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The accidental actress

DANIELLA SYA YENG YENG has been in the entertainment industry since she was 16 years old. However, while growing up, she really wanted to do something else.

“I wanted to be an archeologist. That didn’t happen because my mum told me I’d be digging for bones under the hot sun all day, and I would be lucky to even find any,” said the actress, who was born in Sungai Petani, Kedah but grew up in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

“I stumbled into the entertainment industry by first becoming a model, then a radio announcer and host, and then finally going into acting. I realised that acting helped me to introspect (examine my own thoughts and feelings) which was something I was bad at, being a very emotionally-detached child.

“So that was what attracted me to acting, and later on solidified my passion for it.”

Sya is fluent in more than one language (Cantonese, English and Bahasa Melayu) which is an advantage when it comes to landing job offers.

“Being Malaysian, I am very thankful to be in an environment where I can learn another language … I believe that everyone in Malaysia who is born here should have a basic understanding of Bahasa Malaysia, as it is our culture, and learning the language helps me understand the roots of our people better.”

While many actors saw the recent movement control period as a means to learn new things, or to spend quality time with their family, it was different for Sya.

“It was a very emotionally intense time for me, but I viewed it as a reflective period where I managed to look at myself properly and at all the unresolved traumas that reside within me, most of which I had not known about. Or was I in denial?

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“It was definitely a powerful experience.”

Sya is currently working on a series of webshows on YouTube. She is also in talks for several film and TV projects.

As she has worked on several Singaporean productions, as well as on the US and Malaysia collaboration Alam: Kingdom Resurrection, we wondered if she will soon spread her wings overseas.

Sya said: “My passion is in acting. If I am allowed a chance to act in different markets overseas, that is something I feel I would be so thankful and blessed to do.”

She also has plans beyond acting. “Perhaps producing, rather than directing first. Although, my mentor (India-born director) Kabir Bhatia is pushing me to learn how to direct, for some reason that is beyond me.”

When asked if she thinks the local TV and film industry will return to the way it was before the pandemic, Sya said: “I believe any change is a positive one, even if it may seem like a struggle for most people right now.”

When asked who are the actors who inspire her, Sya named the late British actor Peter O’Toole and Italian actress Monica Bellucci.

“The monologue that O’Toole had in the 1972 film The Ruling Class was what inspired me to become a serious actor. His performance in that scene was so powerful and moving, that I realised that acting can have a strong effect on passing messages to people. I decided from then on that I wanted to be a part of that process.

“Bellucci to me represents the very beauty of a woman. Her femininity captivates me, and reminds me of how a woman can be both strong and beautiful. It is something that resonates with me as a woman.”

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When asked what is next for her, Sya said: “Hopefully I will get the chance to do more serious Malay films and TV series. I know that there are so many powerful stories we have yet to tell in Malaysia. Aside from that, foreign language films and series are something I’d love to be a part of as well.”

Source:Entertainment & Lifestyle

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