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Mummyfique Father’s Day Exclusive: Leon Jay Williams

This Father's Day, we honour all superstar dads who have taken fatherhood in their own stride. Presenting Leon Jay Williams, actor, singer and hero to his little girl, Harper.
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Father's Day Exclusive With Leon Jay Williams
By Emma Lin
June 17, 2022

Mummyfique salutes all dads this Father’s Day and in this special feature, we present to you Leon Jay Williams. Actor, singer and daddy to his little girl Harper, Leon made his first television debut in the well-known Taiwanese series La Robe De Mariee Des Cieux. He was was also a former Mister Singapore and International Man. In 2005, Leon Jay Williams released his first album Sweet Inspirations, a compilation of English-language songs from the 1960s and ’70s. He received his first movie role as Zhu Xiao Tian in Almost Perfect in 2008. Since then, he has starred in many movies, including Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Leon has joined Mediacorp’s The Celebrity Agency (TCA) after relocating back to Singapore.

In this exclusive interview, Leon shares with us about his family, the big move back to Singapore and his fatherhood journey.

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Leon Jay Williams is…

Cautious, thorough and laid-back.

Personal Motto?

Everyone deserves respect.

What was it like growing up?

I grew up conservatively in single parent family. My mother is my role model as she showed resilience in times of adversity because she single-handedly raised two sons with little resources. This has taught me to appreciate every little thing in life and take the blows that life deals me. I’m also doing my best to pass this ethic down to my daughter as it has served me well.

My inspiration to become an actor/singer stemmed from having a need to give my mother a better life compared to what she has been through. From modelling to acting to singing, it has all been a good combination of right time, right place and natural progression.

Most difficult moments in your career?

The most difficult moments in my career was when I decided to stay in Taiwan. I didn’t fully realise that Mandarin was going to be a major stumbling block! I wanted to give up so many times especially after my first drama wrapped filming. Ironically, I was very depressed even though response from audiences was positive. However, I overcame the situation by immersing myself in the language and trying to understand the culture behind it. Somehow, every new word or phrase I picked up, spurred me along.

Why The Big Move?

I moved back to Singapore when Harper was of school-going age as that had always been the plan. To immerse her in a bilingual environment to me was very important as I, of all people, should know how important it is in life. Singapore is an ideal place for that and also I’m closer to my family. My mother and brother were of course very supportive and happy as I had been away for most of 25 years.

Tell us about your family.

My mother, brother, sister-in law and nephew have seen me grow as a person and as an artiste. They are very supportive and proud of me. Similarly, my wife supports me every step of the way and is involved in every work decision as we work as a unit. At the end of the day I’m just an ordinary Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle. There is no special treatment for one over another, which is the way it should be.

Most rewarding moment as a dad?

Recently, we took a trip to Phuket where I brought Harper snorkelling. We have been practicing in the swimming pool for the last three years with the snorkel and this was the first time she managed to see fish in clear water. Finally, real-life snorkelling. The rewarding moment came when she walked out of the water, took off her mask with a wide smile and said, “Daddy, I now know why you have been making me practise snorkelling with you all this time!”

Any challenging instances?

I faced the usual uncertainties and sacrifices that most dads have to face. My wife did a lot of homework during pregnancy and we are quite mature parents so I think that helps. I just did not expect to be completely enamoured by Harper since she was a baby. I look forward to want to share pretty much everything with her. From the day to day mundane errands to exciting holiday trips, I genuinely enjoy spending time and chatting with her. The happiness is immeasurable.

How do you balance your career and fatherhood?

I try to do shorter projects so I won’t be apart from the family for too long and also bring the family along whenever possible. Definitely, I had to turn down longer projects but I’ve never regretted it as the experience is meaningless to me unless I’m able to share it with my family. It’s not that difficult if you are clear on your priorities.

Advice to daddies out there?

“Put down your devices and see with your own eyes!” It’s important to appreciate the little things that will happen in your child’s early years no matter how unimportant they might seem to you. Always look out for certain milestones and take them to heart. Once they pass, they’ll just be memories unless you’ve truly experienced them. To you, he or she is just a child, but to them, you are their everything. Always remember, the days might be long but the years are short.

Anything you’d want to do differently in your career or as a dad?

I wouldn’t change a single thing as the hardships, experiences and choices of my youth have moulded my life today. I’ve never been happier!