‘They want to bring me down’

30 Aug

The Star
Publication Date : 2005-08-30

Nur Fazura Sharifuddin as teenager Putri in Gol & Gincu

She’s currently riding high with the much talked about movie, Gol & Gincu. But Nur Fazura Sharifuddin’s personal life is mired in the depths of controversy, what with an assault charge and rumours of porn videos of her circulating.

For her StarMag photo shoot, Nur Fazura Sharifuddin wore a slinky navy-blue top and an ankle-length skirt – with Adidas futsal shoes.

She is, of course, promoting the Malay teen flick, Gol & Gincu, that revolves around indoor football. The 22-year-old actress plays the lead, Putri.

“Are those the famous high heels?” I ask as she changes from the stilettos in which she arrived to the sports shoes.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha,” she laughs (slightly cynically), and replies, “Of course not.”

The famous shoe is the one she used to allegedly assault a woman with in December last year. In May, Nur Fazura claimed trial in a Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court to an assault charge.

“The evidence is with the police, obviously,” she says of the gold and silver shoe. And, no, she doesn’t want to talk about what happened – “That would be contempt of court!”

“But I have a replacement pair of shoes at home. I got a new pair because I love that style. It was not a Manolo. Thank God it was not one of my Manolos.”

Manolo Blahnik, for the fashion-challenged, is the really expensive haute couture brand beloved of Sex and the City TV character Carrie Bradshaw.

And there you have it: the contradiction that is Nur Fazura. For this lass insists that she’s still a small town girl at heart – she hails from Pekan, Pahang. And yet, she displays a very sophisticated urban taste in not only her footwear but also the image she portrays.

It’s that image that seems to be getting her into hot water. Though she’s a bit of an industry darling, having won the Most Promising Actress award at the Malaysian Film Festival last year for her role in Bicara Hati, the Malay press are not exactly enamoured of Nur Fazura.

When rumours began circulating that the woman in a 10-minute pornographic video clip for mobile phones is her, the press went after her for either confirmation or denial.

“Some of the Malay tabloid reporters asked me if I would swear on the Quran (and deny that she’s in the video) and I went, ‘Why?’”

“But I see the point. They want to bring me down and they want to upset me. And I go, ‘Hey, I don’t want to bother’,” she explains. She adds pointedly, “They don’t have any stories to write.”

What, in her opinion, is the No. 1 false rumour written about Nur Fazura?

“That I’m wild. That I’m a party girl. That I created all this publicity just to get people to watch my movies. And there are all my ‘love affairs’ with this guy, that guy. It all makes me look bad,” she fumes.

Er, that’s more than one ? but then, the woman’s got a right to vent a little, we feel.

So, what is the truth about Nur Fazura, then?

“I’m not someone who would go out with all these guys. I’m not arrogant. That (woman in the) porn video isn’t me. I am a simple girl. But people look at me and assume I am this high profile, wild, party girl who goes out with everybody and beats people up all the time,” she says indignantly.

“I am a very private person. I like to stay home. I like to spread lots of fresh white flowers around the place, light scented candles and watch DVDs.”

And no, she says firmly, she is really not seeing anybody.

“I have not found a good guy yet. But I am confident I will. I can tell you, Philip, I really want to start a family. I’m young, I know, but I am aching to have kids,” she confides.

“I want lots of them – I want 11 boys and one girl! Eleven, because I want to start a football team. And the one girl will be Putri, the very spoilt one.”

Explaining her definition of a “good guy,” she says, “I would like an ambitious guy who works hard, somebody who knows what he wants in his life, somebody who likes to watch movies and read books and stuff like that.

“And someone who also likes – sometimes, not every weekend! – to go out and have fun.”

So, that’s Nur Fazura’s version of Nur Fazura. She sounds nice. She comes across as nice during the interview. And yet, there’s all that bad press?.

So we decide to find out what someone who has had to work closely with Nur Fazura thinks of her. We whip out the trusty mobile to track down Gol & Gincu’s co-producer Lina Tan of production company Red Films. (The movie’s other producer is Marina Mahathir, whose company occasionally works with Red Films.)

