Off the beaten track with Abigail Chay
Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Abigail Chay is a performer from Under One Roof, and is widely known for her comedic roles in local media, both on TV shows and movies. Despite her being typecast into funny, characters who usually have comical outbursts, Chay has her own struggles offscreen and her fair share of pain and vulnerability.
In 2018, the FLUX Media team sat down with local entertainment performer Abigail Chay, to find out about her personal life off-screen, To open the interview, we asked Chay what the darkest period of her life was.
Chay shared that her mother had passed away and she happened to have a show just before her wake. She shares that her mother was very blessed because there were no rooms for her after she had passed on, so Chay had to wait for a few days. While waiting for the few days to pass, she had a show.
She missed her mother so much that she had a migraine, but she had to turn up for her scheduled shows as her clients and entertainment companies were expecting her.
However, she recalls that her clients were all extremely understanding, and assured her that she could take some time off if she needed to, but Chay reminded herself of what her mother would have told her if she could talk to her.
“She would say, go. It’s only professional.”
She went for her show with her mother’s image in her mind, and imagined her mother telling her, “Go, girl, go!”
While she admitted that thinking of her mother in that way brought tears to her eyes, remembering her mother’s cheerful demeanour and smile drove her to complete her show without any grief.
She remained her usual self, doing comedy, envisioning her mother laughing while she watched over Abigail.
Chay shared how she had surpassed her clients’ expectations after the show, and was even offered another show.
“It was hard, emotionally, but I conquered it with positive emotional tuning. When you’re not feeling good, as an entertainer, you have to fill yourself with something that will cheer you up. So I imagined that she was cheering me on.”
She also fondly shares that her mother was the famous McDonalds Granny who appeared in commercials for the fast food chain in the 90s.
“Even now, people still remember her as the McDonald’s grandmother.”
When asked if Chay’s mother had motivated her to join the entertainment scene, since her mother was a model as well, she responded in affirmative. “She always joked that you’re an ugly duckling, I could never have a daughter like you. Even before I became Abigail Chay, she asked if I was interested in modelling, and I said yes, not knowing that I actually wanted to be a female model.”
Chay’s mother sent her to modelling classes, but revealed that she had actually secretly gone to learn about female modelling, as she had not yet transitioned then.
She also shared some common misconceptions many people had about her.
People thought that she was a biological female but with a husky voice, before she revealed to the public that she had undergone a sex change.
When the team met up with Abigail last year
Now, people think that she’s crazy! She shares that people have a common perception that she is not serious, and sometimes when she is involved in secular projects, people avoid engaging her for more serious roles in their shows.
“I want to let them know that I can do more serious roles too,” she adds.
Chay also reveals her vulnerability when questioned about her decision to undergo a transition.
She shares that she was raised in a strict Christian household, and felt a lot of guilt for looking at other men, for example. She felt that she was a woman stuck inside a man’s body, and made up her mind to talk to her parents about undergoing a sex change, despite not having sufficient funds.
Actual Interview in 2018- We apologise for the audio issues
Her father was supportive of the decision, but mother had cried and pleaded with her not to, but Chay regrets being so blatant with it, and realizing that she had hurt both her parents.
“My mother cried as if I was dead,” Chay shares, but they reconciled after a while. Due to her transition, Chay shares that it was difficult for people to love her.
At the time of this interview in 2018, Chay was still single.
She shares that many people would think twice about their relationship due to her age, potential children and the social stigma, and ended up as friends instead.
She also emphasized that if she were to date anyone, it would be someone she’s very sure about, when probed about if she would date anyone in the entertainment scene.
She explains that she had a nasty experience with someone, as they had placed a bet on whether they were able to date Chay and go out with her.
She questioned herself, “Don’t tell me you actually used me as a gamble?”
From then on, she never engaged in much physical contact such as holding hands whenever she went out with anyone, unless they were sure about their relationship.
Despite her experiences, Chay still expresses hope and optimism at having a partner to spend her life with, as long as love exists.
She also shares that she recognizes her fortune in being able to exist in the media scene as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, as her mother had pulled her into the entertainment industry, and helped her integrate into her current social circles.
Her mother had encouraged her to join the Residents’ Committee, community work and service, joining the civil defence in first aid. She then went on to join the Womens’ Executive Committee in the Community Club, which proved successful as she had gained her residents’ approval.
“It’s very touching to me, it’s even as good as getting a husband.” “Members of the LGBTQ+ community may find some challenges in presenting certain sentiments, but I think it’s how they present it and trust the people around them. If you’re pleasant, people will look at you twice, and thrice.”
Growing up, Chay has most definitely had more struggles than any of us, with identity and gender issues plaguing her childhood. Communal acceptance and her identity are fundamental to who she is today, and she has had her share of pain and laughter growing up.
Today, Chay has carved an impressive name for herself and grown exponentially with the love and support from the people around her.
2nd part of her interview