Budding actress and singer Paowalee “Pao” Pornpimol, 19, makes her cinematic debut in, The Moon, a dramatic biopic of Thai luk thung queen, Poompuang Duangchan—or Mae Pueng, as Pao calls her.

BK: Where did you grow up?
I am from Supanburi, Daan Chang district [the same province as Poompuang]. My father and mother sell clothes at Daan Chang fresh market.

BK: How did you become a singer?
: The people in my town love to listen to luk thung songs. Also, my grandfather and my mum both love to sing. I started to go to singing contests when I was nine as they encouraged me to go. My first competition was at an OTOP event where I got second place. I kept going to competitions until I won the first prize at “Kwa Mic Kwa Champ” on FAN TV, a cable channel, resulting in a contract with GMM. They were the ones who sent me to audition for this role.

BK: How did you manage to capture the essence of Poompuang, since you weren’t even born yet when she was at her height?
I grew up listening to her music, and my mom always told me that Mae Peung is the queen of luk thung. Everyone in the country loves her. I feel happy that I was able to convey what she had to go through to become such an iconic figure.

BK: How do you feel knowing how much she struggled?
Well, since my dream is to be a singer, her struggles really resonated with me. But as for our paths, Mae Pueng must have had more struggles because in those times, you had to fight and go through a lot to achieve your dreams. Me, my parents support me and there are more opportunities now than before.

BK: How was your experience on set? Anything strange?
Yes, there were some strange things. I believe that Mae Pueng was still around us, giving us support when we were shooting the film. When I first went for casting, they made me sing “Nakrong Ban Nok.” Then all of a sudden I got goose bumps and felt hot and cold. I couldn’t stop crying.

BK: How has your life changed?
It’s been a big change since I moved to Bangkok. I’d never been to Bangkok before. I’ve always been in Supanburi. In the mooban, everyone knows each other, but not here. Now I live with my mom while my dad is still at home. I call him every day and sometimes he comes to pick me up and take me back home for a visit. Whenever we go back he cooks for us. Now I’m currently a sophomore at Faculty of Humanities and Communication Arts at Ramkamhaeng University. I’m only going to sit the exams. Most of the time I’m either working or studying at home.


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