Bright sparks

Take a good, long look at these three NTU undergrads, up-and-coming in their respective fields of acting, film and sports. Chrystal Chan predicts these made-in-NTU hopefuls are faces to watch out for

She’s got screen chemistry
Photos: Mark Teo; Hair and makeup: Alex Ho for Clinique; Clothes: Topshop
People around us turn curiously to look at Shona. When she talks, her eyes sparkle and her charisma fills the space around her.

It’s no wonder then that even before her final exams, she was offered a full-time artiste contract. When she graduates from NTU in July, the 24-year-old will begin her professional life as a MediaCorp artiste.

“Everyone asks me what I will be doing in MediaCorp, and I really don’t know yet. I don’t have much time to think about it now with exams on my mind. I’ll take whatever comes my way.”

This bubbly beauty from the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences has dabbled in some acting. In secondary school, she was in the drama club and she did theatre studies in junior college.

Shona’s route to stardom began simply enough, when she modelled for a friend’s jewellery blog shop.

“I did it for fun and because I didn’t mind having some pretty photographs of myself. But, after doing that, I became more confident and decided to take part in NTU’s Next Top Model, which I won,” says the dimpled lass with a megawatt smile.

When Shona realised that she could actually win modelling competitions, she decided to join MediaCorp’s Hey Gorgeous when an open audition was held for tertiary students.

“I didn’t expect to pass the open audition, because I was very unprepared. Everyone else had planned some kind of talent performance, except me,” Shona recalls.

“In the end, because I used to take ballet classes, I just put together some steps on the spot,” she says.

“They also asked me to do the catwalk. Luckily, because of NTU’s Next Top Model, I knew how to do it.”

To her surprise, she made it to the finals of the competition. Even though she didn’t win the title, she walked away with the SilkyGirl Miss Confidence award.

The win pushed her right into the line of sight of TV producers and artiste managers, and after a few more rounds of auditions and selections, they decided to sign her.

While her whirlwind route to stardom might sound like a dream come true for most girls, Shona’s childhood ambition was in fact to be a scientist.
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“I’m actually quite nerdy,” Shona confesses with a sheepish grin.

“I enjoy doing calculations and science, and I studied a lot during my first three years in university. One of the reasons I chose to major in chemistry is because I really like the subject,” she says.

Right now, Shona is doing a research project on nano-particles in cosmetic products, specifically, how they might be toxic in the long run – and this from a gal who doesn’t even like to wear make-up.

“It feels like my pores are clogged up and my skin can’t breathe,” she says.

Not that she needs it, anyway. The fresh-faced undergrad is blessed with baby-smooth complexion and lashes that curl prettily even without a single swipe of mascara.

“Asst Prof Ng Kee Woei is my supervisor for the research project, and I appreciate that he is extremely supportive. He understands when I have last-minute obligations at MediaCorp and can’t turn up for meetings,” she says.

As for what she hopes to achieve as an actress, she says resolutely: “I want to try a role I could never imagine myself in. I don’t have to win an award. As long as I do something out of my comfort zone and am able to do it well, I’ll be a happy girl.”

Shine on, Shona.