Remember Zhou Ying?
The Star Search 2007 (the competition that produced stars like Andie Chen, Ya Hui and Desmond Tan) alumnus might have only been in Singapore for a few short years, but the Shanghai-born actress certainly made a splash with her acting chops. Among her most memorable roles is as Tang Ying in Breakout, which also earned her a Best Actress nom during the 2011 Star Awards.
When she decided to pack her bags and return to Shanghai at the peak of her career in 2013, some wondered if she was going home to get married, or if she was retiring from showbiz. At the time, she shared that she wanted to spend more time with her family.
Fast forward six years later, and Zhou Ying chuckled that there was more to it than she realised at the time. Speaking to newsmen while sipping coffee at Wild Honey during her vacation in Singapore on Sunday, the 34-year-old shared: “I was just so burned out that I felt like I had nothing more to give.
“I filmed three dramas a year – maybe even more – and I was exhausted. I didn’t have time to recuperate, and I felt like there wasn’t anything new I could show through my acting. That’s when I knew I needed a change.”
This change includes a conscious effort to pick up a maximum of one drama and one movie, or their equivalent in terms of commitment, a year. She is still very much into acting, and has continued challenging herself by taking on projects that push her limits. She took on her first theater play last year as she felt that she needed to force herself to be better at memorizing her script, and proudly declared that she pulled off a two-and-a-half hour production with aplomb.
She mused, “I need breaks in between my projects. I can’t just rest for a day. I need weeks, or even better, a month to rest, recharge and recuperate. I also have my family and friends to think of. I need time to paktor (date) as well.”
As for who she’s paktor-ing with, Zhou Ying shared that she has been dating her non-celebrity boyfriend for about eight years.
“I got to know him even before I came to Singapore. We started dating before I came here, and we were in a long distance relationship when I was working here,” she said. “Now that I look back, I don’t know how we managed to maintain our relationship, but we did. I guess it’s also because the both of us are very similar in the sense that we work out our problems rather than to avoid talking about it, only for all of it to pile up and come back to haunt us later on.”
At this point, she had to clarify that she is still very much unmarried. “Both of us are very lucky that we have very understanding parents,” she explained. “As our elders, they are understandably concerned about our future, but they’re also very respectful of our wishes, which we’re grateful for. We’ll be getting married soon, though!”
Although she declined to shed more light on her definition of ‘soon’, the huge smile on her face when talking about her other half indicates she’s very much, and very adorably, in love.