GROWING up in a family of actresses, it seemed only a matter of time before 20-year-old Sharifah Aleysha got into acting herself.

But despite being the younger sister of actresses Sharifah Amani and Sharifah Aleya – and the daughter of veteran actress Fatimah Abu Bakar – Aleysha was initially unsure if the performing arts was for her.

“I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to pursue performing arts, theology or psychology,” said Aleysha, during an interview with the BRATs. “But then I realised that with theology and psychology, things are pretty much caged.

“With performing arts, however, I can still learn about other things. In acting, for example, we get to learn about human psychology as well, so in that sense, performing arts is more open, and that’s why I decided to pursue it.”

Aleysha in a scene from Zainah Anwar’s Mak Mu Siapa?

Aleysha in a scene from Zainah Anwar’s Mak Mu Siapa?

Today, Aleysha is a fresh graduate from Sunway University’s Diploma in Performing Arts programme. She directed her first short film, Diri, last year as her final year project, and has worked on productions such as Something

I Wrote and, most recently, 2 Minute Solos – Art Meets Politics, where she played the 18-year-old daughter from a dysfunctional polygamous marriage.

“The performing arts is a good way to really get in touch with your inner self,” said Aleysha. “You get to work with all these different people all the time, so you tend to learn from them, in terms of how they convey their message, and how they portray themselves. We are always learning about different topics like religion, but in a more open sense.”

For those keen on a career in the performing arts, taking a college/university course is something Aleysha would definitely recommend.

She said: “Sunway University has an amazing course in performing arts because it’s more hands-on than theory-based. Even when they teach you something in theory, you’d be expected to go out and apply it.

“We had classes on stage and production management, and I can actually apply all this in the working world. More importantly, in performing arts, you become part of this community that wants to work together to build something new and interesting for our country.”


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