Tough work being sexy for Yao Yao

Taiwanese star Yao Yao (right) and at the press conference (far left) for the upcoming Spring Wave music festival, which also features singers Della Ding Dang and Bii (both left).
Taiwanese star Yao Yao (right) and at the press conference (far left) for the upcoming Spring Wave music festival, which also features singers Della Ding Dang and Bii (both left).PHOTOS: SEED MUSIC, THE NEW PAPER
Taiwanese star Yao Yao (right) and at the press conference (far left) for the upcoming Spring Wave music festival, which also features singers Della Ding Dang and Bii (both left).
Taiwanese star Yao Yao (right) and at the press conference (far left) for the upcoming Spring Wave music festival, which also features singers Della Ding Dang and Bii (both left).PHOTOS: SEED MUSIC, THE NEW PAPER

Singer-actress Yao Yao got tips on how to exude womanly charm by watching videos of K-pop girl groups

Despite having broken into show business by flaunting her 32E-cup assets, buxom Taiwanese starlet Yao Yao says being sexy for the camera is a challenge for her.

On her latest film role as a bar hostess in Taiwanese movie Escapee, the 23-year-old says: "It's a breakthrough for me. I used to think that crying scenes would be the toughest for me when it comes to acting. Then I realised it's even harder to act sexy.

"You have to be sexy with ease and I find that difficult," adds the performer, in her signature saccharine sweet voice.

She was in town on Tuesday to promote her upcoming performance at music festival Spring Wave in Singapore on June 7.

"You have to exude womanly charm. I had to spend a lot of effort to get past my own mental barrier."

To play the bar hostess in Escapee, helmed by actor-turned-director Chang Shih and slated for release later this year, she wanted to visit nightclubs for research before filming started.

"But nobody had the time to accompany me, so I turned to watching music videos of sexy K-pop girl groups," she says.

After watching South Korean female acts' provocative dance moves and sultry pouting, she is in awe of one particular idol: girl group 4Minute member and scene-stealing guest star of Psy's Gangnam Style video, Hyuna.

"She's so young, even younger than me," says Yao Yao of the 21-year-old Korean star. "But she does sexy with such ease and confidence."

Yao Yao, whose real name is Kuo Shu-yau, shot to fame in 2009, after appearing in a Taiwanese video-gaming commercial clad in a bustier top and mini skirt.

She was promptly dubbed by fans and the media as an "otaku goddess", or the dream girl of young men with geeky, obsessive interests in anime and manga.

She signed on to Taiwanese label Seed Music in June 2009 and was marketed as a cutie-pie idol.

In September 2009, she released her debut album Love's Embrace. To promote it, she held autograph-cum-hugging sessions.

She has come a long way since then.

Last year, the hardworking singer-actress won a Golden Horse award for her role as a teenage tug-of-war team member in the Taiwanese movie Step Back To Glory - beating Singapore's child actor Koh Jia Ler of local film Ilo Ilo for the Best Newcomer gong.

So has the otaku goddess grown up and become respectable?

Yao Yao, who is dating dance instructor Jin Yang, 22, and a regular guest on Taiwanese undergraduate talk-show University, replies: "I don't think I'm an otaku goddess. Honestly, I feel I'm far from being a goddess."

At the press conference for Spring Wave, she was flanked by powerhouse Taiwanese singer Della Ding Dang and Taiwanese-Korean pretty boy singer Bii.

"I've prepared many songs," Yao Yao announces to the reporters. "There will be dance numbers, and English, rock and electro songs. The performance will let audiences see a different Kuo Shu-yau."

She also let on that she might give a "love embrace" to an enthusiastic member of the audience.

The festival, which was first staged here last year, will also see performances by Mandopop diva A-mei and Taiwanese rocker Jam Hsiao.

Singapore's own Taiwan- based girl group By2, comprising 21-year-old identical twins Miko and Yumi Bai, had previously been part of the line-up.

Last week, however, it was announced that they will not be performing because of scheduling conflicts.

nggwen@sph.com.sg

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