THE Malaysian TV and film industry has birthed some big names, and one of its many stars, Sherlyn Seo is quite a force to be reckoned with.
Since her debut in 2016, the 25-year-old Penangite has starred in several noteworthy local TV productions, including The Memoir of Majie, 9.13 The Returning, Turning Point 2, I Court You, and Shimmering Fireworks.
Seo is also starring in one of the lead roles in Malu, an upcoming Malaysia-Japan feature film co-production, alongside fellow Malaysian MayJune Tan.
Malu chronicles the long-lasting discord between two sisters as a result of a chilhood trauma, and explores overarching themes of family relations.
The film, which began production in September 2017, is directed by award-winning Malaysian director Edmund Yeo, and also stars Japanese model-actress Kiko Mizuhara and Nagase Masatoshi.
It recently premiered at the 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival, and opened in Japanese cinemas last Friday.
What would you consider to be the turning point of your career?
“It’s when I decided to pursue my lifelong dream to become an actress, from starting out with just supporting roles to playing a lead role now, it’s been quite a journey really. I see each acting gig as a turning point on its own, and each film or play allowed me to learn so much more than I ever could before.”
Do you think being an actress is both artistically and creatively fulfilling?
“Being an actress, is in my opinion, the best excuse to never stop learning and growing. With every new film, there are always new things to learn and to master; so, yes.
“I wasn’t formally trained to become an actress, so it has always been just learning from others and from being on the job. There’s always room for experimentation and improvement; you can make lots of mistakes, you can try things out, you can even dabble in filmmaking if you wish.
“That is the satisfaction that I get from the process of acting.”
As an actress, you have to be expressive and embrace emotions. Do you consider yourself an emotional person?
“I’m not, but I have to due to the nature of the characters according to the movie scripts. And I’ve come to embrace and allow myself to feel these emotions through my life in real-life situations. For instances, tearing up when listening to an emotional song, or feeling deeply saddened by unfortunate events on the news.
“The same goes for acting – if the scripted character is miserable, I would be as well; if she is an ignorant person, frustrated and trapped in a narrow mindset, then I would have to channel the same attitude.”
Tell us more about your latest film Malu.
“It’s my first acting gig in an independent film, which has broadened my horizons and given me experience in a completely different area in method acting. I’m beyond honoured and grateful for the opportunity and to be working with such an amazing cast! It’s really a wholesome and rewarding journey.
“The film tells of the relationship between sisters Hong and Lan, who are separated when their grandmother took Hong away from their unstable and destructive mother. Twenty years have passed, and the sisters reunite as strangers after the passing of their mother. They attempt to rekindle their bond through shared memories, only to discover they are merely memories.
“Later, Lan disappears to Japan. Hong then receives a call a few years later to hear about the mysterious death of her sister, and decides to go to Japan to get to the bottom of it.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and are still facing throughout this journey in the acting industry?
“Having a true passion for acting can really go a long way, but there are many challenges, some of which include the limited amount of acting opportunities in recent times, which now poses an added financial burden.
“Acting is honestly a beautiful and rewarding craft but it can take its toll. I know how tough it can be, and I hope it won’t put me off. I always remind myself that if I continue this journey with the idea that I will become famous, then the fire in me will burn out very soon.
“To me, fame is not a form of fulfilment.”
What would you say to young aspiring actress out there?
“Be humble and stay motivated! Always ask yourself why do you want to join the entertainment industry? What is it that you love most about acting? And once you’re able to have a definitive answer, hold onto that.”