BE EXTRAORDINARY AND ‘INWINCCIBLE’ – SOO WINCCI
The name, Soo Wincci, is no stranger in the entertainment industry in Malaysia. Dr Soo, an actor, singer, has made her mark in the country. Currently pursuing her second PhD in Spain, Dr Soo shares the hurdles that she faced when she was just a green-horn in the industry, besides facing criticism from her own families and people sneering at her dreams of one day winning the Grammy and Oscar.
Why did you enter the entertainment industry as opposed to many others?
After I graduated with a law degree from the UK, I took a Master in Certified Legal Practice (CLP) and Master in Business while taking part in the beauty pageant. I also took part in many other competitions, but I kept losing. I decided that it would be my last year in the entertainment industry if this losing streak kept on, I would go back to practising my law. Even after winning Miss World Malaysia, I was torn between practising law or to stay in the entertainment industry. I decided to persevered on. I told myself that if I have chosen this road, I shouldn’t back down. If I go into law, I won’t be unique. At that time, I don’t think you need a Soo Wincci in the law firm. I like entertainment, so if opportunities come knocking at my door, why not?
You have been in the industry for quite a while, there must be many young girls that look up to you as their role model, how do you feel about that?
I feel honoured. I see myself as an example to other people by showcasing what I’ve been through. I faced a lot of discrimination, and a lot of people have tried to stop me. So now when young girls look at me and hear about my story, it’s encouraging. I hope to see my successor surpasses me because that is how it’s supposed to be. The power and strength to do so much are because of the young girls. I want to show them the authentic story whereby failure comes with success. We are trying our best to set an example and it’s not a bed of roses. I would say to you that you are going through the real game. But I tell you the truth, and you make the decision.
You have named Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza as your role model, can you tell us why you’ve chosen her?
I was captivated by her singing. She is also a brilliant person. She managed her career, and she pushed herself out. Previously, there are none Malay artists as successful as her. She has also pivoted herself from singer to an entrepreneur. I met her in person, and she is very humble. I learned from her a lot. We must give our respect to them. She is number one in Malaysia. Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh is the same. Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza are my number one idol because they made it. These people went through a lot more than us, and they succeed. They found their ways. I know I need to find my own ways and to be a new icon to continue their journey. For me, my success is just a reference from a lot of people in front of me. Without a lot of people in front of us, we can’t accomplish anything. Do what you love. Entertainment is my starting point, but it’s not my endpoint. Entertainment has evolved. I cannot spend my whole life doing it. I have my vision; I have my things to fulfil.
Throughout pursuing your career and studies, have you encountered any gender discriminations? How did you overcome it?
A lot. Often, I will step away from all these people. Step away, focus on your journey, let go of whoever that is not in the same wavelength. We have no time to waste. One day, your success will showcase itself. Discrimination is present, but again, some girls went too extreme on feminism. You are not working hard, but you are just taking advantage of it.
What do you think of women’s opportunities in Malaysia compared to opportunities given to women overseas?
In Spain and other countries, they have already recognised that there is a need for girls’ movement (women’s empowerment). In Malaysia, it is only on the surface, it seems like they give us a chance, but there are still many barriers. Many people will only say that they support the women’s movement, but they never do it. Some are given chances, but a lot of girls misuse it as well. Discrimination has always been there. There is no choice to walk away from it. You just have to leave the place where you are not appreciated.
Do you have any messages for young girls who might want to follow your footsteps or break gender barriers in the workforce?
First, get married when you’re ready. And second, do more than what the market needs. If you want to break something or create something, you must be extraordinary. Try to balance, even though it’s hard to balance things out, but try to be patient as well. We try our best in a lot of things, but we cannot give up. Now I’m alone, but I want to see more coming out. If we don’t fight this, a lot of things in front of us is ruined. You have to think far and push yourself far forward. And, you are not insane. People will try to say you’re insane to try to stop you. If you do something different, you’ll be different. Don’t try to copy other people. Copying won’t bring you far. Take whatever that is useful for you and don’t repeat my mistake.