It’s a sight I never thought I’d get to see. Rozita Che Wan is clad in a carefully put together blue-and-white ensemble and a long, sweeping overcoat with leafy motives completes the look. Dressed to the nines, she is standing in front of a hot wok frying keropok ikan for her family.
She is one of the most glamorous celebrities in the country but Rozita, or affectionately known to her fans as Che Ta, is showing a side many have not seen before on the reality series, The House.
The House, now in its third season (previous seasons featured the Maembong sisters Emma, Yaya and Chacha and Vida beauty founder Datuk Seri Vida), follows the life of the 43-year-old actress and her family – husband Zain Saidin, 32, their two-year-old daughter Aaisyah Dhia Rana and Che Ta’s two sons from her previous marriage Ammar Effendy, 21, and Aniq Ezzra, 19 – as they spend a week at a holiday home in Hulu Langat in Selangor.
“She can cook very well,” Zain shared when asked to name a fact most people don’t know about his wife. “She makes really good kuay teow and I love her cod fish with asparagus.”
Che Ta was a former air stewardess who has found success as an actress, TV host and an entrepreneur. She explains the reason she signed on to the reality show. “Fans want to know what my life is like and what my family is like, as they’re always asking. That’s why I chose to do it. And of course, the payment,” she said with a laugh.
Speaking of getting to know more about Che Ta, her mum and siblings, who paid her a surprise visit during the episode, also spill the beans on the actress.
“We lived in a kampung house, like with roosters crowing. And the house was in front of a public graveyard so people who came (to visit us) at night would get scared,” eldest sister Rahimah described their childhood home.
Che Ta was born and bred in Alor Setar, Kedah, and is the second of seven siblings.
“Growing up, she was always the fierce one among all of us,” youngest sister and actress Ayu Raudhah revealed. She shared that Che Ta, who was tasked with doing the laundry, would always wake up early to complete her chores.
“She would pour water on us if we woke up late and didn’t do our chores on time. The whole bed would be wet!” said Ayu.
But despite Che Ta’s strict demeanour, there’s a soft side to her. “She’s also a sensitive person. If you accidentally say something wrong, she will take it to heart,” Rahimah said. “She would be very quiet, and then we’d know she’s offended.”
And from a young age, Che Ta’s passion for fashion was already evident.
“She loved fashion. She would ask me to make her clothes this way and that way, and she doesn’t like repeating her clothes,” said her mum, Zabedah.
Although life in the kampung was difficult, the siblings all agree they miss staying together as a family.
Incidentally, the holiday home chosen by the show’s producers gives off a kampung vibe. It is nestled in a forest, with a stream running in the front of the house and there’s even a chicken coop.
Asked if Che Ta misses her life back in the kampung, she replied, “No, I grew up in the kampung, and once I’ve moved on, I don’t look back and want what I left behind. For example, if you lived a difficult life back then, do you still want to live that way? No, right? It’s the same with me. We want a life that’s better and better.”
Having said that, Che Ta doesn’t mind living in the condition the producers of The House has set up – no mobile data, WiFi service or a TV set. The actress is happy “as long as I’m with my family”.
The social media personality, who has 2.8 million Instagram followers, said having no Internet access isn’t a problem. “I rarely use my phone when I’m with my family anyway. I usually look at my phone when I’m about to sleep or when I’m in the car.”
But her son Ammar doesn’t share her sentiments. “I can’t wait to go home,” he said with a laugh. “When I have nothing to do, I just lie down. But I have a lot of tasks to do here actually.”
Indeed, more than just simply being on holiday, the show requires the family of five to take part in a series of tasks prepared by its producers.
“I was woken up by producers at eight, one morning. I didn’t even get to shower. The cameras were rolling and I had to go and collect eggs from the chicken coop,” he said, describing one of his tasks, adding the experience was “annoying but fun”.
Meanwhile, Zain and Che Ta had a much more romantic assignment.
“We had to compete against each other to find the alphabets L, O, V and E scattered across four locations around the Klang Valley – where we first met, dated, proposed and got married,” Zain shared.
At the end of last year, Che Ta courted controversy when she posted a photo on Instagram of Zain and her apparently kissing. Will the couple show their affections on-screen this time?
“We weren’t actually kissing, we were just (posing) really close together, which gave that illusion,” she noted, clarifying the Instagram post, before adding, “we just act the way we normally would on the show.”
Some may wonder if a reality series like The House does indeed reflect reality itself. After all, can one truly be one’s self when the cameras are rolling?
“You forget that sometimes,” Che Ta reasoned. “In the first five minutes you know there’s a camera there, but after that, you forget there’s a camera, so you can’t keep up with appearances all the time.”
The House S3 airs every Wednesday at 9.30pm on Astro Ria (Ch 104).