Starry, starry triumph


Wawa Zainal and Aiman Hakim Ridza have found their true calling as actors, writes Dennis Chua

THEY are fast becoming household names. Although famous for their good looks, Wawa Zainal and and Aiman Hakim Ridza have also proven themselves to be credible actors.

The two bagged the Popular New Artistes category (for Female and Male respectively) at the recent Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2012 (ABPBH 2012). The awards gave their acting careers a shot in the arm.

Wawa (real name Nur Hawa Zainal Abidin), 22, a Sabahan beauty from Lahad Datu, is riding high as an artiste of David Teo’s Metrowealth International Group.

Her television and film resume includes Cinta Qaseh (with Adi Putra and Shahz Jaszle), Bahagiaku Bukan Milikmu, Hantu Dalam Botol Kicap, Seram Sejuk, Sumpahan Kum Kum, Tiga Temujanji (with Yana Samsudin), Budak Pailang (with Aeril Zafrel), 99 Kali Rindu, Cinta VLog, Ana Lulu, Klik and Aji Noh Moto.

The eighth of 11 siblings, she says: “I’ve been acting for three years now, and I thank David, director Feroz Kadir and Metrowealth for giving me a golden opportunity to develop my talent. She had dreams of becoming a singer as a teenager, “but I later realised that I preferred acting to singing.”

 Wawa is delighted to act with Metrowealth’s major stars — Shaheizy Sam, Yana, Pierre Andre, Diana Amir, Kamal Adli and Intan Ladyana, among others.

“They are humble and friendly mentors who have guided me well on my journey. What I’ve learnt from them is to be versatile and try every role,” she says.

She named Shaheizy, the Most Popular Artiste of ABPBH 2012, as her favourite actor, “as he is one of the country’s most versatile stars”.

 “He is down to earth and friendly. I’ve learnt a lot from him and consider him the finest actor of my generation,” she says.

Wawa is happy to note that her home State has brought forth many new talents in film, television and music. Metrowealth, Grand Brilliance, Tayangan Unggul and KRU are among the film companies that have recruited Sabahan talents, in line with the government’s 1Malaysia campaign.

Wawa greatly admires Sabahan actors Balkisyh Khan, Fikhree Bakar, Sabhi Saddi, Adeline Tsen, Nabila Dally, Ekin Rahman and Farish Aziz, and singers One Nation Emcees, Ayu Damit, Salma, Rehana Yunus, Zizi Tahil, Pija Yasin, Adira Suhaimi, VIP, Stacy Anam, Jimmy Palikat and Nikki Palikat.

She says: “One Nation Emcees are superb. They act well and sing well. They were so good in the thriller Klip 3GP which also had brilliant performances by Fikhree, Sabhi and Adeline.”

While Wawa often plays the sweet girl-next-door, she is delighted to have been given the role of a psychotic person in the television series Serindu Taj Mahal.

“That was very challenging and I’d love to have more such roles because playing a person who is nothing like me helps boost my career.

She names Ogy Ahmad Daud and Meryl Streep as are two screen legends she admires. Wawa is also happy with her role in Budak Pailang, where she plays the sweet girlfriend of Aeril’s character, who turns wild after he is released from jail. “I get along great with Aeril, who takes every role seriously and excels.

She hopes to star with Aiman on screen in the future.

Wawa’s long-term ambition is to become a screenwriter and producer, like another favourite actress of hers, Nabila Huda Suhaimi. “I’m a great fan of Nabila Huda, and her father Amy of Search, I’ve admired since my pre-teens. She didn’t acquire her father’s passion for singing; instead she pursued her passion for acting and producing.”

Aiman, 24, hails from George Town, Penang and is best known for television series Vanila Coklat, which saw him star opposite fellow Penangite, Izara Aishah.

He was born in Kuala Lumpur, though, and was a footballer for the Selangor and national teams, between 2002 and 2005, but opted out to pursue his passion in the arts.

He later auditioned for the fifth season of TV3 talent search show Mentor in 2011, as the protege of veteran singer Rahim Maarof. However, he lost to a friend of Wawa’s from Tawau — Salma Abdul Aziz, the vocally powerful protege of multi-talented Erra Fazira.

 He is currently starring in the television movie Diandra with Nur Fathia, and describes Rindu Bertamu Di Abu Dhabi as his most challenging television drama to date.

“It was filmed in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. While my character was a supporting one, I loved the storyline and the main actors Fahrin Ahmad and Tasha Shilla Razak, two of the most bankable names in telemovies today,” he says.

Aiman thanks Rahim for guiding him in acting as well as singing. “Rahim is not only a great singer but a great actor too. He follows my acting career closely and gives me useful tips along the way.

He names Bront Palarae, Shaheizy Sam and Nabila Huda as his favourite actors and actresses today, “and I’d love to work with Bront and Shaheizy someday.”

Aiman has not given up singing despite his commitment to acting. “I still plan to come up with my own solo album. Being active in acting should not be a hindrance to success in singing,” he says, adding that Izzue Islam Mazlan of Forteen excels in both field, “and I loved his brilliant portrayal of a blind man in 29 Februari.”

“Mila Jirin, my fellow Penangite, is good in both fields too,” says Aiman.

Like Wawa, he aspires to play characters that are out of the ordinary. “Crazy guys and bad guys are roles I relish in the near future,” he says.

Both Aiman and Wawa also aspire to be television programme hosts. “We love Fara Fauzana, Neelofa, Zizan Razak, Nabil Ahmad, Nabila Huda, Cat Farish, Dira Abu Zahar, Awal Ashaari and Scha Alyahya who are fantastic entertainment show hosts,” says Wawa.

“After all, we love chatting with our fans,” says Aiman.

Wawa and Aiman are strong believers in the role of artistes in promoting public service messages on television.

They are all-praise for singers Ayu, Tomok, Hanifah ‘Black’ Hanafiah (Mentor 3 champion) and Shiha Zikir (Mentor 5 runner-up) for coming up with the music video and song Jom Mengundi, that encourages people to vote, and One

Nation Emcees for doing the same with the music video and hip-hop remix of Datuk Zainal Alam’s song Marilah Mengundi.

“Artistes are role models to their fans and it pays to have corporate social responsibility,” says Aiman.

“The recent participation of many artistes in a charity concert for the fallen heroes who saved my hometown, Lahad Datu, from terrorists, is a most noble initiative,” says Wawa, who thanks the Government for making Lahad Datu safe for first-time voters like herself.


MOST popular artiste Shaheizy Sam has a third feather in his cap besides being a singer and actor. He is also the proud owner of a Malay restaurant, Best Time Family Cafe BBQ And Grill, in Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Cheras. The restaurant is co-owned by Shaheizy, his sister Zizie Ezette and their aunt Zaharah Musa.

“I love cooking, especially traditional food and this restaurant is a childhood dream come true. It opened early this month,” he says.

 Shaheizy congratulates Wawa Zainal and Aiman Hakim Ridza on their wins and praises them as hardworking and down to earth artistes who work hard to better themselves.

“They are two very hardworking and passionate actors who will go far and I wish them all the best in their careers,” he says.

Meanwhile, ABPBH 2012 co-organising chairman Hanizam Abdullah said that 6.5 million viewers watched the awards on April 7.

Wawa Zainal and Aiman Hakim Ridza.

Shaheizy Sam

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