The road less travelled: Wilson Tan's parents were aghast when he told them he wanted to pursue a career in modelling. 'I had to endure the wrath of my parents who felt I had wasted my degree. But after they saw how passionate I was, they eventually gave in,' he said.
For model-turned-actor Wilson Tan, the road to stardom is a windy one.
Model-turned-actor-and-singer Wilson Tan is a refined sort of gentleman who knows exactly how to make every woman feel special with his charming ways.
In fact, this Gerik, Perak-born model has figured out what his good looks could do for him on the very first day he started his modelling career. That was about four years ago.
“Modelling aside, I’m basically a simple, homely guy if you really know me. I like to spend time by myself or with family or my closest friends when I don’t have any photo shoots or assignments,” said Tan.
His parents had wanted him to pursue an engineering career after he graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia in Chemical Engineering.
He complied for two years with a short stint at a water treatment plant as an engineer, and later on with an oil company. He finally decided the job was too boring for his colourful personality and quit to become a model in 2008.
“The biggest challenge was not getting the support of my parents. It was truly a headache, but I was determined to prove to them that I could make it somehow.
“I had to endure the wrath of my parents who felt I had wasted my degree. But after they saw how passionate I was, they eventually gave in.
“I was stubborn enough to plod on and persisted in a new career. I had no basic training. I just had YouTube and fashion magazines as reference,” said Tan, who was drawn to the glitz and glamour life of a fashion model after seeing the amazing Amber Chia.
For Tan, Chia was the epitome of a successful Malaysian female supermodel. But sadly, there were no male supermodels.
“So I thought to myself, I want to be the first male supermodel and worked myself towards that goal,” said Tan, who won the WorldStars 2009 – Road To Hollywood (Modelling Category) and represented Malaysia at the World Championship Of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Los Angeles, United States the same year.
With his sculptured face and pencil-lined Errol Flynn/Clark Gable kind of moustache, Tan stood out among his peers. Standing at 190cm and weighing 79kg made him a favourite with major designer labels.
His fellow models envied his range and accomplishments, which made it rather awkward for Tan initially.
“It wasn’t an easy phase and there were a few hiccups along the way. I had to work very hard and ignored the rivalry and negative vibes that I got,” said the 32-year-old who is the second of three siblings.
Over the years, he won several international awards; Tan also had an offer from New York to extend his modelling career after winning Asia’s Best Model at the 6th Asia Model Festival Awardsin Seoul, Korea in 2011.
All these awards made him realised that he has reached the pinnacle of his modelling career. Now, he has to diversify into other areas in order to make him more marketable.
Lucky for him, his accomplishments in fashion has led to acting offers.
His first film was Love In Kenting which was shoton location at the beautiful beach of Kenting in Taiwan.
“It’s a rather complicated love story and I had to learn pole dancing and spent one month in Kenting. But it was a memorable acting stint and definitely worth all my time and effort,” said Tan about his movie debut which was released last August.
He has just completed shooting his second movie, My Mr Right directed by Yoko Chou, in which he stars opposite Chia.
Apart from acting, Tan was also given the chance to contribute to the soundtrack of the movie which will be released next month.
“All the ballads are in Mandarin. I’m very honoured to be given the chance to do an album. Never have
I thought that I would be launching both my acting and singing career at the same time,” said Tan, who hopes to act in a Malay movie soon.
For him, ultimately, his Malaysian fans are what matter most.
“After all the adulation given to me by my fans here, I would love to try acting in Bahasa Malaysia movies. It would be great if I could carve a name here as well as in Taiwan and China.
“At the end of the day, this sort of inspiration is what I’m looking for to make my career a fulfilling one,” he said.