Alumni Interview: Zheng Xi Yong, Professional Actor
Sri KDU Schools recently interviewed Sri KDU Secondary School 2011 alumni and jack of all trades, Zheng Xi Yong who is a professional actor, singing teacher, law degree graduate, and Business Operations Analyst for a tech start-up. How does he do it all? Read Nicholas's interview below!
"My passion has always lied in performing arts. I grew up being able to nourish and expand my passion in acting and singing during my time at Sri KDU, where they have always practiced a culture of supporting and nurturing the performing arts. The breadth of activities and competitions, in addition to the way talent is supported and celebrated by the school and its student body provided me the opportunity and confidence to develop my craft, and importantly, have an amazing time while doing it. I further found my love for the arts when I pursued my Law degree at King’s College London and Musical Theatre degree at the Royal Academy of Music.
As a professional actor, I’ve appeared on both stage and screen. My theatre credits include Spring Awakening and Miss Saigon, whereas my screen credits include Doctors (BBC). However, besides acting, I currently work in Business Operations for a tech start-up as well as teach singing both privately and at performing arts colleges. I do these jobs alongside auditioning for my acting gigs, and I enjoy them very much, especially teaching.
Having a second or third job is the tough reality of a performer’s life. It’s common for actors to have gaps in their careers when auditioning or waiting for their next gig to start. To earn a stable living during these times, most actors take up another job in various other industries, including education, business, science, service, or anything flexible enough to be potentially paused when the time comes to commit to their next full-time acting gig.
The pandemic had a devastating impact on theatre in the UK with theatres shutting down to curb the spread of the virus. Spring Awakening, my most recent acting gig, was postponed for over 1 and a half years. Fortunately, my job in Business Operations and as a singing teacher kept me afloat and inspired!
I have always felt that passion is one of the most important drivers, especially in young people, and Sri KDU was great in promoting mine, especially in performing arts. There is no other career, or at least many, that involves consistently applying/auditioning for jobs and getting rejected. To date, I have had several hundred rejections from different auditions in film, TV, theatre, as well as commercials. Truly, the hustle never stops. What’s important is being brave and creating your own path."