Jayley Woo didn’t always plan on becoming an actress. As she revealed, it wasn’t something she considered until six years ago, when she became a finalist in The New Paper New Face modelling competition.

Since then, the 26-year-old Mediacorp actress has starred in more than 20 television shows, telemovies and movies.

She was also named one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes at the Star Awards last year and this year.

This month, Jayley is making her theatrical debut with South Korean stage musical CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab. She plays the lovable Cutie Chef in the dialogue-less production, which centres on two chefs competing through music, choreography and cooking. The musical is showing at Resorts World Sentosa from now until July 22, and tickets range from $38 to $118.

Jayley is thankful to New Face for launching her career. She told The New Paper: “It was a dream. You never know what fate has in store for you… New Face was an eye-opener for me, and I gained confidence.”

The New Face finale may have prepared Jayley to a certain extent when it came to being in front of a live audience, but confidence did not come easily, especially now that Jayley is part of CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab.

The “intimidating stress” got to her on the musical’s official opening night on Saturday, and she broke down during the mic test. She had played her part in the musical thrice, but at closed-door events.

Jayley said: “I bawled my eyes out. I am not a professional stage actress, so I felt that I could not match up to my co-stars’ performances despite having tried my best.”

Also, the production staff had suggested tweaking aspects of her part, and Jayley felt as though she had not met their expectations.

She said: “It is a live musical, and changes are bound to happen. I realised that I should not take it to heart.”

Such feelings of discouragement did not stop Jayley from bouncing back to what she calls the “adrenaline rush” of the stage.

She said: “The show must go on. If I know I am not up to par, I will put in double the effort.”

Explaining that the Resorts World Sentosa stage is much bigger than the one she trained on for a month in South Korea, Jayley said: “My expressions have to match up to the size of that stage, so I took it up a notch…

“After performing for a few nights, I feel that I have become more confident, and I am enjoying myself more. I think the audience will also see it through my performance.”

Jayley dreams of pursuing a singing career with twin sister Hayley, perhaps by recording an album together like By2, the Taiwan-based Singapore pop duo comprising twin sisters Miko and Yumi Bai. Hayley will take over the part of Cutie Chef in CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab next month.


Jayley still keeps in touch with the New Face contestants from her year through a Facebook group, and she hopes for a reunion with them. She said, “That camaraderie was formed because we were going through the same things, and I will always remember those times. Once a New Face girl, always a New Face girl.”

Be the next New Face

The New Paper New Face pageant is back for its 25th edition. Here is how you can participate:

When: Saturday, June 17
Where: Subaru showroom in Leng Kee Road
Time: Registration is between 8.30am and 9.30am
Wear a fitted top with a miniskirt or shorts, high heels and light make-up. Bring a close-up photo of yourself for submission.

Selected contestants will go on to Round 2.

Winner: $10,000 and $2,000 worth of hair services from Kelture Salon
1st runner-up: $5,000
2nd runner-up: $3,000

Presented by: Subaru Motor Image
Official make-up sponsor: Cosmoprof Academy
Official hair salon: Kelture Salon
Venue partner: Paragon
Official radio station: ONE FM 91.3
Official magazine: CLEO Singapore

Image: Jayley Woo’s Instagram
Text: Julia Tan / The New Paper / June 2017

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