Fully charged and rar­ing to go

Diana Danielle brings her A-game as she makes a re­turn to act­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Front Page - By AN­GELIN YEOH en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

Diana Danielle is un­stop­pable. Af­ter a two-year break from show­biz, the ac­tress re­turns, rein­vig­o­rated. The Malay-Amer­i­can star marks her come­back with a Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress win at the re­cent Mala­sia Film fes­ti­val, and a few more ex­cit­ing act­ing projects on the hori­zon.

AS Diana Danielle, 25, walked to a ta­ble full of re­porters for her in­ter­view, she was com­pli­mented for look­ing el­e­gant in a dress by lo­cal la­bel Kree. Her out­ward ap­pear­ance be­lied how she re­ally felt about be­ing made-up for a photo shoot.

“I’m try­ing not to be so awk­ward be­cause I don’t usu­ally dress up like this,” she said at the in­ter­view ses­sion in Kuala Lumpur.

The event was or­gan­ised by the Malaysian En­ter­tain­ment Re­porters As­so­ci­a­tion (Wham) for 29th Malaysia Film Fes­ti­val (FFM) hope­fuls to meet the press.

Diana also con­fessed to not want­ing to feel too op­ti­mistic about get­ting a nom­i­na­tion. This year’s FFM nom­i­nees was not an­nounced ahead of time so hope­fuls were ex­pected to wait un­til awards night to find out.

“I’ve been nom­i­nated be­fore and I didn’t win. So I’ve learned not to ex­pect so much be­cause I don’t want to feel dis­ap­pointed.

“But it’s hard es­pe­cially when peo­ple keep say­ing that you’re go­ing to get nom­i­nated and then you get your hopes up,” she said earnestly.

Diana was widely ex­pected to score an act­ing nod for her role as Nina, a spir­ited young woman who goes against her fa­ther’s plan to marry her off to an in­flu­en­tial fam­ily in U-Wei Haji Saari’s pe­riod piece

Hanyut.

The film was shot when Diana was 18 but was only re­leased in lo­cal cin­e­mas last year.

In 2015, Diana an­nounced that she was tak­ing a break from show­biz to fo­cus on moth­er­hood. She is mar­ried to ac­tor Farid Kamil and to­gether they have two chil­dren, four-year-old Muham­mad and oneyear-old Au­rora.

“If I do get it, then it would make for a good story be­cause I just re­cently started act­ing full-time again (laughs).”

Well, Diana not only scored a nom­i­na­tion in the Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress cat­e­gory at the FFM awards on Sept 23, she ac­tu­ally won the award beat­ing ac­tresses like Fazura (J Revo­lusi) and Nadiya Nisaa

(Redha).

How­ever, she was not present at the event. As a mean­ing­ful ges­ture, her mum Nor­siah Ramli and two chil­dren ac­cepted the award on her be­half.

Hus­band Farid was es­pe­cially proud of her win. “I re­mem­ber jump­ing like crazy when I heard the news. I first saw Hanyut when it pre­miered in Jakarta, In­done­sia back in 2014. I loved her char­ac­ter in the movie. Since then, I’ve al­ways known that she was go­ing to win,” he said.

Choos­ing her projects wisely

Now that Diana is back in the game again, she wants to be more se­lec­tive. She ad­mits hav­ing chil­dren means putting their needs as pri­or­ity.

“It’s im­por­tant for me to know that (the project I am tak­ing on is) worth hav­ing to leave my chil­dren in the morn­ing,” she said.

And when she does have to leave home for work, Diana makes it clear to her chil­dren, es­pe­cially Muham­mad. “I tell him that this is how mummy and daddy make money. It’s all about fi­nan­cial sur­vival.”

Diana will be star­ring in TV se­ries Cof­fee Prince, the much talked-about adap­ta­tion of a pop­u­lar Korean drama of the same name. The lo­cal ver­sion is di­rected by Michael Ang and Diana plays co-star Fat­tah Amin’s girl­friend.

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing process. We can’t do some of the ro­man­tic el­e­ments like in the orig­i­nal to cater to our own cul­ture and sen­si­tiv­i­ties. Fans also have a cer­tain ex­pec­ta­tion on how the show should look like.

“Of course the Korean pro­duc­tion had a mas­sive bud­get but the sit­u­a­tion is not the same for us. I can see how mak­ing the show is a big chal­lenge for Michael,” said Diana.

She will also be host­ing a trav­el­ogue for Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel. The show fol­lows Diana as she trav­els across Malaysia with guests from In­dia and China.

“I pre­pared for this by read­ing a lot about the places that I’m vis­it­ing. I try to get a sense of what the place has to of­fer,” she said.

Deal­ing with neg­a­tiv­ity

Diana was raised by a sin­gle mother and she started act­ing at 15 as a way to sup­port her fam­ily.

She has a zen-like ap­proach to neg­a­tiv­ity, some­thing she cred­its to hav­ing to learn to be an adult at a young age.

De­spite wide­spread crit­i­cism on a sexy photo spread in the past as well as a re­cent gos­sip about her mar­riage, Diana is not one to lash out at any­one.

“I try not to take things per­son­ally. I do un­der­stand why peo­ple re­act neg­a­tively to some things as it could just be them turn­ing on their sur­vival mode.

“Plus I’m in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. Peo­ple care about what you have to say. So, what­ever you do, it has to be po­lit­i­cally cor­rect and so­cially ac­cept­able. It’s not easy of course but you will learn to walk that thin line.”

Diana uses her celebrity in­flu­ence to talk about moth­er­hood. She has opened up about suf­fer­ing from post-par­tum de­pres­sion and strug­gling with be­ing a work­ing mum.

“I thought I was just rant­ing a lot about what it’s like to be a woman (on so­cial me­dia). Then I get mes­sages from a lot of women who said thank you for show­ing a dif­fer­ent side of moth­er­hood, es­pe­cially from a celebrity mum.”

Photo: ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/The Star

Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star — Hand­out

Diana won Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress at the Malaysia Film Fes­ti­val for her role in Hanyut.

— SHAARI CHEMAT/ The Star

Diana mar­ried ac­tor Farid in 2012.

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