Sukki talks about Singapore Social Representation and future goals
The Singapore Social The star speaks candidly about her representation in the industry and her best advice to young Asian creatives.
The pandemic has affected many people differently. From new found chef habits to on the rise fitness instructors, we’ve all tested the waters with something new. For entertainment artist and actor Sukki, rediscovering his connection to the planet was on his mind. “I’m totally deconstructed back to my natural self, my natural hair, and I’ve broken everything down into who I was away from the stage,” the presenter said. t look. It was then that I started to reconnect with why I was here on this planet, what a legacy I wanted to leave and how I wanted to help and inspire those around me.
Known for her campaigns for the burlesque scene and portraying women’s rights and the South Asian community, the television personality and actress has made waves in the industry in recent years, fighting passionately for it. equality and emphasis on various topics. Venturing onto the small screen with Netflix Singapore Social in 2019, the activist welcomed us frankly into her world, while explaining why she defies expeditions and leads a family life in the eyes of the public. Already reserving for more roles and projects this year, we caught up with the star speaking on-screen diversity, her goals for the future, and her top tips for aspiring Asian creatives.
Discover the interview below …
Hi Sukki, how are you?
Oh hey there! I feel pretty good! How are you guys?
How was the last year for you? Has the pandemic affected your creativity in any way?
The last year has changed my life, I have learned to love myself and others so deeply. I feel in a high state of total gratitude. It’s good and surreal at the same time. Like I’m floating in the sky. Creatively, I feel like a whole different creature, and I’m sure it’s the same for many of us who have been extremely fortunate not to have been destroyed by the pandemic. , as many have been. A metamorphosis has occurred internally; before the pandemic, I expressed myself through rainbow hair and lived and breathed burlesque. When the pandemic hit, I literally went from stripping to baring. I totally deconstructed back to my natural self, my natural hair, and broke everything down into who I was away from the stage. What stood out was just me: natural, probably a little weird, and shy when people weren’t looking. It was then that I started to reconnect with why I was here on this planet, what a legacy I wanted to leave and how I wanted to help and inspire those around me. Everything that came out of me creatively from that point on felt organic and I didn’t care if I was moving with a different energy, I just wanted to start from a place of complete honesty.
Tell us about your status as a half-British, half-Indian Singaporean talent in the industry. What has been your experience as an Asian woman in the creative industry?
Wow, that got mixed up, no pun intended. In many ways I’m so grateful to have been part of the precipice of change – filming a TV show when at the time there was no other global reality show for international release. featuring an all-Asian cast. It was amazing because it felt like we were changing history and leading a way much later. But in other ways, it was difficult. Asians have had a while, but for brown desi Asians like me, we still have a way to go until we get the kind of global exposure that I would have wanted to see grow. The representation just isn’t there yet, so I still feel like there’s a battle to be won when it comes to seeing Asians of all stripes recognized and celebrated. I hope I can contribute to it, because I am determined to make our voices heard louder.
And, you are known as an activist, especially for questions about brown actors in Hollywood! What do you hope to accomplish next with your work?
It’s crazy because the term “activist” is so overused now. For me, activism wasn’t really a choice, it was something I had to do to change what I saw in my own community. When I see things of unfairness, I can’t help but talk about it, and I’ve personally experienced enough cultural repression to know what it’s like to be desperate for change. This is why, as a burlesque artist, I campaigned for it to be seen as a legitimate art form in Singapore, and why now on TV, and as I head to the movies, i hope my voice will pave the way for young brunette and desi artists to feel fearless when expressing themselves, not only in hollywood but also in their own homes. In terms of the larger mission, I just hope this: that one day people will remember my work and remember it for helping humans feel a little more courageous and a little less lonely.
Do you have a message for aspiring Asian creatives looking to enter the industry? Maybe some advice?
Be yourself. Don’t stifle your “Asianism” because you think it will make you more palatable, and don’t magnify it and allow it to be fetishized or shaped to match a quota. Be yourself. Stand up straight and be courageous. We may still have a ways to go, and sometimes it can seem difficult not only in the industry, but also when it comes to our families, but someone needs to get things done – it might as well be you. Because I promise you can make it happen, and when you do, you’ll thank yourself for not giving up on this dream, no matter how hard it was back then.
I know you quit your IT job to pursue burlesque work, which kicked off your trip to Hollywood! Tell us about this trip! Is there anything you wish you had known before making this transition?
It’s been quite a trip, but it makes sense. I come from a very strict and traditional Asian Indian background, so as children we were encouraged to pursue science. Yet I was born an artist, and in my blood I was destined for the arts in one way or another. So when I hit a certain age, I just took the plunge, found a theater opening near my home, and auditioned to be a burlesque artist. Burlesque may seem like a crazy leap from computers, but it made sense: I had trained in classical ballet as a child, I wanted to express myself, I had grown up in a culture where sexual positivity and female sensuality was a taboo, so it rebelled against it all and shut it down. It was perfect. What I didn’t realize was that I was the first person in Singapore to do this professionally and internationally, and when I returned to Singapore burlesque was not considered a legitimate art form. Nowhere allowed you to perform it publicly. Although it is a magnificent art, it was considered to be overtly sexual and unfit for public consumption. That’s what prompted me to do something about it – as an Asian woman of color I know what it’s like to feel subjugated, and I wasn’t going to allow a patriarchal authority to dictate what we did or didn’t do with our bodies, especially over something that was clearly a feminist art form that empowered us. After four years of fighting, I won, and that’s when Netflix noticed me and got me started on their show. From there it’s like an organic step towards TV. I wouldn’t have done it any other way even if I had had the chance to relive this life.
You recently made your TV debut in Netflix Singapore Social! What was that experience like?
It was crazy, it’s still crazy! It didn’t feel real to be honest. I think the experience for all of us was amazing because we all knew we were making history for Asians on TV so that stuck with us after the shoot and it makes us deeply humbled. During the shoot, I knew that was what I wanted to do the most to move forward. Maybe not reality TV, but certainly TV and movies. As an artist, this allows you to do much more than live performances. It’s a different medium, but it electrifies my creativity. It also has the power to amplify your voice and gives me a greater platform to help others. This is the real purpose of everything I do.
If you could star in a show other than your own that is currently on TV, what would it be?
Discovery of Star Trek. I’d love to work with Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman because they’re inclusive geniuses, and I’m a fan of monumental sci-fi. Their work moves my soul and gives me a kick to the heart. I would like to be part of it.
What’s next for you? Do you have projects you want to get started on in the near future?
Right now I’m really excited to be working on two movie projects so I can’t wait to share this. Between projects, I was extremely grateful to work with Women of the future, The Sharan project and KindFest. There is no joy in stealing if you cannot share your flight with others, so every time I get it I try to do it. Life takes me on a beautiful journey, and I feel good right now. I open my heart to whatever presents itself to me.
You can follow Soukki on Instagram.