BEST KNOWN AS... The Ch 8 actress who started out as a model and came in third at Star Search 1988 (Zoe Tay and Aileen Tan were champion and first runner-up, respectively).
WHAT SHE’S UP TO NOW: After selling off a thriving music production house — which she had set up with then-boyfriend Eric Moo — as well as her own bridal shop, Jazreel Low’s Collections, the mother-of-one is now the CEO of the Aramsa Lifestyle chain of spas. She recently started an online beauty product store, Beauty A-List (beautya-list.com).
8 DAYS: You don’t look like you’ve aged a day. Is that the perk of being a spa boss?
JAZREEL LOW: (Laughs) Oh, thank you! The Chinese always say, “There are no ugly women, just lazy ones.” I wake up very early at 5am ’cos my daughter gets on her school bus at 6am. I’ve a lot of time before I go to work, so I’ll put on a facial mask while I read the papers and have my coffee. Now that I’m going through menopause, my skin condition changes so I’ve to monitor it closely. I’ve five different types of masks and exfoliators in the house! I’ll also use gadgets like electrotherapy on my face.
Your daughter, Michelia, is 13 this year. Do you consider yourself a Tiger Mum?
Not really. My daughter is dyslexic and I try to tutor her, but I’m not patient enough for that. I’d rather leave it to the experts to teach her. Some of my friends actually [take up lessons] to learn how to tutor their children, but it’s not for me lah. (Laughs) I just make it a point to tuck her into bed every night, and we spend half-an-hour talking about her day. She’s entering her teenage years. Pretty soon she won’t want to tell me anything!
PHOTO: Jazreel at an 8 DAYS shoot in 2005 with daughter Michelia
How do you juggle work and your family?
I decided to take a step back in my career. [Instead of running it myself], I left my spa operations in Singapore and Bintan to a management team. I’ve always admired women who can juggle successful businesses with their families. You’re not called a successful woman until you have the best of both worlds, unlike men. It’s not a level playing field, unfortunately! I admit that I cannot manage a lot of things, so this year I took up a smaller portfolio.
You lost almost all your savings in stocks and property in 2014. Are you still keen on investing?
I don’t invest in stocks anymore, ’cos I’m not very good at that. Most of my investments are in my business. We branched out into Bintan and we plan to open another spa outlet there.
Do you regret leaving showbiz?
I signed a two-year contract [with Mediacorp] after Star Search 1988. I didn’t renew my contract in 1990, but I worked with them on a project basis. [Being an artiste] wasn’t something I wanted to do in the long run, but I’m glad I did it. There was no harm in trying. The cruel thing about the entertainment industry is that as you age, you’re not appreciated as much. The point I decided to leave was when my personal relationships and everything else I did were so heavily scrutinised.
Your relationship with singer-songwriter Eric Moo got a lot of attention.
Every couple quarrels, breaks up and makes up all the time. But every single thing we did was [dissected] till we felt like we couldn’t continue the relationship. You’d become conscious of what your friends think, what his friends think and what the media [think]. Eric and I are still friends, though we don’t keep in touch all the time. I don’t go to his concerts. I still find it difficult. I mean, our families know each other. What would people think if I go watch his performances? We have to consider our spouses’ feelings. My husband [who runs a landscape design firm] and I have been married for 15 years. He’s very shy and doesn’t want to be in the media, but he’s very understanding of what I went through.
What are your memories of your acting days?
During the ‘90s, the stars were treated like stars. Now, not so much. We [artistes] had lots of fans waiting for us outside the station all the time. I got a lot of fan mail and that made you feel really good about yourself.
You were in the 2013 movie Taxi! Taxi!, where you played Gurmit Singh’s wife.
They asked, “Do you mind playing a housewife?” But I’ll do it just to be able to work with Gurmit [Singh] and Mark [Lee]. I went for an audition ’cos the director hasn’t seen me before. I’ve never been to castings, so I was nervous. If I wasn’t selected, it’d be really bad for my ego. (Laughs) Other than acting, I also have a bucket list of things I want to do before I turn 50.
I conquered my fear of heights by taking a hot air balloon ride in India. I also quit smoking overnight two years ago. I’ve been a smoker on and off for a long time. My mum will totally freak out if she reads this! I keep telling my daughter, “Mind over matter”, so I’ve to set a good example for her.