Sheila Sim may now be married, but the actress and model still prefers to go by her maiden name, thank you very much.
Since she wed banker Deon Woo, 37, in January, only a few family members have teased her with her married title, "Mrs Woo". "'It sounds like what people would call my mother-in-law," Sheila says with a laugh.
"I'm definitely sticking to my own name, but I have a new couple name for us - the WooSims. It's cute, right?"
Cute fits Sheila to a T: She laughs easily and heartily at our cover photo shoot at restaurant-club FOC Sentosa at Tanjong Beach. Her elfin features and down-to-earth charm make her instantly endearing, and she greets the crew with great big hugs.
As one of Singapore's top models and a newlywed, Sheila, 33, is the perfect person to grace The Weekly's cover for our Love issue.
Here's how she met her husband, and her advice on love, marriage, and how you know when you meet The One.
Sheila met Deon on a dating app
When Sheila and Deon first met on a dating app, they were attracted to each other's looks ("that's expected, because the other person's photo is the first thing you see", she says), but they soon found they had a deeper connection.
"I usually don't give out my number to a guy until we've been chatting online for about two months - but somehow, I gave Deon my number that very night!"
"Later on, I almost ruined the relationship by drunk-dialing him one day and saying all kinds of offensive stuff," she continued with a laugh.
The couple got to know each other intensely by meeting practically every day
"However, the next day, we ended up talking for four to five hours on the phone, and five days later, we met in person for the first time. Because he was between jobs, and I was between projects, we met every day; and I really mean every day, unless one of us was out of the country. It's why we got to know each other so well in such a short period of time."
She agrees that accepting Deon's proposal in six months was "crazy" but romantic
Sheila accepted Deon's proposal atop a snowy mountain in Hokkaido, after just six months of dating.
"It came as a complete surprise to me: He took me to our special spot, planted his GoPro camera in the snow, and I instantly knew something was up. He got down on one knee with the ring, and I laughed and cried because I thought the proposal was so funny and sweet."
Getting engaged within six months was "crazy", Sheila admits.
"From an outsider's point of view, it definitely sounds mad. But it felt so right, and I thought it was so romantic that he was so sure that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me."
Their "minimoon" was in Japan, and they'll have their honeymoon in Europe later this year
Fresh from her minimoon in Japan, which included a three-day foodie pilgrimage through Tokyo and five days of snowboarding at Nozawa Onsen in Nagano, Sheila is missing her holiday but happy to be home.
Her star-studded wedding at Andaz Singapore, which was attended by celebrities including her 118 drama co-stars Chen Han Wei, Chew Chor Meng, Pan Ling Ling, Dennis Chew and Elvin Ng, was fun but tiring, she shares, and she was happy to simply catch up on sleep and enjoy some much-needed couple time while in Japan.
Sheila and Deon are also planning a proper honeymoon in Europe later this year.
"I'm not letting him off that easily," she said with a laugh.
Sheila can't wait to have babies - asap!
The newlyweds are eager to start expanding their brood.
"We love kids, and at our age, we want to start trying for them right away."
Currently filming the Channel 8 drama Reach For The Skies, which debuts on April 2, Shelia laments that her character "isn't allowed to get pregnant" until filming wraps in September.
But don't expect her to slow down after starting a family.
"I don't think the arrival of a child should change my entire life; I still want to do my own thing. I'm inspired by the veteran actresses around me who work, but still have very good relationships with their kids."
In the meanwhile, Sheila is happy to spend time with her niece, Alexis.
She doesn't need a perfect relationship
Sheila muses that her own parents' split when she was 12 (they have both since remarried). It never changed her belief in love, but it affected her feelings about marriage.
"All along, in my previous relationships, I would just keep thinking, 'My relationship cannot fail, my relationship cannot fail," she shares.
"It inflicted a lot of unnecessary stress on me. Later, I learnt not to let my past control my present; it was around this time I met Deon.
"With Deon, I decided that my relationship didn't have to be perfect. I wanted to just go with the flow, and not let the idea of 'what if' affect me. Now that we're married, there's a sense of relief that the dating game and wedding planning is over, and we can enjoy our lives together."
Sheila says you've found The One when…
"Your friends and family are all in favour of your relationship. Sometimes, you feel like your relationship is right, but your loved ones have doubts and are all telling you it's wrong. In my case, my family knew Deon was the one for me even before I did - Sheila says the key to a happy union is…
"To have tolerance for each other. People underestimate the power of tolerance. So many times, I may get annoyed with my husband, but if I just hold my tongue, the issue will blow over. So you need to pick your battles and learn when to hold back. When my dad first met him, he predicted that we would get married, and he was right!"
The most romantic thing she's ever done for her husband is…
"Surprising him on his last birthday by planning a meal at Restaurant Andre with his twin brother and sister-in-law. I wanted to celebrate Deon's birthday with just the two of us, but I knew he really wanted to be with his family, so I surprised him on the day by making it a group affair. He was really touched by that. This year, we're planning a surprise birthday bash for him on a yacht - just to up the ante!"
According to Sheila, the best way to get over a fight is…
"To fight objectively, and quarrel logically - which means to fight about the heart of the issue, and not about past baggage and emotions, because that will just open up a can of worms. I'm still learning how to do this, actually."
In Sheila's words, love is…
"The world to me. It is always the answer. Whether it's love for friends, family, work or your partner, it comes in so many forms and no one can live without it."
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly