Super Self-Starter

Published on 26 December 2017

YouTube star Hirzi Zulkiflie is ace at creating opportunities and pushing his limits.

By Jo Tan

Comedian-writer-director-actor-dancer-stylist Hirzi Zulkiflie credits his schizophrenic job title to being a millennial. “We have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and are just interested in everything,” he chuckles. “What I’ll say for myself is that once I start something, I will do the best I can.”

Hirzi has always created his own opportunities. While still in school, he co-created popular YouTube channel, MunahHirziOfficial, with long-time collaborator Munah Bagharib, which boasts over 160,000 subscribers and millions of views. To learn to dance, he stayed in school with Munah after 11pm executing slick choreography. He even began styling celebrities because many of his famous friends had no idea how to suit up for the red carpet. Today, he’s a go-to celebrity stylist.

Occasionally, others helped push him in a new direction. “I was in National Service when I got a call from Selena Tan [actress and founder of production company Dream Academy] saying she’d like me to write for [stage production] The Hossan Leong Show. I said, ‘I’m not a writer.’ She replied, ‘Could you pass me the number of the guy who writes the content for your channel?’ I said, ‘Oh… that would be me.’ I’ve written for Hossan for two consecutive years, then for performers Najip Ali and Siti Khalijah in the comedy extravaganza Happy Ever Laughter.”

Hirzi also acts in plays and movies, directs videos, and choreographs major events. “I’m a jack of all trades. Challenges always excite me — I like to push my limits and find out what I can improve on.”      Hirzi discovered some hard limits last year during a period of mad multitasking: he had to be admitted to hospital for stress-related bowel issues and resign from his dream job as creative director for a digital marketing company.

The reason for all this crazy multitasking? Munah and Hirzi are putting together their 10th anniversary show — not on YouTube, but live at the Capitol Theatre. “Producing Munah & Hirzi Live: Curtain Call is our biggest challenge yet,” he says. “But wonderful people have been pumping money into social media, and I’d like to pump it back into an art form I hope will never die out. I’ve always loved the theatre — I want to bring young audiences back to it and witness the energy you can get live. YouTube has been a great testing ground for one’s craft without the hours theatre requires, but I think there’s value in putting in those hours, to grow yourself and create something deeper.”

There are more challenges ahead. “Producing this show, I’m increasingly aware of how dependent I am on my best friend, Munah. But it’s time for us to grow as individuals. I hope to take my craft to the next level, maybe outside of Singapore.”

Munah & Hirzi Live: Curtain Call plays 24 January at Capitol Theatre.

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