Me, a big star?

MALAYSIA - Yana Samsudin cannot believe her own success.

The 28-year-old Malaysian actress has made such a successful career out of her role as the straight-talking Wawa in the popular Adnan Sempit movies that she got her own spin-off film, Wawa Semput, earlier this year.

She has almost a million Facebook fans and enough projects to keep her busy until next year.

There will also be a third Adnan Sempit film soon to be released.

But 10 years ago, Yana - short for Norliana - was just another young girl who moved to Kuala Lumpur to try and break into the entertainment industry.

"I never thought I was good enough to be in front of the camera," said Yana, who was in town to meet fans and promote Wawa Semput, which premieres on Sensasi (StarHub Ch 123) at 8pm.

Harbouring dreams of being a pop star, she recorded an album with the Metrowealth International Group (MIG).

While waiting for its release, Yana asked MIG boss and film producer David Teo - his hit films include Jangan Pandang Belakang (2007) and Lagenda Budak Setan (2010) - if she could "help out with anything else".

"I was a clerk when he asked if I wanted to do video editing. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take up film-making in college," she said.

She took part in a young directors' programme in Malaysia and made her own feature film, the romantic comedy Selamat Pagi Cinta, when she was 23.


"People told me I should act and I asked, 'Really?'" she said with a laugh.

After a cameo role in Histeria (2008), she got the role in Adnan Sempit - 2010's top-grossing film in Malaysia with RM7.6 million (S$2.96m) at the box office.

Since then, she's been in hits and bagging popularity awards for both comedic (2011's Bini-biniku Gangster) and dramatic (last year's 3 Temujanji) roles.

Each time she gets a trophy, she invites her fans, Yana Super Friends, to her house for a thank-you meal.

She will do the same this Hari Raya but with shorter hours than last year's, when she and her mum pulled a nine-hour shift at the family home in Johor.

"There were people at the house until midnight, it was crazy," she said.

But even the idea of having fans is crazy to her.

When a group of 10 fans met her two years ago to discuss starting an official fan club, she asked them: "Do I have so many fans?"

The downside to her success is having her love life under media scrutiny.

This year, she has been accused of dating her best friend, Malaysian screenwriter Fadzil Zahari, and being engaged to the son of a Malaysian businessman.

She denied both rumours.

"There's nothing else to write about me, maybe that's why (the media) wrote those stories," she said.

In any case, she says she's too busy to think about settling down.

Said Yana: "My sister got married when she was 31, so there's no rush!"

Get The New Paper for more stories.