Currently playing a heart-broken woman embroiled in a love triangle with co-star Mum Jokmok (in Mum Ka Mai Doen Ka Doen), Sirivimol “Mai” Charoenpura, 42, talks to BK about growing up in her father’s shadow, acting in a comedy and coping with all those salacious rumors.

Maybe it’s my father’s blood [late actor-director Ruj Ronnapob] that made me want to be an actress since I was young.

I used to help our maid finish the dishes quicker so she could play acting with me. I would do it all, from crying, singing to being in love. My lead actor was the air.

I pursued my love of acting in drama class, when I was at high school in England.

My dad teased me that one day I could be his lead actress. But I didn’t wait for him. I introduced myself to director Paijit Supwaree who cast me in Kor Kae Kid Tueng.

I lied at first and said that my parents were traders, not people in the entertainment business. But the truth came out when the film became so successful.

I never really had a teenager’s life. I was a young girl who had to work hard to meet other people’s expectations. Jobs kept coming after my first successful film.

After winning awards, I had to improve myself and maintain my status for as long as possible. That’s the toughest part.

My life hasn’t been strewn with rose petals. I worked hard for everything I have.

Having watched me through the years, my mother now says, “You’re really like your father.”

The scandals I was involved in, they are lessons. Every sorrow is a lesson that’s not taught in a classroom. I learned to be strong, or else everything I had built—which wasn’t built in a day—would be gone.

I’m not the only one who was rumored to be Thaksin’s mistress. It’s natural that people would say that about me. When two famous figures, one of whom is the prime minister, are acquainted, there will be rumors.

I’ve tried to understand why the press writes this stuff. Really it was just a lot of false inference. Thaksin was close to my father; he paid for his movie. Thaksin hired me to sing for him at an event; he’s close to my boss. But if he wasn’t the prime minister, there wouldn’t have been these rumors.

I am normally OK with rumors but the mistress allegation was too much. I can live on my own. I wouldn’t be in the industry for so long if I was waiting for someone to support me.

The press has to understand where the limit is. You’re the press, I’m an actress, we have to rely on each other. But why don’t you talk about something more creative?

I believe in karma. If the press doesn’t have morals, they’ll have to pay some day.

I’ve played serious characters in Suriyothai, Rak Lorn and Chuerd Kon Chim, and I wanted to change that. So now, I’m starring in a comedy.
Comedy is harder than drama. I’ve done drama all my life.

I used to feel disheartened thinking how life is this endless cycle: eat, go to the toilet, dress, undress, sleep. But life is just this. I realize that certainty is uncertain.

I practice meditation to calm my mind. No one can bring you out of sorrow except yourself. Think positive and be your own encouragement.

I am single now. I think I am meant to be alone so I try to think that I can live alone. You were born alone and you die alone.

My dream dinner date would be with Brad Pitt. He seems so gentle, warm and nice. No matter how strong men are, if they also have a sensitive side, that’s really cute. Yes, it was awful how he left his wife and went with Angelina Jolie, but we’re not them. Let them make their own life decisions.

My mom always says that we all have good and bad sides but we must give children guidance to be good people. We have to let children explore the world, but you have to tell them to preserve what our ancestors left us.

We have to do good for others. There are no words in English for nam jai, boon khun or katanyoo [to do good]. Why are these ideas disappearing?

Bangkok is a really hectic city but it has its own character. It’s good to be a more modern city. But can’t we live with both the new and the old? Can’t we preserve the tradition of smiling or living along the canals?

Foreigners really love our culture, so why do we throw it away?

I would make the river and canals cleaner, if I were governor. I love river life. I also want to take all the elephants out of the city. They don’t belong here. I ache for them every time I see them begging for food or money on the street. Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan


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