It is said that we have seven doppelgängers in this world. In the case of Priscilla Lim – mostly known by her Chinese name, XiXi – it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the lineup of seven just might include Japanese comedian and now-International superstar, Naomi Watanabe. When asked if she’s ever been mistaken for Watanabe, Lim breaks into a bout of infectious, roaring laughter, adding: “I went to Hong Kong for a shoot one time and there was this lady that came up to me and said – you’re from Japan right?!” Just like Watanabe, Lim has found a special kind of calling. Amidst the 33-year-old’s mirthful demeanour, fuchsia-pink hair and doe-eyed vigour is the unparalleled ability to make you feel like you’ve known her for years – a quality that has undeniably lent to her viral TikTok fame.
At press time, Lim boasts a staggering 114.3K followers on the platform, amassed through her very own brand of comedic gold. It’s unsurprising then, that Lim was scouted by an agency manager while performing at a wedding gig. “People used to engage me for singing, but I’d spend most of my time talking,” she adds. And though Lim hints at her humour being a veil that had helped her through tough times growing up, it’s clear that her struggles fitting in brought to light an innate talent. The former child star – who has dabbled in events management and supply chain work prior to finding her groove in entertainment – has since amassed an impressive acting portfolio. Some of her most notable works include: Clicknetwork’s Girl Band Called Girl Band and the film Fat Hope. As Lim’s career evolves, she chats to us about her aspirations, misconceptions and the expectations that come with being in the spotlight.
You first gained a lot of traction through video production house, Wah!Banana. How did you end up working for them?
I met Kishan from Wah!Banana on the set of Ah Boys to Men 4 and the two of us just couldn’t stop talking. He mentioned that they were having an open casting and asked if I wanted to audition. The rest is history.
You’ve got an incredibly distinct look – your pink hair, your style and so on. How did that come about?
I like looking different, I like standing out of the crowd. Pink is not my favourite colour though, green is. Most roles I’ve had have been cute and bubbly which is probably why people have that idea. I’m not a cute person in real life. Animated, however, is the right word. I’d describe my personal style as quirky.
You’ve also obviously been compared to Naomi Watanabe. What are your thoughts on that?
I love her! When she first had this huge poster at Vivocity, people would tag me and congratulate me. I’d have to tell them it wasn’t me. I feel she’s changed my life and has been like a ray of sunlight. We share the same vision: being a plus-sized girl or a comedian doesn’t mean you have to uglify yourself.
There are so many women – plus-sized or otherwise – who look at you as a beacon of representation, humour and confidence. Do you feel a certain level of pressure that comes with being labelled a plus-sized woman?
I actually don’t really feel pressure. Though being plus-sized is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, health can be an issue. My take to all the plus-sized women who come to me is that I’m not shameful of my size, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of health. I want to work towards my goal of being my best self. In the midst of doing that, I want to tell everyone that you should love yourself while you are achieving your goals. For example, today after the shoot, I’m going for a workout session.
How have you gotten to a place of self-assuredness over the years?
My teenage years were horrible. I tried to diet, I tried to fit in. One day I walked past a lingerie shop and I saw a model who had a gap in-between her teeth – this was many years ago when it wasn’t a thing yet. She looked different but there was something memorable about her. It struck me then and there that I was different, but that’s how I would differentiate myself and stand out from the crowd. From that moment, I stopped trying to fit in.
I really want to do more magazine shoots and commercials. That’s my dream. I want to be given an opportunity to show people that that’s something I can do.
Photography Joel Low
Styling Gregory Woo
Hair Junz Loke using Kevin Murphy Singapore
Makeup Wee Ming using Laura Mercier
Photography Assistant Alfie Pan
Subject Xixi Lim in Tiffany & Co., Comme des Garçons and Noir Kei Ninomiya from Dover Street Market Singapore
This article first appeared in the March 2021 issue of L'Officiel Singapore.