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Glamour, glitz and gunshots: Khmer superstar shines on

Glamour, glitz and gunshots: Khmer superstar shines on

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Actress Sveng Socheata, who has starred in 188 films throughout the course of her career. The gun shot wound from 2010 is seen on her upper arm below. Photograph: supplied

Khmer actress Sveng Socheata has had an interesting few years. Famed for the devilish female characters she plays on-screen – she has starred in almost 200 television films and other productions - she is hardly short of colourful anecdotes from her personal life. In October 2010 she was shot during the wrap party for a film, and last August was the victim of a burglary where all her awards were stolen. 7Days spoke to her about her bad luck, her penchant for milk coffee and the daily life of a Cambodian superstar.

You have played some nasty roles in films in the past. What attracts you to these roles and which characters would you say most accurately reflect your own personality?

In the past, I played mostly nasty roles and powerful women such as rich business women and presidents of big companies.

I think those roles reflected little of my real personality. In fact, in real life I am a talkative, bubbly and funny woman who likes to make people around me laugh. I think people, even my close friends know less about me while I understand them better. I like to smile and laugh. When I am sad or facing trouble, I just keep silent. I don’t want to speak out my worry to make people around me sad. Apart from that, I would describe myself to be an inquisitive, brave, daring and sometimes a little bit odd person. In the past, while I was working as a waitress, I really wanted to drink milk coffee with ice, so I pretended to wrongly to pass the order that customer wanted black coffee. Then I could finally drink the disgarded one, with milk.

In 2010, you were accidentally shot in the arm. How did the shooting change your life? Are you still affected physically or emotionally? Who do you blame for the incident?

I would blame the production company that caused the trouble. Myself and my colleagues were just having a small party to congratulate the wrap-up of our shooting, but the company is against the party and they called the police to come, then there was some gun shooting. But  the incident made me even stronger. My mother told me that my life is unbelievable.

When I was born, she thought that I was dead because I didn’t cry like other babies. She felt I was dead and came back to life. Then the gun incident that left my right arm injured made me felt like I went to hell and come back here again. It’s unbelievable that I can continue living. Sometimes the pain of the injury still lingers. When I did a shoot for Now magazine in Myanmar, I was required to use my right arm to support my head while lying on my back. That pose made my arm really hurt but I tried to smile and be professional.

Describe an average day in your life. Is it all glitz and glamour or are there still chores that keep you grounded?

Apart from the silver screen and shinning stage, I’m ordinary. I’m a woman who does the household chores and look after my children. Actually, I don’t hang out with people from the showbiz much. I like to hang out with friend who can discuss creative idea about business. After withdrawing my investment from a restaurant business in Siem Reap, I’d like to start another small business, the kind that is different from what other celebrities usually do: it will not be a spa, beauty salon, or clothes shops.

Do you have any film projects in hand now, and what are your plans for the future?

Now I have a movie project with Woman Media Center. It’s an educational drama series that will be broadcasting on TV like I did before. I like to be independent and be able to earn my own money. I want to start a small business and grow rich from that. During my free time, I also wish I can give free lecture on acting to students.

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