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Who are you? I am Jo Tan, an actress, playwright and scriptwriter for stand-up comedians. After pursuing law at the National University of Singapore, I passed the bar in 2005 and had a position in a law firm. But on my first day of work, I just couldn't bring myself to go. I chose to pursue the arts instead because of my passion for acting. I'm currently in the running for the title of Best Supporting Actress in The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards 2018 for my role as a warrant officer in Checkpoint Theatre's army drama Frago.
What drives you? I enjoy discovering new things. And one of the things you get to do as an actor is immerse yourself in another life, era and circumstance. In Theatre Practice's new play Four Horse Road which will be performed across three heritage buildings, I play different characters such as a Catholic nun and a Hokkien-speaking prostitute in 1915 Singapore. I've had to do a lot of research on the socio-economic underpinnings of their lives. Similarly, in my other work as a freelance arts writer, I get to delve into worlds which are unfamiliar to me, such as the traditional Javanese horsemen dance kuda kepang and the rarefied world of Western opera.
What do you do in your free time? I'm a huge fan of science fiction, particularly the works of writers Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card. I'm drawn by how it creates these relatable characters facing these complex "what if" situations. It takes you to a world that might be fantastically different yet recognisably your world, in the not-too-distant future.
Finish this sentence: I'm inspired by… truth. I get excited by words, music or performances that reveal the true vulnerability of being human. I think as cosmopolitan urbanites, we package a lot of who we are. And with social media, the idea of presenting the most appealing version of ourselves to the world becomes more prevalent. But I'm interested to know the reality behind the facade. I'm moved when someone shares an unexpected story about himself or herself. I'm touched by people who reveal who they really are. It allows us to make a deeper connection with them, and ourselves.
This series is brought to you by MINI, to inspire and awaken the passion and creativity within you. Look out for the next edition of MINI Inspirations where we'll be featuring a Gentleman who is quintessentially urban, uncommon and ambitious. If you think you fit the bill, e-mail email@example.com to say why, plus a photo of yourself. We'll pick the best entries and feature them on this page.