one is inherently bad, as long as the person does not have a bad habit or vice, such as gambling or smoking."

She then wistfully adds: "If given a choice, he would be someone with the looks of Johnny Depp and be a devoted husband like Hugh Jackman."

A Star Is Born

Ann's image was more girl-next-door than sex bomb when she entered the entertainment fray in 1993 as a Star Search finalist.

In the '90s, local media polls ranked her as the third most popular actress here, among the likes of Caldecott Queens Zoe Tay and Fann Wong.

Her winsome smile quickly led to sweetie pie, goody two-shoes roles such as a cancer-stricken student in The Morning Express (1995) and a caring teacher in the sequel The Morning Express II the same year.

Then came that infamous peekaboo cleavage-baring top that Ann wore at the 1995 Star Awards and a sex symbol was born.

Acting as an auntie in Housewives' Holiday was quite a stretch, apparently. Her character was a 40-year-old housewife with two school-going kids.

"My kids in the show were quite old, so it was a challenge connecting with them. Luckily, we didn't have many scenes together," she recalls.

Instead, her character spends a lot of time showing her more auntie pals in the show - Xiang Yun and Hong Huifang - how not to be one.

Secrets Of Her Sexiness

Press her for her definition of sexy and Ann says: "It's not physical, you can be sexy in a casual, simple T-shirt and shorts. It is more like a gesture… in the way you carry yourself."

About that infamous still-fabulous-at-this-age figure, Ann says she owes it to "good genes" from her parents, who are in their 70s, and a "high metabolic rate" which dissolves the calories whenever she indulges in her two sins - chocolate and ice-cream.

It also helps that she has a petite frame, she points out.

One strict no-no for her is food just before bedtime, not even after a gruelling shoot that lasts into the wee hours of the morning.

"I don't have the habit of having supper," she explains. Other than hitting the gym regularly, she also loves playing Nintendo Wii - her favourite game is Rayman Raving Rabbids - and sports like tennis.

One beauty regime she adheres to is to use a lot of facial masks to compensate for the heavy makeup she needs to put on as part of her work. "I also stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, proper cleansing, eating more fruits and sleeping well."

Ann reveals that she prefers to fly under the radar. "I am low-key," she declares matter-of-factly.

She relaxes by listening to Chinese ballads and surfs the Internet. She says she's no social butterfly either, preferring to stay at home unless there's a pressing need to go out.

When I throw her a you-are-kidding-me look, she protests: "Yes, it's true. Take today, for instance, I arranged a dinner date only because I'm already out at work."

Her ritual after wrapping up a drama shoot? Ann holes up at home for some much-needed R&R - she watches movies or interacts with her fans online.

Coming Of Age

When I first interviewed Ann back in 2000, she exuded a girl-next-door charm with her trademark dimpled smile. Ten years on, she still possesses a girlie charm, but with a tinge of worldly wisdom of having been there and done that.

But as age catches on and her peers such as Zoe, Fann and Jacelyn Tay are settling down, does she feel the pressure to slow down? She gives a vehement no - "the friends I hang out with aren't mothers," she points out.

She adds that her mum doesn't bother nagging her to get hitched "because my elder siblings - two sisters and three brothers - are all married and I am the youngest, so she leaves me alone".

Noting Ventured, Nothing Gained

Ann admits to being a straightforward person.

In fact, she acknowledges that having better PR skills "would have helped" in her career progression.

Proof of that was when she packed her bags at the peak of her career in 2000 to venture into Hong Kong's entertainment industry, perhaps disgruntled at being typecast in girl-next-door, cookie-cutter roles.

However, her straight-laced character did not go down well there. She explains: "It's easy to get misconstrued by people who don't know you well and where you are coming from."

Local audiences still love her though, and warmly welcomed her back when she returned in 2005.

The following year, she was nominated for the Best Actress Award at Star Awards - the first in her career.

She remains in demand, and was still among the Top 10 Most Popular Actresses line-up in this year's show, a sign that her star hasn't waned despite the rising crop of younger starlets.

"I definitely appreciate my fans' support," she adds.

Still, she doesn't consider the road less travelled as being a waste of time.

She followed her heart and while overseas, she says she learnt to be "independent" and "how to express herself better".

Since her return, she has dabbled in a variety of roles - in her latest TV dramas, Ann plays a lawyer caught in a love triangle in The Oath, and a devoted housewife who is ill-treated by her husband in Kampong Ties.

She's also continued to do acting stints overseas, which have made her treasure working here more - the hours here are actually shorter, she says, comparing her last shoot in Malaysia.



Get a copy of the November 2011 issue of Simply Her to read about smart solutions for busy women. Simply Her, published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now. Check out more stories at Simply Her online,


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