Thailand’s superstar Urassaya ‘Yaya’ Sperbund sat down with Elite+ to talk about maintaining balance in work, life, family and health.
Story by Manta Klangboonkrong
For a lot of young women, exterior beauty and looks are probably what concern them the most. But for Thailand’s superstar Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund, staying healthy is the key to both great looks and physical well-being. The 26-year-old actress and model met with Elite+ at BDMS Wellness Clinic, where she receives personalised preventative healthcare, to discuss how becoming healthier changed her life and the lives of people around her.
When did you become interested in acting and when did you realise that you wanted to make it your career?
‘I think everything came by chance. I never decided, ‘Oh when I grow up, I’m going to be an actress.’ It was just that the chance came along and so we went forward with that and it was probably one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made because, as I continue to work, I think the passion for it kept on growing by year, but it happened on the spot.
“When I was 15 or so, I was walking around in ZEN and Tue (Sombat “Tue” Tirasaroj, Thailand’s renowned event organiser and stylist) saw me. He approached me, asking if I wanted to walk on a runway in a fashion show. The following day I found myself among supermodels, strutting on a runway. Then Channel 3 contacted me to star in a series because they liked my face [laughs]. And it started from there.”
But what was your dream job? What did you want to be when you were little?
“Oh, my goodness, so many things. There were so many things that I wanted to be. First, I wanted to be a doctor, and not because I wanted to save lives, but because I wanted to have the title. I wanted people to call me Doctor Urassaya [laughs]. I know that sounds horrible, but it’s a childish thing. I also used to want to be an English teacher. At some point I wanted to be a politician. Anyhow I’m very happy with what I’m doing now and that’s all that matters.”
Now you’re a big star – and one of the hardest working ones. How do you balance life, family and health?
“It seems hard, but it’s actually very simple. It’s all about balance. I know it sounds like a cliché everyone talks about, but you have to find the perfect balance for yourself. It’s not that easy either, at least for me, as everything comes with trial and error. I never know what my friends are doing because I’ll be working all the time and don’t get to see them. I don’t ever get to go out and everything is work-oriented. But I work with my mum, and that’s one problem solved because I get to be close to family the whole time. I still live with my parents and we see each other every day.
“If you take into consideration that there are other people in your life and it’s not just about work, then you’ll find balance for yourself. You have to try different things. At one point I focused too much on my friends and left out family. But once you grow up and realise that there are people waiting for you at home, then you balance friends, family and work. I don’t work during Christmas, which is completely family time. Now I see my friends from time to time and in between all those things I also find time for myself.”
What do you do when you have your “me” time?
“Nothing in particular. I tend to sleep. I catch up on the things that I miss out on, which is probably sleep. I don’t count exercise, because that’s a part of my lifestyle. So, when I have “me” time it’s like reading and sleeping. It’s exactly what I want to do. It doesn’t particularly have to be health-oriented or something that is productive. Just sometimes sitting on your own is probably the best thing you can give yourself [laughs].
“I’ve created a very good balance of things, so I don’t wait until I’ve worked myself to exhaustion to pamper myself. When I know that I’m tired, I cut down on Netflix, watching TV or playing on my phone and I find the time to sleep and rejuvenate.”
You read a lot in your free time. What’s your favourite book?
“I’m a hopeless romantic. I love reading historical romances, but if I had to choose one book I’d go for If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern.”
How about your way of nurturing your body? What do you do to keep fit?
“I think the most important thing is to not be lazy. Laziness is one of your worst enemies. Keeping fit means listening to your body very carefully. If I start to get tired easily, I know that my body is telling me to get back on track, go exercise and build stamina. Or if I’m reading a script and my memory is off, I realise that I need more sleep. You just have to listen. Give your body back what it needs because you’ve been overusing it.”
Are there health routines that you do every day?
“If I had more time, I wish I could do morning yoga or meditation. That would be great! My only health routine is just eating well, drinking lots of water and exercising as much as I can when I have the chance. I also come here to BDMS Wellness Clinic to get my personalised vitamin pack that is designed for my body and gives my body exactly what it needs.”
What brought you to BDMS Wellness Clinic?
“I’ve always wanted to stay beautiful and strong forever. You could say that’s my motto and I’ve been telling everyone in my family that since a very young age. I know that preventative medicine is the way to go, as it gets you healthy, slows down the ageing process and reduces the risk of illness. A lot of people my age don’t think about this, because they’re still young and looking youthful. But that will change, and nobody can stay young and healthy forever if they don’t do anything for your body. I think the biggest thing that drew me towards this clinic in particular is that I want to be healthy and look my best for as long as I can. The clinic promotes awareness of preventative medicine. And I think it’s the best way to take care of yourself.
