Nadiah M. Din has been slowly making her name in the television scene in Singapore. In 2011, she starred alongside Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Christian Bautista in The Kitchen Musical.
For the second season of police drama Mata-Mata, Nadiah and her co-star Erwin Shah Dawson have been named “TV’s Cutest Couple” by the media in Singapore.
This year, Nadiah is set to make a splash on Italian soap opera Le Bedanti and upcoming film Sinaran The Musical where she’ll be showing off her singing and dancing abilities.
The bubbly 25-year-old said that it has not been easy to get to where she is today. She hinted at her struggles in this advice for aspiring actress.
“Be mentally prepared if this is the path that you really want to take. Not everyone is going to be nice or as sincere as they can be to you. So my advice is to stay strong and believe in your principles,” the Singaporean actress said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Her struggles is paying off. Read on as Nadiah tells us how she scored a part by faking Italian as well as landed a lead role in Osman Ali’s highly-anticipated musical.
Describe your first acting experience.
I was five years old when my late father (painter Mohammad Din Mohammad) asked if I would like to be in his play. All he said to me was: “There will be a lot of people.”
I think he tried to scare me a bit. My part for the play was to just get on stage, wave to the audience and exit.
The funny thing is, I actually missed my cue to leave the stage because I was too busy looking at the audience from where I was standing.
I loved the feeling of hearing the audience cheering.
What do you think is your breakthrough role?
My role in (the Singaporean) crime series In Cold Blood. I played a maid who was brutally abused by her employer and it’s based on real life stories.
As the maid, I had to endure getting slapped, punched and had candle wax poured on my back. It was an exhausting experience.
Then, I found out that after the episode aired, it was the highest-rated one for the show. I was really thankful because that role led to many different opportunities for me.
How did you get the part in the upcoming Italian soap opera Le Badanti (The Caregivers) and what is your role?
It’s a really funny story. Initially, I got a part in a Malaysian film. Then I was told the production team decided to hire a Malaysian actress instead.
The director for that film said he’d recommend me to his filmmaker friend in Italy who is looking to cast an Asian actress (for his show). In my mind, I honestly thought: “You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
Five days later, I received an e-mail from Italian director Marco Pollini asking me to set aside some time for a Skype audition. It felt dubious at that time!
During the Skype audition, Marco asked if I could speak Italian. I lied and said yes. A week later, they told me I got the role and I’ll be flying to Verona in Italy for the shoot.
I remember feeling very excited but scared at the same time because it meant I have one month to study Italian.
I played the role of Carmen Din — who has the same last name as me — a single mother. She worked in a hotel as a caretaker. When she lost her job, she was devastated because she needed the money to bring her son to Italy.
She managed to get a job at a nursing home but face problems again when the owner plans to secretly sell the property and leave his employees behind. So, Carmen and her colleagues who discovered the plan have to come up with schemes to prevent the owner from selling the nursing home.
You were offered a role in the much-talked about Netflix series Marco Polo but you turned it down. Can you tell us why?
I asked if I’m required to do any nude scenes and they said: “Yes, nude and sex scenes”. That’s a major no-no for me.
If I take that Marco Polo role, it won’t be good for my career here in the long run. People will just have this wrong perception about me.
I’ve been told to go Hollywood but I realised that I can’t because there is a lot of things I just won’t do (for the cameras). I rather stay here and be accepted for who I am. I believe that happiness lies in you being you.
I’m really excited to see you in the upcoming musical Sinaran The Movie. Directed by Osman Ali, the film also stars Lisa Surihani and Indonesian actor Evan Sanders. Tell us what led you to the role?
Sinaran The Musical executive producer Kevin Chin saw me on Mata-Mata. He called my manager and asked if I could come in to audition as an extra.
At the audition, they asked me to read a scene as a prefect making an announcement in school. I read my lines and then Osman Ali asked if I can sing. I decided to sing Jessie J’s Price Tag for him.
Later he asked: “Boleh joget tak sekarang? (Can you dance now?)” and I did!
Then, he told me he’s going to rewrite the script to give me a bigger role. I couldn’t believe it!
He said I’ll be playing Lisa Surihani’s best friend and captain of the dance team. So, it was really crazy.
I heard that he had to delay the shoot just to rewrite the script. I am really grateful that he was able to justify my talent and give me the chance to do more.