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The Instinctive Orator: Joanne Peh On Leaning Into The Discomfort & Growing As An Actress

The Instinctive Orator: Joanne Peh On Leaning Into The Discomfort & Growing As An Actress

Joanne Peh, August 2020 Cover Story

As an actress, I think being uncomfortable is the way to grow. I’ve always felt that if your life is too smooth and you’ve got nothing thrown in your face, you just go along for the ride. I would say step out of your comfort zone, do things that you’re not comfortable with, and learn from it — because you never fail, you only learn.

Why I started the The Dimple Loft — that aims to nurture creativity and storytelling in children — before I even had kids of my own was because I’ve always been interested in children’s literature. They’ve got lots of information, are easy to digest, and make acquiring information really, really fun. I felt that growing up, I wasn’t a very creative person, I was afraid to try new things, and I didn’t dare to take risks. I didn’t want my kids to be like that. I want them to be creative, to not be afraid to speak their mind, to make art and not be afraid of what it’s going to look like. 

Joanne Peh, August 2020 Cover Story
Jacket, $2,320, trousers, $1,550, and heels, $1,630, by BOTTEGA VENETAPhoto: Joel Low

All of us are connected by stories and right now, I’m here telling you a story — it’s the only thing that in the future, I think the robots cannot take over from us. It’s the only unique thing that all human beings have. 

I’ve always felt that I can’t run away from the fact that I’m a public figure. People are going to listen to what I want to say or what I have to share. When I was in school, I started with wanting to write for the school paper, and when I graduated, I started a blog to get my views heard and to share what I thought about certain issues. I was a communications student, and I think what I want to say comes naturally to me.

At the start of the circuit breaker, I focused on a lot being positive because I do think that when something like that happens, it can be a little bit shocking for people. There’s a lot of fear, and there’s a lot of uncertainty, so I wanted to use my voice to encourage people and to give them some hope. 

Jacket, $4,190, and shirt, $2,850, by FENDI. HAIR: David Gan / Passion Hair Salon. 

As time went by, I also came to realise something called toxic positivity, which is where you’re just telling people, ‘Oh, be positive and live your life with zest and don’t think about the negative.’ That can be a little bit dangerous. If you’re ignoring the real emotions that someone could be going through, that may be negative. I think we tend to think that we should dispel negative thoughts, but sometimes we need to keep track of the negative because they are there for a reason. They’re there to protect us and to warn us. 

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I want to make what I say count, and I want to make your time count. If you’re spending time reading what I have to say, then I want it to be able to do something for you.

Joanne Peh

I feel that whatever I want to put out there should have a purpose. We’re inundated by so many different accounts and news and we don’t have the time. I want to make what I say count, and I want to make your time count. If you’re spending time reading what I have to say, then I want it to be able to do something for you. That’s really what’s motivating me these days.”

Pick up a copy of ELLE Singapore’s August 2020 issue out now on select newsstands and bookstores. Check out a sneak preview of our latest issue here.


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