The cast of ‘That Cover Girl’ on the Prime Video Malaysian original show
With the rise in popularity of Thai dramas; Malaysia’s Amanda Nell Eu and Jared Lee breaking out in the international film festival circuits with Tiger Stripes and Horologist respectively; and the viral success of Astro’s Project High Council, 2023 has shown that there is a steady demand for Southeast Asian content—and more specifically, Malaysian stories. With our rich cultural history and multi-racial background, Malaysia is a country teeming with exciting and creative ideas ready to be told.
Diving into this vibrant pot is Prime Video. The popular streaming platform issued its first Malaysian original series titled That Cover Girl which is currently airing in more than 240 countries. The show stars Siti Saleha, Hisyam Hamid, Alicia Amin and Aiman Hakim as the main cast.
That Cover Girl follows an ambitious and strong-willed businesswoman (played by Siti Saleha) running a fashion empire amidst societal and cultural pressures. “The series was developed with the desire to tell a relatable and empowering story about a young Muslim woman navigating her dreams and challenges in the modern world. We wanted to provide a representation of this demographic and shed light on their experiences,” shared director Abid Hussain.
Ahead, we speak to the main cast of That Cover Girl about being part of this exciting series, what makes the show special and more.
How does it feel to be a part of a production that is streamed globally on this scale?
Siti Saleha: “We are very happy and excited to be part of Malaysia’s local content on Prime Video because it isn’t only limited to the Malaysian audience, but it’s also reaching a vast audience in the world to look at our story that’s surrounded by fashion, relationships, self-discovery, determination and chasing your dreams. There are also a lot of characters playing in the series, which most people can relate to.
“Watch this show if you want to know more and understand deeper about self-discovery, and how you raise back up when you fall. You can also learn more about Malaysian culture, especially what it entails when you are a public figure, and what’s like being condemned on social media.”
Alicia Amin: “It feels really good! There are a lot of hopes and a lot of dreams, but also a lot of pressure because generally, we don’t know what Malaysians like and dislike. It’s very seldom that we get the opportunity to see what the world thinks. So for me, it’s a great and exciting and yet terrifying feeling.”
Aiman Hakim: “I think it’s an opportunity for Malaysia to get recognised, there’s tons of local flavour in the series itself. I think it also ‘neutralised’ our culture and language. That is where I think that it is an opportunity for Malaysia, our country, to get recognised globally as many people still think that only Singapore and Thailand are part of Southeast Asia.”
What is one theme or aspect of the show that is quintessentially Malaysian yet also universal for audiences around the world?
Hisyam Hamid: “That Cover Girl portrays a lot of the culture here in Malaysia of a different kind of family upbringing. You can see from Arif’s perspective that his family is more conservative and religious. Sofi, on another hand, comes from a wealthy family and becomes a little bit more of a liberal, so it’s like two different contrasting upbringings coming together—which we can see more of in Malaysia right now.
“Basically, That Cover Girl is about realism and amplifying what is really happening around us. Some may not be aware of what is going on in Malaysia, so I think that’s what makes this show so relatable and easier to understand for the audience to watch it.”
SS: “A lot of people might ask whether Malaysia is characterized by liberalism or conservatism. So, if you’re contemplating this matter, you may find it interesting to watch this series. From my perspective, it’s ultimately a matter of your personal relationship with your faith, and that’s the lens through which I view it. We’re simply conveying a narrative that mirrors the realities within our society.”
AA: “I think it’s the idea of conforming to social pressure. Universally, everybody somehow feels that way, especially with social media. You do not have to be the main protagonist Sofi Safwan to feel that. But the issues that are brought up in the show, referring to her hijab and her being a Muslim lady—that is very Malaysian. When I am feeling depressed, even my non-Malay friends feel for me too.
“Because at the end of the day, we are a multi-racial country and when people you care about are going through their hard times, you feel for them as well. I think that’s a very Malaysian thing whereby you feel for people outside of your own race. It’s a Malaysian thing for everyone to treat each other like family.”
AH: “For me, it’s the point of view told from culture and religion, and I think that helps a lot in the progress and development of the story. It shows a difference from the Western titles because they have their own culture and ways. When global audiences tune in, they can see that we have our own solutions in our own culture. Frankly, I am very proud of this.”
What does That Cover Girl hope to bring to global audiences?
HH: “That Cover Girl contributes to a more inclusive and diverse representation of women in the entertainment industry. It shows that women who wear the hijab can lead dynamic lives, pursue their passions, and be strong, independent individuals while staying true to their faith and values.”
AA: “I think that the whole point of television and cinema is to give insights into a character’s life and how they solve problems. Every single character in this series has their own motivations and reasons to do the things they have done. But it always reflects what Malaysians think.
“This is the opportunity to show that we have a different identity other than being under the ‘Southeast Asia’ umbrella. Much like how other countries have their own identity, we are building that up and showing people around the world that our nuances and complexities are motivated by a lot of circumstances of our country.”
Please share what it is about the show that made you want to be a part of it.
SS: “I think it is the character of Sofi because she’s someone I have never played before. She is a fashion entrepreneur who is very successful and has a perfect life, but underneath all the hijab it’s just…what people call ‘fluff’. The moment you are seen wearing a hijab, you are more prone to being judged and all eyes are on you and how you behave. You have a reputation to uphold, and the actions and consequences of your actions…it’s a lot for anyone.”
HH: “To me, one of the reasons is because I wanted to create history by being a part of Prime Video’s first original series in Malaysia. Other than that, it’s the character of Arif. It gets more and more challenging towards the end of the drama. It really gave me a sense of satisfaction and relief.”
AH: “The amount of uniqueness in technicality and the script are the reasons that drew me into this show.”
AA: “For me, it was a great opportunity to play a character who is, in a lot of ways, very different from myself. Roles such as assassins and superheroes are totally different from regular human beings, but this is a real person. If certain things in my life could’ve been done differently, I might have ended up like my character. So when I read the script, I agreed to let myself explore this and see how far I can take the character of Laila.”
Describe That Cover Girl in three words!
SS: “Brave, bold and real.”
HH: “Fresh, relatable and progressive.”
AH: “Beautiful Asian silk—the whole show is perfect, it looks like silk!”
AA: “Human, riveting and compassionate.”
The full season of That Cover Girl is currently airing on Prime Video. Stream it here.
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