Actress Jasmine Sim tells us why acting wasn’t her first career option

Don’t mistake Jasmine Sim’s reserved disposition for self-doubt. This year’s surprise best newcomer winner at the star awards is putting her introspective, self-effacing nature to good use in her acting journey

As actresses go, Jasmine Sim is laidback. We meet at a cafe for lunch on a sweltering Sunday. She’s early – hair in a topknot, makeup light, nose buried in a book.

A book, not her phone. It’s Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by self-help author and entrepreneur Mark Manson, dissing the overly positive methods of traditional self-help.

I’m intrigued by how Jasmine is so taken by Manson’s cynical stance. “I don’t actually like self-help books, but this is a refreshing take on life. I like books that make me think,” the 26-year-old says.

Manson’s philosophy of “who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for” has parallels in Jasmine’s life. She tells me she struggles with not being able to multitask well. “I’m impressed by actors who have multiple things going on, but I feel I can’t give my best if I’m spread too thin.”

Acting wasn’t on the cards, actually, five years ago. TV casting calls had come after her first runner-up win in The New Paper New Face competition in 2014, but she said no.

Nothing else was on the cards, though, besides getting her business degree at the Singapore Management University and modelling for blogshop Love, Bonito. She just wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She only knew that an office job wouldn’t suit her. “I don’t concentrate well when I’m indoors. I can’t even sit still for an hour,” she says.