I didn't want to go through with the finals anymore." She ended up staying on with the support of her friends and also her then-boyfriend's family."I remember his mum was especially kind to me and told me that I should just go through with the show," she says. I realise that you pay a price when you become a public figure." It is a good thing that she stuck it out because she ended up placing second at the competition, after television queen Zoe Tay.
"I'm totally fine with them as long as the roles are meaty enough."When I was 10 years old, I would go out and help my mum wash dishes at getai shows.That was my kind of childhood," says Tan, who is the third of four children.It is as though her quota of notoriety was used up even before she became a full-time actress.On the night before the finals of the inaugural edition of the television talent show Star Search in 1988 - in which she was a participant - she suddenly found herself thrust into the spotlight, but for the wrong reasons.After she completed her studies at the now-defunct Willow Secondary School, she took on her first official job selling steel pots and pans.