You would probably know Irene Ang from her appearance as Rosie in the award winning local sitcom, Phua Chu Kang. Not only is she an actress, but she’s also a host, stand-up comedian, entertainer, and the CEO of FLY Entertainment Pte Ltd, Singapore’s first and largest Artiste Management Agency
How did she get started all this? Well, Irene shared with me that she unofficially started hosting at a very young age during family functions where she will dress up as celebrities; she just enjoyed the process of bringing laughter to people. Now being a professional entertainer and a CEO of her own talent management company, she conducts lessons from time to time, teaching the skills of hosting. Irene did not grow up with the intention of being an actress or a star. Instead, she had aspired to be a Sportswoman. At 20 years old, she was one of Singapore's most talented female fencers. She was the silver medalist holder for the Singapore's women fencing team in the 1991 Southeast Asian Games. She gave up her fencing dreams due to financial difficulties, she then went into the corporate industry and at the same time, continues to volunteer her services as a host for charitable organizations. Her debut on TV was in the award winning sitcom, Phua Chu Kang, where she acted as Rosie, the wife of the lead actor. Since then, audiences have liked her and embraced her appearances on TV. She shared with me one valuable lesson. She said “acting is not acting; acting is reacting”, She then continue her explanation “you should try not to act, instead you should try to be that person. Put yourself into the character.”
So, Does Irene think anyone can enter the entertainment industry? “There are people who are talented, but they don’t dare. Or there are people who are talented, but lazy. There are also people who worked very hard, but they’re just not talented,” she says. There is no shortcut to success, and good looks alone get you nowhere in the entertainment line. Especially for people who enter this line, they would have to continually sharpen their abilities and skills through numerous attempts, and not to be afraid to make mistakes. “If you choose to come to this path, you have to invest a lot of time, make a lot of mistakes, try, and try, and try, and try, and practice and practice, and practice.” she added. Irene’s advice to all people out there is to keep on practicing, work hard, grab every opportunity, and never give up even after going through numerous failures.
Knowing that many of you who read this post might be an aspiring artist or model, I then asked Irene what are things to look out when searching for a talent management agency? Her advice was to always look at the company’s track record. Don’t forget to also read the contract carefully before putting down your signature. Make sure that you go for reputable ones, as there are people who sell fake hope and dream to young people, like you, ask you to pay a lot of money to go for a grooming course, and promise you that you can become a model. And then you realize that all you get is just some photographs.
In FLY Entertainment, Irene and her team generally take up two kinds of people. One is those people who have already proven themselves in the media industry, and they require people to handle the management on their behalf. The other type of people is those who are very raw, but they possess great potential, and FLY would nurture these raw people into diamonds and eventually into stars. The qualities that Irene looks at are not much of the looks, but more into the talent, hunger, and the attitude. Two of such examples are Chua Enlai and Mindee Ong, where the former may not have a pretty face, but he carved out a remarkable career in theatres and TV. The latter has the looks and talent, but not the timing. Before getting her big role in the local hits movie 881, Mindee worked for 5 years in short films and surviving through taking part time jobs every now and then before making her mark in the industry today. A pretty face may not be the necessary prerequisite for anyone to enter the entertainment industry, but it can be of some help.
Being in the entertainment industry for so long and having seen so many beautiful people, Irene’s definition of a gorgeous person is“someone who encompass a lot of personality, someone who is popular, someone who exudes a lot of charm, but not essentially good-looking”, Irene says.
Lastly, if you are looking for more information about the entertainment industry, you can either go to www.fly.com.sg or follow Irene on her Twitter.
Here's part of my audio interview with Irene.