updated 16 Oct 2011, 09:54
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Sun, Aug 21, 2011
The New Paper
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Erotic movie star to give up citizenship
by Shaun Soh

SHOULD I stay or should I go?

It's a dilemma that many struggling local artistes face, but for Eurasian actress Maria Alexandria, the answer is clear.

Singaporeans may know her as Evelyn Maria Ng - she appeared in coming-of-age Channel 5 shows like Moulmein High and Light Years and local erotic movie Hush.

She legally changed her name two months ago and is in the process of giving up her Singapore citizenship so that she can withdraw her CPF money and use it to further her studies in acting in New York.

Her plans were first reported in Shin Min Daily News last week and the Malaysian media has already gone to town with the news.

Some netizens called her a "traitor", while others applauded her for her "smarts".

Alexandria, 31, stressed that her move was purely for financial reasons, maintaining that it's a personal choice and she has nothing against being Singaporean.

"(But) I do feel that the grass is greener on the other side," she said.

Alexandria just wants a shot at a better life.

She said: "Having all this talk about me is very upsetting.

Renouncing citizenship

"It is a privilege to have a Singapore passport because you don't need to apply for a visa for many places in the world. It is well recognised and respected...

"(But) the sole reason (I'm renouncing citizenship) is just so that I can take my CPF funds. It has nothing to do with being Singaporean."

Alexandria said she needs the extra cash because she doesn't want to take up more study loans and deal with the subsequent debts that she will incur.

Also, her current income from freelance work like acting and hosting events isn't enough to sustain the high cost of living in New York.

The pixie-faced starlet plans to enrol in the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, which counts a host of Hollywood A-listers as its alumni. But she's still uncertain when that will happen.

She said: "I'm going there because actors who go to New York and are trained there are taken as serious actors."

She declined to reveal how much she has in her CPF account, but hinted that it's only enough to cover a year's school fees in New York.

She said she will need to apply for an Irish passport first - her mother is of Irish descent - before she can give up her Singapore citizenship, all of which will take two to three months.

It will take another month for her application for the CPF withdrawal to clear.

Escaping label

Besides gaining a fresh start in a different country, Alexandria also hopes to escape the stigma of being known as a "sex film" actress.

That label came about when she starred in the 20-minute indie flick Hush, which was released last year and marketed as "the most erotic film ever made in Singapore", a tagline with which she disagrees.

She appeared topless in the film and had to act out a sex scene. She has since dissociated herself from the movie, even giving its premiere a miss.

She said: "I did (Hush) because I was guaranteed that the film would be marketed and done in a tasteful manner."

Alexandria - who claimed a director recently offered her $100 to act in a film that required her to take off her clothes - said that she doesn't want to be stereotyped as someone who does such roles and prefers to veer into comedies instead.

She has entered into a business partnership with a friend, Ms Marie Alexander, who set up public relations and events company Alexandria and Alexander this month.

But Alexandria did not have to contribute to its start-up costs.

She claimed that her name change - done for branding purposes - made her "feel like a completely new person".

It also brought about "good fengshui" as people actually started to pay attention to her and business for the company has picked up.

She said: "The whole idea (behind the name change) is to give myself international branding in New York. I want to be known as a serious international actor after my studies."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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