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The Animal Lover: Desmond Tan On Animal Rights And Diversifying His Acting Resume

The Animal Lover: Desmond Tan On Animal Rights And Diversifying His Acting Resume

Desmond Tan, August 2020 Cover Story

In recent years I’ve shifted from playing the boy-next-door and the good guy, and into villain roles like Derek Ho the serial killer in Derek. I think that has made me look at human beings very differently, and to understand why there are crimes and understand the world more holistically. The condensed version of the human being is that there is the good and the bad — you learn from both. 

Desmond Tan, August 2020 Cover Story
T-shirt, $650, blazer, $2,600, and trousers, $1,050, by GIVENCHY Photo: Joel Low

With my social platform, I just want to show more positive energy to my followers — I think that’s the one thing that actually keeps everyone afloat. I’m a positive person and I don’t like to dwell on issues on the social platform, because there’s this responsibility and your view might not be the absolute view; it might not be the correct one. And with that, I feel that if I can plant a seed in someone’s life with positivity, that will provide shade on the burning issue. 

I love animals, and I think my underlying love for all kinds of animals would be the innocence they have, and their representation of nature. Human beings are always evolving, changing over time, because of technology and global happenings, but animals are pure and a reminder of how fundamental life is. 

I hope that my will gain more traction, and with more eyeballs on me, I can also direct more attention to the cause that I’m advocating.

Desmond Tan

I feel strongly about neglected and abused animals. They don’t have a voice for themselves, and it’s an issue in society that is usually swept under the rug or placed on the side lines. That’s why I started getting involved with Voices For Animals to raise awareness about adopting, versus buying a pet. Especially when I adopted my second dog, as there are a lot of animals out there waiting to be adopted and waiting for a comfortable home. I want to let people know about this problem, and that there’s another option that you can take.

Nigo blazer, $4,850 and shirt, $1,920, by LOUIS VUITTON

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My dream is to empty out all the animal shelters in the world, and every animal will have a comfortable home. That’s something that I wish for. There’s a long way to go and it’s a long shot, but while I’m dreaming…

I have this motto in life that I want to leave a legacy, not in terms of glorifying myself, but a legacy that will impact the world, be it big or small. As an actor or advocate of animals, I still see myself doing this whether it’s the next five or 10 years, and I wish that these two elements can complement each other. I hope that my work will gain more traction, and with more eyeballs on me, I can also direct more attention to the cause that I’m advocating.”

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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