8 things you need to know about Jeanette Aw

Jeanette Aw, also known as Ou Xuan, needs little introduction.

The household name broke into the scene when she beat over 5,000 applicants to emerge champion in a talent search in 2000, Route to Glamour, organised in Singapore and Malaysia by the now-defunct television network SPH MediaWorks.

She joined Hype Records, officially signed on as a Mediacorp artiste in May 2002, and the rest, as they say, is history. Jeanette went on to star in her breakout role, Mo Jingjing in Holland V, but her biggest breakthrough was her role as Huang Juxiang/Yueniang in The Little Nyonya. 

Jeanette surprised many in 2017 when she announced she was not renewing her contract with Mediacorp and her management agency Hype Records.

But Jeanette is more than just an actress. In 2018, she made her directorial effort with The Last Entry. She has also produced her second film, Senses, and held an art exhibition in Japan, according to The Straits Times.

Scroll through her social media feed and you’d see that she dabbles in a great many things, which are all a natural extension of her underlying love to create.

As the multi-talented artiste turns 42 on June 28, we celebrate Jeanette by taking a look at the big and small achievements in her life.

1. She’s an award-winning actress

As a sign of how popular and talented Jeanette is, she has nabbed 29 Star Awards during her 15-year career with Mediacorp.

She has also been nominated eight times for Best Actress at the Star Awards and finally snagged her first nod — much to the delight of her fans — in 2016, for her role as Zhao Fei Er, a depressed actress, in Channel 8 drama The Dream Makers 2.

2. She’s now a free agent

Jeanette sent shock waves rippling through the industry when she announced in 2017 that she was going solo at the peak of her career, bidding farewell after 15 years of being contracted to Mediacorp.

At the same time, she also decided not to continue with her management agency Hype Records. “This decision was deliberated upon over time.

Personal growth, the environment, that little voice within that simply grew louder and the universe showing me it was time to move on,” she said on her Facebook then. She also said in an interview that she felt she hit a plateau, and wanted greater control over her career.

3. She’s a profesh baker

In 2018, Jeanette moved to Bangkok and enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School to get a Diploma in Patisserie. She has always loved baking, so getting certified seemed like the next natural step.

Also, she finally had the time to do so. In an interview, Jeanette said she relished the nine-month course because whilst she was busy, she got to enjoy regular hours and weekends, unlike life as a hectic artiste.

While she did not rubbish the idea of owning her own cafe one day, Jeanette said she has to consider that properly because of the high rental costs and may set up a pop-up in future.

In May 2021, Jeanette’s dream came true as she opened her own bakery store, Once Upon A Time, at Hamilton Road in Jalan Besar

4. She has her own production company

Jeanette registered production company Picturesque Films in 2012 when she wanted to try her hand at filmmaking. But it was only in 2017 that she really putting her pedal on the metal on this.

She went on to make her first short film, The Last Entry, which was written, produced and directed by the lady herself. The film, inspired by her godmother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, went on to earn a nomination at the prestigious Tokyo Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2018.

She later created her second short film, Senses. Picturesque Films has also shot commercial projects, such as beauty and fashion social media campaigns.

5. She has published books

The busy multi-hyphenate just doesn’t seem to stop, does she? Jeanette published Jeanette Aw: Definitions in 2012, a memoir that shed light on the personal aspects of her life including a breast cancer scare and playing mother to her three godchildren.

She followed that up with the pictorial book Sol’s World: Somebody To Love in 2015, about a little girl named Sol who is searching for answers in her life. Jeanette says she’s working on her third book, on top of what seems like a gazillion other projects. Respect.

6. She’s an artist

Jeanette has always waxed lyrically about appreciating art, as well as her love for creating something new on canvas. “I love seeing something emerge that is not of this world. I love giving it colours. And sometimes, I love it in black and white. I love how my emotions are translated in such a fashion,” she said in a 2015 blog post.

“I would love to pass my day’s paintbrush to canvas, creating a world made up of dramatic light and shadows,” she said in a 2017 blog post. Her only background in art was back in school when she studied it in secondary school, but she didn’t let that stop her pursue of her passion. Her works are one part whimsical and girly, one part reflective and thoughtful.

In 2017, she partnered with UOB where she completed two canvas pieces with children from SPD, as part of Giving Week. It was done via a live video on her Facebook page, where each view during the live session was converted to S$1, which UOB matched. Talented and compassionate, need we say more?

7. She’s like us

We often forget that celebrities are humans too, and face similar issues as we do. Jeanette battles with stubborn fat that is difficult to eliminate with diet and exercise, despite best efforts.

That’s why Jeanette taps on CoolSculpting, a non-invasive fat-freezing treatment that destroys fat cells to help maintain her svelte figure. She was recently named the brand’s ambassador.

8. She’s a brand ambassador for a local durian company

In a Vulcan Post article earlier this year, it was announced that Jeanette would front local durian company Golden Moments as the brand ambassador as she’s reportedly aligned with the brand’s ethos of cherishing relationships.

Her work for the brand included Jeanette taking on the role of creative director where she wrote, directed and acted in the brand’s first-ever short film advert.


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