She’s an actress, singer and entrepreneur but meet her on any given Sunday and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that she’s just an ordinary parishioner. But 29-year old Cheryl Wee is anything but ordinary.
Daughter of Mervin Wee and Jean Yip, of the famed Jean Yip chain of hair and beauty outlets, she juggles a busy schedule of film shoots, being the ambassador for Jean Yip and managing her first entrepreneurial venture, Cheryl W, a wellness and weight management centre. Despite all this, the Mata Mata actress makes it a point to attend Mass with her family when she’s not working and even serves as lector with her father at Church of the Sacred Heart.
Cheryl’s devotion to the Catholic faith is an example of her family’s love for God. “My parents, grandparents and aunts are devout Catholics, not only through words but by actions, and that has been my guidance and morals to live by,” said Cheryl.
With faith as her guiding light, she pulled through the lonely and difficult times when she moved to Taiwan after signing with Taiwanese management agency, Gin Star Entertainment. “There were times when I felt I was losing faith. Then I came across a prayer to be used when you feel you’re distancing away. I found myself saying this prayer often when I was in Taiwan as I was losing focus on what was important,” Cheryl revealed. According to this eldest of three children in the Wee family, the prayer was a plea for the Lord to hold on to her so that she would not drift. As it turned out, she came out stronger and continues to be a doting moral influence on her siblings, Rachel, 28, and Russell, 21.
Growing up, her parents instilled the love of God in her and her siblings through prayer. Even when Cheryl and her siblings studied abroad, the first place that they looked for once they settled in was the nearest Catholic Church so that they could attend Mass on Sundays.
It was not plain sailing, though. During the years that Mervin and Jean were building up their hair and beauty business, there were times when they overlooked their Catholic observances, prayers and Masses. But the couple’s faith never wavered.
“Twenty years ago, I joined Ministry of the Word (at St Alphonsus or Novena Church) and I proclaim the Word for both the lunch-time and weekend masses. In this manner, I try to build up my faith and that of my family’s,” said Mervin, who is also an active lector at Sacred Heart Church and the Cathedral. The ministry inspires its members to be a ‘living faith community where the Word of God is lived by action and shared in proclamation’.
Through Mervin’s encouragement, both Cheryl and her sister are members of MOW while her brother used to serve as an altar boy before he was enlisted for National Service. While they are among some of Singapore’s most high profile families, Cheryl, Jean and Mervin remain down to earth about their success and celebrity status. “We acknowledge our many blessings and how God has been merciful to us in so many ways and at various times and places,” said Mervin.
“Success, for me, is being able to faithfully use all the talents God has given me in my work and family life,” added Jean. “I carry out my job with love, passion, commitment and a very positive mindset. I try to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the business that I run and in my family.”