Noah Centineo, Henry Golding & more breakout stars of 2018

  • Music
  • Friday, 28 Dec 2018

STRICTLY DO NOT USE FOR STAR2 ENTERTAINMENT COVER ONLY Photoshoot with Ernie Zakri on cover story about three young female singers. YAP CHEE HONG/The Star.

Success in the showbiz industry can often feel elusive, with many entertainers, even extremely talented ones, giving up on their dreams before they materialise.

Whether it’s having that je ne sais quoi or being simply resilient in their pursuit of the arts, these nine stars, both local and international, managed to strike gold in 2018.

Henry Golding
Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman

All it takes is one role to make an actor’s career. Since beginning his acting career in 2003, Boseman has been playing predominantly minor TV roles until his career-defining moment came in 2016 when he was cast as Black Panther, his biggest role to date.

While Boseman first appeared as the king of Wakanda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, it was only early this year that he exploded into the scene when Black Panther was front and centre in the eponymous film.

Black Panther, which made US$1.3bil (RM5.4bil) in the box office, became the ninth highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide. It also made history as the first superhero movie to earn a Best Picture (Drama) nomination at the Golden Globes.

Audiences saw him again when he appeared a few months later on Avengers: Infinity War, which made over US$2bil (RM8.6bil), making it the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide.

With so much commercial and critical success, the Black Panther actor sprints to the top of this list.

Henry Golding

It’s not a story you often hear. Golding, who carved his name as a travel host in the South-East Asia region and has no acting experience, got handpicked to be the male lead of a major Hollywood film.

Crazy Rich Asians – which has Golding playing the affluent Singaporean Nick Young who falls for Constance Wu’s Rachel Chu, an Asian American who had a modest upbringing – became a major box-office success when it premiered in August. The film recently received a Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) Golden Globes nomination.

A few months later, Golding continued his winning streak when his sophomore film, A Simple Favor, was also well-received.

The British-Malaysian actor has three more films in the pipeline including the Guy Ritchie-directed crime film, Toff Guys.

2018 is undeniably a big year for Golding, but from the looks of the attention he has been gaining, he will have many more big years to come.


Between trying not to cave under the pressures that come with the life of the ultra-rich and being at the receiving end of her boyfriend’s mum’s piercing stares, Crazy Rich Asians protagonist Rachel Chu definitely had a lot to deal with.

Thank goodness for her best friend Peik Lin, played brilliantly by Awkwafina. Besides being an effective comic relief, Awkwafina made us all wish we had a best friend like Peik Lin – someone who’s funny and uplifting when you’re feeling low yet not afraid to call you out on your bullsh**.

Expect more laughs from Awkwafina – who also starred in another high-profile movie, Ocean’s 8 this year – soon as a 10-episode comedy series she developed was recently greenlit by Comedy Central.

Noah Centineo

Noah Centineo

Peik Lin may be the best friend everyone wants in their life, but many are saying they want Peter Kavinsky to be the love of their life.

Netflix teen rom-com To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which premiered in August, became a huge craze, and its male lead Peter, played by Centineo, had a lot to do with it.

Centineo’s portrayal of the tousled-haired high school quarterback with a sensitive side has been winning hearts all over. Besides his smouldering good looks, Centineo exuded a pureness of heart in the character that made him perfect boyfriend material.

Centineo kept the momentum up, starring in another Netflix teen film Sierra Burgess Is A Loser a month later.

Outside of the films, Centineo also brought a charm and likability (and a twinkle in his eyes) to his interviews, and then there’s those romantic yet cryptic tweets that have been setting hearts aflutter.

The 22-year-old actor, who seemingly sprung out of nowhere and is now everywhere, cut his teeth in playing small roles on Disney Channel as a teen.


Blackpink has been making waves since it made its debut in 2016, but 2018 marks the first time the K-pop girl group gained global success.

First things first, the music video for Blackpink’s infectious hit Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, released on June 15, is the most viewed Korean music video in a 24-hour span to date, clocking in at 36.2 million views.

