Zaff Malik - Saturday Night TakeawayThere once was an actor called Zaff. Who was always good for a laugh. But then, one day. I'm very sorry, to say. His hilarity washed out in the bath. OK. I know. I know. My poetry is blooming cr*p. But in my defence, it could have been a lot worse! Zaff's name could have been duck, right?

1) What are your own origins, Zaff? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to were you are today?   My mother and her family were from Southern Asia and had enough degrees between them to cook an egg. She kept programming my brain with the same soundtrack, “Right son, you must stick to the strict cultural tenants, you will follow the path that has been chosen for you... a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer”.

She wasn't going to stand for anything else. Ops!

My Dad died in my early teens from an aggressive form of cancer, and as I'm the eldest boy in the family, in my mother's culture, the head is expected to show leadership and demonstrate to his siblings that he is making sound decisions in his life. So, I guess a fickle and unreliable profession like acting wasn’t exactly that!

Zaff Malik - PCI carved out a career in the cyber-security domain and gained my Bachelors in science. The highlight was when I became a computer hacker (white hat). It's not as glamorous as you might think! This all made my brain quite logical in its outlook. Then I eventually gained some entrepreneurial skills and ended up running my own IT security company. Which was great for a while, but as I came into acting so late in the day, trying to get to grips with acting classes and getting into character, alas, it didn't come so easily. Maybe I was destined to be spending the rest of my days playing a droid like R2D2 or 'Spock' on the USS Enterprise.

Well, actually, maybe that's not such a bad idea!?

2) What inspired you into becoming an actor?   I really impressed the drama teachers at each school I went to. I was superb at Art and saw the World around, through the natural lens of a creative.

I found it difficult to read books though, whilst growing up, due to dyslexia, but found great comfort in comics. They were easy for me to take in and with all that graphical content it was a place where I found instant escape -- a place where I could live in another world of make believe.

I know you'll ask, so Spiderman, the Hulk and Batman were my favorites. With TV and film it lifted off the page and became alive -- an alternate reality that I wanted very much to be a part of. I watched so many films in the 80s: Horror and Sci-Fi being the ones I enjoyed the most. It was an era that spawned some of the best and most original story ideas. It planted the seed in my mind that one day I had to belong in that world of dreams, it was where I was most comfortable and what was most natural for me.

That seed took many decades to germinate.

3) In your own words how would you describe some of the film work you’ve been apart of?   Most of the roles I have booked have been 'manly' roles. In my TV debut in 2012, on the National Geographic channel in the UK, I played an MI6 agent during the cold war in a UFO drama. Then shortly after that, I played a Special Forces commando in a US TV series called 'Black Ops', this time for the Discovery channel. I perform voice overs also and last year I really enjoyed playing The Vanisher, a mutant criminal in X-Men Season One, Episode 2. The latest manly role being a warrior, Gathon, who enjoys flexing his muscle and bringing the good folk of the villages to their death in David and Goliath.

Zaff Malik Tough GuyThis might be a coincidence, but a cancer charity, called Orchid, that deals with male cancers had a competition in 2014 to find the Manliest Man in Britain. From over one thousand entrants, I got voted by the public into the top 40 men in the country. That really surprised me, how far I actually got. Maybe my TV / film roles helped, flying aerobatics as a trained pilot or racing my motorcycle at high speed on race tracks, who knows!?

4) If your style of acting omitted a collective odour, what would it smell like and why?   That green, aromatic herb we know as mint. It smells fresh, it excites the senses, for some in a Mojito, soothes ailments in the body, yet can be enjoyed traditionally with roast lamb. So, my acting means one thing to one person and something different to another. A cup full of my work now and again will heal the mind and body.

5) What song would you say best represents your style of acting?   'The Verve' - Bitter Sweet Symphony. It's classical yet contemporary, a fusion of sorts. I liken it to being given a character and I may loosen a few nuts here and there, putting my mark on it. That's one of the reasons why I love doing this.

Robin Williams
6) If you could get endorsed by a known celebrity – either living or dead – who would you like it to be and why?   I would find it an honor to be endorsed by the late Robin Williams. I remember him, growing up, in Mork and Mindy. He presented a great sense of humor in most of the characters he played, even the slightly crazy ones. He spent most of his time in the Twilight zone, which was much like me in my early days. The closest I've got to this character is in a comedy TV pilot where I played the lead role in 'Wintree', a mockumentary. It's on Youtube if you really want to watch it's raw, 'fly on the wall' filming style.

7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with throughout your career?  It was challeging during the time I was at drama school, trying to train in the evenings, on weekends, and reading texts during my lunch break while trying to hold down a day job. When I started getting auditions and then was appearing on film sets, while doing all the above, it also became relentless.

But my biggest hurdle is line learning, I find it particularly challenging due to my dyslexia. This has plagued me from the start, and I almost gave up on acting a few times as a result. I got through it by reminding myself that some of the greatest people have this issue also, like Tom Cruise, Richard Branson, Susan Hampshire and the late Muhammed Ali. A good quote from Orlando Bloom I can relate to is: 'it takes me three times as long to get two thirds as far'.

Zaff Malik Actor 8) If you have a personal credo, what do you think it would be?   For a number of years, I had been volunteering at a local school, then eventually at a local church youth group to assist youngsters in gaining some independence and ultimately finding themselves. Over the years I formed good relationships with them growing up and their parents. I've even met people from many walks of life. What I have discovered is, it is not one's religion that determines their standing in society. I feel that it is their core values, the pillars that a person runs their lives with that dictates how they behave with others and what ultimately makes them.

And so say all of us, Malik. And so say all of us. And so on that great note, dear reader, I'd like to thank Zaff for telling us about his life as an actor, before directing you towards his website, facebook, and twitter pages. 

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