|Chinese name||鄭惠玉 (traditional)|
|Chinese name||郑惠玉 (simplified)|
|Pinyin||Zhèng Huìyù (Mandarin)|
|Pe̍h-ōe-jī||Tēⁿ Huī-gio̍k (Hokkien)|
|Birth name||Tay Hui Gek|
10 January 1968 |
|Occupation||Actress, model, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Philip Chionh (1995-present)|
|Children||Brayden Chionh (蒋文喆)
Ashton Chionh (蒋文睿)
Nathan Chionh (蒋文)
Zoe Tay Hui Gek (born 10 January 1968), also known as Zheng Huiyu, is a Singaporean former model, actress, and contracted artiste under the studio MediaCorp. She is known in the Singaporean media as the "Queen (Ah jie) of Caldecott Hill" and the "Thousand-Faced Lady".
Tay was born to farming parents as their second-youngest child. During her childhood, her family lived in Lim Chu Kang. She entered the now defunct Kay Hua Primary School and later Yuan Ching Secondary School for her secondary education. She also studied at VITB (Baharrudin) A tomboy in her youth, she enjoyed football, climbing trees, and bicycle racing.
Tay became a model at the age of 16. She was first groomed at IMP International and by David Gan in 1986. During her modeling stint, she became the 1987 Model of the Year. In 1988, she joined the first biennial talent-search competition, Star Search which was organised by Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now MediaCorp) and emerged as the first Star Search champion.
Tay did not enjoy acting in the early part of her career, desiring to become a production assistant instead. But in 1991, she was given a role in Crime and Passion as a simple village girl who was torn between two men. It was through this role that she found herself appreciating the life of an actress. Her first television serial was My Fair Ladies, broadcast in 1988, in which she appeared with other winners from Star Search, Jazreel Low and Aileen Tan.
Tay played many characters in several period and contemporary dramas. In 1990, she became the first local star to be featured in Lux commercials. After being the Lux girl, further product endorsements came to her, making her a favourite star in Singapore's entertainment industry.
Her breakthrough came in 1991 when she was cast as a materialistic and malicious woman in the television series Pretty Faces. She set a record when over a million viewers tuning in for the episode where her character, Bobo, was raped. The role won her many accolades and critical compliments. It was nominated as one of the most memorable roles in the Star Awards in 2003.
In 1993 Tay performed with Li Nanxing in The Unbeatables, a television drama that focused on gambling. At her peak, there was widespread agreement in the media industry that putting Tay's picture on the cover would revive the plummeting sales of any magazine.
Tay has maintained a consistent placement among the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes in the annual Star Awards, an award ceremony for television personalities, since its inception in 1994. She also clinched the Best Actress Award in Star Awards 1996 for her performance in Golden Pillow. Her portrayal of a modern career woman in Home Affairs also earned her a nomination for Best Leading Actress at the Asian Television Awards 2000.
In the 1998 Star Awards, she was awarded the Special Achievement Award for her illustrious career and contribution to the local media scene for the past 10 years. She gave an emotional speech, in which she wept when she thanked her father who had just died not long before the ceremony. In the same year, she released her first solo album to commemorate her 10th year in show business.
Tay was voted in the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artists for the tenth consecutive year in 2003. Hence, in the 2004 Star Awards, she was awarded the All Time Favourite Artiste, together with Li Nanxing and Chew Chor Meng. This award was awarded to artistes who have been able to get into the Top 10 most popular actress/actors for 10 times. Tay is the first actress to achieve this prestigious award.
Tay is also the first local female artist to launch a coffee table book, Zoe's Pictorial, in 1995, which portrayed her in a variety of poses, including sexy, demurely alluring, or glamorous and stylish.
In 2007, i-weekly magazine listed the Top 9 drama serials with the highest viewership over 25 years (not to be confused with the annual viewership list in which Huang Biren achieved 7 top viewership drama serials out of 11). 5 out of the 9 drama serials had Tay as the lead actress.
2001 was a memorable year for Tay, as she was given the main lead actress role in the film The Tree, in which she portrayed a mother suspected of murdering her husband. Other actors who starred in this film include Hong Kong actor Francis Ng and Singapore actress Phyllis Quek.
In 2010, Tay starred in Love Cuts. In the film, she played a 40-year-old mother of two who is struggling with terminal breast cancer. It is touted as not only a poignant and moving portrayal of the challenges she faces as a result of her diagnosis, but also of how she inspires and changes the lives of the people around her. The film also starred Hong Kong actor Kenny Ho. Directed by Gerald Lee and scripted by Danny Yeo and Lee Shyh Jih. This movie received the backing of Singapore's Health Promotion Board.
