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Timothy Sangawa

It’s easy to see why girls go weak in the knees in the presence of Timothy Sangawa. Of Japanese and English descent, Sangawa is the host of The Link on lifestyle channel Life Inspired (Li TV). This former shipping firm broker’s big break came when he was spotted by a model scout in Singapore. Sangawa talks about his transition from the corporate world to the entertainment business and tells us what makes his job so fascinating.

Compiled by: Chitra S.

What persuaded you to leave the corporate world?

Working in the shipping industry was great but I’ve always believed that one should work to live and not live to work. When I realised that my life had become all about living for the weekend, I decided it was time for change. 

How was the transition into modelling and TV presenting?

I was spotted by Abercrombie & Fitch in Singapore a couple of years ago and I started modelling for them. After that I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. At the time, my father was living in Malaysia and I moved to Kuala Lumpur, and much sooner than I had anticipated, opportunities to work in TV started knocking at my door. Looking back, I’m happy to say it’s one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life.

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Did you envision a career in front of the camera?

Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be on TV! I had planned for a corporate career through my schooling years and pursued a business degree. I’ve always been amused at life’s ability to surprise me.

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Was your family supportive of your new career decision?

Yes, they supported me 100%. My grandfather used to say that: “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”. To my family, it doesn’t matter what I did. They’d support me as long as I’m doing the best I can. 

Tell us about The Link. What does a day on the job involve?

No two days are the same so it’s hard to say what an average day would be like. I could be at a cooking shoot one minute and reviewing a restaurant the next. Just last week I was forced by my producers to jump into a plunge pool filled with ice cubes for our shoot at a health spa! 

Any unusual routines before a shoot?

I don’t have any quirky preshoot routines. For me, the most important thing is to have a good night’s sleep the day before the shoot and, a hearty breakfast in the morning to fuel up for the day ahead.

What’s the best part about your job?

There are lots of plus points hosting a TV show but I think getting paid to ‘play’ is at the top of the list. I feel privileged to be earning a living by doing things that are fun and enjoyable. On shoot, the whole crew has a great time and we are always laughing and joking around so, it really creates a great working environment.

Are looks all it takes to be a good TV host?

Certainly not! You have to be able to present yourself well on screen to be a good host. I’ve seen firsthand ‘confident’ people turn into quivering jellies as soon as the camera is on them.  

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Your advice to young people wanting to pursue a career in the entertainment business.

It’s not as easy as people think it is. It’s also an extremely competitive industry. Young men and girls looking to break into the entertainment industry have to realise that there are thousands of others trying to do the exact same thing and you have to be willing to go the extra mile. Just like anything in life, it all depends on how badly you want something. 

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I’ve done too many crazy things to count. After I left university, I moved to the mountains of Nagano, Japan. I lived the life of an adrenalin junkie and did some pretty fearless things like jumping off a 35-metre tall waterfall! 

What do you do to chill out?

I enjoy going to the cinema for a late movie, sitting there getting paid to ‘play’ is at the top of the list. I feel privileged to be earning a living by doing things that are fun and enjoyable. On shoot, the whole crew has a great time and we are always laughing and joking around so, it really creates a great working environment. 

Your motto is…

“You only live once but if you live it right, once is enough”. At the end of the day, it is you who sets the limits, it is you who places a mental block on the following your dreams. If you want something, you have to reach out and grab it. Put in the effort and you will be rewarded. 

Catch Timothy Sangawa in action on The Link on Life Inspired (Astro B.Yond).

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