It's not hard to take an instant liking to Intan Sarah Anisah Zulgafli, who is better known as Intan Serah.
The 19-year-old national sportswoman – who has represented Malaysia in the 100m hurdles (Asian School Championship 2015 where she won a gold medal, Asean School Games 2015, earning a silver medal), and as a member of the national futsal team in the 2017 SEA Games, and AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 – has a bright and bubbly personality that’s simply infectious.
At the photo shoot for this story, the graduate of the Kuala Lumpur Sports School chatted with the makeup artist as well as the stylist, both of whom she had just met, as if they were her lifelong friends.
A quick look at her Instagram (@intanserah) reveals that Intan loves a good laugh with her mates, playing futsal, as well as singing and playing acoustic guitar.
It makes sense then that her boundless energy has opened up new avenues for the 1.68m youngster born in KL.
As if doing a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management Science at Universiti Malaya and playing for Felda United FC weren’t enough, Intan is also taking her first step into acting with a role in Gol & Gincu Vol 2.
She also contributes to the film’s soundtrack, singing backup with Annabel Michael on the track Hari-Hariku, performed by Aizat Amdan.
“Sports people cannot sit still,” offers Intan, who trains daily. “I would dribble the ball by myself if no one is free to play with me or hit the gym at night.”
In Gol & Gincu Vol. 2 – a reboot of 2005’s Gol & Gincu, and headlined by Diana Danielle and Ummi Nazeera – Intan plays delinquent Fifi, who lives in a group home with other troubled teens.
According to director Umi Salwana, Intan’s personality fits the character she portrays in the movie. “Also, she’s a fantastic futsal player. This allowed me to get great, natural futsal shots during the match scenes,” she says.
During training before the shoot, where the cast had to learn futsal, Intan stepped up to help the other actresses.
“The first day I saw them at training, I knew they couldn’t play futsal,” says Intan with a mischievous grin.
“We did about 10 to 15 sessions a month and everyone improved a lot after that. Now every one of them can play,” she adds.
Although futsal and studies are her main priorities, Intan says she is game to try other things. Besides acting and singing, Intan has modelled for Avon’s Simply Pretty Makeup.
She shares: “My ultimate goal is to become part of an international futsal league. Anything else that comes my way – that doesn’t interfere with futsal – I say, why not?”
1. How did you get the role in Gol & Gincu Vol. 2?
I saw the casting call on social media, and I went for the audition where they asked me to act like a troubled teen.
I think I got the role because the film has futsal (not so much for my acting) because acting is hard.
Luckily my character and I have similar personalities ... except that Fifi is girly and Intan Serah is not.
She has a fringe! That was the first time I ever had fringe in my life.
2. As an athlete, you have travelled overseas for games. Do you want to travel for fun one day?
I do! When I get the chance I want to go backpacking in Europe, and visit as many countries there as possible.
I also want to visit Bali. I have been to Indonesia before, but for meets. When I get to Bali, I just want to relax and take it easy.
3. What is the biggest challenge with being an athlete?
Time management. I have to set a schedule for all the things I need to do and be disciplined about following it.
Taking care of what I eat is also important. But, sometimes I cannot say no to French fries and fast food.
If I give in, then I just have to train harder that day and eat healthier food, like more protein, to make up for it.
One of the reasons I chose futsal instead of continuing in athletics is because I like team work where stress and success can be shared instead of facing everything alone. For me, playing sports is fun.
4. Is there anyone else in your family who is into sports?
Everyone! I have six older brothers, and they all like playing football. One of my brothers is the captain of O2FC, a Malaysian football amateur club.
My younger sister is studying at Kuala Lumpur Sports School and takes part in athletics. She runs the 100m hurdles ... exactly like her older sister (laughs).
My mum likes playing badminton, while my father plays futsal and badminton.
5. How do you conduct yourself on social media?
I look to one of my seniors in my futsal team for advice – Hanis Farhana, who works in the banking industry. If I am not sure of something, not only on social media, I will ask her opinion. If she says it is better to take a post down, I would do it.
Gol & Gincu Vol. 2 opens at cinemas nationwide on Oct 25.
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