Back in 2011, Ayda Jebat was a contestant on the ninth season of reality singing competition Akademi Fantasia. Call it her awkward phase as Ayda failed to stand out in the competition.
One of the most scathing comments Ayda received was from then-judge Datuk Hattan who said that it would be difficult for her to make a living as a singer.
The Melaka-born singing hopeful ended up getting eliminated after just three weeks on the show.
However, Ayda proved that one can rise from the horrors of reality TV failure. Ayda is now the darling of romantic TV dramas through shows like Rindu Awak 200% and M.A.I.D. She has also dominated the local music scene with songs like Pencuri Hati and Siapa Diriku.
But that’s not enough for Ayda; she has her sights set on the silver screen. With Pinjamkan Hatiku, Ayda makes her long-awaited feature film debut as a leading actress. The romantic drama is directed by Osman Ali and Ayda helped to kickstart the project.
“Osman and I worked together in the telemovie Nawaitu Cinta. We had a chat and he told me about an idea for a movie that he thinks I should do. Then he asked if I could get it funded. I spoke to Aurawhite (a beauty company that Ayda represents as an ambassador) and suggested the idea to them,” she said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Heartbreak On Set
When Aurawhite agreed to fund the production, Ayda then looked into Osman’s story idea carefully.
Pinjamkan Hatiku is a heartbreaking love drama between cancer-stricken writer Laila (Ayda) and earnest kampung boy Naufal (Shaheizy Sam).
“Initially, I felt Pinjamkan Hatiku had some similarities to other movies that Osman had directed such as Ombak Rindu, Langit Cinta and Kau Yang Satu.
“So, we spent a lot of time bouncing off ideas. Basically, I just wanted Pinjamkan Hatiku to be unpredictable. It has to be different from what people would expect from an Osman Ali movie.”
Pinjamkan Hatiku was a production plagued by misfortunes right from the start. Two weeks after production began in 2016, audio crew member Azmir Sharim died in a car accident. During a shoot at Tasik Chini in Pahang, a fishing boat carrying Osman and a few crew members capsized. Then, Ayda herself fell ill while production was underway in New Zealand.
“I have to say, Pinjamkan Hatiku is definitely the hardest thing I’ve done in my three years as an actress. It was emotionally and physically exhausting.
“What kept me going was knowing everyone was working hard and hoping that our efforts will pay off when the audience see the movie,” Ayda said.
Non-stop Pursuit For Success
Apart from securing sponsor and acting in the lead role, Ayda also sings the theme song in the movie. Titled Pinjamkan Hatiku, it is a duet with Indonesian singer Adi Priyo.
The song is also the first ballad number in her singing career so far.
“People don’t know that I actually started my career singing ballads. My mum was a singer and we used to perform ballads together.
“When it comes to singing, I’m open to trying new things. But before I do anything, I want to make sure I get it to sound right,” Ayda said.
If there is one thing stopping Ayda from taking on new challenges, it would be her own busy schedule.
“Osman asked if I could star in a horror movie that he was doing and I had to turn it down because of my schedule,” she let on.
Why Did Ayda Jebat Turn Down AF Megastar?
This year alone, she has starred in two TV shows, Ku Kirim Cinta and Dekatkan Jarak Kita. Along the way, she picked up an award for Social Media Icon at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017 in Singapore and also earned five nominations at Anugerah Bintang Popular.
Ayda was selected as one of the South-East Asia wildcard nominees for the MTV Europe Music Awards recently.
She released a new single Mata and competed in the Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) semi-finals.
When Mata failed to get into the finals, Ayda publicly voiced her disappointment and wanted to know how the judges rated her song. Netizens accused Ayda of being petty.
In an interview with mStar Online, Ayda said that the reason why she spoke up was so she could figure out how to improve herself for the next competition.
But she isn’t going to dwell on that as Ayda is already onto new projects.
“I’m going to start shooting a new drama. Then I’m focusing on a mini album release as well.”
With all her commitments, does Ayda ever sleep?
“I never get enough sleep. Even when I do get a break, I will make plans for photo shoots, interviews or some other projects.”
This year, Ayda was offered to return to reality TV as one of the all-star contestants in Akademi Fantasia Megastar. She declined.
“I think the other contestants can benefit more from a show like AF Megastar. I don’t think I’m too good for the show or anything like that. I just feel that it’s more important for me to focus on what I already have and continue to work hard at it.”
In other words, Ayda is not looking back.