Cynthia Koh on 30 years in showbiz: ‘I’m fearless at this point in time’

But, seven years in, the thought of a career change crossed her mind, she revealed.

“I did think of leaving and doing something else. I said, ‘Why don’t I go into tourism? Get a licence and all that… I cannot be doing the same thing over and over again.” She added, “In your early 20s you just want to try new, different things.”

But she didn’t in the end, and in 2012, she experienced something of a rebirth with the drama Show Hand. “That was the first show where I stepped out to work with an external production house (Wawa Pictures) and the director asked me to throw out all my bad habits,” she recalled.

For example, “I had this mouth gesture that I used every time I needed to cry. These are things you don’t notice until someone points it out… A lot of the time, experienced actors might have little habits or very technical skills we bring on set. It’s not wrong, but it becomes mechanical, not something you feel from the heart.”

Her performance in Show Hand earned her a Star Awards nomination for Best Actress – and drove home an important point, as well.

“If you’re vulnerable and open, whether it’s opportunities or lessons, anything is open to you. If you’re not open to change, then things won’t open up for you and you won’t find yourself stepping out of your comfort zone to do something a bit more satisfying. A lot of times we have fear, but there’s nothing to lose. Either you fail or succeed. I think half the time, you succeed more than fail.”


Now, in her 40s, she said, “I’m quite fearless at this point in time. You’re at the age where you’re almost stepping into a half century, so what is there to lose? Hentam and try everything! I do encourage people to pick up something new, do something different, step out of the comfort zone. That’s when you learn about yourself.”

During the pandemic, she challenged herself to sporting activities. “In the last two years, there was a lot of self-discovery. I was happy, I was able to meditate more, and I found a group of friends to go hiking with. I was glad I could go rollerblading down the ECP on my own,” she said.

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