Have you ever had someone say to you, "You look so familiar?"
I'm sure many Singaporeans will also be acquainted with the oft-repeated strain, "Common face lah."
Remember how I once said, that I tend to panic when I am accused of something - especially when I'm not guilty?
Honestly, I think its because I'm just not a good liar. Also probably why my acting career was rather shortlived. I like hosting, because I can just be myself on camera. Don't have to lie. Just.. be me.
Trust me, being me, is not THAT GREAT. So... when I found out a long time ago that someone was a wannabe me, and actually TRIED to be me... I was shocked.
A long time ago, I was an artiste under Fly Entertainment..
This was more than a decade ago if you can actually spot me in there. I had joined Fly right after I competed in Ford Supermodel. And it was fun. I actually loved acting at the time because I saw it as an escape. Though, being a bad liar, I am not sure about how great an actress I was.
Any way, this story takes place as I was fresh out of Miss Universe Singapore, Believe you me, I needed a break.
Three months of non-stop rehearsals daily, the pressure of it all. Working out and doing all sorts of things to my body. And of course, having all the people in public tearing you apart in forums. Saying the most mean things about you. Being subject to 5am call times for shoots after staying for rehearsals till 2am. And then being grilled about general knowledge when your brain can hardly function, and appearing like a total dumbass in front of the world. In print.
Yeap. It was a trip.
But, one of the great things about it was because of how animated I was during the contest, I started getting offers for hosting and presenting. In some weird way... while I was shivering, up onstage, in my bikini, while starving of course and pretending to shoot Gurmit Singh during the question and answer segment - I found my calling. Hosting and presenting. Weird how things work eh?
Well, as you can tell, I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg. And honestly, other things had happened in the meantime that had affected me.
Read: I got molested by a photographer. And was too chicken and cowed out of reporting it because the media then was already tearing so many of us contestants apart. On top of being traumatized by this, this photog's wife then started calling and harassing me, accusing me of being his mistress. I'll write about it some other time, more as a warning to girls who want to get into the modelling industry. But enough of that for now.
Moving swiftly on...
I was starting to get more hosting and presenting gigs. Hosting D & D's, doing voiceovers. Making appearances. I loved it. But my relationship at the time was suffering a lot. I was starting to flounder a little, so family trip sounded like a great idea.
About one week later, after returning from the sojourn. I headed down to my agency to pick up details for another job, grab checks, that kind of thing.
And then my agent said she needed to speak to me in private.
"Are you moonlighting Sara?"
"Are you moonlighting?"
All I could do was stare slackjawed at her in surprise. Not comprehending what she was saying, because the idea of it was just ludicrous to me.
"Well, a client of ours, told us that they hired you for a D & D 3 days ago, and that you were horrible."
Honestly. I was just flabbergasted.
"Tell me the truth, was that you," she asked.
"Huh. They said it was me?"
"Like.... my name... Sara Ann K?"
"Are you sure? Did they say I was mixed too? Did this person say that she was from Miss Universe as well? When was this?"
"3 days ago la. And we just wanted to check.. because they said that you were really bad. So we just wanted to make sure," she said, as she drawled on her cigarette.
"Huh? What company was this? Who told you this? It wasn't me. It really wasn't me. I was on holiday. How could it be me? Wait.. this person said SHE WAS ME?"
"Yes, and she was mixed also. Could also speak Chinese. Said she was from Miss Universe too. "
"It really wasn't me. I told you I was going on holiday what. I was on holiday. My mom is outside at the coffeeshop, do you want her to come and assure you that I'm not moonlighting? That it wasn't me?"
I was in a total panic. First of all. There was someone out there, pretending to be me. And worse, this person was ruining my reputation.
But the thing is.... for me, the more I tried to explain. I probably looked more guilty. I don't know what it is about me. Ask me to defend someone else. Fight for someone else. I can take down giants. But, fight for myself. Defend my own name... especially when my integrity is questioned...
I don't know. Maybe it's because my momma raised us not to tell lies. That white lies and grey lies are still lies. That we just... don't tell lies. So to be accused of lying.... flusters me. The idea itself, is ludicrous to me.
I may have arse luck. Be like a #comedychannelforthegods ... but... going behind people's backs, was never really my forte.
My agent realised, after I showed her my passport as well (even though she didn't ask for it - see, I told you I'm one of those who panics when I get accused wrongly of something.. I start blubbering and try to prove that it's not me in every single way possible.... ) that it definitely wasn't me.. she let up.
I asked her to get photos and everything else from that client. Because for one, I was scared of someone actually impersonating me.
It felt like.. identity theft on a large scale. And this girl, whoever she was, was daring. And doing this in public. Just.. pretending to be me in order to get work. The cheek! (Honestly, at the time, I was more stressed than anything, because this girl, was "destroying my rice bowl".)
Begged my agent to get to the bottom of it... but till this day... the case of the "mystery me" has not been solved.
I still wonder sometimes... who that person was.
Why she stole my identity. And how she even managed to do it. And I'm sure she possibly ripped quite a few people off in the process as well.
But, what begs to question is.... WHY ME?
The only reason I am thinking about this.. is because over the last few weeks, I have been troubled over a possible stalker situation.
A fellow industry colleague who also is a presenter along with her twin, was chatting to me at an event, asking me why I looked so tired and stressed. I confided my woes. And she declared rather loudly, "Who would want to stalk you?"
To be honest. I was rather embarrassed. Trust me. I've asked myself the same thing.
I don't feel very special most days. And.. I shouldn't grumble... I know of a former colleague who used to read news who had it tons, tons, tons worse. She had death threats. Mine, just seemed to pale in comparison... that I felt embarrassed to even report it.
But, the thing is, I have had a few stalkers before already.
So I was wondering.. what was it about me that made me so... "stalker-friendly"?
Am I, like the police officer said, "Too nice"?
All I know is, when I first realised that I might have someone who was actually following me around from time to time. Skulking around in shadows... I started becoming more conscious of how careless I am because I take safety in Singapore for granted.
When walking home, I realised, I tend to be scrolling on my phone instead of paying attention to my surroundings.
Getting around, I never really bother registering people's faces like I once used to, as a game. Because yup. On the phone that has been surgically attached to my palm.
Someone's Wifi left open? SCORE! - was the way I used to think. Not so much now.
Even simple internet security, like password changes, turning off my computer when I leave the office... those were all things I never noticed. But now, I do.
At the end of the day...
Who would want to impersonate me?
Who would want to stalk me?
Heck. My guess is as good as anyone's.
But as much stress as it has given me.. I guess at the very least, I got a lesson out of it.
Be safe peeps.