Interview: Siti Khalijah Zainal

Since I started doing theater, I’ve became more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I used to have low self-esteem when I was in school because of my size.

In a word, I am full. Apart from my size, I think I’m full of love, energy and fun.

My best attributes are that I’m open to things and disciplined. I think it’s important because my line of work requires me to research and play people with different backgrounds and issues.

I most admire Karen Tan. Not only is she a versatile actress, she’s one of the most sought after in Singapore theater, a mother to two lovely girls, a wife, and she does community work! It amazes me how she manages her time and how she’s good and generous with everything she does. She inspires me.

I would like to meet Amy Winehouse. She’s one of my favorite singers and it’s sad that she’s gone, at a young age. Despite her messy life, she had amazing talent and I know she had so much more to give had she not surrendered her life to drugs.

I cannot imagine not being able to see. I appreciate beauty in a lot of things, and I’m thankful for the beautiful places I’ve been and people I’ve met.

I had a crush on Kevin Richardson from The Backstreet Boys. I grew up listening to boy bands. They were the thing then.

The craziest thing I’ve ever done was jumping out of a van in India in the middle of nowhere and running away from the creepy driver who—my friends and I suspected—was taking us to a dodgy place instead of our hotel. We crossed crazy traffic and got lost but we managed to find our way back. It was scary and exciting at the same time. Like a real life Bollywood film! And no. No regrets about that one. 

I’m like a polar bear. I like cold weather and raw fish like sashimi. I can be all soft and cuddly, but mess with me and I’ll growl back at you.

All the notes in my wallet must face the same direction and be arranged from the smallest to largest amount.

I’ve never ever acted in a role where I’ve had to cross-dress before, so that would be interesting.

If I didn’t act, I’d be working at an architecture firm.

I would like the power to be invisible: to just disappear anytime I want and be able to do anything naughty without getting caught. It makes traveling a lot easier too. No need to pay for flight tickets!

My greatest fear is going stagnant in my performance. I have to constantly make sure that I’m improving with every show and learning different techniques.

There’s no right or wrong in theater. So never be afraid to try.

In 10 years I see myself being involved behind the scenes. Probably directing, teaching or even producing.