Lights, Camera and Action!
Her World Malaysia|December 2016

Carmen Soo gets serious with Stephanie Yap about life after marriage, giving back to society, what acting means to her and the new, exciting business that’s on everyone’s lips.

Stephanie Yap

It says everything about Carmen Soo when she arrives for our interview in a plain T-shirt, black midi skirt and flip flops, her hair tied back in a loose ponytail – she’s just a regular Jane at heart. But to the outside world, the talented actress is an awe-inspiring figure and a role model. At 38, she has accomplished things that most people can only dream of – a cameo role in a Hong Kong film (Gorgeous) alongside Jackie Chan and Shu Qi, acting gigs in the Philippines that earned her international recognition, and the Most Promising Actress award at the 2006 Malaysian Film Festival for her breakthrough role in The 3rd Generation. These are only some of the pivotal moments in Carmen’s successful career.

The model turned actress recently entered another phase in life: marriage. Last October, Carmen and Benson Tan tied the knot in Bali, Indonesia. Singer Nicholas Teo, Carmen’s good friend, officiated the wedding. The newlywed reveals that she’s planning to expand her family in the near future. How else has marriage changed her? “To be honest, it’s the same as before. Just that I’m a bit more careful about taking (acting) roles that might take up too much time away from home, because the priority has shifted,” she answers.

“Back when I was younger, all I could think about was work, work and work. But now things have changed. I don’t just want to work, I want to be involved in good projects and that means turning down lots of not-so-desirable roles. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I’ve been working for more than 20 years now and I’ve spent the past decade just trying things out. It’s time to focus on things that actually make me happy,” she says.

Giving back to society

Speaking of good projects, for the past year, Carmen has taken on a challenging but meaningful role that changed her perspective towards life. “I shot a movie last year titled Orang Itu. It’s basically a social film that centres on the plight of the homeless in Malaysia,” she enthuses. Produced and director by Low Ngai Yuen, Orang Itu is set for release by the end of â€‹the year. To provide more insight into the movie, Ngai Yuen tasked Carmen and a co-writer to author a book about the lives of the homeless. “From January to June this year, we did a series of interviews with the homeless, to tell their stories for them. Ngai Yuen thinks that there isn’t enough emphasis on them. It was quite an experience for me to interview them and to see how they live,” she says.

“My perception of why people are homeless has changed,” she expresses. How so? Carmen ponders for a bit before answering, “I had a very ignorant perception of them. I thought they are lazy and don’t want to work; that they’re content with life as long as they have a place to stay and food to eat, because soup kitchens will provide them with free meals. But there are a lot of people who don’t have a choice (about being homeless),” she says with sorrow. “For example, there is an old woman who is constantly being physically abused by her daughter, so she keeps running away from home and sleeps under the bridge. When the officers come and sapu (remove) the homeless, they will send her back to her daughter. And the cycle begins all over again,” she shares, recalling the interview that she did months ago with the victim. She cites this story as the one that touched her the most and convinced her to take on the project.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HER WORLD MALAYSIAView All

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME

“More than half of my time is spent with animals, but I enjoy it,” enthuses animal rescuer, Aileen Lee. The story of this selfless lady’s dedication and love for the fur kids she has saved will warm your heart.

8 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

MISSION: Catification

We discover why pet proofing your home ensures harmony and safety for both the owner and the cat.

2 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE ONE WHO'S TAKING ACTION

Best known for her extensively waitlisted Nina bag, Gabriela Hearst walks the talk when it comes to sustainable luxury. The New York-based designer shares her inspirations, dreams and resolutions for herself and her eponymous label.

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

BORN TO ENTERTAIN

YOU MIGHT RECOGNISE HER AS THE GENTLE AND LOVING MOTHER IN LEE CHONG WEI, THE BIOPIC OF THE BADMINTON LEGEND, OR THE VULNERABLE YET RESILIENT TEACHER IN WET SEASON, WHICH HIT THE CINEMAS IN MARCH. SOME OF US MAY HAVE SEEN YEO YANN YANN ON THE BIG SCREEN PLAYING VARIOUS CHARACTERS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. STILL, SHE NEVER FAILS LEAVE HER AUDIENCE IN AWE OF HER ACTING PROWESS.

10+ mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE TRUTH BEHIND FAUX FUR

Is imitation fur still a feasible alternative in this modern, fashion-forward world? Nadhirah Othman uncovers how the fur industry – both real and fake – brings a detrimental impact to the well-being of our planet.

4 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Surprising reasons WHY YOUR KID is under performing in school

You’re understandably frustrated that your child isn’t living up to her potential. But before you blame her attitude, check if these conditions are hindering her academically.

9 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

A PAWSITIVE' Life

Like in many parts of the world, pet culture has seen exponential growth in Malaysia. In this issue, Lorraine Chai discusses pet therapy, a method of treatment that is gaining traction, and also some of the pet trends you don’t want to miss out on.

10 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

The Healing Power Of Unconditional Love

There’s a saying that goes, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” For one woman, these words resonated deeply. An unlikely companion came into her life at her lowest point and changed everything.

7 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Even Pets Need Tummy Care?

For many, keeping a pet is more than just caring for an animal; pets are family members, too. We speak to veterinary surgeon, Dr Wafaa Abdul Washefffrom Pets Corner Sdn Bhd, to find out how your pets can stay healthy with a suitable diet

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Beauty The Natural Way

With climate change rapidly threatening the future of Mother Earth, we urgently need to curb further acts of destruction. We speak to Law Hong Mei, founder of The Olive Tree, about building a beauty brand that is sustainable from the core.

5 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020