Tuesday March 13, 2012
A new era
OLD, decrepit and vindictive ... hardly words which you would use to describe the usually sweet and demure Erra Fazira.
However, the actress made a point to research her role in Sanggul Beracun thoroughly so as to be able to pull off her role as a troubled woman who had to kill 100 husbands to retain her beauty.
For her efforts, she was nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role in the recent 16th Asian Television Awards 2011.
"It was my first attempt at playing a serious character. It was not easy, and for some of the scenes, I had to go through two hours of make-up to look like an old woman," says the gorgeous Erra, who looks anything but old.
In fact, the entertainment darling is recognised for her beauty and porcelain skin, and was appointed Estee Lauder Malaysia's brand ambassador last month.
"Estee Lauder Malaysia is pleased to be working so closely with a star like Erra Fazira. As one of Malaysia's top-earning actresses, there is no doubt that Erra has a tremendous influence in the industry.
Her fan base reaches out to all groups in Malaysia. She is exactly what Estee Lauder Malaysia is after – someone who is influential, popular and at the same time, humble and a true beauty," says brand general manager Katrina Liew.
For Erra, it was a collaboration that made a lot of sense as her mother is also an ardent fan of the brand.
"I have always admired the late Evelyn Lauder for her philanthropic roles as well as her influence on the brand. Also, I love the idea of Estee Lauder's Every Woman Can Be Beautiful campaign. As a woman, I truly believe that within every single one of us is a beauty.
"With Estee Lauder products, we can all aspire to bring out the best in ourselves. I hope to help Malaysian women achieve this sense of confidence and elegance through my new role as the brand ambassador. I am very thankful for this opportunity of a lifetime," says Erra, 37.
"My introduction to Estee Lauder was through its fragrances as my mother loves them. Even today, my favourites are the classics – Knowing and Beautiful – whenever I use these two, those around me will always ask what scent I'm using."
Erra joins the ranks of international names who been ambassadors including Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, Hilary Rhoda, Carolyn Murphy, Elizabeth Hurley, Constance Jablonski, and closer to home, Marion Caunter.
When asked who her beauty icon was, she cited Audrey Hepburn as "she is someone who is not only beautiful on the outside but on the inside too". "She is also a fashion icon. Not only that, Audrey is very comfortable being herself, which I think is a positive quality – to love yourself for who you are. Beauty is about having a clean and fresh complexion. But it is not just physical; being beautiful means beauty both in and out," she says confidently.
While she admires local designers like Michael Ong and Rizman Ruzalni, Erra's personal style is simple yet chic, edgy with a feminine touch. In the day, she tries to keep her look as natural as possible with a little blusher, eyeliner and a touch of lipstick.
"I love Pure Color Lipstick in Crystal Baby; the colour matches my skin tone perfectly and I love its sheer shiny texture that is perfect for day time."
At night, Erra likes to focus on her eyes by playing with bolder colours. As someone who's in the limelight so often, Erra can't afford to let up on her skincare routine.
"I cleanse, exfoliate on a regular basis, tone, apply serum, moisturiser and apply sunblock. At night, I always make sure my skin is clean from dirt and make-up. I apply a mask sometimes when I feel that my skin needs the extra pampering. But I apply a slightly richer formula to protect my skin. I also rotate my skincare products, depending on how my skin is.
"I've learnt that one can never be too lazy when it comes to skincare! Also, you must know your skin type in order to choose the right products. Of course, drinking lots of water and having enough sleep help." She confesses that her main skincare concerns are dehydration, fine lines and tiny spots on her skin.
"I recently discovered Estee Lauder's CyberWhite Extra Intensive BB Crème. It makes my complexion look flawless in an instant. It helps even out my skin tone and leaves behind a radiant glow. Not only that, it helps to control my sebum production and makes my foundation last for hours. I use it on a daily basis, even when I am not working. Just a small amount of the BB Crème, some loose powder on top, and my skin looks fabulous."
And what beauty advice does she have for other women?
"Always wear sunblock! I even apply sunblock on my daughter. I like Estee Lauder's CyberWhite UV Protector SPF50/PA+++ which offers high UV protection. I also make sure I never neglect my neck by applying moisturiser diligently. The neck really shows your age so you have to protect it," adds Erra.
The former Miss Malaysia/World was just 18 when she was first crowned in 1992. Since then, she catapulted to fame through a string of box-office hits such as Sembilu, Sembilu 2, Maria Mariana, Hingga Hujung Nyawa and many more. Apart from garnering numerous awards such as Malaysia Film Festival Best Actress, Anugerah Skrin Best Actress and Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian Most Popular Actress, Erra has also established herself as a well-known singer with eight albums to her name.
Married to Engku Emran Zainal Abidin, who is currently running his own business, these days Erra has her hands full taking care of her three-year-old daughter, Engku Aleesya.
"My career kept me so busy but now my family comes first. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband and these days, I am more selective and sometimes even decline jobs as I want to spend more time with Aleesya," she adds.
"Being a mother is all about loving the person you have created unconditionally. No matter how tired I am after a long day's work, I always look forward to coming home to my daughter. It is a joy to have someone waiting eagerly for you. Also, life is no longer centred on myself. Now, my life is also about this little person whom I love."
Her next project is a 16-episode TV series on Astro, where she plays the owner of a modelling agency who appears nice and congenial on the outset but is really conniving and manipulative.
"I'm trying out different parts and it's a nice change. Quite tired of love stories and crying all the time," she says with a laugh. Erra also plans to release a new pop rock/ballad album by July. She has completed two songs thus far and hope to finish recording another eight by that time.
Her secret to handling stress?
"It's all about how you see and handle things. Whether you are happy or not, I believe it's all in your mind. You have to adjust and maybe sometimes struggle for the ideal conditions but that doesn't mean that it is not achievable. You must always stay upbeat and positive," she concludes.