There’s little doubt Naomi Yeo is a gem of a talent: she’s a bilingual actress, host, voice artist and radio presenter. And outside of her professional pursuits, the 26-year-old Fly Entertainment artiste got engaged to musician and actor Benjamin Kheng in March and also has a big love for yoga, as evident from her IG profile. She talks to us about her relationship, acting projects and what “good vibes” means to her.
How long have you and Benjamin been dating, and how would you describe you guys as a couple? In what ways does he bring out the best in you?
Ben’s the one with fantastic memory – I can’t bypass anything without getting caught – and will be able to give you the actual year/month/day. I’d like to say we’ve been together for about 1.5 years now. It’s a cat dog situation: I’m an introvert-extrovert, and he’s an extrovert-extrovert. We’re both very independent, but we’ve learnt to depend on each other for things. Ben has taught me that it’s OK to ask for help when I need it – a great reminder that love is not a one way thing. He’s also really funny without trying.
I think it’s also safe to say that people who know him will tell you he’s the sweetest, most sentimental, humble and talented person. He’s always going out of his way to help you and will feel bad in the process if he’s not able to! I’m saying this as a best friend and lover. I’m an absolute mess next to him!
Was the proposal in New Zealand a complete surprise? Did you guys already talk about marriage beforehand?
Oh yea, it came as a surprise to me! New Zealand will always have a special place in my heart – I grew up a lot spiritually and mentally in that place. It had been 5 years since I was last in NZ, and I was so nervous about wanting this trip to be perfect for the both of us. I ended up ruining the mood many times throughout the trip, and probably made it twice as difficult for him to arrange things all while calming a raging, hormonal girlfriend. So when he proposed and broke down the process of how he arranged it, I did feel guilty because I realised I had been such a b**ch without knowing it. He was so good natured!
We didn’t know what marriage looked like – we just knew immediately we were meant to be. It’s such a bold thing for me to say – but I do think a feeling like this will only ever happen once in your life. And until proven otherwise, it’s something I hold quite dearly. Now I know what those that have come before me meant when they said, “when you know, you know”.
I’m counting on Pinterest to help me find some inspiration for my wedding – I don’t have an ideal wedding situation, but I guess like most couples, we’d love for something peaceful, comfortable, joyful and with as little hiccups as possible!
You released the three-part series #ImListening. Please share with us what it’s about, the inspiration behind it, and how you carried out the logistics of putting together the series during the circuit breaker.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop – I was feeling uninspired and felt myself getting complacent and unmotivated. I did worry about not being able to have any income over the next few months. I snapped out of it before I started to let it affect me. I bounced off ideas with Ben and deliberated on a couple of them before deciding on #ImListening. For the longest time, I wanted to create a space online that made people feel right at home.
Vulnerability is hard to come by these days. The internet can be loud and chaotic, and sometimes, you just want to find yourself in a space where there’s no judgement, have a HTHT where you feel heard and understood. Where opinions can be considered instead of shot down, and doubts and insecurities can be aired without anyone feeling threatened by the idea of it.
I thought that perhaps the best way to do it would be to set a theme every week and get people to share their stories! Stories of struggle, love, guidance, kindness, anything basically. Stories are what make a person, and it’s one of the most genuine ways to get to know someone. I was initially really afraid to embark on this, because I wondered if anyone would even bother to share. But the internet did prove me wrong and it was very humbling to see all these writings come to life!
Being a freelancer has prepared me for such a time as this. You hustle everyday to make jobs happen so you can pay the bills, and you learn how to ride with the waves. I’m a firm believer of being in charge of your destiny, and always checking in with your attitude and state of mind. It helps you to access situations with a healthy mindset. Maya Angelou said it very well: ” If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Accepting the situation that has presented itself and trying to make the best out of it helps you live with little regrets and keeps you present. I do my best to live this – sometimes I do fail!
Your IG bio says “Good vibes and a whole lotta yoga” and you do feature a lot of both. When did you start practising yoga? What about good vibes–what does it mean to you?
It’s been about 3.5 years since I started doing yoga. I’ve never invested my money into health or fitness, and thought it was time to give back to my body and create a healthy regime. I was extremely unfit starting out, and had trouble finding a sport that suited my needs. I stumbled onto yoga through an app (now defunct) and it’s been an amazing journey. I don’t teach yoga, but I do intend to get a certificate at some point. Being in a training course will help broaden my understanding of this exercise I am obsessed with.
Good vibes – it’s a lot to do with alignment of the mind and soul. Finding a balance in everything you do helps you prioritise your life and keep you present. I used to be so anxious my palms would sweat, my mind would be in a haze and I would worry so much about the future I couldn’t see anything good coming my way. I lived in constant fear all the time and that was such an extreme for me. I had to go deep into my subconscious to stay mindful and not stray into the irrational too much.
When things aren’t great, I remind myself to take it one step at a time. What you do today, in this very moment, minute and hour matters. I do my best to make it count, and I am mindful that time waits for no man. It’s in the details that we create the big picture we aspire to have. I had some pretty dark moments in my life where I couldn’t see the road ahead of me and I was without hope. But then I remembered that there were so many who came before me, lived to overcome their dark times and became better people, so why couldn’t I do the same?
I sought the help of professionals, I confided in my true friends, and slowly, with the help of people around me, I was able to pick myself up and give myself a better future. I guess there isn’t one way to seek for peace – my advice would be to sit yourself down and ask the hard questions. Being truthful about your current stage in life and learning how to love and accept the pain that came with it is a powerful healing tool.
You play Anna in the recently-released web series Khloe. What is the character like, and do you see yourself in her? If so, how? What are some upcoming projects you’re working on that viewers can look forward to?
I see a lot of myself in Anna. In fact, I have cross paths with people who are Anna. She is a girl that’s generally quite carefree and simple. She’s got wonderful parents, and they’ve taught her to work hard for everything she wants in life. But when Chris (boyfriend in the show) came along, and as she grew into an adult, met with some experiences – i.e the sex scandal – it made her less confident and more doubtful. You see her as the victim in the show, but she’s never ever had a victim mentality. Let’s get this clear!
One of the things that attracted me to her the most, was that she had the ability to dig deep overtime and got down to answering some really important questions, including the people around her. For example, Khloe, and how she even got to where she is in her life. She stopped feeling sorry for her plight and started standing on her own two feet. It’s a true mark of a person that knows she’s worth something and has something to offer in this life. That eventually led her to do the right thing, and in return, showed Khloe something she’s never had before – empathy and love.
I did an interactive film with Royston Tan called “HIGH”, and it’s already been released. I had a good time making that with veterans in the industry, and that was an experience I’ll never forget. I’m currently waiting to start production on a couple of projects as a host as well, but that’s all I can say because I’m not allowed to talk!
Image: Naomi’s Instagram<