Singer-turned-actress Ratha “Ying” Pho-ngam on Singing, Acting and Ryan Gosling

She started out as a singer but Ratha “Ying” Pho-ngam, 30, is now one of the country’s hottest actresses after starring in the Thai erotic film Jan Dara and landing a role in the upcoming Hollywood flick Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling.

By Monruedee Jansuttipan | Sep 06, 2012

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  • Singer-turned-actress Ratha “Ying” Pho-ngam on Singing, Acting and Ryan Gosling
  • Singer-turned-actress Ratha “Ying” Pho-ngam on Singing, Acting and Ryan Gosling
  • Singer-turned-actress Ratha “Ying” Pho-ngam on Singing, Acting and Ryan Gosling

I used to be quite anti-entertainment industry. I had bad memories of it from when I had to sleep alone at night because my mom [famous comedian Noi Pho-ngam] would go perform comedy shows at pubs or be on the set of a lakorn [Thai soap opera] and wouldn’t be home until late. We didn’t have time to do things together.

Comic roles are the hardest in acting. It’s all about imagination. But I might have been a comedian if I’d been born earlier. Seriously, I’m funnier than my mom. But the era of a comedian making a living from gigs at night is over.

You never know what you like until you try it. I never dreamed of being a singer until I was cast as one by GMM. Then I discovered my love for dancing and singing. Touring all over the country opened up a whole new world for me.

I love sad songs even though I am seen as more of a dance performer. I proposed to GMM that I start singing in different styles but they said the time wasn’t right, so I decided to put my whole music career on hold.

I can’t wait until I’m 40 and still doing what I love. Singing is my first love. I look to someone like Jennifer Kim as my inspiration. She’s still singing at that age. If you’re still good, people will listen to you.

I used to reject all acting jobs because I considered myself just a singer. Singing and acting are totally different crafts. It’s not a matter of simply putting down the microphone and you can act.

I love challenges. I used to be looked down upon. People would say that as the daughter of a comedian I couldn’t be a pop singer. But those comments spurred me on. And I have proven that I can be both a singer and an actress.

Compliments don’t make anyone better. Constructive criticism does. It helps you advance yourself.

There is no such thing as eternal fame. You must respect the work you’re doing.

Everyone gets their moment in life. People always say that I’m lucky to get so many acting jobs. I dream that one day I will be able to show all these movies to my children so that they can know what I have achieved

I was so shy when I first met Ryan Gosling on the set of Only God Forgives. He’s playful in person but really serious when he’s preparing for a scene. For one scene he had to act as if he had hurt his leg and he limped around all day, even when he wasn’t in front of the camera.

I am really happy that luuk thung [Thai country music] will finally be recognized in a Hollywood movie. Nicolas [Winding Refn, director of Only God Forgives and Drive] adapted my role to be a singer like I am in real life. It’s so fucking cool to see luuk thung feature in a scene.

Many people label Jan Dara as an erotic movie but I’ve read the book; the storyline is intricate and the characters have great depth. Their humanity is captured in their feelings of love, greed, anger and infatuation.

Sex is natural. Men and women need it just the same. It’s about demolishing the wall between you and the one you love. In the end, it’s about losing yourself and revealing who you really are.

Women who dress provocatively aren’t all asking to be exploited. But I believe that deep down all women love to be touched by the one they love.

You can’t change a person completely no matter how much you try. I’m always the one to end a relationship once I realize there is something we can’t share. It’s not going to work out if we wait any longer. I once waited for someone to change, but I look back now and feel it was such a waste of time.

You can go from having it all to having nothing, just like that. My mom, a single mom, used to make lots of money from her shows. But when they began to flop she had to sell all our things and I was left with only B1,000. But she wouldn’t let me know what really happened.

I’m fortunate to have experienced both great happiness and sadness. It’s better that I’ve tasted all this before it’s too late and I’m old, so that I can properly plan out my life.

I’m so glad to have a mom who is down-to-earth. She has taught me that even when you’re at your saddest, you should try to smile.

You can’t run away from your problems, nor does bad luck last forever. Everyone will have their day.

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