Tay will star opposite Irish actor Aidan Gillen for her new art house drama, Mister John. This will be her first full-length English language movie. In Mister John, Tay plays Kim, who has recently lost her husband John, while Gillen plays John's brother Gerry. Gerry has arrived from overseas to help resolve John's financial liabilities and at the same time, investigate what he sees as suspicious circumstances surrounding John's death.
With Gerry experiencing marital problems of his own, he and Kim find themselves inexorably drawn towards each other emotionally and physically. The film is being helmed by Irish husband-and-wife indie directorial team Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, and will be released in local cinemas in 2013.
Tay is married to Colonel Philip Chionh, a fighter pilot and a test pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force and a former RSAF Black Knight. She gave birth to her first baby, a boy named Brayden, on 24 February 2005 at Thomson Medical Centre. During her pregnancy, Tay shifted her career focus from acting in films and serials, and hosted several educational programs aimed at pregnant women.
In early December 2005, she had her first situation-comedy role since her pregnancy, Lady of Leisure, opposite Singaporean actor Edmund Chen. In this serial (broadcast on 29 April 2006), she portrayed a fashionable and modern woman who was once a magazine editor. This was followed by A Million Treasures (百万宝), which was the 3rd highest viewership drama in 2006.
In October 2007, Tay's second child, also a boy, was born. The birth of her second baby Ashton was generally kept low-profile as compared to the birth of her first baby.
Though Tay was tipped a hot favourite to win the My Favourite Actress award in the Star Awards 25th Anniversary Drama Show held on 9 December 2007, she lost the coveted award to colleague and good friend Huang Biren. Although Tay did not win the award, she took it easy, saying that Huang Biren deserved the award through her recent years of good drama serials. Despite this, Tay still managed to win 3 other important awards during the Star Awards 25th Anniversary Drama Show. These awards are 'Top 5 Most Memorable Characters (Bobo in Pretty Faces)', 'Top 5 Most Popular On-screen partner (with Li Nanxing)' and the 'Screen Sweetheart of the 90s'. The Unbeatables, which she starred in was voted as 'Top 5 most popular drama' too.
In 2009, Tay starred in The Ultimatum, opposite one-time rival Fann Wong and actor Li Nanxing. The drama received lukewarm ratings for its unenchanting storyline. While Tay was nominated for the best actress at the Asian Television Awards, she was snubbed at the local Star Awards and was criticised by audiences and the local media for her severe wrinkles and crow's feet in the series which was shot under high definition. However a number of readers rushed to her defence after reading the report, reminding viewers that Tay has given birth to two children and childbirth takes a lot out of a woman.
In 2010, Tay was supposed to act in a role of Unriddle, but turned it down due to an unplanned pregnancy. The Unriddle role was played by Chen Liping instead for season 1 & 2.
Tay gave birth to her third child Nathan at noon on 6 October 2010. According to veteran actress Pan Lingling, who accompanied Tay throughout the birth, Tay's third son was born under exceptional circumstances. Pan said Tay was taken by surprise when she experienced some bleeding at 9am due to a blood clot. On hearing the news, Tay's husband Philip Chionh rushed home to send his wife to the hospital. After consulting the doctor, it was found that Tay's situation required delivery by Caesarean section. Chionh made the decision on the spot for his wife to have the operation.
"She (Zoe) could not rest earlier because she opted for partial anaesthesia so she could witness the birth of her child," explained Pan.
"At first, she was quite worried as this is her first Caesarean section. But after she came out (of the operating room), she said she was very happy to see that the baby is healthy."
Tay made her comeback appearance recently in Devotion, a 2011 MediaCorp Channel 8 anniversary drama, playing a heartwarming woman who adopts five children and misses her sweetheart, played by Chen Hanwei, for many years before they reconcile. The role earned her a Best Actress nomination since Baby Boom (2003) at the Singapore Star Awards 2012. She later acted in the 2012 drama Double Bonus, where she played two roles, one a bullied daughter-in-law who is barren and cannot give birth to sons, the other a deity who is possessing her acting role. This drama is her breakthrough drama together with British/Hong Kong actor Tom Price.
Over the years, Tay has never stopped contributing to various charity organisations by performing in a large number of charity fund-raising benefits.
