The secret life of an SGAG writer: Annette Lee

By day she writes scripts and directs videos, by night she writes songs and makes music

Meet Annette Lee Rochelle aka Sue-Ann or Suezanna Chloe Tan on SGAG
Meet Annette Lee Rochelle aka Sue-Ann or Suezanna Chloe Tan

Video: Genice Ooi

If internet memes and short video clips are your bread and butter, chances are, you might be familiar with some of Annette Lee’s work on SGAG, a popular social media website that is also known as the local spinoff of 9GAG. You may even recognise Annette from her infamous online personas: ‘Sue-Ann,’ aka the office lady who falls in love with her Korean boss in an SGAG clip called My Spicy Seoulmate, or ditzy news reporter Suezanna Chloe Tan, who wears a yellow wig that can only be described as “striking”.

The 25-year-old, who graduated from NTU (Nanyang Technological University)’s School of Art Design and Media (ADM) two years ago, was apparently “talent-scouted” via an illustration blog (if only we fart flowers, where she drew comics and shared stories about her “fleeting existence”) that she ran during her university days. SGAG offered her a job, Annette took up the offer, and the rest, as they say, is history.

She started writing scripts and directing videos, but one thing led to another and she eventually wound up starring in SGAG’s online productions, where she had to do everything from walking a pet rock around Orchard to showing up on dates dressed in cosplay.

In an interview with Toggle, Annette, who is much mellower and more intelligent than Sue-Ann, shared how the character came to be. “I was actually the first person in SGAG’s video team and I was trying to set up a team. I wanted to make videos ‘cos I’m really passionate about it, but there was nobody available apart from Xiaoming (aka SGAG co-founder Adrian Ang) [to act in it] – but I can’t just be filming Xiaoming all day! You know what I mean?

Annette plays Sue-Ann in SGAG's My Spicy Seoul videos (Screenshots via SGAG Facebook)
Annette plays Sue-Ann in SGAG's My Spicy Seoul videos (Screenshots via SGAG)

“So I was like, okay, I’d just have to show up on the videos too if I want a variety [of characters], and we just came up with this name (Sue-Ann) for me. [Eventually] I started dragging random colleagues like ‘Kenny’ and ‘Bobby’ [to act in the videos] too, and we just grew like that.”

Explaining why she decided to use a pseudonym, instead of going with her real-life moniker, Annette said: “Because I knew I was going to do a lot of rubbish too. Oh my god, I have done so many rubbish things that I don’t think I’d have done if I didn’t have the disguise. (Chuckles)”

To a certain extent, she’s happy to keep her characters separate from who she is and from her personal projects.

As for whether people she knows offline associate her with her airheaded personas, Annette waved it off, laughing, “Most people won’t be able to recognise me in real life – of course, if I wore the spectacles, people would know.”

Case in point: Annette told us about how one of her friends, who, after learning about her day job at SGAG, sent his buddies a picture of them together, only for them to accuse him of bluffing.

So what else distinguishes Annette from Sue-Ann? Apart from the creative work she does at SGAG, Annette is a talented singer and has spent the last two years working on her debut EP, All Our Achilles Heels. The five-song album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with award-winning producers and brothers Ed and Scott Cash over a week-long period.

(Continued on next page: Annette hopes to sing under a persona? She tells us more)

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