A former model in Japan, Dai Yang Tian was talent spotted by MediaCorp scouts who signed him up in 2007. Since then, he has catapulted into the limelight with his TV roles,becoming a household name with his iconic turn as a Japanese photographer in the 2008 blockbuster drama, The Little Nonya. He has clinched many titles over the years, including the Dude of the Year 2009 at The Newpaper Flame awards, the Best Newcomer Award at Star Awards 2009, and the local broadcaster’s top 10 most popular artistes in 2010.
Radiating command and charisma, he walked into the studio in confident strides. My immediate impression of Dai Yang Tian was that of a Korean bad boy, minus the stereotypical moustache. As I greeted the dashing Shanghai native, he gave me a firm handshake before immediately expressing his apologies that he would be unable to look me in the eye as he would have to focus on his preparation in front of the makeup mirror. In a short span of time, from just exchanging pleasantries, I could see why this man seated barely a metre away from me is able to attract droves of girls. With his deep, calming voice that was laced with sincerity and conviction, combined with his masculine charm and chiselled features, I felt like we were creatures from two different species. As I struggled to communicate with him in my less than proficient mandarin, he was helpful, even at times waving aside my fervent apologies of befouling his mother tongue.
Whether it was his voice or the fact that he was extremely candid, Dai Yang Tian’s mere presence would have calmed down even the most jittery of journalists. As he answered my questions without hesitation, he attempted a couple of jokes just to lighten the mood. As the final touches of his makeup and hair were done, he patted this writer on the shoulder appreciatively as he stood up, ready, picture perfect for the camera.
“My job is simply to deliver a performance, and I have to thank the people who believe that I am able to pull off such performances; they are the real heroes.”
You have been said to be a very serious person. Do you agree?
I am indeed a serious person, but when I say that, I mean it in terms of my career. I am an extremely committed person when it comes to what I do. But however, with my friends, I can assure you I’m a completely different person!
What does the word sexy mean to you?
I find health to be very sexy. I say that because health in our society is a very hard thing to come by. We have to work hard at exercising and eating right to remain healthy, and essentially a healthy person looks sexy.
Do you see yourself as an attractive person?
I don’t think I am an attractive person. I don’t believe in typecasting what is attractive and what is not. Different people have different perspectives.
You have been in Singapore for five years, do you feel that you understand Singapore a bit more?
Of course I do. I do not pretend to understand Singapore completely, but Singapore as a country is beautiful and very advanced, and I’ve enjoyed living here over the years.
How do you think your career has progressed in Singapore?
I am happy to have started a career in Singapore. I have had many opportunities here. Of course, I still want to push further internationally, and Singapore is a great spring board for that.
You have won many awards, what do you attribute your success to?
I do not consider myself to have won that many awards and it would be quite selfish to assume that all the success can be attributed to me. My job is simply to deliver a performance. I have to thank the people who believe that I can pull off such performances; They are the real heroes.
“As actors and media personalities, educating the public is one of our core roles, because we can reach out to people.”
I understand you played the lead in the film ‘3X ’, are you proud to have been part of the movie?
I think it was a great production and I am very proud to have been a part of it. It was also a challenge for me because I had to portray a normal working person, a role I never had to play before. I had to research a great deal by observing ordinary people, and also had to work on quelling my strong Chinese accent.
You have mentioned in the past that educating the public is a celebrity’s duty. How do you go about doing so?
As actors and media personalities, this is one of our core roles, because we can reach out to people. Just like we are able to bring people gossip, things to laugh about, things to talk about, we can also bring people more important messages by setting a good example, showing the public that we actors are the same as they are, not better than them.
Are you currently in a relationship?
Unfortunately no. To be an actor’s girlfriend would require a great amount of understanding, and I can’t say I have found that girl yet.
What kind of girls are you attracted to?
She would have to deal with my irregular schedule as well as the fact that she would hardly get to see me. A girl who could understand all of that while being happy would be great.
What do you do during your free time?
An excessive amount of exercise! If it’s not playing basketball with my friends, I’m going to the gym. Otherwise, I like to read and take long walks. I’m a simple person essentially.
Where would be the perfect vacation for you?
I think there are three kinds of perfect vacations. One is the kind you go by yourself. I had such a trip when I backpacked in Korea. That was magical for me. Another is the kind you go with your friends where it would be a beach holiday with many activities. The last is the kind you go with a lover, where it would be a quiet private vacation.
Photography: Cher Him
Styling: Daniel Goh
Hair: Royjo Kwan/Kim Robinson
Grooming: Aie using M.A.C cosmetics
Styling assistant: Hilman Nasir