Aaron Aziz vs Zed Zaidi

The man known as Aaron Aziz is definitely no stranger to Malaysians and Singaporeans alike. It is not that everyone has heard of him but with a face that international cosmetics and beauty brand L'Oreal proudly recognises and a recent overall win at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2011 (ABPBH) event, few are left who have not seen his face on screens at least once. The thing to say about him is that when he is on screen you cannot take your eyes off him. Aaron's charm is his youthful appearance, down-to-earth and slightly embarassed nature, whether he is playing Kopral Jamal Salleh in the Singaporean Channel 5 drama, "Heartlanders", romancing the ladies in "Cinta Bollywood" and "Cinta Q" or performing daring stunts in "Evolusi KL Drift", its sequel, "Evolusi KL Drift 2" and "KL Gangster". As it turns out, it was his turn as the Byronic hero Hafiz in "Ombak Rindu" that made the movie eminently watchable and won him the award in ABPBH 2011. However, like his sympathetic heroes, the 36-year-old is currently facing the backlash of his skyrocketing popularity, and we did not miss this opportunity to quiz Aaron at the press conference of his latest endorsement for the Malaysian frozen yogurt brand Yourgurt about Zed Zaidi and his career plans.

Cinema Online had an interview with Aaron Aziz at Riverside Café, Putra World Trade Centre.

Q: Being a Singaporean, how do you feel about being an ambassador for a Malaysian brand? Have you ever thought about dabbling in Singaporean products more?
Aaron: Well, I don't think anything of it. I've endorsed a whole of brands and products in the past, so this is just another job for me.

Q: How many years will you be Yourgurt's ambassador?
Aaron: As long as possible I hope! [Laughs] So far the contract is only for 1 plus 1.

Q: Why did you choose to accept this job?
Aaron: To tell the truth, I'm not actually a fan of yogurt. It's the same like my L'Oreal job; I've never used L'Oreal before I became their ambassador. They just liked my face. However, when I accepted the jobs I had to try out their products, and I found them to be of good quality. I went to see how Yourgurt's production process works and it's all very credible, like they use fresh fruits, they were clean, etc. Also, my wife likes the taste of Yourgurt very much and eating yogurt is good for my kids, so that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Q: Did Yourgurt asked you to become their ambassador after your win in ABPBH 2011?
Aaron: No, we actually talked about this job very early on in the year. I like to think that I was popular before winning ABPBH, because many of my job offers are given to me before ABPBH but my movies and shows are all shown later, that's why.

Q: How has winning the Most Popular Film Actor Award in ABPBH 2011 affected your lifestyle?
Aaron: Just that more people greet me in public like saying "Hello", "Good Morning" or "Congratulations".

Q: You've definitely reached a milestone in your career. Is there any role that you would want to play?
Aaron: Yes. I would want to star in a biographical movie since all my roles have been fictional.

Q: How about if someone were to play you in your own biographical movie?
Aaron: I don't think I would ever achieve that level of popularity, so no, I can't imagine think of it or of anyone that would play me, even hypothetically.

Q: Recently, actor Zed Zaidi tweeted that the Malaysian entertainment industry should not award you, being a Singaporean and they should make sure that work permit and documents are in order. Do you have any comments?
Aaron: Yeah, what the hell is that man? I mean, this issue totally came out of nowhere for me. I only heard about Zed Zaidi's tweets when my friends showed them to me. First of all, I think the man has too much time on his free hands. We are all actors and contributors to the Malaysian industry, but what he is doing, and what everyone is creating a ruckus about just makes me feel unappreciated. I mean, if I don't really care about it, so why should you unless you think that I don't deserve to be here either? Before I came here today, my wife was telling me to just say "no comment" if you guys ask me this question. But I feel like I have to comment on it, or it'll just seem like I'm running away or being bitter about it. To sum it all, I am always here, so if anyone, even if it's the government or FINAS, wants to check my work permit and documents, they can always give me a call and I'll gladly show them.

Q: Has Zed Zaidi ever confronted you personally about the issue?
Aaron: No, he hasn't. Once, my friends told me that he tweeted something like, "Everyone, I'm going to Aaron Aziz's house tomorrow to do a demonstration dressed in black, please join me!" and true enough, when I checked his Twitter, he did say that. However, at that time I was in Brunei for a shoot, so I have no idea if the demonstration did happen or not, but if he really wanted to confront me, then why did he pick that date knowing that I was out of the country? It's not a secret anyway, if he called my management agency they would say that I'm in Brunei too. And now that I'm back, he hasn't come to see me even once.

Q: So what is next for you?
Aaron: After umrah, I'll continue filming for "Adam Dan Hawa", my television drama. My trip to Makkah is also part of my work duties for "Adam Dan Hawa". The filming will wrap up in June, following which I will start shooting for "Dampak". I'm also currently in talks for a Brunei film, but I will have to see my schedule though. If I'm too busy then I will have to decline the offer. I also have an upcoming thriller with Astro and a hosting job for Fear Factor Asia.

Q: How do you feel about being chosen to host Fear Factor Asia?
Aaron: I'm looking forward to it. Unlike the international Fear Factor, the Asian version does not require us to eat anything because of religious constraints. Also, I'm really scared of trying out all the bizarre food. Heck, I can't even bring myself to eat sushi! But I look forward to trying out some of the challenges if they let me, and also travelling to Vietnam with my family. This job is a great opportunity to travel and work.

Q: That's all for today. Thank you Aaron and it was nice to meet you.
Aaron: No problem.

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