Actress Nadia Brian is far from an overnight success.

After starring in 2015 primetime drama, Akulah Balqis, Nadia’s career seems to be on a meteoric rise. Not only is she starring in a steady stream of TV projects these days, she has made the leap to the big screen, with two films coming up.

But the 26-year-old actress reveals she has been going to auditions since she was 17 and only landed her first acting role two years ago on Akulah Balqis.

“I was still a (performing arts) student back then. My acting wasn’t very good and sometimes the characters weren’t suited for me. I got rejected a lot,” she tells Star2 candidly.

After SPM, Nadia spent years honing her craft as an actress, pursuing a diploma in performing arts while auditioning for acting roles and modelling part-time.

It was on one such modelling assignment that doors to her acting dreams finally flung open.

“Erma Fatima had called me in for a modelling job. After we were done with the shoot, she said ‘You’re going to start acting after this.’ That’s how Akulah Balqis came about,” she recalls the moment the revered actress and director, who wrote and produced the drama, gave her the chance.

“It was a small role at first but as the script writing process was still ongoing, my character became bigger and bigger.”

Nadia, who is of Malay and Australian parentage, has completed shooting her first film, Mak, starring opposite acting heavyweights Wan Hanafi Su and Remy Ishak.

She is also looking forward to her lead role in the horror-thriller Blok 404, a reboot of a local film of the same name, due at the end of the year.

Nadia Brian

Nadia Brian wants to play a superhero one day. Photo: The Star/Izzrafiq Alias

1. Your road to becoming an actress wasn’t easy. What lessons did you learn about the craft along the way?

A lot of people say, “Nadia, you’re pretty, you can be a lead actress.” It’s not like that. There are a lot of beautiful people out there but what’s special about you?

When you become an actress, you have to be smart. It’s not just about saying your lines. You have to work with the camera, work with your on-screen partner, think about lighting.

And you have to always ask yourself, “Who is this character?” You have to create a backstory for your character. If you don’t have one, the audience will sense that your acting is fake.

2. You modelled quite a bit when you were a university student. Does being a model help you as an actress?

As an actress, you have to know why you are standing in a certain position. Every move you make, there must be a reason. In the same way, in modelling, you have to know why you are posing a certain way. Maybe it’s the best angle to show off your legs.

So, when you keep doing that, you won’t be awkward in front of the camera. Starting out as an actress immediately, of course, it will be awkward. You have to learn to be comfortable in front of the camera, and I learned that through modelling.

3. After struggling for so long, how does it feel to finally taste success?

I thank God. I think if you work hard and take good care of your family and loved ones, it will all pay off in the end. And you have to continue on. When you get (that success), be serious about what you do.

4. What’s up next?

I will be hosting a fashion programme, Jom Fesyen. I want to do something different. I want to embark on a new learning process; hosting, and fashion is close to my heart.

5. What’s your dream acting role?

I want to play a superhero. In Malaysia, you have Cicakman but he’s a male superhero. Why not have a female superhero too?