Many modern Malaysians adore the glitz and glamor of Hollywood red carpet events, follow global celebrities on Twitter, and chase Hong Kong and Korean dramas. However, Malaysia isn’t just a celebrity-following country – we have produced some very talented and capable artists, full of potential to compete on the global stage. In this issue, Top 10 of Malaysia shares its random list of the nation’s most inspiring actresses whose achievements one can be proud of.
Born to a Malay father and a Burmese mother, Nora Danish rose to fame by starring in the sitcom, Puteri (2005). Since then, Nora has starred in a series of movies and dramas, notably Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2 (2006), Arjuna (2010) and the recent Polis Evo, among others, and has won several awards – a commendable feat for Nora who also has her own tudung line, OWL by ND, as well as a café, Kopi & Xoxo.
Model, actress, and host Lisa Surihani debuted her acting career in the TV1 telemovie, Gergasi, when she was 11. She has won 5 awards over the past decade. Some of the better-known films she has starred in include the award-winning Ombak Rindu (2011) and the comedy, Istanbul Aku Datang (2013). She also has more than 5 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined.
American-Malay actress, singer and model Diana Danielle was born in Houston, Texas but moved and settled in Kuala Lumpur with her mom when she was two. Diana started her acting career when she was eleven and has since appeared in a number of famous movies and TV series, such as Evolusi KL Drift (2008), Bohsia: Jangan Pilih Jalan Hitam (2009), and Gol & Gincu The Series.
Cristina Suzanne Stockstill
A Johor native born of German-Malay descent, Cristina was a stewardess at Malaysian Airlines when she was spotted by veteran actress Erma Fatima to act in the drama, Cermin (2004). When her contract ended in 2009, she went into acting full-time. Cristina rose to fame when she starred in the reality show Pilih Kasih 2 (2010). She also acted in the movies, KIL (2011) and CEO (2014), among other movies and dramas. She bagged the title of Best Actress during the Anugerah Skrin 2013 awards.
Nadiya Nisaa is best known for her role in the movie Cun! (2011), which earned her awards at Anugerah Skrin 2011 as well as The 24th Malaysian Film Festival. She has also starred in Karaoke (2010) and Jiwa Taiko (2012) as well as in several other movies and dramas. Nadiya was a government officer before she focused on her acting career and her family.
Maya Karin won the prestigious Best Actress Award at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in 2004 for her role in the film Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam (2004). Besides acting for over a decade, Maya has released 3 albums, hosted 5 TV shows, and was casted in 6 theatre productions. Maya is also an environmental ambassador for the Malaysian Nature Society, WWF, and has her own environmental education campaign
Formerly a winner of the Miss Malaysia Chinese International Pageant, Debbie Goh is not only successful locally but also in China and Hong Kong. She was recently casted in the upcoming Hollywood sci-fi flick, Lost in the Pacific. Locally, Debbie has starred in movies such as Age Of Glory (2008) and Glowing Embers (2012), while overseas she has starred in Hong Kong’s Nothing is Impossible (2006) and China’s The Legend Of Kublai Khan (2013), among others. Debbie had won the title of Best Actress at NTV7 Golden Awards three times.
The second daughter of veteran actress Fatimah Abu Bakar, Sharifah Amani is most known for her role as Orked in the late Yasmin Ahmad films, Sepet (2005) and Gubra (2006), in which she won awards at the 18th and 19th Malaysian Film Festivals. She acted in the films Selubung (1992) and Mimpi Moon (2000), and was a youth writer for New Straits Times YouthQuake. She has even ventured beyond acting into filmmaking by being the assistant director of Talentime and the assistant stunt director of Merong Mahawangsa.
The winner of Miss Chinese Cosmos International 2006 (Malaysia), Chris Tong Bing Yu started her acting career in 2008, landing her first role just a year later. Since then, she has starred and made appearances in Malaysian and Singaporean dramas and movies, most notably Singaporean series The Journey: My Voyage (2013). She has won awards at Star Awards 2014 in Singapore and Malaysia’s Golden Awards. Besides Singapore, she has also collaborated in several Hong Kong and Chinese productions such as Kick Ass Girls, Special Female Force and League of Legends.
Wayne Cai Pei Xuan
The champion of Star Search Singapore 2003, Pei Xuan started out by acting in TV plays in Malaysian public channel RTM2 for two years before being featured in various NTV7 and Mediacorp series – most notably Singapore’s Your Hand In Mine (2008), the longest Mediacorp series ever made with 180 episodes. She has also been cast in The Cage (2014), appeared in 3 Malaysian telemovies, and won 2 awards.