The New Paper
By Chang May Choon
09 May 2008
After all, it's not every day that women bounce into Tiong Bahru market clad only in bikinis
SHE was once voted by netizens as the flattest of them all among MediaCorp actresses.
But Joanne Peh's small assets have since grown - quite miraculously.
Just check out the cleavage when she wore her string bikini - it stunned many onlookers at Tiong Bahru Market yesterday morning.
Joanne was there to film her new drama Beach.Ball.Babes, together with co-stars Jesseca Liu and Jade Seah.
In one of the storylines, the girls, who are part of a volleyball team, lose a bet and are made to strip to their bikinis outside a wet market as a forfeit.
They have to run in to buy items such as flowers, watermelon, carrots, frogs and squid.
It's a scene that brings to mind Fiona Xie bouncing down Orchard Road in her bikini in 2004, for the drama The Champion.
Obviously, Joanne is now the new Fiona, flaunting equally impressive assets.
So, what is Joanne's secret?
Could it be push-up padding, or breast implants?
Neither, the 25-year-old insisted.
'Have your period, lor!' the outspoken actress exclaimed, pinning the cause to hormones.
She claimed that her breasts always swell up one cup size bigger when it's 'that time of the month for me'.
She insisted that she did not get any implants.
'It's something I can't accept and I feel I don't need,' she said.
Director Christopher Lim also noticed the difference.
'Joanne really does have the assets,' he concluded after comparing the footage yesterday with a previous photo of the actress in a bikini.
'But I don't know if it's because of the bikini, or because she had some kind of nourishment,' he added in jest.
Jesseca, 29, also said that Joanne has the best figure among them, although none of them can beat Fiona.
'She has the best figure. None of us can make as strong an impact as her, but we have strength in numbers - there are 12 of us.'
It was a gawk fest at Tiong Bahru Market when the entire volleyball team of 12 bikini-clad girls made their entry around 10.30am yesterday, led by Jesseca, who plays the captain.
A crowd of 30 to 50 - mostly middle-aged men and women - followed the cameras, with some people staring in disbelief while others looked on curiously.
Fruit-stall owner Nai Yong Chew, 50, said it feels 'weird' to see the bikini babes running about.
'They're more suitable for the beach and not this market. It's not very good for the conservative older folk to see them like this.'
But, a second-hand goods dealer in his 50s, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, felt that it was 'very special' occasion.
'I'm surprised to see them wearing bikinis, but since they're filming, it's okay.'
Administrative officer Tammy Tan, 60, who was having lunch in the area, said it was a 'novelty' to see the girls filming.
'I think the guys will like it,' she added jokingly.
Some onlookers, such as housewife Teo Yue Choo, 52, criticised that the scene is too much of a copycat of The Champion.
Madam Teo said: 'It's the same storyline with a different cast. That's not good. There's nothing new in it.'
But Joanne argued that the forfeit is crucial to the plot development - it breaks up the team and forces some of them to play beach volleyball instead.
Jesseca added that their version is more embarrassing to deliver, as they not only have to run among older people who might disapprove of their dressing, but also have to buy fresh goods.
Jade and Joanne had the most unenviable tasks - Jade had to scoop up squid while Joanne had to nab a live frog. Both ended up tripping and falling at the end of their mission.
Jade, 24, looked absolutely terrified when asked to pick up the squid - until the stall owner had to assure her that it was dead and wouldn't bite.
The former beauty queen, who is acting in a drama for the first time, admitted that she is 'genuinely squeamish' and has a 'slight phobia' of raw seafood.
She doesn't dive, because she is 'very fearful' of being surrounded by marine creatures in the waters.
'Honestly, I am scared, and I hammed it up for the show. Usually, I would somehow try to cover up and pretend (I'm not scared), but I'm quite affected by it.'
As for Joanne, she let out a piercing scream when grabbing the frog and squirmed so convincingly that she completed the scene in one take.
But she later confided in us that she finds it harder to wear a bikini in public than touch the slimy creature.
'I'd rather swim with the frog!'
From her hesitant voice and how she keeps covering herself up, you can tell she felt self-conscious about wearing so little in public.
It has been more than a year since she last donned a bikini.
Coincidentally, Joanne also wore two bikinis like Fiona did - for extra protection.
Joanne also added tape and a padding to make sure she won't accidentally expose herself.
'This is the most difficult scene I've done in my entire life,' the former Singapore-Universe finalist said.
'Even a pageant is not so unnerving.
'This is, gosh, a nightmare come alive. I want to wake up! Everyone's waiting for you to strip (to the bikini) and you can hear all these cameras clicking away. I feel stressed, especially with so many people watching.'