GIRLS ON FILM: Anna Jobling sits in the makeup chair, nailing the part of the quintessential cover girl. Sprightly and animated, the actress is equal parts charisma and humour; a quietly chaotic combination of warm smiles, deadpan one-liners, and quippy TikTok references. As soon as the ball gets rolling on our exclusive, it's clear why she has been pegged as one of the ones to watch on Malaysia's showbiz scene.

She is an absolute natural both on- and off-camera, and seeing her in action is mesmerising, to say the least. On camera, she's the picture of professionalism: Polished, poised, and effortless. It's hardly a surprise—the starlet is no stranger to being in front of the lens.
Jacket and necklace: Both stylist's own; Cardigan: Kate Spade New York; Ring and shoes: Both Versace
Jobling started out young, landing her first few modelling gigs at the age of five. "I think it was one of those jobs that, as a child, you dream of doing," she muses, explaining that the urge to pursue acting only really came into the picture much later.

"I had decided that acting was what I wanted to do at 15," she recalls. "I was too comfortable in the [modelling and TV commercial] space, so I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. I had really bad stage fright growing up, so acting was the push that I was looking for."
Cardigan, top, skirt and shoes: All Versace; Tights: Stylist's own
From there, the aspiring thespian would go on to be enrolled in the Amber Chia Academy, a move to which Jobling credits her start in the industry. However, while her time at the academy had vastly built up her confidence and industry know-how, scoring a big break in showbiz still proved to be difficult. At this point, there was one major obstacle in her way—namely, the fact that she could not speak Malay.
For context, the burgeoning star is a third culture kid, born to a Malay mother and an English father. "Growing up, the Malay side of my family would speak in Malay to me, but I would always respond in English. I also went to an international school where everyone spoke English, so it didn't seem necessary [to learn Malay] at the time," she explains, matter-of-factly. "But, when I started acting, I knew that I would have to learn the language, or I'd never get jobs. So, my mum would literally tutor me every single night."

"We would buy those Malay practice books made for 10-year-olds," she laughs. "I would look through newspapers and magazines and highlight whatever I didn't understand. That's how I learned. Plus, I get a lot of practice because all my scripts are in Malay and I exclusively speak in Malay on set. It's comfortable for me now."
Dress: Moschino; Earrings: Stylist's own | Makeup: Ultra Le Teint Foundation in BR12, Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder, Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick, Le Volume De Chanel Mascara in #10 Noir, Rouge Allure Laque in #72 Iconique, Illusion d'Ombre Luminous Eyeshadow in Destination and Fantasme/ All Chanel Beauty; Hair: OSiS+ Mess Up Matte Paste and OSiS+ Sparkler Shine Spray/ All Schwarzkopf Professional
It is that hard work and determination that has gotten her where she is today. Now, at just 21 years old, Jobling's resume is already impressive. After gaining recognition and placing fourth in a prominent homegrown talent competition, Dewi Remaja 2018/2019, the starlet made her acting debut in Malaysia's first Netflix original film, Pasal Kau! (2020). Since then, she has gone from strength to strength, with a growing list of projects under her belt. Her favourite to date? Aside from her big break, it's the project she's working on right now: Melur Untuk Firdaus. She informs us that it is still in production but, ever the epitome of a publicist's dream, she makes sure to plug the project's May launch date with a cheeky wink.

Of course, though she makes it look easy, learning a new language and breaking into film and TV takes a lot of discipline and resilience. So, whenever she felt her motivation and drive waning, Jobling would turn to her fellow industry halfies for encouragement: "I looked up to other actors like Maya Karin, Zahirah MacWilson, and Hannah Delisha who are mixed like me and whose primary languages are also English. They all put in the hard work to learn Malay so that they could become as successful as they are today. They really inspired me."
Makeup: Ultra Le Teint Foundation in BR12, Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder, Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick, Le Volume De Chanel Mascara in #10 Noir, Rouge Allure Laque in #72 Iconique and Illusion d'Ombre Luminous Eyeshadow in Fantasme/ All Chanel Beauty; Hair: OSiS+ Soft Dust Soft Volumising Powder and OSiS+ Fresh Texture Dry Shampoo/ All Schwarzkopf Professional
Top and bottoms: Both stylist's own; Earrings: Versace
This had us wondering: As someone who is surrounded by so many incredible and influential women through her work, what other bits of wisdom has she picked up? When prompted about the most important life lesson she has gleaned from the women around her, she's ready with a response: "I learned this from other women in the industry, but I learned it from my mum first—it's so important to have boundaries with people. I mean, you can have fun, but set your limits."
This advice is especially pertinent to this year's theme for International Women's Day: Break the Bias. Speaking candidly, Jobling expressed her disappointment at the current state of the entertainment industry, especially with regards to its inherent issues with inequality. Further, she asserted that though the topic has been debated time and time again, the conversation must continue: "There's so much room for improvement, whether it comes to wage gaps or misogyny, that I think we're still going to be having this conversation even 10 years from now if we don't see major changes soon."

As a Malay woman in the entertainment industry, the theme hits close to home. It's no secret that the Malaysian public is generally hypercritical of women in the industry—a statement that particularly rings true for Muslim women like Jobling—and, like others before her, the young actress has unfortunately attracted a fair share of negative attention on her rise to stardom.

Still, she bears the burden well for someone her age, taking every misguided Instagram comment with a grain of salt. For those hoping to offer unsolicited advice to our young cover girl, she has a few choice words: "I appreciate [the] advice, but at the end of the day, what I do—or what I don't do—is between me and God." To put it less politely: Mind your own business.
Top: Stylist's own; Bottoms: Kate Spade New York; Earrings and Bracelet: Both Versace
On that note: There is no doubt that social media is deeply woven into the cultural fabric of Gen Z-ers. Navigating the plethora of platforms is already overwhelming enough for the average person, but when you throw the whole 'burgeoning celebrity' factor into the mix, it's a completely different ball game.

"Before I started in the industry, I never really posted on social media," she admits, coyly. Of course, that was before image became a crucial part of her work. "Now that it's a part of my job, I have to take it seriously. It's my branding—my way of advertising myself. I mean, clients are always going to look at your social media first, so you have to put in the effort and the work, even if it can be draining and tiring."

"Then again," she smiles, almost in disbelief, "who gets to say that social media is their job? It's crazy but I'm very grateful for it."
Jacket and necklace: Both stylist's own; Cardigan: Kate Spade New York; Shoes: Versace
Needless to say, while our cover star is currently focused on carving out her own journey, she's also paving the path for others to follow. According to her, the future of entertainment is Gen Z. "I think that showbiz is currently in this spot where everything is stagnant," she reflects. "The industry needs to make room for a new generation of creatives to shine."

If there are any aspiring actors out there hoping to be a part of this new generation of talents, Jobling has some advice: "Be resilient and work hard because you're going to face a lot of rejection. It's really, really hard. I've faced so many [rejections], and I still do, but it's just a part of working in any industry. Just keep finding ways to improve yourself, but don't change who you are just to please other people."

As for what the future holds for our March cover star? Keep your eyes peeled—if all goes to plan, she'll be going from local up-and-comer to international star-turned-entrepreneur. Until then, however, you can catch her on your screens, big and small.
WATCH: Anna Jobling takes on BURO's 7-second interview
EDITOR / sarah hani jamil
text, styling & creative direction / Redzhanna jazmin
photography / Sarah Hobbs | Polydextrous Studios
videographY / Kaizerine
makeup / Shiyo Joo assisted by Kevin Lee for Chanel Beauty
HAIR / VV Chan for Schwarzkopf Professional
art direction & layout design / sarah tai
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