Cheryl Anne Tan – High flying TV executive

Cheryl Anne Tan shares her thoughts on breaking through gender stereotypes and succeeding in the Television Industry.

ATA e-Newsbuzz AXN Cheryl Anne Tan Creative Director director Diva Universal Kung Fu Motion National Geographic reality series Refinery Media Singapore Star World SupermodelMe Television The Apprentice Asia The Biggest Loser Asia The Body Parts Murder TV director


With 16 years of experience in Asia’s television industry, Cheryl Anne Tan, the Creative Director of Refinery Media, has become a highly demanded director, story producer and writer of factual, entertainment and lifestyle content in Singapore. The long list of projects that she has been involved in various capacities include The Biggest Loser Asia (Star World), The Apprentice Asia (AXN), International Digital Emmy Award nominated reality series SupermodelMe (Diva Universal), Kung Fu Motion (National Geographic), The Body Parts Murder (AETN), Frequency of the City- (First runner-up for Best Music Programme, Asian Television Awards 2007, Mediacorp), as well as Lifewatch (CINE Golden Eagle award winning documentary, Mediacorp).

Cheryl Anne Tan the Creative Director of Refinery Media.

Cheryl Anne Tan on breaking through gender stereotypes

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership in the television industry?

Cheryl Anne Tan (CT): Personally, I have never encountered any significant barriers related to me being a woman working in the television industry. Throughout my 16-year career in television production, I’ve been surrounded by many women who are some of the most successful, professional, smart and creative people in the industry. In fact, my most significant mentor is a successful female TV director and executive producer. Coming from a production standpoint, my opinion is that there are as many successful women in the field as there are men. I have never allowed nor focused on the possibility that my gender could prevent me from achieving whatever it is that I wanted to do. I’ve approached my career with the belief that I would be recognised for my own merits and not based on my gender, focusing only on doing the job well. Thus far, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, both male and female, who care about the quality of one’s work rather than issues like gender.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

CT: Again, the challenge as a woman is all about perspective. If one only focuses on their goals and the job at hand, instead of perceived limitations, then that is already the first step in removing the challenge that doesn’t yet exist.

What woman inspires you and why?

CT: My mom inspires me the most, a documentary filmmaker since the 60’s, she showed me first-hand how a woman can succeed in her career and be recognised in the media industry.

Would you submit for the Asian Television Awards again? Why?

CT: Yes definitely. While being recognised for your work is not the most important thing, gaining recognition from industry professionals and our peers serves as a great source of encouragement for those that dedicate their lives to developing and creating good content.