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‘Spice Up’ changed Sora Ma’s life

Actress Sora Ma reveals how the currently-airing drama Spice Up had changed her life, and why she feels co-star Jeanette Aw is a great friend.

SINGAPORE: The currently-airing Channel 8 drama Spice Up may not be a huge blockbuster drama, but it still holds a special place in actress Sora Ma’s heart.

“It was really a turning point in my career,” said Ma, at a media event for the drama, which revolves around Yu Nan, a woman (played by Jeanette Aw) who struggles to save her family’s restaurant.

Ma, who entered showbiz after winning Star Search 10 in 2010, explained that the drama, which was actually shot about a year and a half ago in Malaysia, was her fourth acting project, and said she felt really loved by her fellow cast members while working on it.

“I grew up mostly alone. My parents separated when I was much younger and my mother had to work. So I was by myself most of the time, and had a tough time expressing my feelings as well as making friends.

“I never really had a lot of unconditional, parental love but I felt some semblance of that sort of love when I became close to Hui Fang (actress Hong Hui Fang), when we worked together on Spice Up. She treated me like a daughter."

“She was thoughtful and loving. At the time, I kept getting scolded by the directors but did not know why. When I had problems at work, I’d confide in her too and learnt a lot from her,” said Ma, who plays Lisa Wang, Yu Nan’s best friend in the show.

“When I got into showbiz, I would hear from the veterans about how the earlier generation of artistes would form very strong bonds of friendship, and I yearned to experience that. When I worked on Spice Up, I did.”

“I actually received a lot of love from my co-stars while we were shooting the show in Penang. Jeanette (actress Jeanette Aw) shared her herbal soup with me, and she would even buy dessert back for me when I was too busy with filming to go with her,” added the actress with a smile, her eyes a little moist.

“Even now, I’m still moved when I think back about all the times we’ve (the Spice Up cast) shared shooting the show.”

Today, Ma is in a pretty good place. She regularly snags roles in primetime dramas and has a number of friends, including her Spice Up co-star Chen Shu Cheng, though Chen didn’t like her very much at first.

"He thought that I wanted to hog the limelight when I adjusted my position during a scene we shared some time ago. It was only later on, while we were shooting Spice Up that we cleared up all the misunderstandings between us. I explained to him I was really just trying to avoid blocking out the lights!” said Ma, pointing out that she was really grateful they talked things over.

“If we didn’t clear up that misunderstanding, he’d probably still have a bad impression of me!”

Spice Up airs every weeknight, 9pm on Channel 8.

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