Rebecca Lim is, without a doubt, one of the most popular actresses in Singapore. The TV sweetheart is a familiar face on both Channel 5 and 8 and has acted in notable dramas such as The Pupil (2010/11), C.L.I.F (2011/2019), the You Can Be An Angel series (2015/16/18) and A Jungle Survivor (2020). In the 2022 Star Awards, she clinched her final Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste Award, making her one of a select few to do so.
Apart from having acting chops, she is also an advertiser’s darling, having endorsed everything from cars to jewellery, supplements and skincare. She has even appeared on the covers of numerous fashion magazines and flown around the world to attend fashion shows and events before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here are 16 facts to know about the down-to-earth star.
In Rebecca’s interview for for Her World’s January 2022 issue, she proclaimed that the shortest time she has taken to get ready is two minutes, as it involves “just brushing my teeth and splashing my face with water.”
On the other hand, the longest time she has taken to get ready is when she’s at shoots, and could take up to three hours.
Before Rebecca became an actress, she was a beauty pageant contestant. She was participating in an inter-junior college pageant when she was asked to audition for Miss Universe Singapore 2005. During the auditions, she stood out from the rest when she brought along a one-piece swimsuit and IC photo instead of a bikini and model portfolio.
However, this didn’t stop her from getting through, and she ended up winning fourth runner-up and the “Miss Photogenic” title. And perhaps most importantly, the pageant was also where she was spotted by Mediacorp, which kick-started her acting career.
Rebecca may be in the media industry now but in an interview with The Straits Times, she said that when she was studying, she was more of a science-stream student (she studied at CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls’ primary and secondary schools and Victoria Junior College) and her involvement with the arts was limited to moving props during school plays. She began acting part-time while studying at Singapore Management University (SMU), and graduated with a double degree in Accountancy and Law.
After signing on with Mediacorp full-time, Rebecca got the leading role in the critically acclaimed 2010 Channel 5 legal drama The Pupil. It was her first full-time contract role, and she went on set the very next day after sitting for her final exam paper at SMU.
Playing an apprentice lawyer called Wendy Lim, she and held her own among veteran actors like Adrian Pang and Janice Koh. She eventually won the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2010 Asian Television Awards for her performance, and credited the show for making her fall in love with acting.
Although she is effectively bilingual now, Rebecca used to struggle with Mandarin. Surrounded by English-speaking friends and family, she got an A2 for her O-level Chinese but was unable to speak it well. In interviews with the media, she has talked about how she had to repeat a simple line, ‘Mr Chen, you have a meeting at 3.30’ over 20 times when she acted for the first time in the 2006 drama Family Matters because she couldn’t get it right.
She was also heavily criticised for her poor command of Mandarin in 2008’s The Truth where she co-starred with Joanne Peh and Tay Ping Hui. Undeterred, she took Mandarin lessons, listened to Chinese music and read magazines like i-Weekly. All the hard work paid off. She is now one of the most prolific Channel 8 actresses. She even landed her first Hokkien-speaking role in the 2018 dialect drama Eat Already? 4.
Despite a rocky start acting in Channel 8 dramas, Rebecca has since gone on to win the prestigious Best Actress award at the Star Awards twice. She first won in 2015 for playing Zhang Xueqin in Yes We Can! and again in 2018 for playing Lin Mei Zhen in The Lead. She has since amassed nine consecutive Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste awards, which is a testament to her popularity.
Just as the circuit breaker measures kicked in in 2020, Rebecca made the news when she and her assistant personally packed and delivered 400 care packs to the elderly and less privileged staying in one-room flats and frontline heroes in essential services such as taxi drivers and cleaners. However, this isn’t a one-off thing.
The actress has been quietly doing philanthropic work for the past few years, organising Chinese New Year lunch and lo hei sessions with old folks who live alone and delivering care packages with her fan club members. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador of the Singapore Cancer Society where she helps raise awareness of the fight against cancer.