- 1995 : Zoe's Pictorial (Being the first actress to launch a coffee table book)
- 2004 : "A Toast to Life" (Exclusive 2005 calendar that was in production during her pregnancy)
- 1998: 10th Anniversary Zoe Tay (E.P.) (十分...郑惠玉)/ Thank You 十分。。。感谢）
|1988||My Fair Ladies (窈窕淑女)||傅桂花|
|Strange Encounters II (奇缘之怨偶天成)||贾男|
|1989||A Mother's Love (亲心唤我心)||方伊宁|
|Finishing Line (出人头地)||叶蓓|
|1990||Navy Series (壮志豪情)||江淑娜|
|Friends Next Door (我爱芳邻)|
|1991||Crime and Passion (执法先锋)||温带金|
|The Last Swordsman (最后一个大侠)||红袖|
|Pretty Faces (三面夏娃)||吴金宝 (BoBo)||Won - Star Awards 25th Drama Anniversary for Most Memorable Roles in 25 Years of TV.|
|1992||Ladies In Action (霹雳红唇)||倪婕|
|Terms of Endearment (戏剧人生)|
|1993||Ride The Waves (卿本佳人)|
|Angel of Vengeance (暴雨狂花)||艳玲|
|The Unbeatables (双天至尊)||洛其芳 / 龙嘉嘉||Won - Star Awards 25th Drama Anniversary for Favourite On-Screen Partners in 25 Years of TV with actor Li Nan Xing.|
|Happy Foes (欢喜冤家)|
|1994||Thunder Plot (惊天大阴谋)||乐珊|
|Truly Yours (聪明糊涂心)||祁美花|
|Shadows In the Dark (一号凶宅)||李莎莉/李晴|
|1995||The Teochew Family (潮州家族)||蔡美娜|
|The Golden Pillow (金枕头)||周小丹||Won - Star Awards for Best Actress
Won - Star Awards 25th Drama Anniversary for Best Classic Scenes Award together with Alex Man and Fann Wong.
|Women From Shun Tak (妈姐情缘)||欧桂开、女儿角色|
|1996||The Unbeatables II (双天至尊II)||洛其芳 / 龙嘉嘉|
|Love in A Foreign City (富贵双城)||余淑婷|
|1997||My Wife, Your Wife, Their Wives (101老婆之老婆柠檬茶 之《老婆柠檬茶》)||杨静||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress|
|Rising Expectations (长河)||余家慧(鱼妹)|
|1998||The Return of the Condor Heroes(神雕侠侣)||陆二娘||<Guest Appearance>|
|The New Adventures of Wisely (卫斯理传奇)||白素||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress|
|1999||Lost Soul(另类佳人)||翩翩||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress|
|The Millennium Bug (千年虫)||黄思捷|
|2000||My Home Affairs (家事)||张晓彤||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Asian Television Award for Best Drama Performance by an Actress
|2001||The Strategem (世纪攻略)||叶凯双||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress|
|The Hotel (大酒)||碧玉|
|2002||Katong Miss Oh (加东Miss Oh)||欧立珠||Nominated Star Awards for Best Comedy Actor/Actress|
|2003||The Unbeatables III (双天至尊III)||洛其芳 / 龙嘉嘉|
|Baby Boom (我家四个宝)||吴毓丽||Nominated Star Awards 2003 for Best Actress|
|Phua Chu Kang (鬼马家族V)||婷婷||<Guest Appearance>|
|2004||Man At Forty (跑吧!男人)||简洁|
|My Mighty-in-Laws (野蛮亲家)||姚美美|
|2006||Lady of Leisure (闲妻靓母)||岳靓|
|A Million Treasures (百万宝)||白星星|
|2008||La Femme (绝对佳人)||方宝玉|
|By My Side (不凡的爱)||林欣雅|
|2009||The Ultimatum (双子星)||叶予晨||Nominated - Asian Television Award for Best Drama Performance by an Actress|
|2011||Devotion (阿娣)||刘招娣（阿娣）||Nominated Star Awards for Best Actress|
|2012||Double Bonus (双星报喜)||李美凤|
|2013||The Dream Makers (志在四方)||周薇芸|
|1999||Liang Po Po (梁婆婆重出江湖)||郑惠玉||<Guest Appearance>|
|2001||The Tree (孩子树)||郭美风|
|2010||Love Cuts (割爱)||思思|
|2013||Love...And Other Bad Habits (爱与其它坏习惯)||Mei|
|1994||Love Dowry (爱情定金)||敏||Nominated - Star Awards for Best Actress|
|1995||Love Knows No Bounds (甜甜屋)||秀慧|
|1995||Pointed Triangle (杀之恋)||施佳|
|1997||The Scoop (迷情专访)||Joey|
|2010||Carlsberg Telemovie Series Episode 1 - In the Name of Love (皇帽瑞狮喜迎虎1－ 以爱为名)|
|2001||With Heart And Soul - Cambodia Trip (真心真意携手同行－柬埔寨之旅)|
|2002||Travel Hunt - India (奇趣搜搜搜－印度之旅)|
|Lunar New Year All Stars Variety 200 (歌舞欢腾迎新喜 2002)|
|Health Matters (一切由慎开始)|
|Journey Across Mongolia 200 (真心真意蒙古之行)|
|Health Matters II (一切由慎开始II)|
|Wonders of the World (惠眼看世界)|
|Journey Across Lesotho (真心真意莱索托之行)|
|2004||Chronicles of Life (我爱我家之真情实录)|
|Wonders of the World II (惠眼看世界II)|
|Zoe's Mommy Tips (阿姐有喜了)|
|2005||Zoe's Treasure Trove (阿姐有个宝)|
|2013||Ladies' Night (女人俱乐部)|
Awards and Notable Achievements
- 1987: Model of the Year
- 1988: Star Search Singapore 88' Champion
- 1992: Friday Weekly Most Popular Artiste (TV Group) Champion
