Zoe Tay, Who’s Dancing At President’s Star Charity 2021, Reveals Why She Doesn’t Let Her Sons Watch Her Performances
Ah Jie will be teaming up with fellow Star Search champ Zhang Zetong and a President’s Challenge beneficiary to present a wheelchair dance item this weekend.
If you were wondering if anything happened to Zoe Tay’s son after the kid hilariously wandered in front of Ah Jie’s camera during the virtual press con for The Heartland Hero, don’t worry. He didn’t get into any trouble despite the spine-chilling death glare he earned from his mother.
At least, that’s what Zoe said when 8days.sg caught up with her over the phone to talk about her upcoming performance at this Sunday’s (Oct 10) President’s Star Charity (PSC).
Those who follow the 53-year-old on Instagram would know that while she doesn’t shy away from posting about her family, their faces are never shown to protect their privacy.
However, those tuning into the Facebook live broadcast of Heartland's press con got a brief but clear look at her youngest, 11-year-old Nathan’s cheeky little face when he casually slid into frame behind Zoe, single-handedly undoing all her efforts of concealing his appearance from the public.
While she did not look like she was happy with the intrusion at all, Zoe, who is known to be a very strict parent, told us that there were no repercussions for Nathan.
“He thought I was just in a regular Zoom meeting and didn’t know it was a live stream, but I was shocked! I spoke to him after that and he apologised,” Zoe said, adding that Nathan’s two older brothers, 16-year-old Brayden and 14-year-old Ashton, went to have a talk with him as well.
Speaking of her boys, Zoe admitted that they don’t watch her charity show performances as she doesn’t want to encourage them to stay up late on a school night. Told you she’s a strict mum.
In fact, they might not even be aware that she dances as she purposely waits for them to go to bed or leave the house before she starts practising, otherwise they would “disturb” her and she wouldn't be able to focus.
For this year’s PSC, Zoe will be presenting a wheelchair dance item alongside Star Search 2019 champ Zhang Zetong, 28, and several other performers including President’s Challenge beneficiary Jeremiah Liauw, a 15-year-old with special needs.
Zoe, of course, is pretty much a charity show veteran and is no stranger to dancing live on screen. However, this is the first time she would be doing so with someone in a wheelchair.
“I also danced with a group of beneficiaries last year but this time, it’s a little different ‘cos [Jeremiah and I] have more interaction, which I find makes it even more meaningful as it sends a stronger message that they also have the ability to do what others can,” she mused. “I think it’s a good way of encouraging people to never give up.”
In order to ensure everyone’s safety during rehearsals amidst the pandemic, masks had to be worn at all times — even when they were dancing — and hands were immediately sanitised whenever there was any physical contact.
The most difficult part of the five-minute showcase, said Zoe, is making sure she is always in sync with the others.
“I always love watching the National Day Parade cheerleaders ‘cos everyone is so perfectly synchronised and it looks so nice!” she said. “So I’m trying my best not to be the one who isn’t in sync with the rest — there’s this pressure on me not to let everybody down. (Laughs)”
Fortunately, she has her years of experience on stage and some basic dance knowledge from her childhood to back her up.
“When I was in primary school, I was influenced by my neighbour to go learn dance at the community centre, and then I joined the Chinese Dance CCA in secondary school,” she said. “Although I stopped after that, I’m still able to benefit from that foundation I had.”
Guess that means she mastered the choreography faster than Zetong, who has no dance background and — in her own words — was “quite stiff” during his Star Search finals dance performance, right?
“Actually, I’m surprised that he picked things up faster than me!” exclaimed Zoe. “When we danced together previously [at River Hongbao 2021], it was quite tough for him and he was struggling to follow the steps, but he was like a totally changed person this time. I was impressed. Maybe he’s been more hardworking and I need to catch up. (Laughs)”
This weekend’s PSC won’t be the last time we’ll see the two Star Search champs — Zoe won in 1988 — on screen together as they are set to star in the fourth instalment of medical drama You Can Be An Angel.
Zoe refrained from sharing too much about the plot or her character, except that she is no longer a nurse and has been transferred to another department.
Since she’s been spending a lot more time with Zetong, we asked Zoe if there was ever a time when she looked at him and thought, “Hmmm, he reminds me of another older actor”. You know, like how Star Search second runner-up Ye Jiayun has been compared to Joanne Peh, and finalist Gini Chang to Cecilia Cheung.
Ah Jie’s answer, we admit, was a little unexpected.
“The first time I saw Zetong, I said, ‘Eh, you look like Christopher Lee!’ I think they could pass off as relatives!” Zoe exclaimed. “No? Is it just me!?”
President’s Star Charity 2021 is now available on demand for free on meWATCH.
It will be repeated on Ch 5 on Sunday (Oct 17) at 12.30pm.
You may continue donating to PSC 2021 until 11.59pm on Sunday (Oct 17). For more information on how to donate, click here.
Photos: Zoe Tay/Instagram, Mediacorp, Zhang Zetong/Instagram
Related topicszoe tay President's Star Charity 2021 Zhang Zetong
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