It has been a good year for celebrities Siti Saleha, Alvin Chong and Nabila Razali, and they are looking forward to an even better one in 2018.
Siti, 27, achieved significant milestones both in her personal and professional lives.
“Obviously the biggest highlight of my year is I got married,” said the newlywed who tied the knot with government officer Ahmad Lutfi in July.
“It was the next step in my life – marriage makes you grow as a person, and I am loving every bit of it.”
She has also been experiencing a big year as an actress. Her primetime drama 7 Hari Mencintaiku garnered over five million viewers, making it one of the most-watched TV3 dramas to date, and won Choice Drama at the Anugerah Drama Festival Kuala Lumpur.
As for former Akademi Fantasia contestant Nabila, she finally received her big break in 2017: Sales of her single, Cemburu, released last year, started picking up early this year.
Her follow-up single, Pematah Hati, was even more successful, with its music video drawing a million views within just two days of its release.
“Success doesn’t come easily. It needs a lot of patience and trust. Appreciate all the little successes that you’ve achieved,” the 25-year-old said as she reflected on her 2017.
Meanwhile, Chong, who broke through as a supporting cast member on the wildly successful Suri Hati Mr. Pilot (SHMP) in 2016, solidified his place in the industry this year when he played his first leading man role on Awak Suka Saya Tak.
“I’ve gotten such overwhelming responses from the audience. After SHMP, people recognised me but didn’t approach me. Nowadays, fans of all ages will come up to me and ask for pictures.”
Still, Chong, 26, said it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, as he was affected by negative comments from his detractors.
“I had ups and downs. I learned to look at things differently. Bad things happen for a reason. Try to find a solution and if there isn’t one, just move forward.
“There’s no point dwelling on it and complaining,” he added.
While the year has been marked with happy occasions for Siti, she said: “I learned that life is never meant to be easy. One minute you are happy, the next, life is tough.
“But life is meant to be lived and the universe has a weird way of taking you on a journey that will grow you into a stronger person.”
As for the year ahead, Siti wants to focus on her personal life. “I think I am at a point in my life where I am ready to settle down. I look back at my career and I feel I have done quite a lot of things,” she said.
“I will still be acting but not as ‘crazy’ as I was before I got married. Right now, my husband and I are taking it one step at a time. We are still getting to know each other and we are enjoying this phase.”
On whether she plans on expanding her family in 2018, she responded: “Baby plans have always been a part of our conversation but for now we are still enjoying our honeymoon period.”
On the acting front, the British-Malay actress says she’s interested in trying new things: “I haven’t done any action or sport movies yet. And since I am quite an active person, I’m up for the challenge.”
She added that she wishes to try her hand at writing and pursuing other interests unrelated to showbiz.
Chong, on the other hand, is going full speed ahead in the coming year.
“My major goal is to bring myself up to an international level. I’m branching out to South-East Asian countries, beginning with the Philippines, then Singapore and Indonesia.”
The Penang-born actor, who started out as a singer, revealed that he will be recording his first English single in the Philippines with a Filipino singer soon.
Chong also hopes to take time off to polish his skills. “I’ve enrolled in acting, singing and dance classes, about 10 sessions of them, because once I pursue an international career, I won’t have time to do those things anymore.”
Meanwhile, Nabila has made the tough choice of putting her studies on hold to grow her music career in 2018.
“Education is important and it never ends. It is never too late to learn. But for now, I think my (opportunity) is at its peak in the showbiz industry so I will focus on that,” said the Master’s in Architecture student.
“I will continue my studies when I can really put my 100% focus on them.”
Nabila wants to work on recording a duet next, besides grooming herself to be an actress.
The newcomer also shared her hopes for the local music industry in the new year: “I hope people can open up their minds and embrace new kinds of music genres, especially fresh ideas coming from fresh artistes.”
Chong said he wishes there will be more support from local audiences.
“Sometimes, when people say our Malaysian acts are not up to international standards, that’s because we don’t get the support we need from our own people.
“As a result, we don’t have the funding to improve ourselves.
“Of course, more importantly, the artistes have to strive to better themselves, with or without the funding.”
Chong believes change can happen as Malaysians start to show an interest in what’s happening in the local scene.
“Fall in love with our songs or whatever material we put out. Show your appreciation to your favourite stars. If you do that, people from other countries will see that and want to find out more about us.”
Coming up next
There’s so much to look forward to in the entertainment scene in 2018.
lWatch the blood, sweat and tears national shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei shed on his road to success when his eponymous biopic hits cinemas in the first quarter of the year.
Another highly-anticipated film is ChiuKeng Guan’s Think Big Big. Can it rival the success of OlaBola?
Get ready to be serenaded by international music acts Jacky Cheung and Bruno Mars who will perform in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 26-28 and May 9 respectively.
As for local celebrity updates, look out for singer-songwriter Yuna’s wedding to filmmaker Adam Sinclair sometime in the year.
Also, singer Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza will be welcoming her first child in March, after being married for over a decade.