Zhang: I must let other notice me

This good-looker was one of the top three hunks and rising male leads at MediaCorp, alongside ElvinNg and Dai Yangtian.

But things seem to have gone south for Sichuan-born actor Zhang Zhenhuan. The 27-year-old has been out of the limelight since his last drama, The Oath, aired in October lastyear.

In the last six months, he appeared in the news only once, and the report was a negative one.

An unhappy reader had told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao in January that she had seen Zhang smoking outside a restaurant. She felt he was setting a bad example.

The reader also felt that Zhang should have stopped 17-year-old local actor Edwin Goh, who was with him and underage then, from smoking.

He told The New Paper at the Absolutely Charming press conference on Tuesday that he didn't want to talk about the incident.

"There's no need to. It happened, it was reported (in the papers) and it's over," he said.

"Artists have to watch their every action. The incident may not be what people think. There may be reasons behind it."

Zhang is also painfully aware that his star has dimmed from the lack of exposure.

One year

He's giving himself one year to boost his profile. Two of his dramas are coming up next month.

In Absolutely Charming, he plays best friend to Elvin Ng's character.

Zhang also plays an unconventional and passionate teacher in Channel U's upcoming teen drama, Jump!, which premieres on May 16 at 10pm.

He said he was forced to take stock of his showbiz career after being left out of this year's Star Awards.

"These six months were a good time for me to reflect on the good and bad things in my career," he said.

"I didn't let people notice me and that's my fault. I should have been more aggressive.

"Now, no matter what drama I'm filming, it must be ingrained in me that I must let others notice me."

Zhang was signed on by MediaCorp soon after he emerged as the first runner-up of Channel U's 2008 talent show, U Are The One.

In 2009, he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Star Awards.

The following year, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Channel 8 period drama Together.

But he has never cracked the Top 20 Most Popular Male Artistes list.

Said Zhang: "In the past, I was more passive and thought actors should only pay attention to their acting."

He has been exercising to improve his physique and complexion and he said he looks forward to the day hecan take his shirt off in adrama.

But it's not like he intends to grab attention by flashing his body, he stressed. "It means I'm in tip-top condition mentally and physically," he said.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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