Dif­fer­ent strokes

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV -

AC­CORD­ING to Han­nah Al Rashid, be­ing a prod­uct of mixed race is both a bless­ing and a curse. Never mind how she looks, the in­ter­nal con­flict of “Who are you?” be­guiles her more she says, quite dra­mat­i­cally, when asked about her “mon­grel” back­ground. (Her word, not mine.)

Born and raised in Lon­don to a French mother and In­done­sian fa­ther, the 25-yearold con­sid­ers English her mother tongue although she speaks French and In­done­sian just as well. Three years ago, she de­cided to come to Jakarta to pur­sue a tele­vi­sion ca­reer, as job prospects in Lon­don weren’t look­ing too good. “Also I wanted to see if I could live Asia, where my dad is from.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies at Univer­sity of Lon­don’s School of Ori­en­tal and African Stud­ies, she wanted to work with the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP), but that plan didn’t ma­te­ri­alise. Mean­while, she had done a mu­sic video with In­done­sian band Yovie & Nuno, who were shoot­ing in Lon­don, so that gave her a way into the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness.

“I had a quite a few of­fers be­fore but ba­si­cally I ex­plored host­ing out of ne­ces­sity be­cause I was low on money. And I thought why not take on the of­fers I cur­rently have. Then I started to en­joy it.”

Hav­ing gone to the Sylvia Young The­atre School in Lon­don, she has ex­pe­ri­ence in drama, mu­sic and danc­ing. It was only in univer­sity that she be­came very aca­demic. “Now I have the chance to get back into the arts scene.”

One of the paths that has re­cently opened up for her is a part in the up­com­ing Joko An­war psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller ti­tled Modus Anomali. She starts re­hears­ing as soon as to­mor­row.

“I am very ex­cited about that. And I am very grate­ful that I am get­ting my break from my favourite In­done­sian di­rec­tor. Bang Joko is my favourite per­son in the world. He is what ev­ery man should be like. When you meet him, he greets you with a hug and he tells you how beau­ti­ful you are. And I am like, ‘Bang, you know what, I wish all men greeted all women like that.’ He is def­i­nitely on my list of the nicest, most charm­ing and hon­est peo­ple I have met in this in­dus­try. He brings out a re­ally lovely qual­ity in you, so I am hop­ing that when we start he’ll bring out some good act­ing in me.”

Han­nah is just as ex­cited about be­ing a new face of Li. Like her coun­ter­part in Hong Kong, Ja­son God­frey, she loves food and trav­el­ling. She hopes with the wider scope that Li of­fers, In­done­sia will be recog­nised as a place for good life­styles and a place to visit for en­ter­tain­ment, food and fash­ion.

“I am very proud of my cul­ture and I think In­done­sia is prob­a­bly the least ex­posed coun­try when it comes to life­style. At the same time we have so much to of­fer. So I am very proud to bring the best of In­done­sia to the rest of Asia.”

It is ap­par­ent from her en­er­getic per­son­al­ity that Han­nah is some­one who is en­joy­ing life very much right now. What is prob­a­bly most ad­mirable is her sense of ad­ven­ture – mov­ing all the way to In­done­sia while her whole fam­ily is back in Lon­don, and only armed with the knowl­edge that she can do any­thing. “This is a very fickle in­dus­try – peo­ple get bored of you fast but I am not afraid of that. I am very pas­sion­ate about what I do when I have it but I won’t limit my­self to just that. I am open to any pos­si­bil­ity.” –Mum­taj Begum

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