Richie Koh: “I’m No Bad Boy, I’m Just Cheeky!”


On Richie: Colourful knit pullover and reversible nylon trench coat from JW Anderson x Uniqlo. All accessories from Thomas Sabo.

Mediacorp artiste Richie Koh was all smiles when our team walked into the photo studio to meet him for our Star of the Month photoshoot. Dressed in a simple black and white outfit, with his shades casually tucked in his shirt pocket, the chirpy 24-year-old greeted us and even made an effort to remember all our names – no mean feat, considering that there were almost ten of us!

Also read: ‘Acting is a leap of faith’ for model-actress Jasmine Sim

And as he struck up several Vogue-worthy shots for the camera, we couldn’t help but recall his pageant days – well, sorta. You may not remember this, but Richie emerged as the runner-up in Hey! Gorgeous (2013), a talent-scouting reality TV series on Channel U. And if you are wondering, it was the same show that discovered Carrie Wong and Somaline Ang. However, Richie dropped off the radar soon after due to national service (NS), and only signed on as an artiste early this year.

“I feel happy for those [his fellow Hey! Gorgeous contestants] who have done well in their showbiz careers, and I believe strongly in fate,” shares a thoughtful Richie. “I believe that everyone’s path in life is planned out. When I emerged as runner-up for the competition, I wasn’t sure about the path I’d like to take yet. NS helped me to develop as a person, and I believe it also prepared me for my role in [Ch 8’s] When Duty Calls. Everything happens for a reason!”

On Richie: Sweat Long Sleeve Shirt and Blocktech Mods Coat from Uniqlo U. Colour knit turtleneck from Paul Smith.

sXs: You worked with veteran artistes like Desmond Tan and Felicia Chin in When Duty Calls. How did that feel?

RK: Well, I definitely felt the pressure. They are my idols – I used to watch them on TV during my schooling days. Getting to see and work with them in person feels unreal.

sXs: You must have felt jittery. How did you calm your nerves?

RK: Yeah, I was really nervous on my very first day on set, and was almost on the verge of a breakdown. However, my seniors told me not to worry about the people on set and to treat them as invisible. They also gave me tips on how I can improve my articulation and to play my character better.

sXs: You looked like a natural in front of our camera though.

RK: Thank you! I’m not a professional model, so there’s definitely some stress… but I can handle it much better now. At the end of the day, I just want to do my job well so that everyone is happy. Plus, everyone was so nice during this shoot – it helps a lot.

On Richie: Dark green cotton oversized parka and white sneakers from Lanvin. Denim Work Pants from Uniqlo x JW Anderson.

sXs: How did you feel about having to shave your head for your role in When Duty Calls?

RK: I didn’t think too much about it. But when we finally had to do it, Shane [Pow] and I started to feel a sense of déjà vu, and we were reminded of our BMT days. I don't know about Shane, but having to shave my head again felt symbolic, and like a fresh start for me. Well, at least I got to save money on shampoo and utility bills! (laughs)

sXs: Speaking of hairstyles, have you tried anything wild?

RK: I kept shoulder-length hair during my polytechnic days. I was probably 17 then. I’d comb it backwards, much like Mike He from Taiwanese drama Hooping Dulcinea (2007).

sXs: What is your personal style like at the moment?

RK: A little more like hip-hop, street-style vibe I guess. Some days I go for a more casual look, and some days I try to look like a Korean oppa (laughs). Otherwise it’s just t-shirts and jeans for me. Oh, and I can’t do without my shades. I like them because they add a swag touch.

On Richie: Colourful knit pullover and reversible nylon trench coat from JW Anderson x Uniqlo. All accessories from Thomas Sabo.

sXs: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Edison Chen?

RK: Yes, people have said that, and I probably have to thank him for making me a little more noticeable. (laughs) However, with that comes the “bad boy” image, and I was told it isn’t the best association. So I’d rather go for the “cute and cheeky” than “bad boy” vibe. I’m a happy-go-lucky guy who loves pranking fellow co-stars – it’s all in good fun.

sXs: Is there someone you look up to in the industry then?

RK: Xie Shaoguang’s versatility in front of the camera inspires me. Unfortunately, he’s no longer working in the entertainment industry. Also, I’ve heard that Li Nan Xing and Christopher Lee are really charismatic with a strong screen presence. I hope to be able to work with both of them some day – it’d be great if I can learn how to exercise control over my emotions like them.

sXs: Now that you’re getting the hang of things, do you think acting is something you want to pursue in the long run?

I definitely love what I am doing now, and would like to focus on it. However, I’ve also thought about opening a nice café or bar in the future, a nice place where I can hang out all day with friends. Otherwise, I may consider helping my dad out. He’s in the container repair line. However, I’ve told him that I’d like to explore my options first.



Photo: Aik Chen
Fashion Director: Jeremy Tan
Hair: Vanessa Choo/Hair by Duo 
Grooming: Lydia Thong

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