Maya holds the record in the history of the Malaysia Film Festival for an actress with most nominations in the category of Best Actress Award (10) and she's among few actresses to have won the award twice. Maya is also the first of only two Malaysian actresses to have won the prestigious Best Actress Award at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. Currently looking for love.
Maya was born in Bayreuth, Bavaria, West Germany on 29 October 1979. Her father Gottfried Roelcke, is German while her mother, Che Zan, is from Penang, Malaysia, and is of Malay, Chinese and Indian parentage. She is the oldest of three siblings. Her brother is Armin, and her sister is Irina. Growing up in Indonesia until the age of 17, she started modelling and theatre acting in her teens. She later graduated from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Kuala Lumpur in Media and Marketing before starting her acting career.
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. With role of a wife in comma, Maya couldn't prove much of her acting ability through the limited screen time in the film and eventually criticized for an unimpressive performance. In the same year, she played a girl living in a rural village in her second movie No Problem. Her significant figure in the local entertainment industry (hosting, acting and magazine cover girl) then led her to win the New Popular Artist Award at Malaysia's Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian and the Anugerah Media Hiburan in 2001. In 2003 she was cast in a supporting role in a hit movie, Mr. Cinderella 2 opposite established actors Yusry (KRU) and Erra Fazira and began to show a promising talent and career in acting.
In the middle of 2004, Maya was cast by director Shuhaimi Baba in the lead role in Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam. The film was both critically and commercially successful. Maya's outstanding and dramatic turns as a primadona (Meriam), a naive girl (Maria) and a banshee (Pontianak) in the film led her to gain international recognition including the Best Actress Award at the 49th Asia Pacific Film Festival 2004 in Fukuoka, Japan. Maya Karin is the first of only two Malaysian actresses to win such an award at the festival. In 2005, Maya reprised her role as the lead in the sequel Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam II and continued to receive critical acclaims by winning the award of Best Actor (male/female) at the Estepona Fantasy and Terror Film Festival 2005 in Málaga, Spain. Following the mass critical and commercial success of these two films and so her performance, Maya won the coveted Most Popular Actress (Film) Award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2005.
Despite her growing feature film career, Maya continued her involvement in television, and in 2004 she 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 TV3.
In 2007, Maya played a variety of lead roles in Pesona Pictures' Waris Jari Hantu and 1957: Hati Malaya and Tayangan Unggul's Anak Halal and continued to receive nominations in various award functions. Maya won Best Actress Awards in Malaysia Film Festival and Anugerah Oskar Malaysia in 2008 for her genuine portrayal as a tomboy girl in Anak Halal.
Years after she involved in drama-centric films, Maya then showed her versatility by playing various comedic roles in several hit films. It began with blockbuster film Duyung released in 2008 where she plays the title role, a mermaid. In this film, Maya was appreciated for performing all the underwater scenes on her own in the open sea of Sipadan Island. In the same year, she received her second Most Popular Actress (Film) Award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2008, following her mass popularity for the last two years. In 2009, she starred in Pisau Cukur, a hit comedy film about gold diggers where she performed more comedy scenes than her role in Duyung. In 2010, she played a famous entertainment show host who fall in love with a guy from a rural village in the romantic comedy movie Cun alongside Remy Ishak.
In November 2011, despite her urbanised and modern figure, Maya surprised her fans and movie-goers with her moving performance as a young women from a rural village struggling with life and love, in her biggest commercial success Ombak Rindu, which gained her the Best Actress Award at both the Anugerah Skrin and Malaysia Film Festival in 2012 and her third Most Popular Actress (Film) Award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2011.
Afterwards, Maya portrayed two roles she never played before in Lagenda Budak Setan 2 and Sejoli, and managed to stand out despite acting alongside other fellow established actors. Her genuine tickling portrayal of a girl looking for her true love in the latter film gained her the award of Best Actress in Comedy Role in the second Anugerah Lawak Warna in 2014. Waiting to be released are her two thriller/suspense movies of Jwanita and Nota, with the latter film directed and produced with collaboration between local and Japanese film producers and crews.
Until now, Maya is acknowledged as an actor with most successful horror role performance in the local film industry and often cited by her fans and local movie-goers as a banshee, a mermaid and Izzah (her role in Ombak Rindu), thanks to her impressive and lasting performances in the respective films.
It is reported on March 2017 that Maya will appear in the sequel of the Malaysian horror film, Munafik titled Munafik 2 directed by Syamsul Yusof. She reportedly replacing its lead cast, Nabila Huda who confirmed that she wouldn't starred in the film's sequel.
In 2002, Maya recorded her debut music album, Erti Cinta. The album garnered her nominations for Best New Singer and Best Video awards at the Anugerah Industri Muzik. Her second album is Bukan Qalamaya (2004). On 3 June 2013, Maya signed up with Warner Music Malaysia and made her comeback from a 9-year hiatus with single "Bintang Syurga". Her long-awaited latest album titled Teka-Teki was released on 24 March 2014, and official launched then on 18 April at No Black Tie. The official music video of Teka-Teki was also launched after that on Warner Music Malaysia's YouTube channel.
Maya's mass popularity as an actress and entertainer has seen her appointed as ambassador for various products starting with Wella in 2001, followed by Pantene, and Yishion in 2003. In 2006 she was appointed Malaysian first Ambassador and Power Icon for local telecommunications giant Celcom By 2007 she is the only female brand ambassador for Celcom, a role she shares with other celebrities such as Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Leehom Wang, Robert Pires and Indonesian popular band, Peterpan. The same year Maya was given the prestigious role of spokesperson for L'Oréal Paris Malaysia and until now endorses its skincare, cosmetics and haircare line. Other partnerships since then include Tag Heuer, Nescafe, Innershine, Dulux, Vono. Sorella and GreenTech Malaysia.
Having been influenced by her father, Maya has been very passionate about the environment from a young age. Maya is actively involved in various campaigns for environmental and animal protection and often works with the Malaysian Nature Society and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
She also has her own campaign drive MayaLovesNature, the first two of which involved working with 22000 schoolchildren from 14 different primary schools targeting awareness of excessive use and waste of plastic bags. 2012 sees her as ambassador for the governments new recycling initiative and as spokesperson for the Geological Institute of Malaysia.Bugsy Malone (1995)
In The Mind's Eye (1999)
Natrah 2 (2010)
SuperMokh The Musical 1 (2013)
SuperMokh The Musical 2 (2014)
Erti Cinta (2001)
Bukan Qalamaya (2004)