”The thing in this industry is, when you are female, young and beautiful, people judge you more,” says Tan. “People look at her, she is gorgeous and beautiful, and so people just assume she will also be arrogant – beautiful people have that problem!

“But when you get to know her, she is warm, smart and funny,” says Tan. “And when she commits to a project, she gives it her all. When she was on location, she was very focused. Before shooting, she had done her homework. She knew who Putri was.”

In fact, Tan sees many similarities between Gol & Gincu’s sweet Putri and Nur Fazura: “Our first impression (when they cast Nur Fazura) was, ‘Oh God, she is Putri!’ She is like Putri. She is a nice person who can be naive about the world, but her warm personality is infectious.”

Nur Fazura is also evidently someone who can laugh at herself. In the movie, which was filmed in March, there is a reference to the infamous real life assault incident. Putri and her friend Zie (Rafidah Abdullah) are chatting when Putri says, “You better watch out, if not I will throw my shoes at you.”

Now that’s funny.

The tough cookie

Before our interview on Tuesday, Nur Fazura Sharifuddin declared, “I am going all out, okay. Because this will be my last interview of the year.”

Why?

“Because I am going to rest,” huffs the obviously weary actress. “I’m going to Thailand, then on my umrah, and then London.

“I am done for the year. I made three movies, and I just finished shooting a television drama.”

The petite actress, who currently weighs 43kg, reveals that she lost 8kg because she had an emotional breakdown four months ago. For two months, she cried every night, asking, “Why is this happening to me?”

“My hair started dropping, I had back pain, migraines. I couldn’t sleep well; sometimes, I didn’t sleep at all. I was not eating well,” she relates.

She didn’t realise what she was experiencing until she happened to catch an episode of 3R, TV3′s popular women’s programme (the name stands for “Respect, Relax, Respond”).

“When I turned the TV on, Rafidah (Abdullah, one of three 3R hosts and also a cast member of Gol & Gincu) was saying ‘You might not realise that you are having an emotional breakdown. Hair loss, back pain, migraine and not sleeping and eating well are symptoms of a breakdown,’” Nur Fazura recalls, sounding a little emotional herself.

The programme prompted her to consult her doctor.

“He gave me medicines and vitamins,” she says. “And I went for reflexology and did yoga, I prayed a lot – and that is how I recovered,” she says.

“I can tell you that the past two weeks have been extremely good. I have been eating well. I have been sleeping early. I am a tough cookie.”

Rumours even back then

Nur Fazura Sharifuddin grew up in Pekan, Pahang.

At her co-ed secondary school, she says she only had six close friends – three girls and three boys. “I really did not mix with people. Probably people did not like me because my house was bigger or my family spoke better English,” she explains.

So, how big was her house?

“I do not come from a billion ringgit family,” she says, laughing. Her family is “middle class”, she adds. Her late father, Sharifuddin Adnan, owned a petrol station and other businesses.

Though the now sexy Nur Fazura was not the prettiest girl in her secondary school, the other girls were jealous of her because she got a lot of attention from her teachers. Why?

“I guess because I was cute. I used to wear a tudung and I was fat. But I had rosy cheeks all the time,” she explains. “Rumour spread that my cheeks were rosy because I wore blusher.”

Her father died when she was 16, and she came to live with her grandparents in the Klang Valley.

Late in 2000, after sitting for her SPM, she began earning her own money modelling. She was discovered while eating ice cream and strolling through a KL shopping mall with a bunch of cousins and friends.

Her first commercial break was a Pantene shampoo advertisement in 2001. After that, she gained more exposure as the host of TV2’s Teensworld.

“I received several offers to act, but I wanted to study fashion designing as I wanted to quit the whole glamour thing,” she says.

However, she received an acting offer she couldn’t refuse – “My instincts made me say yes. I always believe in my instincts.”

She should. That was the offer that gave her the lead in Bicara Hati, the 2004 movie for which she won the Malaysian Film Festival’s Most Promising Actress award.

Since then, Nur Fazura’s been working like crazy, releasing three movies this year: Senario XXX and Qaisy dan Laila before Gol & Gincu. And she is the spokes model for Oil of Olay.

Not bad for a small town girl.

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