Lisa's big on versatility

By HONG BOON HOW | 28 March 2010
SHE has that girl-next-door look that says sugar, spice and everything nice.

It's a face, whose flawless complexion has graced countless commercials and movies.

But of late, Lisa Surihani, 24, has been showing more of a different side.

In a recently released movie, she plays a cold cigarette puffing sidekick with heavy eye shadow and looking menacing - quite at odds to her usual persona.

You can catch her in V3: Samseng Jalanan, the latest and probably the last government ''allowed'' movie which harbours a Mat Rempit theme.

She fights, lets loose some ass-kicking antics and even ''injured'' a co-star during the filming of V3.

It's not her first outing as a baddie but V3 sees her rather more intimidating than before.

''After getting good characters to play, being a baddie once in a while helps increase a performer's versatility,'' she tells Star Motoring in an interview.

She has a string of movies lined up for release this year, among them Semerah Cinta Stilleto, Kapoww, Lagenda Budak Setan, Zoo and Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2.

Lisa started out in TV commercials, appearing in her first when she was just 11.

At the suggestion of a cousin, she seized the opportunity to take part in an Ovaltine commercial.

''At the time, I was in Standard Six and what really got me interested was the chance to earn some money since most kids at this age don't even get a chance to do so,'' she says.

Over the years, she has appeared in commercials for Johnson & Johnson, Pure Essentials, Lip Ice, KFC, Maxis and Celcom to name a few.

''I just saved up and on growing up, I was able to pay for my own A-Levels. That gave me a sense of self-satisfaction and responsibility,'' she says.


The plucky lass also tried her hand at TV hosting before acting became her mainstay.

But despite winning the Most Promising Actress award at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival in 2008. the entertainment scene may not be her chosen lifelong career.

She wants to be a lawyer.

''My late father was a lawyer and during my formative years, he instilled some legal elements into my brothers and me.

''He made us realise how versatile a law degree is and how analytical we could become,'' she says.

Lisa graduated with a law degree from Aberystwyth University, Wales, in 2008, under a two-plus-one twinning programme through HELP University College.

But offers for acting and commercials jobs were mostly back-to-back, throwing her plans for a certificate in Legal Practice into disarray.

''In the entertainment line, you cannot tell if you can continue to get a stream of offers like what I have been getting. The CLP is a very intensive course, I need to be fully focused.

''Besides, entertainment is not your usual 9 to 5 job.

''It's very unpredictable and you can get mentally tired,'' she says.

''Since acting is my main income, I am going to do what I can while I can.

''As long as there is demand for me to appear, I will try my best to do a good job,'' the KLite who is five-feet three said with a laugh.

She goes around in a Honda CR-V, her very first car which she bought last year.

''I like the CR-V because it's comfortable and has the space for my clothes and other stuff,'' she says.

Lisa appreciates the CR-V's elevated seating position and good frontal vision, especially in traffic jams.

''Psychologically, you feel much safer in a high car,'' she says.

So does her mum, who accompanies her for jobs and shoots, as she is used to driving taller cars like their Kia Carnival and Perodua Kembara.

The furthest Lisa had taken the CR-V was to Perlis for the location shoot of Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2 movie last year.

''When I first got my driving licence, I liked to speed. Then with the increasing price of petrol, I drove much slower to save fuel,'' she says.

She used to go go-karting and hopes to get back into it again. Her latest hobby is horse riding.

If money is not an issue, a metallic grey Porsche Boxster S is at the top of her list.

''I really like the shape of the car.

''It's so sleek and I am just so in love with it,'' she says.