It is a futile exercise asking Falisha Crossley about her future plans. The petite actress, who stands at 1.52m, mischievously shares that she only has a fuzzy idea of what she wants to do next.
“All I know for sure is I want to be successful,” she says with a wide smile. “And I want a family.”
Well, Nur Falisha Crossley Faisal can tick these two boxes: At last year’s Malaysia Film Festival (FFM), she was awarded the Best New Actress trophy for her role in Mat Moto: Kami Mat Moto Bukan Mat Rempit, cementing her rising popularity in a career which only started three years ago.
And on the personal front, she started the year by getting married to her fiance, Mohamad Rafiq Mohmad Arif, a pilot.
“Everything good happened one after another. I am truly thankful,” she offers.
The 31-year-old Falisha never sought out a career in acting. Having graduated with a degree in accountancy from Mara University Of Technology (UiTM), Falisha was already working as an auditor in the Klang Valley when she was asked to audition for a commercial after her cousin had sent her headshot to a production house. The audition led to Finas’ Hari Raya and Deepavali TV ads in 2010.
“The ads were shot in just in two days, so I could take leave from work. After that, I received more offers to star in ads.”
This was followed with hosting gigs on RTM for Hello On Two and Selamat Pagi Malaysia. “I quit my job and worked full-time as a host.”
Soon after, Falisha got into acting in TV dramas. She has starred in hit shows such as Dia Semanis Honey, Istikarah Cinta, Selamat Pengantin Madu, Memori Cinta Suraya and Aku Bukan Bimbo.
Falisha is so popular with TV audiences that it is common for the actress to be called by one of her character’s names
These days, however, she is best known as Sikha, the role which won her the aforementioned award in the film Mat Moto: Kami Mat Moto Bukan Mat Rempit.
“Sikha was one of the most challenging roles I had ever taken on because she is nothing like me,” says the actress in a serious tone.
“I like to talk and laugh all the time. But Sikha is this tough, sombre chick with an attitude, who hangs out with Mat Rempits.
“I spent time with this group of people like Sikha to observe how they walk, talk and behave. A lot of my co-stars thought I was a new actress because they had never seen me in a role like this.”
But Falisha is not complaining, far from it actually. “I am always looking for challenging roles. The more challenging the better, which is why although I was drained physically and mentally playing Sikha, I loved it.”
Since she had never gone for any acting lessons, Falisha, who hails from Kuching, Sarawak, admitted she acts intuitively, figuring out how the character would behave before the camera starts rolling.
“On set, I will watch what the other actors are doing and learn from observing them. I also go into the editing room to see what is going on with each character and the (daily) narrative. I just think logically how I would behave if I was that person … it all comes from within.”
Her matter-of-fact thinking may stem from the fact that her favourite subject in school was mathematics. “I was good at it, which is why I chose to pursue my higher education in accountancy,” she states.
Her dedication in every project she receives in evident. For this photo shoot, we told the award-winning actress that the requirement was a casual and a formal outfit for a profile piece in conjunction with her FFM win.
The consumate professional that she is, Falisha brought along four changes of outfits – one of which reflects Sikha’s persona – and hired a makeup artist herself.
Falisha maintains this level of discipline as she wants to be a good role model. “I don’t want my life to be riddled with gossip. In the future, I do not want my children or grandchildren to ask me why I behaved badly,” she expresses.
Wanting to keep her career controversy-free comes from a promise she made to her parents when she embarked on a career in show business.
“My family wasn’t too keen for me to become an actress,” she reveals. “I told them I will never do anything that would ruin our family name. And I will hold on to that promise.”
That strong family value and living in the moment may be something she gained after her youngest brother passed away at the age of 18 from a brain tumour in 2007. The tragedy, she says, brought the family closer.
“Now, every year, we go for a vacation together. It doesn’t matter if the destination is near or far. Previously, we always said we were busy so we never made the time, but since my younger brother’s passing we make sure we spend more time together.”
The family trip usually includes her parents, her older brother’s family and sometimes her grandparents. “Last year we went to Mecca together to perform Umrah.”
Falisha, whose mother is Malay and father is English-Chinese, says she is surprised whenever people recognise her when she’s abroad.
“I remember the whole family was holidaying in Indonesia and my mother spotted someone smiling at me. She told me to smile back because the other person recognised me. She doesn’t want people to think that I am arrogant,” Falisha adds with a laugh.
“My mother is my biggest fan as well as my biggest critic. She is also my compass.”
With a solid footing and talent to boot, it is no wonder Falisha doesn’t have to worry about what the future holds.