She may be making her mark in China, but Singaporean actress Eleanor Lee (also the scion of local TV host Quan Yi Fong) is also making waves in her motherland.

In the upcoming Star Awards 2021, the bubbly 21-year-old is nominated for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award. Her variety show “YiFong and Eleanor’s Kitchen” (which she co-hosts with her mother) is also in the running for Best Entertainment Programme.

When we caught up with the starlet over email earlier this month about her nomination, Eleanor — who’s currently filming in China — said she is “happy, honoured, and thankful” to be nominated for the popularity award.

She added: “I honestly never thought I’d be nominated as I don’t have many projects in Singapore. I guess I was also a bit nervous because most of my supporters are based in China. But it is really an honour to be nominated for this award.”

She admitted that she’s “more of the messy-going kind of host” and the “back-up host” playing a supporting role.

Eleanor explained: “If I had to memorise the script for hosting, I’d probably die. But if I was those hype girl and playful kind, I think I got that down.

“Though I don’t think I presented this in the variety show that (my mother and I) collaborated on, but that’s because all our guests are my mom’s friends, and they are all the adults that watched me grow up. So I was more respectful rather than playful towards them.”

When asked how she felt hosting alongside her mother, Eleanor said she can’t compare to her mother — who is “known for her hosting” — but added that it’s “a fun experience as it was our first collaboration”.

We also couldn’t resist asking her what she thought about her mum’s hosting skills, and she quipped: “She is an Ah Jie for a reason right? Don’t think I have to comment. Hahaha.”

Blossoming career in China

Right now, she is filming a movie in Chengdu where she plays a nurse who catches the eye of a singer-songwriter. All she’ll say of her character is that she’s “very humble, happy, kind, and bubbly” and is someone who “loves life and is living it to the fullest”.

And from some Instagram snaps, it seems that Yi Fong accompanied Eleanor to China as well.

Although, Eleanor clarified: “She came to Beijing with me. But I left Beijing and now I’m in Chengdu. I guess she is living the life of a normal ‘mom’ now in Beijing. Going out to watch movies, exercising, and making friends around the neighbourhood.”

Despite being very independent, she confessed to relying on her mother more when the latter is around.

She shared: “Having her in China with me from time to time is fun because I don’t have to do my chores or clean my cat. Hahahahaha! And I’d start to depend on her a lot, and as she leaves, I’d start to miss her again. But I know she’ll always come and visit me whenever she’s free.”

Possible return to Singapore? 

Although Eleanor is seen as a rising star in China, she doesn’t see herself in a similar light.

Instead, she told us that she’s still working on her career and added: “I’m not being humble nor confident. I just think it’s a learning process, I’m very thankful I have many opportunities to learn and enjoy!”

That said, she’s not counting out the possibility of returning to Singapore to film a drama or pursue her career.

Eleanor said: “I’m currently busy filming in China, and also with many small shoots in between, so I haven’t got the time to think about this. But if there’s a chance or time, why not?”

Star Awards 2021 will be broadcasted live on April 18 on Channels 8 and U, with simulcast on meWATCH and Mediacorp Entertainment Channel on YouTube.

Text: Bryan Lim/AsiaOne