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YOOTHA WONG-LOI-SING: Thinking outside the box

– Yootha Wong Loi Sing –

Rising Dutch actor Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing is making waves on both sides of the Atlantic after starring in one of America’s most talked-about television series last year.

The 31-year-old Rotterdam native first drew attention to herself as house slave Mini-Mini in the 2013 Dutch period drama The Cost of Sugar (Hoe duur was de suiker), a powerful performance that earned her a Golden Calf nomination at the Netherlands Film Festival.

This cultural polymath is also a talented musician and fashion icon, in addition to her sociology degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Who is Yootha Wong Loi Sing?

Wong-Loi-Sing is unquestionably one to watch. He is principled, profound, and oozes charisma.

The romantic drama series Love Is___ was a huge hit on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the United States when it aired last summer.

It is set in 1990s Los Angeles and explores the ups and downs of falling in love.

Wong-Loi-Sing plays Ruby, the lead character Yasir’s on-again, off-again girlfriend (played by Will Catlett).

“What attracted me to her was the fact that she’s not like me at all, but at the same time she is…,” the actress says of the role.

Okay, I’ll explain,” the actress laughs.

“She’s a caring and loving person, but she doesn’t always show it.”  She’s the type of woman who constructs a barrier.

So you don’t really see her sensitive side in the first couple of episodes; you see a woman who has been abandoned by the love of her life and can come across as a little bitter – which I’m not – but I do have a way of masking my feelings. So I was aware of it.

When I read the scripts for the first two episodes, my imagination took off! ‘Okay, this appears to be the bitter ex – how can we turn this around and make this a multi-faceted woman?’ I thought.

“But I made up this whole backstory and just kind of transformed into Ruby, imagining how I would feel, act, and what my motivations would be.”

Then I thought to myself, “Oh, I can add this layer in and that layer,” and I became excited about the character.

That, to me, is always a good sign because it pushes you to be your best.”

Character Building

Finding satisfying roles for female actors is difficult, and the lack of complex roles for women is a hot topic in Hollywood.

Is it difficult for Wong-Loi-Sing to find parts that inspire her? “As a black actor, I only found a couple of those parts in the Netherlands,” she says.

“Now I’m on a show where I’ve been given the opportunity to build an arc around a character.”

I believe a black female is a little more uncommon in the Netherlands.

However, the market in the United States is much larger, so a show like Love Is___ has a large audience.

“I’m not sure that’s the only reason, but I believe it’s one of the main reasons that opportunity exists for me or any other black female actor in the United States.”

There’s just a lot more freedom in creating characters, shows, and scripts when you’re not constantly focused on color.

“To be honest, the Ruby part could be any female; she’s not primarily black.” Everything she’s going through is universal.

The fact that Love Is___ has a black cast gave me the opportunity to play her.

I just hope it opens doors and makes people realize that things don’t have to be so rigid.

“We should become more comfortable not only seeing but also hearing more diverse women on screen, regardless of their background.”

Showing a character’s ’roundness’ is almost like saying they deserve to be shown as equal – as complex human beings.

And giving them a story-telling voice, just like their male counterparts.”

Role Model

Yootha Wong Loi Sing resume includes acclaimed Dutch director Joost van Ginkel’s drama The Paradise Suite, which follows the lives of six immigrants in Amsterdam and was the Netherlands’ Oscar submission in 2016.

Also starred in lead roles in the Dutch friendship comedy Alles Voor Elkaar (2017) and the horror Sneekweek (2016).

The actress chooses her roles carefully, especially now that she is recognized as a role model for aspiring black female actors.

“I wasn’t always aware of it, but I became aware that people see me as a role model.”

Aside from the fact that I’ve done good in the Netherlands, many people are surprised that I’m going to the United States.

I get a lot of emails and social media messages from girls who want to do the same thing but aren’t sure if it’s possible.

When they see me doing it, they think, ‘OK, maybe there is a way to get there.’

They used to feel restricted, but now they feel like there’s hope – and that’s a beautiful thing!”

Being an inspiration to so many younger black women is especially meaningful for Wong-Loi-Sing, who recalls a lack of diversity in acting when she was younger.

“I had the option of attending university, or I could attend music or theater school.”

I ended up studying sociology because I didn’t feel like I had many black role models in the Netherlands.

‘Yeah, it’s impossible for me to go into acting the way I look,’ I said. “I thought the acting world was difficult to break into,” she recalls.

Intellectual

“I’m fascinated by the human mind and psyche – how we interact with others,” she says.

Another one of Wong-Loi-interests Sing in fashion, which is evident when scrolling through her Instagram page.

Wong-Loi-style Sing’s ranges from high-fashion shoots, such as an appearance in Dutch Vogue last September, to her own candid selfies.

the drama may have given her an advantage over her peers.

Not only did her degree satisfy Wong-Loi-intellectual Sing’s desires, but her extensive knowledge allows the actor to enter the minds of her characters.

“I look like a tomboy 90% of the time,” she laughs. “I enjoy fashion, but not in the way that I emphasize labels or a particular look.”

Dressing up – or down, depending on the day – is a reflection of how I am feeling. It’s an important part of my identity, but it’s not the only one.”

Multi-talented

Yootha Wong Loi Sing music is an important part of her identity. An album has always been planned, but getting it made has proven difficult.

“In 2013, right after I graduated from sociology, I thought, ‘OK, this is the time I’m going to start recording my album.'”

“But the universe said, ‘No, you’re going to do this acting thing first!” she laughs. “Every time I think I’m about to start doing it, something else comes up.” It’s something I’m still working on, but I’m very particular about how I want it to sound.

“I’m just taking my time because I don’t feel like I have to choose between acting and music,” she says.

“Especially after returning from the States and seeing how Americans have a habit of just grabbing whatever they want to do and doing it.”

“Music and acting are my main interests, but who knows what else will come my way,” she muses. “I mean, why would you limit yourself by putting yourself in a box?”

The Bigger Picture

In the future, Wong-Loi-Sing hopes to use her platform to help bring about significant social change. “I feel a responsibility to not only tell meaningful stories on screen but also to use my platform to do good in the world.”

“And I hope to get to a point where I can use my voice for more important things,” she concludes. “Also, I feel like I need to contribute more to this world.”

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FAQs

1. Is Yootha Wong Loi Sing Chinese?

Yes, she is entirely Chinese and entirely black.

2. How old is Yootha Wong Loi Sing?
34 years (19 August 1987)

3. What nationality is Yootha Wong Loi Sing?
Dutch

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