The month of May comprises two major celebrations for Sabah-born actress-singer Marsha Milan Londoh. There is Raya Aidilfitri, of course, but there is also the Harvest Festival. It is celebrated in Sabah and Labuan on May 30 and 31 every year and is widely known as Pesta Ka’amatan.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Marsha may not be able to return to her hometown to celebrate the Harvest Festival. She’s taking it in stride though, and looks forward to a joyous Eid celebration with her in-laws in Kuala Lumpur.
Married to businessman Mohamed Shaiful Nizam Ismail since 2015, Marsha stays with her in-laws in Tropicana. Their property is spacious and luxurious yet cosy, with Moroccan and European touches evident in the interior. Marsha considers the living room as her favourite section of the house, as this is where a grand piano sits. “I bought this piano with my pay cheque and it has continued to serve me well. When inspiration strikes, this is where I will be, composing new songs.”
For the uninitiated, Marsha rose to fame after coming in fourth in Astro’s popular reality show Akademi Fantasia (Season 3) in 2005. She delved into acting that same year, starring in a string of TV series including K.I.T.A, Hotel Mania, Berita Hangit, Duri Di Hati and Benci VS Cinta. She was also in movies like Magika (2009), 4 Madu (2009), Cun (2011) and Jwanita (2015). Marsha was the voice of Elsa in the local version of Disney’s Frozen and sang the blockbuster track Bebaskan (Malay version of Let It Go).
“It is hard to juggle my schedule between singing and acting but I find both equally satisfying, especially when you see the final product,’’ enthuses Marsha. Presently, she can be seen in drama series Rindu Awak Separuh Nyawa and comedy show Keluarga Baha Don. She also recently hosted a 13-episode exercise programme titled Diari Fit.
With close to 900K followers on Instagram (@marshamilan), Marsha has a loyal fanbase. “They have been following my career for the past 16 years, and I am so thankful to have their support. On my social media feed, I always show my true self which can be gila gila sometimes,” says Marsha with a laugh.
Besides her showbiz endeavours, Marsha is passionate about giving back to society. On a yearly basis, Marsha and her best friend Velvet Aduk collaborates on CSR projects in the month of May. In the past, they have released singles Oi Gaman and Sumandak Sabah to promote their Sabahan culture. “This. year, our song is all about unity,” explains Marsha. “It is especially meaningful as it coincides with Raya.”
For her shoot with myeppo, Marsha is dolled up in the Raya collection from Malaysian couturier Melinda Looi. In the following Q&A, Marsha fills us in on her busy lifestyle….
How do you zen out after a busy day at work?
My brain is always working so I have a hard time sleeping sometimes. So, if I am able to sleep, that is considered the best method for me to zen out. Luckily, I love what I do so I don’t really consider it work.
What is your beauty routine like?
Despite my hectic schedule, I always find time to prep my face with basic skincare. I scrub my face two to three times a week, and I always use sunblock to protect against the sun and harsh lights on film sets. I have to wear makeup for long hours so it’s crucial for me to cleanse my face properly at the end of the night. For skincare, I like Cle de Peau. For makeup, I like the lightweight foundation from Laura Mercier and eye shadow from NARS.
What genre of music inspires you?
I’ve always loved 90s R&B music! I am a bit old school … growing up listening to that particular genre has influenced my music direction.
As a thespian, what is your dream role?
I already snagged my dream role, which was to play a hantu! It was challenging as it was my first time trying out heavy make-up and being rigged up (for flying scenes). There were times I felt like giving up because of the long hours but I persevered. That experience taught me to be matured not only in my acting career but life as a whole.
Marsha strikes a pose with awesome #myeppo Raya postcards. One of these postcards will be yours when you purchase products at www.myeppo.com/shop.
Away from work, what are your hobbies?
I love baking and cooking and trying out new recipes. It makes me reminiscent of the times I spent with my mum in the kitchen. I may not have much time to cook since I am constantly away from home for work but whenever I do try something new, my husband will definitely be the first ‘victim’.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Classy yet simple. Although I may be dolled up during shows or events, it’s always denim and white shirt on casual days. I love timeless fashion that is still relevant after a decade or more.
What is your advice to young people who are keen to join showbiz?
They have to figure out whether this is what they really want. It’s an exciting journey, filled with many ups and downs. There will be times when they question their self-worth but as long as they’re doing their best, they should not be hard on themselves. Experiences gained are part of life’s lessons.
Look 1: AsterSpring – Dermalogica
Look 2: Dior Beauty
Look 3: Dior Beauty
Look 4: Kevyn Aucoin
Look 5: Holika Holika
Photographer: Brian Fang @M8 Studio
Apparel and accessories: Melinda Looi
Video: Aqalili Azizan & Quek Chun Leng
Makeup & hair: Cindy Hor