“The most important thing to have at work is good discipline.”
Known for participating in The Face Thailand Season 3, the Thai model, Nattaya ‘Plengkwan‘ Thongsaen, started her acting career a few years ago. The 25-year-old has starred in many Thai dramas as a leading actress. Some TV shows include The Giver, The Last Room No.6, Kiss of the Cobra, and Blood Brothers. With such a busy schedule juggling two jobs, Plengkwan sits down with LSA to chat about how she stays sane and healthy. She also talks about her challenges in the 21st century, and the lessons learned. Let’s see what this talented woman say.
What are your currently working on?
I am currently shooting for the series Duangjai Jom Krabi under Channel One, where I play a confident doctor. I think it will be released by the end of this year. Although many people may view doctors as nerds, this script is entirely different. In this role, I play a fierce doctor. She is intelligent, academic, a leader, and a bit masculine. For modelling, I also have some catwalk jobs.
Has your perspective on the entertainment industry changed after being in it for a while?
I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for 7-8 years, so it has definitely changed. Before, when I was a newcomer, I didn’t have that fire inside me. My passion was clear, but the reality of the working environment is not always pretty. I was faced with negative comments, and some days I questioned myself. Yeah, there were some challenges, but I proudly say that I am stronger today, especially with the many new faces in the industry. I also must improve daily because there are so many talented and beautiful people nowadays. I need to find my strengths and what makes me stand out. I needed to see what I am good at to further develop that skill.
My thoughts on modelling versus acting… I prefer modelling much more because I love to dress up. I love to take photos. I like being an actress, but it’s much more complicated. I may not be that great at acting as compared to modelling, but that’s because I started my career as a model.
What advice have you received from someone in the industry that you’ve used in real life?
From Metinee ‘Lukkade’ Kingpayom. She and I have been together since I entered this industry. I am the type of person who cares about everything in this world. Then came one day when Lukkade told me I didn’t need to care about everyone or anything because I was not burdening them. She told me to shift my focus on my goals and to accept criticism to better myself. But, sometimes, these comments do get to me. There was a time when I got really sad. The only way to fix that was not to read comments, or my power to strive would deteriorate slowly.
What is the hardest part of modelling versus acting?
The hardest part of being an actress starts when you get the role and have to break into character. For example, I was stressed in my first Thai series Dokkaew Kahlong because I was in the lead role. This show had a lot of drama, so I had to learn and attend workshops. I slowly adapted, and with the help of the team and friends in production with me, it started to get better. I’m fortunate to have worked with talented people that shared and taught me many things.
Moving over to being a model, the hardest part is finding that internal energy that will help you shine externally. Compared to catwalks, everyone walks the same, but how can we make ourselves stand out? That’s what we have to practice and develop. For me, I like taking stills more.
What role would you like to play in the future?
I would like to play the villain, such as a mistress. The roles I play are usually sweet and shy. It’s what many people see me as, someone who is polite and sweet. I want to change that view of myself to someone more fierce and spicier since people think I should only play the lead ‘good girl.’
What traits do you think a good actor should have?
Discipline. It’s not just about taking care of your looks; it’s about discipline. It’s about how hard you are willing to work to develop yourself because acting 10 years ago compared to now isn’t the same. Every day we move forward, and the same goes for being a performer. We have to notice the changes in society and the industry. We must constantly think about what acting is like nowadays and adapt to that. Therefore, discipline and working on ourselves is vital for our success. This also goes for everything in life.
What do you want to do in the future?
Honestly, there isn’t a specific thing I want to do in the future. Right now, I enjoy my two careers, being an actor and a model. I want to excel even more at these two occupations. I want everyone to see how much I can accomplish without changing who I am. I am still finding myself, finding what makes me stand out, so I want to try out different roles.
Regarding modelling, I have been focusing little on that side because I’m putting all my energy into acting. I’m not modelling like how I was before, but if I had the chance, like I said previously, I want to be a better model. Currently, I am making my Instagram account prettier as it is what many people see as their first impression. It’s also a working outlet for me, like a portfolio for future jobs.
What advice would you give to newcomers in this industry?
Discipline is the most important thing you can have. The reason for this is that when we choose to do something, for me, being an actress and a model, I need to do the best I can in both. I have to put my all and find the passion for my job. What’s even more important is to remember to rest. Don’t think you can handle everything when working so hard because, eventually, you’ll burn out. I’ve been there. I was working nonstop and using other people’s disappointment to keep going to the point where I forgot what I loved to do and wanted to be. I was too busy listening to other people.
How I got past that stage was rest. I rested my body and my mind. It might also be with age. Before I started as the new kid on the block. I cared so much about others, but in reality, we can choose to care or not. The main aspects to take away are good work discipline and adequate rest.