Sarah Hildebrand, In Bloom

There’s this quote that goes: “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”

Ironically, so to speak, as the theme for our photoshoot with Malaysian actress and television host Nur Sarah Marie Hildebrand took a floral approach, the quote perfectly describes Sarah’s personality (at least from our point of view).

Born to mix heritage of Malay, American and German, Sarah is stunning and stylish in equal measure, but she doesn’t let her physical perfection get to her head. Her girl-next-door attitude makes it hard not to admire her in person.

With her Eurasian looks to kill, one would assume that could easily earn her a spot in the upper echelon of the Malaysian showbiz. But that’s not usually the case.

In fact she constantly has to work hard to prove to society that she’s more than just a pretty face. Eurasian looking actors and actresses commonly enter the Malaysian showbiz being typecasted. Roles for when ‘western looking’ characters appear in plots for Malay films and TV dramas are usually given to them. But of course, Sarah’s not only looking to settle for just that.

The 29-year-old has been active in the social media realm for many years but it was only late last year that her presence in showbiz was felt.

The stars were aligned for her when she landed a role in a TV drama called Pujaan Hati Kanda which aired every evening from Monday to Friday at 7pm on one of Malaysia’s prominent TV channels. The evening slot is viewed as the most popular and major slot as this is when many Malaysians tune in while having dinner.

Landing the lead role for the TV drama for the coveted time slot was like hitting jack pot, but Sarah didn’t quite know what to expect nor did she think too much about the make-or-break outcome.

The character that she portrayed on screen called Nadine was a spoiled brat who thinks that the world revolves around her. Furious upon finding out her fiancé married another woman, she sets out to claim what was supposed to be hers.

It was a first antagonist role for Sarah, but she nailed it because ‘Nadine’ instantly became the talk of town among those who tuned in to the show.

Needless to say, ‘Nadine’ wasn’t very well-liked, but that only proved Sarah did a good job. To prep for the role, she tried her best to channel her inner Regina George, the main girl in the film ‘Mean Girls’.

“Alhamdulillah it felt good to know that people recognised my work on screen. My hard work paid off.”

 

THE SPLIT

At the peak of her career when people started to take notice of Sarah as the next promising actress, the spotlight shifted towards her love life, as the media found out about her split with longtime (now former) boyfriend who also happens to be working in the same industry as a television host.

Being the easy-going person that she is, Sarah wasn’t hesitant to open up about her personal life despite being at the centre of a rumour mill with countless ‘he said she said’ stories circling around.

What truly happened between Sarah and her ex-lover will only truly be known to them, but if there’s one thing she learned from getting out her relationship is to love and put herself first.

“If you’re an insecure person, things won’t work out. You have to love yourself first and be confident,” she said.

“Don’t put up with negativity. If the other party is constantly stepping on you and putting you down, then don’t make excuses for them. Just leave. There will be someone out there who will actually love you for who you are,” she added.

Recently, in a long and heartfelt post on Instagram, she penned her thoughts and feelings about what happened in that relationship, in hopes that people would learn from her mistakes.

“I wish I called it off much sooner but everything happens for a reason. We grow through what we go through. I’m telling you this with good intentions hoping that maybe you would learn from my mistakes, or maybe you’re hurting and going through what I had been through,” she wrote.

Go through her recent posts and you’ll find that she shares the little signs that can point out to an unhealthy relationship.

“I have a bunch of followers (mostly female) who reach out to me with their relationship problems and I would love to help in anyway that I can,” she wrote.

Her posts drew a positive feedback, encouraging her followers to empower self-love and to not tolerate unnecessary negativity.

After the whirlwind of relationship drama, is she now content with herself?

“Yes, I’m so happy with where I am now. I mean, I now have a totally different perspective on love and relationships. Am hoping the next one will be a good one, insyaAllah!” she said with a laugh.

 

THE UNEXPECTED HIJAB

Truthfully, Sarah admitted she never expected to wear the hijab soon into her 20s. The year was 2015 when she transformed into a hijab-wearing Muslim.

It all happened when she joined a reality competition in search for the next big star in that same year. With God’s blessing, she walked away with the winning title. It was at that moment that she realised God had given her everything she asked for, she figured it was only fair she bettered herself as His humble servant.

“I needed to do it for myself too, to always reflect on myself so that I don’t go astray,” she said.

“I feel comfortable with it (wearing the hijab) and the best thing is that it makes me want to learn more about Islam. Of course in the beginning I’ve had moments where I thought it would be nice to just go hair-free.

“Being half American, I’ve had my fair share of the ‘American life’, so I thought it was time I moved forward,” she said.

“My friends were really surprised with my decision to fully don’t he hijab. They didn’t see it coming!”

Well that pretty much takes us back to the first quote we likened her to in this story, Sarah doesn’t let the perception of others hold her back, neither does she feel the need to compete or fit in with the rest.

Right now, she shares she intends to take some time off for herself. She may not have every single thing figured out right now, but the future looks nothing but bright for this strong lady. After all, as author Ken Petti would say, every flower blooms in its own time.

 

Behind the Face of Salam

  • Face of Salam : Sarah Hildebrand
  • Project Manager & Co-ordinator : Shah Shamshiri
  • Text: Syahirah Mokhtazar
  • Editor : Ili Farhana
    Photographer: Bustamam Mokhtar, White Studio
  • Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
    Stylist & Art Director : Helmi Anuar
  • Hijab Stylist: Helmi Anuar
    Make-up Artiste : Saidatulnisa Aminuddin
  • Wardrobe: Stylist’s own & Ezzati Amira