Maya Karin Roelcke (born on October 29, 1979) is a Malaysian actress, television personality singer. Commonly known as Maya Karin, she is more famously known for her roles in supernatural horror and thriller films.
Maya is born to a German father, Gottfried Roelcke, and a mother of Malay, Chinese and Indian parentage, Che Zan, from Pulau Pinang. She was born in Bayreuth, Germany. Maya is the oldest of three siblings. Her brother is called Armin and her sister Irina. Growing up, Maya did some theatre work in Indonesia, and she later graduated from Limkokwing University in media and marketing.
Maya began her entertainment career as an endorsement model for brands such as Pantene (Hair Care Brand), Wella (Hair Care Brand) and Halle and Yishion (Fashion Apparel Brand). She also experimented in theatre productions, and was involved in plays for Actor’s Studio such as ‘Mahna Mahna’ and ‘In the Mind’s Eye’.
Television and film
In 2000, she was cast as a television show host for Malaysia’s TV3 lifestyle entertainment programme "Wavelength", which began her mainstream career and exposure. She began to receive film offers within a year and was soon cast in her first film role as one of the leads in Aziz M. Osman’s Sri Dewi Malam. The role brought her significant public and media acclaim, and lead her to win the Best New Popular Artist Award at Malaysia’s Anugerah Bintang Popular (or the Popular Star Awards) and the Anugerah Media Hiburan (Media Entertainment Awards) in 2001.
In 2003 she was involved in film Mr.Cinderella 2 opposite established stars Erra Fazira and Yusry (KRU). Other films filmed followed, including Metrowealth Pictures’ ‘Tujuh Perhentian’ (7 Stops), which resulted in her being nominated for the Most Popular Female Artist Award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular (Popular Star Awards) in 2004.
In 2004, her praised performance as the lead female role in Pesona Pictures’ Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam enhanced Maya’s position as one of the leading Malaysian and regional talents. She received international awards including the Best Actress at the 49th Asia Pacific Film Festival 2004 (Fukuoka, Japan) and the Best Actress Estepona Fantasy and Terror Film Festival 2005 (Malaga, Spain). In 2005, she won the coveted Most Popular Actress Award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular (Popular Star Awards).
Despite her growing feature film career, Maya continued her involvement in television, and in 2004 was invited by Channel [V] International to join their VJ team. In 2006, she was voted Best VJ in Star Buzz Editor’s Choice Awards 2006. Other shows that she has hosted are the bridal programme ‘Ratu Sehari’ (Queen for a Day) in 2004 for Malaysia’s ASTRO Ria channel and the travelogue programme ‘Beauty Secrets From The East’ in 2005 for Malaysia’s local TV3 channel.
In 2005, Maya reprised her role as the lead in Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam II. Maya received critical acclaim for her portrayal, and received the award for Best Actress at Penghargaan Seniman Pelakon Wanita Terbaik 2006 (Malaysian equivalent to the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards) and a nomination for Best Actress at Pilihan Persatuan Pekerja Filem Malaysia (PPFM) (Malaysian equivalent of the Academy Awards).
In 2007, Maya played the lead in Pesona Pictures’ Waris Jari Hantu, Persona Pictures’ 1957: Hati Malaya and Tayangan Unggul’s Anak Halal. An upcoming film Maya is involved in is KRUfilm's Duyung, where Maya plays the mermaid of the title. The film is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2008. In this film, Maya did all the underwater scenes on her own in the open sea of Sipadan Island.