First person Uttsada Panichkul
Best known as a VJ on MTV Asia, Utt was born and raised in the US and moved to Thailand when he was young. He soon got himself into modeling and acting and has played in movies and Thai soap operas such as Song Kram Dok Rak and Khun Chai. His career took a huge leap when he landed a job as a VJ hosting the show Bangkok Jam on MTV Thailand. His warm, likeable personality and boyish charms eared him a huge fan base here and allowed him to cross over to become a VJ for MTV Asia. Now just as successful in Singapore as he is in Bangkok, Utt’s kept himself busy there playing in movies such as Chicken Rice War and in popular sitcom Oh Carol! And TV drama Chase.
I would say I’ve been regionally exposed. My career in Thailand has stretched over the last 10 years so I notice that I’m more of a gousehold name. Street vendors, aunties/uncles will comfortably recognize who I am now. Since I’ve een based in Singapore for the last couple of years, MTV Asia has no doubt given me more mass exposure to our neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and even Hong Kong.
Singaporeans are more structured. Thais are morer laid back. Singapore, being a small country, is very competitive. What I do like is the discipline. There are libraries in every district witth all the newest topics available to your liking. This encourages people to read and be more cultured.
Alicia Keys stands out for me [of all the famous people Ive met]. She was very sweet and very beautiful. I enjoyed interviewing David Beckham – he’s a cool dude – and most definitely Bill Gates.
Starting out in this industry, the bulk of my fans were females. As I’ve matured I notie that my fans have started to balance out between guys and girls, but the ratio still leans more towards the girls. Communication with people is very important especially when it comes to representing a music channel like MTV.
When I moved back [to Thailand] it was a culture sock for me. The culture in Thailand back in 1992 wasn’t as weternized as it is now. It took me a couple of years to learn the culture and blend it with how I was brought up. I’ve grown tremendously. I’ve learned the virtues of Asian culture witth the focus on respect, patience and loyalty. I’ve integranted it with my western upbringing of confidence and integrity.
Thailand’s my frist home, Singapore’s my second.
I have shuttled back and forth between the two countries for the last 10 years – the reason is obvious.
When it comes to acting, there’s a certain similarity between who you are and the characters you play. There are always parts of yourself t hat you invest in the portrayal of the character. But as a VJ, the similarity is much more apparent – I’m basically the person you see on camera. Still, like anbody out there, I have the same feelings: I get angry, sad, happy, all those different human emotions.
I have a fear of heights and I fly all the time. It’s not pleasant for me.
Nightlife in Singapore is fun now because most places close after 3 am. I’m not a clubber, but I feel you need togive people an outlet to relax and have fun. It’s only when you restrict them that they become bottled up and destructive. Thailand’s also fun because more of my friends are here. –Dasita Amornvivat
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