Ever since she was a young girl, Julia Farhana has been interested in performing. The actress who turns 26 on Dec 5 shared that she used to stage “mini-plays” when she was seven years old and forced her mum to watch them. However, it was only when she was 22 and working at a bank in Cyberjaya that she became serious about pursuing acting as a career. But first she had to convince her parents as they had trepidations about their eldest child being in this field.
“I explained to my parents why I wanted to pursue acting,” said the Kota Kinabalu-born Julia, who is of mixed parentage.
“While working at a bank I realised how unhappy I was with my job. Not because the job wasn’t good but because I didn’t feel like I belonged in the corporate world although I excelled at it. So I told them to give me three years (to try acting), and see what happens.
“Alhamdullilah, it has been almost three years and, so far so good.”
She has appeared in a number of TV dramas including Syurga Tanpa Cinta, Asam Pedas Untuk Dia and Hantu Punya Boss, as well as films Warna Cinta Impian, Dorm Melati and Kolestrol Vs Cinta.
Currently, she can be seen in Osman Ali’s supernatural flick, Langsuir. In it she plays a langsuir (a supernatural creature) named Dewi who lives on a remote island with her sister Suri (Hannah Delisha).
For almost every role she takes on, Julia says she goes for an acting class. According to her, she has done five classes in the past two years with well-known acting coaches such as Fauziah Nawi, Fatimah Abu Bakar and Hilal Azman.
She explained: “I find it’s important to learn from experienced actors. I always feel there is something more I can explore and learn. And every teacher has something different to offer. Something as simple as breathing technique and voice projection goes a long way.”
The beauty, who is romantically linked to Singaporean actor Erwin Dawson, said that the roles she hopes to play in the future are empowering ones.
“A strong woman basically. Anything to do with action too.”
1. You had a supernatural experience while filming Langsuir. Can you share what happened?
On the second day of filming, I was in full costume, but it was raining so I waited in the makeup tent with Hannah’s mother and the makeup artist.
At one point, I felt like this huge energy was coming towards me from behind. I dismissed it but the feeling kept getting stronger.
When I felt like blacking out, I called out to Hannah’s mum who came up to me and read Quranic verses into my ears. I felt better then, but I had gone deathly pale.
The ustaz who was at the location said there’s an entity hanging onto me. He tried a couple of methods to get it off of me. I was alright after that, and completed the film.
But when I was back in KL, I became a completely different person. I have always been a bubbly, optimistic person no matter what I go through in life. But I remember just constantly crying for no reason, feeling so sad and depressed all the time. I couldn’t work for three months because I couldn’t control my emotions.
Then one day I was rushed to the hospital because I couldn’t breathe. After a checkup, the doctor said there’s nothing wrong with me, and that I was healthy. But he could see I had difficulty in breathing, so he recommended I try the traditional method to find out what is happening to me.
We went to several ustaz and most of them couldn’t help me completely because, apparently, there were 30 “entities” hanging onto me! Finally, the last ustaz we saw cured me after almost four months of suffering. It took almost two more months before I was completely OK.
The thing that got me healed was believing in my religion, that it could help me.
2. You spoke of nearly becoming a sexual harassment victim when a producer asked you to seduce him during an audition process. What is your advice to other actresses so they do not experience the same thing?
Do not easily trust anyone, even if they have an important reputation in the industry. Get a manager or your management to protect you.
3. Share with us your fitness regime.
I love HIIT workouts – high-intensity interval training. I also love boxing, hiking and belly dancing. When I don’t get a lot of time especially during shooting, I do simple yoga. I believe in a healthy lifestyle. I watch what I eat and I stay away from fast food.
4. How do you relax when you get some time off work?
Reading. I love reading. But I don’t like fiction and novels. On set I normally have a Reader’s Digest or National Geographic (magazine) with me.
I love watching documentaries too; What The Health on Netflix is extremely good. And of course, yoga.
5. Do you have a secret talent that your fans and the public still don’t know about?
Hahaha. I wish! Sadly, no. I don’t have a secret talent. Unless setting a mental alarm clock and getting up on the dot counts as a talent.