Actor Eden Ang has been told by casting directors that he is not marketable. Apparently, he does not have leading-man looks and, at 1.7m, is too short.
That has not prevented him from becoming the face of StarHub's hilarious Chinese New Year advertisements for the past two years, being nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards and, now, scoring the lead role in new online military romance series, Yes Mdm.
His charm lies in his off-the-wall humour, says Ms Lim Suat Yen, chief operating officer of Oak 3 Films, which produced Yes Mdm.
She approached him to play a bumbling recruit in the series after getting to know him through her 13-year-old daughter, who is a fan of his parody videos on his YouTube channel, Eden Ang Productions.
Ms Lim, 44, says: "He is funny and I can see he is very hardworking and talented in a lot of areas. And he dares to experiment with a lot of different ways of acting."
Ang, 28, who also has a recurring role in Channel 5 long-form series Tanglin, is comfortable in his own skin. He does not believe in conforming to an ideal beauty standard shaped by the current media landscape.
"It is wrong that kids are trying to fit into this mould. I am confident beauty is in what you create. If I am not their definition of beauty, then I will create my own definition of beauty. They are going to learn to enjoy that definition of beauty," says the bachelor, who is the son of a Japanese mother, 58, and a Chinese Singaporean father, 63.
He was 10 years old when the family moved to Taiwan because his defence attache father was posted there for work.
Three years later, the family migrated to New Zealand to enjoy a carefree retirement life.
He completed his degree in Chinese studies from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. In 2007, he returned to Singapore to enlist in national service and stayed on after the mandatory stint to pursue an entertainment career.
He started out as a breakdancer at Universal Studios Singapore before dabbling in theatre productions.
At The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards 2014, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Rabbit Hole, where he played a teenager who kills a young child in an accident.
His younger brother Emil, 24, has joined him in Singapore and is doing behind-the-scenes work at Eden Ang Productions.
His retiree parents shuttle among New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.
On choosing Singapore as his home base, Ang says: "Singapore is a great hub that connects the Western and Eastern worlds."
He has stopped doing theatre productions because he wants to reach out to the masses through mainstream entertainment via social media content, television shows and movies.
To that end, he has created online videos highlighting Alzheimer's disease and autism.
He also wants to connect with heartlanders by taking up Mandarin- speaking roles, such as the hapless recruit Jeremy in Yes Mdm whose platoon commander is his army regular girlfriend (played by Oon Shu An).
"Theatre is a good platform, but it is for people who have big pay cheques. Theatre is expensive. Let's face it. I went into entertainment because I want to inspire people and tell good stories.".
•Online series Yes Mdm is available for free on Toggle at tv.toggle.sg/zh/shows/yes-mdm.