“The facility is very pretty, and you don’t feel like you’re in a medical clinic. Everything is personalised by teams of experts and the equipment here is excellent. In addition to personalised care, I’ve got to know my own body a lot more from the extensive screenings and tests. I’ve only been coming here a few months and I can see big changes in my body. I feel more upbeat and I can optimise my exercise. I feel refreshed, invigorated and young – younger than my actual age! It’s not just only the vitamins, which were personalised for my body, but I that I learned so much about how to properly take care of myself, and that’s exactly what this ‘vessel’ needs.”
Your parents also receive treatment from BDMS Wellness Clinic. How is it that health is now a family thing?
“It’s a group effort, and that’s very important. If you’re the only one in the family trying to have a healthy lifestyle while others are doing whatever they want and eating unhealthy food, it’s going to be hard for you to have healthy habits. It’s very fortunate that everyone in my family sees the importance of health. We do healthy things together as a group. Eat healthier and exercise more – and together. It really helps makes thing easier and more fun if you do it with someone or with your family. I feel good and healthy, and I’m very happy that I help keep the family healthy. In just a few months, my mum lost 10-15 kilograms and her knees and back are much better. She knows how to live healthily now, and so does the rest of my family.”
It’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
“Definitely. In this ageing society, we all want to have a long life, but not just a long life – a good-quality long life. And as a child, it’s important get the parents healthy so they can live longer, better lives. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself. I know older people can be a bit stubborn and set in their ways, but as children that just make it important to try harder to convince them to change for the benefit of themselves and also for us, so that we can be together for a long, long time. It’s our duty! My dad was like that, too. He’d say it’s too late to start anything or change anything, and he was completely wrong. Soon after he started taking better care of himself, he felt better. This Christmas we’ve been on so many walks and he has done so much better than he had in the past five years. And to parents, if your children start pestering you about getting healthier, you should realise that’s because they love you very much.”
As an ambassador for BDMS Wellness Clinic, what can you say about the clinic’s services and facilities that are unique and different from everywhere else?
“It starts from getting to know yourself, and BDMS Wellness Clinic is a place that can give you thorough information and details about yourself, thanks to their high standard equipment and expertise. That’s a good start to become healthier. For me, I know now why I had stomach upsets or swollen eyes when I eat certain foods. The clinic will then come up with packages or plans for you to maintain your health and complement what is lacking. In my case I have a personalised vitamin pack, which greatly improves my health and makes me feel so much better. A small step like this makes you want to go further, be healthier and inspire people close to you to take care of their health. You can go out and do things that you’ve been dreaming about but with a healthier version of yourself. You’re going to look good for much longer and I think that’s everybody’s goal.
“What’s special about BDMS Wellness Clinic is the training area, equipped with David medical fitness machines that promote your small muscles. When I went to the gym, I’d just work out like everybody else does – running on a treadmill, bicycling, lifting weights – without really knowing what my body wants. I’m not going to say how much fat I have [laughs] but I do have a lot of fat in different places that I didn’t know existed. So now I know that when I train, I need to focus on those spots in particular and it really helps with my figure and posture. I have office syndrome, even though I don’t work at a desk, and wearing high heels a lot causes problems in my back and neck. The David machines help fix that. It’s the tiniest exercises that build small muscles so that in the future I’m not going to get a backache.
“It’s very personalised so they know exactly which muscles are tense, which aren’t there and where to build more muscles. Sometimes it’s the small things that count. And I was very surprised that you could get stronger by doing things that you never knew that you needed to do. I didn’t know anything about this until I came here.”
What’s your plan for the rest of 2020?
“It’s always been my plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay strong, physically and mentally. I also want to be kinder and more forgiving this year. As for work, I’m shooting a series with Channel 3 right now. In this one I will play a doctor of traditional Thai medicine in the Ayutthaya Period. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I think it should air later this year.”
Please say something to your fans.
“I hope that this year will be an excellent year for everyone. I also hope it’s be a year that everyone gets healthy. We can have a lot of money, we can have a lot of friends, you can do a lot of things, you can travel a lot, but if you don’t have good health, none of those things will make you happy. So, my biggest wish for everyone is that I hope you are all healthy and happy.”
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