Majulah Singapura! This National Day, we’re taking a look at a bunch of local celebrities who either live here or are based abroad who have made waves overseas for their talents. Thanks to these outward-venturing stars, our little red dot has become more recognisable on the world map.
Our Ah Jie Fann Wong (and August issue cover girl!) was the first Singaporean actress to land a big break in Hollywood by playing Jackie Chan’s sister in the 2003 movie Shanghai Knights.
The role later won her a nomination at the MTV Movie Awards 2003 for Best Fight. The Star Award All-Time Favourite Artiste went on to win numerous international accolades including Best Actress at the West Hollywood International Film Festival 2008 and Best Asian Artist at Asian Song Festival 2013 with her other regional and international dramas and films.
Another Singaporean actor who has managed to break into the competitive Hollywood industry, you’ve probably watched many of the blockbusters he’s appeared in. His best known role is probably when he played Lau in Christopher Nolan’s critically-acclaimed The Dark Knight, but he’s also landed roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2012 and Ghost In The Shell, where he starred alongside A-lister Scarlett Johansson.
The Singaporean actor shot to fame in China when he was cast in the hit period drama Story of Yanxi Palace, where he played an imperial guard who falls in love with one of the palace maids. His performance earned him the Best Support Actor Award at the 14th Chinese American Film Festival 2018 in the US. He’s also won Asia’s Most Promising Actor Award at the Asian-American Television and Film Festival Golden Oak Award in 2018, and ranks 35th in a list of China’s most influential artists in 2018.
Local musician Ling Kai made history as the only Singaporean and female singer-songwriter to enter the finals of Chinese reality TV singing competition Sing My Song in 2014. Fellow Singaporean Tanya Chua was her mentor on the show.
She went on to win Indie Artist Of The Year at Beijing’s YinYueTai 2nd Annual V Chart Awards in 2014, which is no small feat!
The eloquent and charming actor and TV presenter made his Hollywood debut in the critically-acclaimed 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians, which was partly filmed on our little red dot.
Henry went on to star in Hollywood thriller A Simple Favour alongside A-listers like Blake Lively (he played her husband) and Anna Kendrick, as well as romantic comedy Last Christmas opposite Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke (set to be released this November).
Most recently, he’s been rumoured to take on the role of a villain in Marvel’s Black Panther 2!
You may remember twin sisters Miko and Yumi Bai when they made headlines after dropping out of Yio Chu Kang Secondary School in 2007 to pursue a music career in Taiwan. Their move was not in vain, as the sisters found success with the release of their third album, Grown Up, which reportedly made up 33 per cent of album sales in the Chinese market in April 2010.
While their career hasn’t been without controversy (Yumi famously dated casino king Stanley Ho’s son Mario, and their personal lives became fodder for gossip sites), the duo recently made a stunning comeback on Chinese talent show The Coming One, proving that they still have the chops.
They performed a moving rendition of Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow”:
Local singer Nathan Hartono was the first Singaporean singer to be selected by pop superstar Jay Chou in the Sing! China 2016 competition and survived the eliminations right up to the grand final round. The 28-year-old later emerged first runner-up.
In 2018, he debuted in China with a version of his song “Electricity” in Mandarin.
Malaysia-born actor Christopher Lee has long been recognised as a Singapore-based actor. In recent years, the yummy daddy has been actively taking up drama roles in Taiwan, including the 2013 A Good Wife TV series.
His breakout performance later earned him the Best Leading Actor award at the 49th Golden Bell Awards — his first overseas win.
Renowned singer, composer and director of his own biopic Wonderboy (starring Benjamin Kheng and Julie Tan), Dick Lee first shot to fame with the release of his 1989 album titled The Mad Chinaman.
Throughout the years, his musical journey has seen him clinching several awards in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan including the 1999 Best Original Film Song in the Hong Kong Film Award for City of Glass starring Leon Lai and Shu Qi.
Popular Chinese singer JJ Lin broke into the music scene back in 2003. A year later, he walked away with the Best New Artist award at the 15th Golden Melody Awards.
Since then, he’s accumulated a long list of nominations and won countless music awards for his vocal skills.
In 2015, JJ appeared as an advisor on Chinese reality TV show The Voice of China season 4, alongside famous Taiwanese singer-slash-host Harlem Yu.
Known for her soulful ballads, Tanya Chua remains as one of Singapore’s most recognisable singers to date.
The singer-songwriter — who’s released 18 albums since her debut in 1997 — has bagged numerous singing awards in the region, including Best Mandarin Female Singer at the 2006 and 2012 Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan.