Dasmond Koh rules with an iron fist

No dating, no clubbing, and no funky hair colours. Self-professed micro-manager DASMOND KOH rules with an iron fist at his talent agency



The Moneymaker
: Dasmond Koh, 44. The radio deejay-turned-TV host started talent agency NoonTalk Media four years ago to “help budding young actors fulfil their dreams”, with Xu Bin and Aloysius Pang among the seven artistes under his care.

HOME IS: A three-storey terrace house near Caldecott Hill, where he lives with his mum, elder sister and one of his newer artistes, 20-year-old Zong Zijie, who’s starred in supporting roles in Tiger Mum and C.L.I.F 4.

HIS RIDE IS: An SUV. “I don’t want to reveal the make of the car, but generally, I like an SUV as it’s spacious. I can buy groceries and still fit three to four people in my car. It’s very convenient,” he says.

IN HIS WALLET: He keeps two credit cards, an ATM card, his identity card, and his Krisflyer card in a Montblanc wallet. “I don’t believe in having too many credit cards. I have two, in case one goes over the limit (laughs). I also prefer to spend using cards as I know better where all my expenses are. When you use cash, you tend to spend too much without realising it.”

8 DAYS: Six out of seven NoonTalk Media artistes are male (Kimberly Chia is the sole female artiste). Why the preference for guys?
DASMOND KOH: When a male artiste makes an appearance, he only needs some concealer and loose powder on his face. Throw on a nice jacket and he’s ready to go. It’s very simple. For a female artiste, she needs two hours for hair and make-up. What she wears will also be scrutinised more closely as compared to guys, so she can’t recycle the clothes and wear them again. The costs add up. I estimate that I save up to five times more by focusing on male artistes. Emotionally, girls are weaker so there’ll be more occasions when I have to step in personally to counsel them. That’s income loss for me too. I could’ve used that time to do more lucrative things. Girls might cry if I scold them, so sometimes I need to hold back a little.

What do you look out for in a budding actor? I don’t deny the fact that looks are important, but a lot of it boils down to the chemistry between the talent and me. I also take note of the person’s character. If he’s very strong-headed and someone that I can’t control, I’d rather not work with him. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m too much of a micro-manager (laughs).

You do seem like a very strict boss. What kind of restrictions do you impose on your artistes? I don’t allow Xu Bin and Aloysius to dye their hair. If you observe the local market, you’d realise that it’s still quite prim and proper. Having black hair makes it easier for them to be cast in family dramas. So no matter how many times they try to persuade me to let them change their hair colour, my answer is always a straight ‘No’. (Laughs) I’ve also told them right from the beginning that they’re not allowed to date. I strongly believe that dating will affect their focus at work. If they’re dating secretly, then I won’t know ’cos they won’t tell me. You also won’t find Xu Bin and Aloysius clubbing or drinking in pubs. They are so busy that they hardly have time to do that. But it’s also ’cos I believe in making a good impression in public. I don’t want them to be caught in compromising photos that’d affect their careers.

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