- 1993: Star Awards Top 5 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1994: Star Awards Top 5 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1994: Star Awards Most Popular Actress (Nominated)
- 1994: Friday Weekly Most Popular Artiste (TV Group) Champion
- 1995: Star Awards Top 5 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1995: Star Awards Most Popular Actress
- 1995: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 1996: Star Awards Top 5 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1996: Star Awards Best Actress (Won)
- 1996: Friday Weekly Most Popular Artiste (TV Group) Champion
- 1997: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1997: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 1997: Lime Magazine Favourite Local Actress
- 1997: The New Paper Babe of the Year
- 1998: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1998: Star Awards Special Achievement Award Winner
- 1998: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 1998: The New Paper Babe of the Year
- 1999: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 1999: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 1999: The New Paper Babe of the Year
- 2000: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 2000: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 2000: Asian Television Award Best Actress (Nominated) [Home Affairs]
- 2000: The New Paper Babe of the Year
- 2001: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 2001: Star Awards Malaysia Most Popular Actress
- 2001: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated)
- 2002: Lianhe Zaobao Top 50 Most Popular Asian Idol - 7th position
- 2002: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 2002: Star Awards Most Popular Female Artistes (Malaysia)
- 2003: Lianhe Zaobao Top 50 Most Popular Asian Idol - 1st position
- 2003: Star Awards Most Popular Female Artistes (Malaysia)
- 2003: Star Awards Most Popular TV Partners
- 2003: Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
- 2003: Star Awards Best Actress (Nominated) [Baby Boom]
- 2003: Lime Magazine Favourite Local Actress
- 2003: People at The Peak (2nd edition)
- 2004: Lianhe Zaobao Top 50 Most Popular Asian Idol - 4th position
- 2004: Star Awards All-Time Favourite Artiste Award (First Female Artiste to receive this award)
- 2005: Lianhe Zaobao Top 50 Most Popular Asian Idol - 7th position
- 2005: The New Paper Booby of the Year
- 2006: People at The Peak (3rd edition)
- 2006: Singapore the Encyclopaedia (first edition)
- 2006: MediaCorp 2nd News Awards '06 - Publishing: Cover of the year for 8days
- 2006: The New Paper Si Bui Suey of the Year
- 2007: Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show - Voted Screen Sweetheart for the 90s
- 2007: Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show - Won Top 5 Most Memorable Roles in 25 Years of TV Award for role of Bobo in Pretty Faces
- 2007: Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show - Won Top 5 Favourite On-Screen Partners in 25 Years of TV Award for role with actor Li Nan Xing in The Unbeatables
- 2007: Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show - Won Top 5 Best Classic Scenes Award together with Alex Man and Fann Wong for scene in the Golden Pillow
- 2009: Asian Television Award Best Actress (Nominated) [The Ultimatum]
- 2011: Star Awards 2012 Best Actress nomination [Devotion]
- "Celeb Bios". MediaCorp Studios. n.d. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Zoe's Story". MediaCorp Studios. 7 January 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2007-01-21. She is married to pilot Philip Chionh and has two sons, Brayden and Ashton.
- "Zoe's Story". MediaCorp Studios. 7 January 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Zoe's Story". MediaCorp Studios. 7 January 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Visitors brave heat, snaking queues to catch last day of Singapore Airshow 2008" (Press release). Singapore Airshow. 2008-02-24.