PHOTOGRAPHY Frenchescar Lim, assisted by Cheryl Raharjo STYLING Dolphin Yeo, assisted by Angela Chu HAIR Vanessa Choo MAKEUP Dollei Seah, using Kose Esprique, assisted by Lydia Thong OUTFIT In Good Company SHOES Repetto

Julie Tan may be just 23 years old, but she’s already one of the most recognisable actresses in Singapore. The fresh-faced star made her acting debut in the telemovie The Promise in 2009, when she was just a teen, and has since appeared in a slew of films and television drama serials, some alongside veteran actresses like Huang Biren and Chen Liping. She’s currently hard at work filming the Channel 8 drama The Dream Makers 2, slated to air in December this year.

Despite her success, Julie is hardly stand-offish – instead, she’s warm, personable and so very earnest, especially when it comes to the causes she stands for. For instance, she tells us she is against cyberbullying and feels passionately about it.

“It’s all too easy to ridicule and be ridiculed these days, especially with the proliferation of social media,” she says. “One single unkind word is enough to scar someone – especially a young and impressionable teen – for life.”

In fact, the star recently revealed in another interview that she had received unkind comments from netizens about her high forehead and flat chest, which perturbed her so much that she even seriously considered getting plastic surgery.

Julie is also fond of animals – especially dogs. She shares how she was highly distressed when photos of the Yulin festival (an annual tradition in China where thousands of dogs are killed and eaten) surfaced on the Internet earlier this year. She has her own fur kid at home – four-year-old toy poodle Tinklebell, whom she lavishes plenty of attention on.

“I have to admit that Tinklebell is incredibly spoilt! She has her own wardrobe full of doggy clothes, and even eats with us at the table during mealtimes. In fact, she won’t touch her food if my mum and I aren’t present,” she laughs.

The pampered pooch even has its own Instagram account (@thetinklebell), with more than 1,900 followers – surpassing what most of us have, really!

For this photocall, we took the ardent dog lover to Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD), a shelter and animal welfare organisation that rescues and rehomes street dogs, where Julie volunteered her time with the animals.

“It was really eye-opening helping out at SOSD, as I realised just how pampered Tinklebell is. I wish I could give each of these dogs a good home,” she told us afterwards.

So the star, who has a whopping 170,000 followers – and counting – on her Instagram account (@julietan_cxq), is hoping to leverage on her popularity to spread awareness about the plight of Singapore’s street dogs, by encouraging her fans to volunteer at the shelter. “I guess you can say that being a celebrity has its perks, especially when it comes to raising awareness for a good cause. After all, many hands make light work!”

This article was first published in Simply Her September 2015.