Popular local blogger Wendy Cheng, better known by her online moniker Xiaxue, will be making her movie debut in the upcoming flick Our Sister Mambo.
The outspoken 30-year-old will be playing a version of herself as a social media personality in the romantic comedy. The role marks her big-screen debut but if opportunities arise, it could open doors for an entire career in acting, she says. "If I am offered more roles in the future, I'm open to the idea of becoming an actress," she says. "I think it'll be quite fun."
Our Sister Mambo, starring Michelle Chong, Moses Lim and Siti Khalijah, revolves around the titular Mambo (Chong), a woman who hopes to get her three sisters hitched. The film is produced to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Cathay Organisation next year and is a nod to classic Cathay films such as Our Sister Hedy (1957) and The Greatest Civil War On Earth (1961).
Shooting begins next month under director Ho Wi Ding (Pinoy Sunday, 2009) and scripted by Army Daze playwright Michael Chiang.
Says Cheng, who has more than 183,000 followers on Twitter (@xiaxue) and 264,000 "likes" on Facebook: "I'm very excited to be a part of this movie because how often do people get to see themselves on the big screen? Although I will be acting as myself, I still consider it an exciting challenge."
Is she intimidated by the prospect of working alongside major stars such as Chong and Lim? "Yes, so paiseh if I keep NG-ing and they have to wait for me," she says, referring to the local colloquialism for feeling embarrassed and the industry terms for "no good" takes or takes that are deemed not good enough for the final cut.
She adds she has been "in discussions" for movie roles before, but "they did not go anywhere". For this movie, however, Cathay Organisation sought her out to take on the part.
In a press release sent out to the media on Wednesday, Ms Choo Meileen, executive director of the company and producer of Our Sister Mambo, says: "We are glad to have the multi- talented Wendy on board for this production because as a blogger, she adds a very contemporary aspect to the film.
"While the film harks back to the old Cathay Classics, I want it to reflect the current trends too. Wendy's vivacious and larger-than-life personality will spice up the scenes in Our Sister Mambo. We hope that by having Wendy in the cast, we will be able to reach out to a wider audience."
Known for her surgery-enhanced doll-like looks as much as for her opinionated ways, Cheng was embroiled in an online war of words two years ago after she was branded names such as "slut" for supporting a particular political party. Photos of her and her friends at a political rally were posted on Facebook, which led to a torrent of vitriol, much of it attacking their looks, intelligence and morals.
Instead of letting it slide, she decided to hit back in several blog posts, including one titled Face Of The Haters, in which she published public Facebook photos of the men behind the posts.
These days, Cheng, who is married to an American engineer and has a year-old son named Dashiel, says she is doing "more child-friendly activities", such as visiting the water park with her baby.
She says: "I will continue to be both a mother to my child and to work in some way, be it in social media or taking on this new role. I feel like I constantly need attention from everyone - not just from my baby, but also from my followers."