A lot has changed for actress Lisa Surihani after giving birth to her first child last September.
Clad in a flowy cream ensemble, the 29-year-old new mum is all smiles talking about her daughter Yahaira Leanne Yusry.
“Before I gave birth to her, I assumed that I will be the one teaching her this and that, but little did I realise that when she appeared in our life, she was teaching me a lot of things. It was the other way around,” she says during an event promoting the musical film, Sinaran.
“I realised a lot of things about myself as a person. That was a very moving and humbling thing for me.”
Needless to say, with the baby along, Lisa’s day-to-day routine has undergone some major adjustments, saying she now has to “work 10 steps ahead” and be “10-fold more organised”.
“I have a great support system at home. For example, when I’m working, I have my husband Yusry and my mum at home. I also have a helper,” she says gratefully.
Speaking of work, Lisa, who starred in numerous box office hits including Lagenda Budak Setan, Ombak Rindu, Istanbul Aku Datang and Suamiku Encik Perfect 10, says she is prepared to scale back on her acting roles.
“Thankfully, being under the Astro talent management, they are giving me space now. If I don’t want to shoot a film this year, that’s fine, I can start next year.
“And when next year comes along, we have to work out our timing, I can’t take everything that comes to us like how it used to be because I want to be there when she grows up.”
Motherhood is also shaping her decisions as an actress. “I would not want to play the role of a prostitute for example,” she shares.
“You may want to go all out, and just say, ‘Never mind, passion all the way.’ But am I OK with her watching me in a film that way? I don’t think so.
“But it’s also an individual’s choice. I don’t mean that I’m very right or very wrong. So if another actress who is a mum and chooses to act in an antagonist role, it’s solely her choice because her parenting ways are different.”
Lisa, who has been married for three years now, adds her husband Yusry Abdul Halim is behind whatever her career decisions may be. “Whether I want to continue to go on in this industry or I want to be a full-time mum, he’s supportive of my decisions regardless.”
For now, the actress has chosen to clear off her plate until next year, save for the production of a 13-episode edutainment programme on Astro she is currently shooting.
“It’s with me and Yusry; we won’t call ourselves ‘hosts’ as we want a more natural and realistic feel. We’ll be talking to medical practitioners and different experts on pregnancy, confinement and parenthood,” she dishes.
Lisa – who is one of the most followed personalities on social media in the country, with more than two million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each – also talks about her choice to refrain from posting up pictures of Yahaira on her social media accounts.
“If you have a private account, your pictures are protected, but if you have a public account, whatever other people do with your pictures, you can’t do anything, there are no regulations.
“For one, there’s an impersonation issue, with other people pretending to be you or if people take your pictures and put them on some pedophile website. So we have to really think 10,000 times before we upload,” she says.
Lisa’s stand also has to do with giving a sense of normalcy to her daughter’s childhood.
“If I have a public account with Yahaira’s pictures on it, you can Google her name and her pictures are all there. If she grows up and she Googles and sees her pictures already on the Internet, is that normal for her psyche or not? Do I want this for her or not?” she reasons.
“Let her decide when she grows up. Let her think for herself the good and the bad of having a social media account.”
The new mum is also taking time to care for herself these days, eating healthy and working out whenever she can, hoping to regain her pre-baby bod especially when she filmed the physically-demanding Sinaran last year.
Sinaran, directed by Osman Ali, is a musical feature about a group of college students joining a hip-hop dance competition.
“Normally, when we’re not shooting a musical which entails dance, our commitment is more to throwing out dialogues and we get tired from all that emotional investment.
“But for this one, we have to add on more energy for physical movements and make sure we are always on point,” she shares.
The cast which also includes Evan Sanders, Izara Aishah and Syarif Sleeq are singing and dancing to some of Sheila Majid’s top hits such as Antara Anyer Dan Jakarta, Di Dalam Emosi Ini and of course, the iconic Sinaran.
Lisa says while the songs were hits back in the 1980s, they can still appeal to the younger generation today especially with its new arrangement.
She offers: “Kids these days, inclusive of myself because I consider myself a ‘kidult’, find it intriguing and cool to know something vintage and old school.
“Also, when they hear the rendition of the songs in the film, automatically they’ll be curious and want to search for the original on YouTube.”