But I have a story about Irisan. My company was chosen to do the casting for the Malaysian actors in the film, and I remember we combed through every film and TV actor, then every singer, then we looked at models and TV commercial talent, before arriving at the final selection of the Malaysian actors you see in the film. But Bustal Nawawi, the film's executive producer, still hadn't found the right girl for Ipah, the Malay Kampung Girl from Johor who finds Hadi (Deddy Mizwar) washed up on the shore and saves him and later they get married and she discovers he had a wife in Indonesia (Christine Hakim). Anyway. He finally said, "You audition." And I said NO. I said I didn't want to be an actor. I'd done like one Malaysian film once and I was NOT impressed and I said to myself that acting was SO not for me. Firstly, filming was stretched over 2 long years, it was ridiculous. I didn't like the way actors weren't allowed to have any opinion, and were just TOLD to do this, move like that, say it like THIS, feel like THAT. Stuff this, I said. I wanna do what I want to do. But I wouldn't mind being the gal who calls the shots. Who moves and shakes the business, who shapes the projects, who makes things happen. I wouldn't mind being the producer.
Anyway. Pak Bustal knew that I was on my "I wanna-be-an-entrepreneur" trip then, and he said to me, "OK I'll make you a deal. You audition, and if you're right for the role, I promise you I will personally teach you the business of film-making. I'll teach you to become a PRODUCER." B-I-N-G-O. That's really the story of how I started out. Sign up for 4 Indonesian films, I'll teach you the business. Done deal.
And man, look where all that has led me today. "Champion of The Arts", eh? That's a SUPER way to kick off 2011. Thanks very much Dennis. I'm all fired up, and I ain't gonna be hangin' up my cape for a long, long time. The year has only just begun.
Sunday, January 16, 2011, 08.17 PM
THEN AND NOW: Champion of the arts
THE name Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina is synonymous with the acclaimed musicals Puteri Gunung Ledang and P. Ramlee, both staged at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, over the last decade.
From a model, dancer and actress, she has worked hard to become a champion of the arts.
During her schooldays, she was active in theatre and had appeared in many print and television advertisements, most notably Hazeline Snow. This ad, which used American pop star Cyndi Lauper’s award-winning song Time After Time as background music, had Tiara running on the beach with a white horse.
Tiara later hosted talk shows on RTM such as Selamat Pagi Malaysia.
In 1995, she appeared in popular director Datuk Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s acclaimed film Ringgit Kasorrga with Hans Isaac. The role earned her Best Actress at the 12th Malaysian Film Festival.
She also starred in the Hollywood film Beyond Rangoon with Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand.
She produced Puteri Gunung Ledang The Movie in 2004 and starred as the title character, alongside M. Nasir (as Malay warrior Hang Tuah) and Adlin Aman Ramlie (as Sultan Mahmud Shah 1 of Malacca).
She produced Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical a year later, with British-Malaysian actor Stephen Rahman-Hughes taking over Nasir’s role.
P. Ramlee The Musical won six awards at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2007. It also marked pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza’s musical theatre debut.
In 2009, Tiara became the first female principal of Astro’s popular reality talent show Akademi Fantasia’s seventh season.
Last year, she became Malaysia’s adviser for the performing arts section of the new Guide To Malaysia. The book, in its eighth edition, is published by Leisure Guide Publishing.
Tiara, a mother of two, is managing director of Enfiniti Productions, which produces musicals, films and television programmes. Her dream is to set up an academy for the performing arts that caters to all Malaysians with talent.