The DDW society is full of creative, aspirational and interesting people from a wide range of industries – and it’s time we introduced you to them!
Each month, we sit down to get to know a member of our exclusive events society – as selected by the DDW committee – and learn about their lives, careers and upcoming projects.
This month, it’s the turn of actress and musician Rae Lim! Having tried her hand at everything from parkour to psychology, to law, to salsa dancing, to mixed martial arts over the years, Rae is a real all-rounder – ‘multi-talented’ almost feels like an understatement.
Here, she tells us all about how she got started on screen, her post-lockdown plans and all about the exciting projects she has in the pipeline.
Hey, Rae! You’re an actress, a dancer, a musician, a mixed martial artist, a law graduate… is there anything you can’t do?
Haha! Some people are like ‘Having so many skills is a great thing’ – it’s a terrible thing! I am commitment-phobic in every part of my life! It’s not that I’m amazing at any one of them but there are some where I’m a lot more confident.
When you start doing acting, it’s important to keep up your skill set because they’re always asking for different things. I tend to just do things, stick with the ones I like and then I bump off the ones I don’t like.
Have you found that having such a variety of skills helps you in your acting career?
A lot of my acting jobs have been straight acting jobs but, with some of the roles, I would say that having a physical background definitely does help! I played a small role as a sergeant in Without Remorse with Michael B. Jordan and I think it would have been very hard to land that role without a physical background. There’s a certain physicality about a military character that not just like anybody can go in and play, if that makes sense.
How did you get started in acting?
It started in the beginning of 2017! I was competing and performing in dance and my agent was like ‘Hey, do you think you want to try some acting?’.
I took a bunch of workshops and I was like ‘I actually really, really like this!’ I just kind of stuck with it and have been very lucky that I’ve worked on some really cool projects!
I’d worked as a legal assistant for a bit and then I worked in marketing and I hated it. I think you just get to a certain point in your life where you’re just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore, I’m not happy’. If COVID taught me any one thing, it’s that life is short, so you better be really happy doing what you’re doing and getting up in the morning and looking forward to your job!
Did you always want to be an entertainer?
I think I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer, but I’m from Singapore originally and we don’t have a great big scene like that. I think anybody from my past – high school friends, my parents, anybody – will tell you ‘Oh, she’s always been a bit of an oddball! She’s always the one in pink sequins or wearing a unicorn on her head‘.
I’ve always been a bit more outgoing than the average person, but maybe I didn’t necessarily know at that age that it meant I wanted to be an actor, a singer or a dancer.
I knew it was what I wanted to do when I started doing it. I think most people think acting seems very glamorous and then, once you start, you’re constantly getting rejected and not hearing anything back. It takes a certain level of resilience.
At first, I wasn’t sure, but it’s a risk/reward thing – when I land a job, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, so I think it’s worth it!
You’re also a singer! A lot of your music is very nostalgic of classic, 00s-era pop…
I love that you got that! That’s the kind of music I grew up on, so I just wanted to do a little throwback to that.
I actually started because I wanted to be a songwriter, but the big snag in my plan was that, to become a songwriter, you need to have somebody to sing your songs! I had no idea how I was going to pitch anyone my songs, so I thought ‘Well, maybe if I just lay the basic vocal stuff…’ and then my songs got really good reviews! I was like ‘Okay, cool, I’ll try this artist thing’ and so far it’s going good.
The next step is obviously gigging – I’m slightly terrified, but also excited!
Would you say you prefer music, acting or that you like to try and do everything?
It’s interesting, because acting is my passion and my one true love, but dance is the thing that makes me the happiest. I would say singing and songwriting has been something that happened during lockdown and has been this incredibly cathartic type of thing.
I can’t pick one thing over the other because I think that all of these things enable me to keep going. If I only did acting, for example, I’d probably be super stressed out all the time! With music, you have control and can release your songs and that’s cool. With dancing, it’s definitely social, but it’s also exercise and the endorphins and it keeps you fit!
What would you say has been your favourite project so far?
I couldn’t pick! Every single project has been so much fun that I honestly just couldn’t pick.
When you aren’t busy, what’s your favourite way to spend your free time?
Hanging out with friends, definitely. I also love taking dance classes. I used to do parkour for a bit, but I broke my leg in gymnastics so I had to cut off that training.
I got into cooking over lockdown – I’m terrible at it! If there’s a cookbook in front of me, that’s fine, but if you were like ‘Here are the ingredients, good luck’, ain’t nothing gonna happen. Rae’s going to the hospital, that’s what’s gonna happen.
What are you looking forward to the most as things go back to normal?
I would say I wanted to try all those cute pop-up things in London. There’s a floating boat cinema, a pop-up VR arcade… I just like trying new stuff and getting new experiences. I’m going to be jam packing my schedule full of new things to try! Living the one year of life that COVID stole from us!
What projects can we expect to see you in soon?
One thing that just came out is Superhero Kindergarten, which is a kids’ animation series! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the producer and he’s also part of the main cast. I’m one of the six superhero kids – she’s so cute! Her name is Lin, but her superhero name is Cray Cray, which is hilarious because I am cray-cray! She gets that name because she loves drawing with crayons, though, and her superpower is that whatever she draws comes to life.
It’s genuinely funny – it’s aimed at kids but there’s loads of cool jokes in there for the adults, too. It’s written by Fabian Nicieza, who wrote Deadpool.
I also had a small role on the latest Bond film, No Time To Die, which has been postponed three or four times now! I don’t know for sure yet if my role will make the final edit, but I did see my dopey face somewhere on one of the trailers…
More music, too! I’m definitely still exploring genres. I really do like the kind of early pop thing, but I do also like rapping! Maybe I could be a pop rapper.
Finally, what’s your life motto?
‘Carpe diem’! Or, for people who aren’t old like me, ‘YOLO’...