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Sun, Jun 23, 2013
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It's okay, you can call me a cougar
by Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman

Call her a cougar all you want.

The insult - referring to women who prefer younger men - barely bothers controversial Malaysian TV actress Rozita Che Wan.

And it's not halting the 40-year-old's plans to tie the knot later this year with a man 11 years her junior.

Rozita, famed for her sexy image despite her age, is set to marry fellow Malaysian actor Zain Saidin, 29.

The chatty actress stressed that the age gap has never posed a problem in the relationship.

Speaking in Malay, she told The New Paper in an interview after her appearance at the Wedding, Lifestyle and Shopping Paradise event at Singapore Expo last Sunday: "When I'm with Zain, I don't feel like there's an age gap and we've never faced any major problems.

"Of course in the beginning we had to adapt to each other's ways. I'm older, so the way I think might be different... But it's just like other relationships where you have to find a middle ground."

According to the single mother with two sons aged 15 and 17, the age difference is not an issue for her fiancé as well.

"He likes older women. After all, if he likes younger ones, he wouldn't have chosen me and would have gone for a 17-year-old," she joked.

"Men like him love that type (older women). His previous girlfriend was also older by a couple of years," she said of her British-Malaysian boyfriend of three years.

Does she worry he might leave her for a younger, hotter woman in the future?

Not just outer beauty

She revealed that she has her fears.

"Anything can happen because in life, there are no guarantees. I give my best in the relationship and if in 10 years, he is attracted to someone more beautiful, I will accept it. But I believe that a good man will not only look at outer beauty but inner beauty as well."

Rozita's controversial love life is not the only subject of constant gossip and scrutiny.

Her sexy appearance does not sit too well with her detractors.

"Am I really sexy?" she asked.

"It's just how I am and I dress to complement my body shape," said the svelte star who is 1.7m tall and weighs 50kg.

"It's also the way I maintain my figure. If I wear baggy clothes, I'd think there's room to eat more.

But with clothes that are more fitting, I have to be more mindful so that my tummy doesn't show."

It's easy to see why she angers jealous critics. In her tight jeans and fitting coral blazer, she looks years younger than her age.

Of her secret, she said: "I think young and I don't feel like I'm old. I don't like to think about my problems because when you are stressed, it shows on your face."

She revealed her basic beauty regime, which consists of simple cleansing and masking, and said she has never gone for facials.

She also takes supplements.

Rozita said that the criticism has never bothered her.

"I don't read what people say, it's better not to.

Say what you want because talk is cheap. If you care too much, you cannot move on with your life," she said. Naturally, the only opinion that matters is that of her beau's.

"He's okay with my dressing. But he did say he prefers me wearing a headscarf. But he has never dictated what I should wear," she said, admitting that his mixed parentage and age might mean he's more open-minded.

"An older man might control me."

The couple, who have managed to keep their relationship under wraps since rumours surfaced in 2011, came clean only earlier this year.

In recent years, she has been romantically linked to other celebrities like Malaysia-based Singaporean actor Shah Iskandar, Malaysian singer Shahir Zawawi and even Datuk K, who is married to Malaysian pop queen Siti Nurhaliza.

They are aged 31, 26, and 54 respectively.

Previously, Rozita was married to a Malaysian pilot for nearly 10 years before they divorced in 1993.

She also dated a Singapore-based Malaysian Merrill Lynch banker before she decided to give Zain a chance.

Love at first sight

It was a case of love at first sight - at least on his part.

"He first saw me without make-up and (according to him), thought 'Wow, Che Ta (what she is commonly known as) is so pretty' and then fell in love with me," she said, laughing.

"I thought he was handsome, but of course I didn't pursue him. Eventually he did, but I told him I had a boyfriend then.

"When I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, I posted a heartbroken post online and he replied, 'I'm here to rescue you'."

It was the beginning of a three-year relationship that saw them getting to know each other better and getting closer to each other's families.

Zain's ability to get along with her sons was the main thing that made her sure of him.

She said: "I don't think other guys would be able to do it. When he's free, he will visit my son, who attends a boarding school in Malacca. He's close to them and share some of their interests like fitness. I think his age makes it easier for them to bond."

So far, the couple have remain tight-lipped about the details of their nuptials, saying only that it will be announced after Hari Raya Aidilfitri in August.

They are now in the midst of confirming their wedding sponsors, although nothing is set in stone yet.

It was reported that their wedding will be a garden- themed affair, but Rozita said that the concept and colours are still not confirmed.

"I initially just wanted an akad nikah (a Muslim marriage solemnisation ceremony) because it's tiring to have a big wedding, but it's his first time getting married so he wants a grand affair," she said.

Months leading up to the big day, the pair are making sure they lay all their cards on the table, including their plans to have children.

"I grew up in a big family so I think with many children, the quality time with each child is reduced.

But Zain has only one sibling (his sister Sasha was a member of Malaysian girl group Elite).

But we compromised at two children, maybe a boy and a girl," she said.

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