When it comes to accepting offers for work, actress Nabila Huda likes to take on new challenges.
During an interview in Kuala Lumpur, Nabila explained why she accepted the part of Zara in Makrifat Cinta helmed by new director Kamal G: “I’ve never played a role like this before. I didn’t have to wear makeup and get my hair done. My character is an angry wife who lives in Kampung Baru in KL. She’d only be happy if her husband makes more money. I like how this movie reflects issues that a lot of people may be facing in their marriage.”
Whenever Nabila, 33, accepts a new role, she takes her time to craft her character’s look.
“I usually spend my acting fee on clothes that my character would wear. For a character like Zara, of course I don’t have to spend on designer outfits. So, I look around for outfits that can help to represent her struggle.”
Nabila’s dedication to her work has earned her a reputation as one of the most credible actresses in the local industry. It took Nabila a long time to establish herself, despite her showbiz connections (rocker Amy Search is her father).
Although she debuted as an actress in 2001, Nabila’s big break only came in 2009 through her role in Bohsia: Jangan Pilih Jalan Hitam.
In 2016, her performance in Munafik earned her the Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) award for Best Actress. Her own struggles in the industry is the reason why Nabila spoke out against inexperienced talents getting offered leading roles.
1. You recently made a series of statements on Twitter about how new actors should gain more experience first before being offered the leading role. Why did you do that?
I just want to tell people to be aware that it’s not easy to be a good actor or actress. I know that I got a lot of backlash for making that statement; some people said I’m jealous because my time is “over”.
Honestly, I don’t care about my so-called lack of popularity. I want to advise the newcomers to be aware of their capabilities. If they feel that it’s hard to carry a role, then don’t do it. Remind yourself to practice and prepare yourself for at least three years before taking on a leading role.
Apart from acting, they should learn to prepare themselves for the ups and downs in the industry. I took a long time to understand how the industry works.
With that, I was able to figure out my goal as an actress. I’m not just doing this to be famous. I care about how I play my roles, I care about the kind of work that I put out.
2. What do you think about the acting business today?
It’s so different. There is lot of emphasis on looks and social media following now.
I think it’s important for our viewers to be aware that those aspects don’t mean that you’d get quality acting. I’ve experienced acting with someone like that. It made my job harder because I have to lower my own standards just so this person can cope.
It gets worse when the actor or actress is unprepared and doesn’t take direction well. Then he or she has to be given the same instructions over and over again. Overall, most of us end up being frustrated on set. That’s the reality of the business now.
3. Has winning the FFM award for Best Actress changed anything?
The award is an appreciation of my work but it doesn’t change who I am. I’m still the same person. I don’t use it to think highly of myself. I don’t need a bigger entourage ... or anything like that.
4. Would you let your daughter eight-year-old Keisha Laila get into acting as well?
For now, I don’t want to force her into anything because she’s still young. I’ve been on set with younger actors and I know that the experience can be stressful for them.
She had acted in a TV commercial and had to laugh for a scene. I screamed at her because her laugh is so fake. I told her to put in more effort.
She has talked about how she wanted to be (an actress) just like me. I said OK if she wants to act but she must work on her skills. She thinks of me as her competition.
She likes to observe what I do and she wants to do better than me.
5. Did you cut your hair short for a new role?
No, I cut my hair to get rid of bad luck (laughs)! I think I’ve ruined my hair because I’ve coloured it too much. When I got my hair cut at the salon, I keep asking for it to be shorter.
My husband made me promise that I won’t complain that my hair is too short. One week later, I said I can’t stand my short hair. My husband has to keep telling me that I’m beautiful anyway with short hair.