Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet OMG Judge : Irene Ang

Judge Irene says "Its Okay To Make Mistakes!"

Minus the Rosie Phua's polyester wig, garish tops and stretchy pants, the woman behind that Ah Lian is far from obsessed with just mahjong, slim wrap and Kang Kang. Dressed in top-to-toe BCBG, I thought Irene looked formidable - like someone to be respected - ie, a Judge.

At last Thursday's press conference, I decided to bide my time and wait for the mainstream press to finish their rounds with her and just managed to catch her right at the end, over her last cup of iced lemon tea.

What I enjoyed most about talking to Irene was her energy. She truly has a lot of it, and it shows. Make that ‘passion’. She has a lot of that, for every single pie that she has her finger stuck in. Its no wonder she’s a motivational speaker!

When producers called Irene and invited her to be a judge on OMG!, she jumped at the chance. For her, it was one of the many things she has always wanted to do, and this would be another tick on her already long list of accomplishments.

“I’m very happy to do this. I’ve already done so many things, but I have always wanted to be a judge. You know how people are, when you're watching tv at home and we're all “couch judges”, even my mother loves to judge!”

Irene’s the wearer of many hats. She’s the head honcho of Fly Entertainment, and when she’s not wearing her management hat, she's a motivational speaker and of course she’s an artiste - performing stand-up, hosting events and last but not least, acting.

She has just finished filming ‘Phua Chu Kang The Movie’ with fellow OMG-er Gurmit Singh, they’re out doing publicity for the movie right now. Next on the list of acting engagements is Fly Entertainment’s own baby, a movie called ‘Get Meaty – The Bak Kwa Story’. (With a title like that, I wonder if they'll give out Bak Kwa in the press packs! Halal ones for the Malaysian release!) Anyway, the title definitely sounds interesting, I'm already curious. When filming starts, Irene will have to commute between Singapore and Malaysia every week for her OMG! judging duties. Oh and btw, have I mentioned she's also Executive Producer for the movie? Like I said, she is the wearer of many hats.

About Judging, Irene’s philosophy is, “If you wanna be a Judge, you gotta be prepared to be judged. The Bible says ‘Judge not lest you be judged’."

“FD and I have been judged so much over the years, we qualify to be judged based on our longevity!" *cue Irene's very loud and distinct laughter*

Irene’s not kidding about being judged. “I’ve been judged as a host, an actress, a stand-up comedienne, a singer. I get judged all the time.”

How are you going to judge the talents, considering that its like apples vs oranges?

I will look at the talent and see if they have potential to be an entertainer. Looking at it from an events manager’s perspective also, whether they will bring something different and unique to the stage when there’s a show.

What do you bring to the table as a judge?

I’m an entertainer. I know how difficult some acts are. There’s a lot of technique involved that the audience doesn’t see. For instance, those belly dancers (Desert Roses performed at the press conference), they have to make all their body parts move at different speeds from each other, they have to isolate their torso from their limbs, and from their chest. Not easy.

What do you think is the best part of OMG!’s format?

Best part is that you can be GONE any time! People can come and challenge you and you can be gone.

Don’t you think that’s a little unfair especially those who have managed to defend their spot and stay on til the final few episodes?

I think that’s fair. That’s life. You have to up your game to keep in the race.

What kind of judge will you be?

I can choose to be fake or real. I choose to be honest and real. So far we’ve all been real and constructive. We are in the business, we don’t want to kill people’s dreams. I see myself more like a mentor. I’ve made so many mistakes as a performer. I just want to share my experience with them.

My first stand-up was 10 years ago. I was thrown on stage in a show with Selena (Tan) and Hossan (Leong), both veterans in the field, and I didn’t know anything. Next day, Straits Times published a half page story with the headline “Fanny Wong Is Not Funny”, and that completely stopped me from doing any more stand-up. (Irene’s routine were Fann Wong jokes.)

4 years ago, my good friend Beatrice got me to get up and give it another try. The more I do stand up now, the more material I develop.

To date, stand-up still makes me nervous, so I must have some wine before, and I’ll always run through my pointers with a point man (she means her PA Harry). But at least now, even if I blank, I can fall back on the vast amount of material I already have in my head. I can improvise too, I can talk about the flowers on the table, or someone's shoe, and I'll just talk and talk until I come back to where I left off. It comes with experience.

Any advice for the contestants?

Its really about making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail. This is not the end. Keep trying and you will get better. Your career is only over if you stop trying.

Beatrice forced me to come out of my shell. Its important to fall and get up again.

In my earlier days, I had people telling me that I was such a bad host. But luckily I was self-motivated about it, so I decided to halve all my hosting prices and got as many bookings as possible, so I practiced a lot. I hosted something every week, and after one year of non-stop hosting experience, I became a better host. So keep trying!

Any hidden talents that we don’t know about?

I can make pretty good Ha Cheong Kai (prawn paste fried chicken – yumm!!!) and prawn noodles (double yumm!!).

Harry the P.A. jumps in here : "She makes the soup from scratch k!"

Irene : "Yea, I boil the prawn head to make the broth and the bak kut (pork rib) has to be marinated separately – that’s all I’m telling you! Ok, but my true hidden talent I think, is my ability to multitask well."

One Moment Of Glory premieres on National Day, right after the parade on Channel 5. Usual timeslot will be Wednesdays, 8pm from 18th August.

If you wanna catch Irene in all her stand-up glory, check her out in her upcoming comedy sketch show called the Vlee Conference. Looks like they're parodying Glee somehow, so I'm definitely gonna go check it out (ahem Hi Harry, got tickets ah? <-- I am shameless! LOL!). The other reason to check it out would be Chua En Lai, I'm a big fan of his characters on the Noose, so would be great to see him and Irene ham it up. Since its satire about the major things we went through in the past year, everyone should be able to relate - I wonder how they'll address the crazy floods, the IR openings and maybe even Ris Low - or is she TOO last year? Follow the jump here for more info on the show, show times and tickets!

xoxo, s.

ps. When she started talking, it dawned on me that dayum, I shoulda used a tape recorder! She’s like a freight train of enthusiasm and experience running at full speed, which for someone scribbling on a notebook = hand cramp! (ok, I’m being a tad dramatic, my hand did not cramp up, hey, I’ve been interviewing people for a long time, I have developed my own short hand, but i did have a small finger mini cramp!)

:: Pics courtesy of the Ch5 Promo team, Shawn Pang, Fly Entertainment and my lil Nokia e71 :) ::


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