Actress, Singer & Film Producer
Erra Fazira first caught the attention of the Malaysian public when she became Miss Malaysia in 1992 at the age of 18. She was entered into the competition by a relative who believed that she could go far in the competition. Erra, a self-proclaimed tomboy at the time, was pretty annoyed that she been entered in the pageant. She hopped on a scooter and headed to the organiser to demand that her name be taken out.
The organiser, however, pleaded with her saying that he didn’t have enough contestants and so she relented.
“I am the kind of person who doesn’t know how to say no to people,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s an advantage or disadvantage. Even if I don’t want to do something, I will do it because I feel sorry for someone.”
Thankfully, she did as it paved the way for her entry into entertainment. And as it turns out, the decision has also given her a place in pop culture history as one of the last Malay women to hold the Miss Malaysia crown. There are no regrets though as she sees participating in the pageant as very much being the “door” to her career.
She is admittedly a planner but the pageant is something she did on the spur of the moment.
In every industry there is a double- standard for women but don’t give up. If you see yourself as someone whose place is in the kitchen, then you will wind up in the kitchen. But if you see yourself as someone who has something to contribute, don’t underestimate yourself.Erra Fazira
“Sometimes when you do things spontaneously, it has the potential of becoming something spectacular.”
Ever since she was a child, Erra had a feeling that fate would lead her to a career in entertainment. It is that she expected to make it as a singer instead of an actress. But after she was cast in Sembilu (1994), Erra’s film career started to take off. By the time Maria Mariana (1996) was released, her fate was sealed as a leading lady of film. She now has more than 40 films to her name, not including telemovies and several awards,
“I just went with the flow because I didn’t expect my film career to be stronger than my music career.”
Now she is taking things a bit easier having put in all the groundwork early on in her career. She is not “dreaming big,” she says. Perhaps, she did when she was younger. Now, she feels she is ready to take a step back.
“I feel people who dream big are always chasing something,” she says. “For me, I am at a stage where I want to be relaxed. I don’t want to be pressured. When I was younger, yes. But now I need to put a full stop.”
To aspiring actors and actresses, Erra advises to work on developing one’s craft.
“If you are static and don’t develop, you will go nowhere.”