Up-and-coming actress Sheila Dara Aisha is a bright talent who has played strong roles in several movies and web series. She’s been making a name for herself with her acting skills since she was a 3rd grader in school and has continued to shine ever since. If you’ve watched her role as Ayu in Mengakhiri Cinta dalam 3 Episode, you know what we’re talking about.

Text by Lulu Nisrina. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.

How did you start your acting career?
I wasn’t planning on being an actress actually. My mom used to have this sanggar (studio) where they taught acting to children. One day, the students were asked to join a casting for a role in a TV series called Bidadari. I was actually only coming there to support my friends but I ended up being asked to participate as well and I got the role. I joined the series until I was in the 4th grade at school before I took years off acting. Long story short, I was a university student and I joined this record label, because music has always been my main passion. Sadly, even until I graduated and the contract ended, I hadn’t created anything. I was quite busy back then in university. Then one of my managers from the record label decided to manage me personally, but he insisted that I got to acting first. I wasn’t confident at first but I had a great support system, so I did give it a try. After awhile, I realized that acting is something that’s really fun to do.

Who inspires you in acting?
I love Acha Septriasa. I’ve worked with her several times and I could say that she is a very talented actress. Her interpretation towards her role is really good. The first time I worked with her was for Sabtu Bersama Bapak. We read-through the script together and at that moment, I saw her building a whole new universe for the role she was about to play. It was really interesting to see the way she questioned herself on “How is her relationship with her husband like?” or “What influenced her decision making process?”. And the second time I worked with her was for Bunda: Kisah Cinta Dua Kodi. There she played a very complex character, in which she did a really good job. Through working with her, I learned that as an actress, the role I play is not limited to the script. I learned to always treat the role I’m going to play as a real human being.

What is your favorite role that you’ve ever played?
Recently, I played in a web series called Mengakhiri Cinta dalam 3 Episode. I could say that I got a bigger responsibility in playing Ayu. I could totally relate with Ayu’s story in the series, because more or less, I had a pretty similar experience like her – even though I wasn’t on the point where the wedding had already planned. But reading the script had got me like, “Hey, I feel like I know this kind of story!” [laughs].

This one is a requested question from #cottoninkteam: how does it feel to work with Dion Wiyoko?
[Laughs] It was fun. We have worked together in Sunshine, so it was easier for us to get the chemistries and have conversations. Because, to be honest, most of the time I just don’t know to begin a conversation with someone new. I don’t know where to start! When it happens, it’s almost always ends after we exchange names and the place we live. It is one of the things that I’m still learning about.

If someone were to produce a movie remake and asked you to play in it, what would it be and who would you play?
Hmmm, that’s a heavy question. If someone would do a remake of this movie, I would love to play Marlina the Murdered in Four Acts. It was a really cool movie. If I was offered the role, well, even though thinking about Marsha Timothy playing the role perfectly has already made me feel little, I’d love to play it. Actually, I’m a huge fan of Mouly Surya and would really love to work with her someday.

You said earlier that music is your main passion. If you could be honest, which one do you enjoy most: singing or acting?
I got asked about this a lot. I really wanted to play a role in a musical play [laughs], so I could get the best of both worlds! But as of now, I’m enjoying my acting career and I see the musical one as more of a hobby, maybe? Thankfully, I still get to channel my passion for music since I’m also a host at Breakout where I meet a lot of other musicians and jam with them as well.

Have you ever met your favorite musicians through the show?
Oh, yes! I once got the opportunity to interview Yuna. But if I could re-do the whole interview, I would. Because I was sick that day and for some reasons, my partner couldn’t be there that day, so I had to do the interview alone. And since I’m a huge fan of Yuna, I was also very nervous and I felt like I wasn’t really focused during the interview. Well, if I could turn back the time, I really wanted to have a chat with her again.

We want to talk a little about fashion. Do you believe that the clothes you’re wearing can show your personalities?
I really do. To me, fashion is one of the ways for us to express our emotions and personalities. Sometimes, there are things that we can’t express through words, for example when we haven’t met someone and talk personally to him or her, but we can just see from their sartorial choice. It’s really interesting.

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is based on my mood. But whatever it is I’m wearing, be it something feminine or boyish, it has to be something comfortable that won’t limit my movements and will allow me to sit comfortably wherever I want. I guess comfort is the bottom line.

By the way, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this November!
10 years? Welcome to the adolescence! Umm, I’ve been following COTTONINK for a long time now, ever since I could only browse their collection until I could actually buy the products and until I got invited to have an interview with the team right now [laughs]. I hope COTTONINK will still be here in the next 10, 20, 30 years so there will be many more people who could have similar experience like mine. Happy birthday!

Do you have any advice for our readers who want to break into the entertainment industry?
Don’t be afraid to try something new because every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. And in the end, for us to survive [in the entertainment industry], we have to always learn, stay innovative, keep up with what’s happening. If we limit our possibilities, we won’t survive. So, yeah, always try something new!

Read more articles at 247 COTTONINK Magazine.

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