Before she got hitched, Rebecca already had an idea of how her ideal wedding would be like. During an interview with AsiaOne at a jewellery brand event, she revealed that she isn’t keen on the idea of a destination wedding as it involves too much planning, and rules out a beach wedding as she hates the sun. Instead, she prefers having a simple solemnisation ceremony followed by a buffet spread. Simplicity is also key when it comes to her engagement ring. She described her dream ring as being a simple ring with a small but shiny and good-quality diamond. Based on the diamond ring we saw from her pix, she got her wish after all.
Rebecca may be no stranger to winning awards, but did you know that she has also won an award in South Korea? At the 2016 Seoul International Drama Awards, she was the first and only Singaporean to receive an Asian Star Award, a people’s choice award that recognises people popular with the Korean audience. The jury had watched clips of her performance as a bar hostess in Channel 8 period drama The Journey: Our Homeland. Other recipients of the award at the ceremony included veteran Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong and popular Taiwanese actor Jasper Liu.
If things had gone differently, Rebecca could have been Pierre Png‘s unhappy socialite wife in Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians. She auditioned three times for the role of Astrid Leong-Teo but ultimately lost the role to British actress Gemma Chan. Rebecca said in a local interview that she thinks she did “really badly with the accent” as she was asked to put on an American accent.
Rebecca’s road to Hollywood stardom hasn’t ended, though. In February 2021, The Celebrity Agency, which manages Rebecca, signed a partnership with Bohemia Group. Alongside other local celebs, Bohemia will help them seek out international acting opportunities.
Joining forces with her brother Daniel, Rebecca started a home-based bakery business (@thelimskitchen) offering sourdough bread in June 2021. Rebecca shared that they had started their sourdough journey in July 2019 after receiving a starter named Larry, which just happens to be their father’s name. Since then, they have perfected their bread and it has brought much joy and comfort to their family.
Follow their Instagram account to keep up with the latest orders and news. FYI: Their sourdough bread is often sold out a few weeks in advance.
In a 2019 interview with 8 Days, Rebecca shared that she goes off social media when she needs a break. She added that you don’t need a prolonged break – even an hour will suffice – and spend the time focusing on yourself instead of what others are doing and sharing online.
“Go and do something else — something you enjoy. For me, I go for a two-hour massage or facial, spend time with my girlfriends, work out and sweat it out, or make myself a smoothie. Do things that add value to your body and mind, like read a book.”
For those who can’t get enough of Rebecca’s fashion and style sensibilities, hop over to TikTok and follow Rebecca there. She shares her OOTDS, glimpses of life behind-the-scenes as well as inspirational quotes to give you a morale boost.
Which is your favourite look? 🤍💕 @shaunleelee @louisvuitton @valentino @miumiu #chanel
While Rebecca has a nice, girl-next-door vibe, she shared in an Instagram Live chat with Her World in December 2020 that she was a rebellious kid and would often get into trouble, much to the chagrin of her mother.
“I pity my mum. I was a very bad daughter but I’m making up for it now! My brother was a star student and so was my sister—they were both head prefects and in the committee. I was always trying to get by and the discipline mistress would call my mum.”
Rebecca revealed in December 2020 with Her World (where she was one of our cover stars), that the circuit breaker gave her time to slow down and rest. “For the past four years, I’ve just been working non-stop. So during the Circuit Breaker, I didn’t do anything at all. I was in my pyjamas every day – I had three sets on rotation. ”
She added that this period of reflection gave her time to re-evaluate the stresses she place on herself. “I used to put a lot of pressure on myself on set, because with all these awards and titles that people give you, you have the responsibility of performing well. So when I didn’t do a good take, I’d beat myself up. I’m very hard on myself. But after the Circuit Breaker, when I returned to set, and I NG or make mistakes as a normal human being would, I would just let it go and try harder the next take.”
Text: Valerie Toh ad Ho Guo Xiong/HerWorld