Time to get familiar with the breakthrough actor that’s currently making waves, Wafda Saifan. Having starred in Eiffel… I’m in Love 2 and Jelita Sejuba:Mencintai Kesatria Negara, the 28-year-old’s role in the HBO Asia series, Grisse, definitely left an impression in the industry. Now already on his next project, the Cancerian took time to sat down with us for a light chat to talk about his beginnings, the role of a lifetime and his future works.

Text by Lala Claudia. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.


Have you always wanted to be an actor?

Funny thing is, I used to aspire to be a soccer player, but my Dad told me to focus on school, that made it more difficult to practice often as I should. So, i don’t know, I just feel like being a soccer athlete is not my path in life.


So, how did you end up being an actor in the first place?  

After high school, I started a band and these acting offers started to come, in which I have zero skills [laughs]. But then, I thought ‘heck, why not?’, I was offered the role as a singer in this TV drama [The 2011 musical soap opera, Go Go Girls], so that didn’t seem to be that far fetched from my profession at the time. I tried the whole acting thing out, got addicted, then fell in love with it. I was hooked.  


Do you prefer acting or singing?

It’s different really. The energy between them is different. The only thing similar is the thrill of singing live and acting on a theater, whereas on camera you have chances to start over. Safe to say, I enjoy both.


Your biggest project to date is the HBO Asia series, Grisse, how did you get involved?

It all started in the DM. I got this message from HBO Asia, they thought I was made for the part. The I met the director, and it just happened.


Why did you say yes to the project?

How could I not?! I definitely can’t say no to it. If there’s any hesitation, it came from a language perspective, I never had a full-english role, so doubts did come up on whether I can do this or not. So I just pray harder.

Wafda Saifan

Tell us about you role in Grisse!

I played as Bakda, a rebel whose family was the victim of the brutal authorities in the colonial period of Dutch East Indies. My sibling was played by Kelly Tandiono, and we kicked ass to fight the colonialists off from the Gresik region.


How did you prepare for the role?

That was the toughest 3 months of my life. I felt like in a whole another planet, people are running around speaking in foreign languages. I was like, “where the hell am I?” I had to read the thick scripts and comprehend the language it was written in, and act it out convincingly. It was an experience.


What are you really like off-camera?

Curious, what do you think I look like on camera? [laughs]. I don’t know, I tried to be as original as I can, I don’t like anything ‘plastic’. So yeah, I tried to be simple but not cheap, if that makes sense..

Wafda Saifan

What do you expect from the future?

I just want to put out works until I die, I want to write songs and keep on acting, everything really.


What’s next for you?

I got a film on the works, but it’s still a secret. Stay tuned!

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