MediaCorp star Joanne Peh is so keen to play legendary striptease dancer Rose Chan that she’s ready to do the full monty, to strip herself naked if she has to, to play the role.

Joanne Peh

Peh said she has no qualms baring all to play the controversial Chan in Eric Khoo’s upcoming big-screen movie The Charming Rose.

The movie role of the late 1950s striptease dancer – who achieved notoriety as the Queen of Strippers – has gone through several rounds of casting musical chairs. Other well-known personalities who have been linked to the role are actress-singer Celest Chong and hot Malaysian model Christy Yow.

Celeste Chong

Christy Yow

Chong, who had expressed interest in the initial stages, dropped out of the picture, while Yow gave up the role to start a family.

Rose Chan, who died of cancer in 1987, was the most famous stripper in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s. One of her most famous acts was wrestling with live pythons on stage.

Rose Chan, who died of cancer in 1987, was possibly the most famous stripper in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s. One of her most famous acts was wrestling with live pythons on stage.

Explaining her willingness to go nude, Peh, 28, said that every part of her body is a tool in acting.

“It doesn’t matter that people see it all. Deep inside is what people will never be able to see. They may say ‘I can see your breasts or pubic hair’, but they may not know what kind of a person I am.

“That is what’s valuable to me, rather than my physical body. When I entered this industry, my body is something I have to give up. I have to let my co-stars or strangers touch or kiss me.”

Physical intimacy and nudity is nothing more than just part of the job, she concluded.

Joanne Peh with a frog

Joanne Peh showing off her cleavage

With such an open-mindedness and attitude, it’s little wonder Peh won the New Papers Flasher Of The Year title at their Flame Awards last year, for wearing a strategically-cut Gucci gown that revealed the side of her breasts in last year’s Star Awards.

Joanne Peh wearing the Gucci gown revealing the side of her breasts at last year's Star Award

Some nudity and striptease performances will be required for the Rose role, but Khoo said he hasn’t decided if there will be full frontal nudity.

He had received more than 200 applications and auditioned around 20 actresses since he first launched a casting call in 2008 for his film. Khoo has yet to cast his leading lady but admitted he is considering Peh.

Both met once for a preliminary chat last November, but did not discuss the script.

Khoo is full of praise for Peh.

“She has great presence and is very smart. It’s always easier to work with smart people. She’s a very, very good actress and also strikingly tall. I feel like a midget next to her.

Peh is gaining reputation for herself as one of the more outspoken showbiz personalities in Singapore. Her real-life boyfriend is actor Bobby Tonelli. They met on the set of Chapter 8 blockbuster drama series Little Nyonya where she played the long-suffering tragic Yuzhu and he played the love interest of Jeanette Aw’s Yueniang. Though their characters barely crossed paths in the show, their mutual attraction for each other sealed the deal and the duo decided take things one step beyond the cameras.

Joanne Peh & Bobby Tonelli

Rumors of Joanne dating an ang moh (colloquial term for Caucasian) guy was talk of the town and the couple finally confirmed the brewing romance between them after they were spotted attending a show with a group of friends at a local nightclub in September last year.

Peh’s relaxed attitude extends even to the way she handles industry rumours that have engulfed her ever since she hit the big time.

The latest rumor on the Caldecott Hill grapevine is that she’s related to someone senior in MediaCorp and that it may have helped her in her career.

Instead of being outraged or reacting defensively, Peh laughed uproariously at the latest speculation.

“Oh, don’t they just love a good scandal like that! I love it too,” she burst out in amusement, claiming that she has never heard it before.

“When you see someone doing well, it’s because this person is related to someone, or sleeping with someone. “But sorry to disappoint, there is no conspiracy theory. I’m not related to this person.

“Where I am today is a result of a lot of hard work. I fell hard too and had to pick myself up… I paid my dues.”

Joanne Peh on cover of SHAPE

Peh (pinyin: Bi Wixu) was born on 25th April 1982. She studied at Temasek Secondary School where she was head prefect and subsequently went on to Victoria Junior College then to Nanyang Technological University. She graduated with a Bachelor in Communication Studies (Second-upper class honours) in 2006.

She was talent-spotted after she won the title of Miss Elegant and Miss Personality in Miss Singapore Universe 2002. Peh has since been involved in hosting and acting projects such as PSC Nite, Miss Singapore Universe Semi Finals 2003, The Lunar New Year Show 2004, I Love My Home and The Ties That Bind.

Peh has acted in more than 20 productions, including two local movies, 2004′s The Best Bet and this year’s It’s A Great Great World.

In the 2004 Star Awards, Peh won the Most Popular Newcomer Award as well as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award. The following year, she won her second Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award, but failed to win the same award in 2006.

In the 2009 Star Awards, Peh beat hot favorites Jeanette Aw and Chen Liping to win her first ever Best Actress award for her role as the mentally unstable Huang Yuzhu in The Little Nyonya, on the day after her birthday. She also won her third Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award on the same night. She is placed along the likes of other young actresses such as Jesseca Liu, Jeanette Aw, Fiona Xie, Rui En, Felicia Chin and Dawn Yeoh, widely known as The 7 Princesses of Mediacorp.

Joanne Peh in The Little Nyonya

This year, she is up for Best Actress again for the drama Your Hand In Mine and Best Info-ed Programme Host for The Activist’s Journey.

Peh landed the coveted and prestigious position as the new LUX girl, alongside Hong Kong star Karen Mok. Her list of endorsements includes Fujifilm, Citigems, Japanese beauty brand Fancl, True Yoga, Bonia, Vagary, Carlsberg. Currently, she has been appointed as ambassador of Jetstar Airways and Laurier.

Pretty lady Joanne Peh

Peh describes herself as an avid reader, listing her favorite books as Pride & Prejudice, Phantom of the Opera and Great Expectations.

Peh represented MediaCorp TV as one of the torchbearers in the passing of the Olympic flame at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore.

Peh also runs a very popular personal blog A Jolly Affair Musings of a young Singaporean actress Joanne Peh at http://joannepeh.com/.

Joanne Peh's lucky star is shining rightly.

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