The K-pop girl group – comprising Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa – even beat out Psy’s Gentleman and BTS’s Fake Love, who scored 36 million views and 35.9 million views respectively.

The song itself is the highest-ranked single by a female Korean act, landing at No. 55 on Billboard’s Hot 100, ahead of Wonder Girls’ 2009 hit Nobody at No. 76.

Its 2018 album Square Up also became the highest-charting album by a female Korean act, debuting at No. 40 on the Billboard 200 charts.

We can’t wait for Blackpink to perform in Malaysia this coming February!

Syafiq Kyle
Ernie Zakri

Ernie Zakri

For 10 years, Ernie had been trying to break into the music industry but to no avail. Then in February, during a five-minute live performance, everything changed.

Her jaw-dropping high notes on Aku Cinta at the Anugerah Juara Lagu stunned audiences. Ernie and her duet partner, Syamel, won best vocals of the night and ended seasoned vocalist Dayang Nurfaizah’s three-year winning streak.

Since then, the 26-year-old’s career has been on the up and up, churning out ballads like Misteri and Ku Bersuara, which have been met with considerable success.

In October, Ernie and Syamel nabbed the most popular collaborative duo or group award at Anugerah Bintang Popular, cementing her place in the industry.

Fun fact: Ziana and Anuar Zain are Ernie’s aunt and uncle. For many years, she never spoke about her family ties with her famous, well-accomplished relatives, refusing to ride on their coattails and forging her own path instead.

Syafiq Kyle

Syafiq’s foray into showbiz began when he finished second on the male modelling competition, Hero Remaja, in 2011.

While other Hero Remaja contestants from his batch – Fattah Amin, Saharul Ridzwan and Hafidz Roshdi – catapulted to stardom not long after, Syafiq took his time to find his footing in the industry.

Syafiq shone in last year’s Mencintaimu Mr. Photographer but it all really came together when Nur – a drama series which explores the relationship between a pious man and a prostitute – premiered in May.

Its groundbreaking storyline drew in a whopping nine million viewers, and earned him a Best Actor award at Anugerah Skrin.

Around the same time the series aired, the Internet blew up when an X-rated video footage of a Syafiq Kyle lookalike made its rounds. But Syafiq didn’t let the unfortunate incident snuff his career out.

The 26-year-old went on to appear in two movies Gol & Gincu 2 and Langsuir at the second half of the year. The latter, which marked Syafiq’s first lead role in a film, earned a respectable RM1.4mil in the local box office, proving it’s not about the falling down but the getting back up.

Post Malone
Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong

Johor-born Wong spent years building his acting career in Malaysia and Singapore, only to leave it all behind for a shot at a career in China in 2016.

Thankfully, it paid off when The Story Of Yanxi Palace became wildly popular in August, generating 530 million views on China’s streaming platform iQiyi in just one day, setting a record for highest single-day online viewership.

Wong, who has a supporting role in it as the kind-hearted royal guard Hai Lan Cha, benefited from the attention the drama got.

Doors to other series such as cruise ship drama One Boat, One World, which will see him in a lead role, flung open.

Wong’s success story serves as an inspiration that while China’s showbiz scene can be difficult to penetrate, it’s not impossible.

Post Malone

Although Post Malone made his debut in 2015 and gained widespread attention for his first single White Iverson then, his career truly skyrocketed in 2018.

The Rockstar hitmaker has been smashing records left, right and centre this year with his second album, Beerbongs & Bentleys.

Nine songs from the album made it to the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 charts simultaneously, beating The Beatles’ and J. Cole’s record who both had six. And get this, The Beatles’ record had stood for 54 years! On top of that, all 18 tracks from the album had a place on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

What’s more, the 23-year-old is still enjoying the fruits of his labour for his first album, released at the end of 2016.

Stoney spent its 77th week in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart, outperforming Michael Jackson’ Thriller, which spent 76 weeks. The King of Pop held the record for 34 years.

The numbers aren’t the only ones doing the talking. The Grammy Awards is showing Post Malone a lot of love with four nominations including the coveted Album Of The Year for Beerbongs & Bentleys.

Post Malone is truly a rock star.

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