Tengku Azura And Nia Atasha Are Redefining The Fashion and Modelling Industry

Nia Atasha

Commanding the spotlight, these women are resonating emotionally and physically with thousands of females.

The supermodel phenomenon exploded in the late ’80s and early ’90s when visionary women led the modelling industry with prescience, power, and poise. Accelerating their rise to fame by gracing magazine covers and strutting catwalks, these women have been paving the way for our future generations. Bursting at the seams with their displays of grit and gumption, Malaysian models Tengku Azura Tengku Awang and Nia Atasha Rosli are among the names that are having a real, tangible impact in the industry. While so much is unknown, there is one thing we know for sure; we are living in a new world, and these are the women who are defining what it looks like.

Nia Atasha

Laying the foundations for a more equal future, Azura and Nia have been making it their mission to make women’s lives not just fairer, but feasible in the industry. “If you want to succeed in this industry, face its challenges, build your reputation, and thrive—you need to have emotional resilience, intelligence, and a positive outlook on things,” says Azura. Recalibrating the way they work and socialise, these women are making sure young girls and women never settle for less. “It’s always tougher out there when you’re fresh and new, but never stop trying despite it all,” she adds. With their resilience and togetherness, these are the women that are putting an end to the idea of a model being just a “clothes hanger”.

Capturing the imagination of the world, these women have ushered in a new beauty ideal that contributed to the broader and more inclusive standards that we are starting to see today in Malaysia. Fashion has long had a problem with inclusivity, however, living in a country with a rich cultural heritage and ethnic and religious diversity has had its perks for the modelling industry. Hijab-wearing models such as Azura are finally appearing more on covers, thus inviting and encouraging more models to contribute to the industry in whatever ways they can. “It warms my heart to discover that I can lend a helping hand and create a positive ripple in the lives of others,” she beams. With the help of these high-driven women, the push for greater inclusivity and diversity on and off the runways is no longer just a pipe dream. “The industry is a lot more diverse now as compared to when I first started 8 years ago. You will find models in all different sizes, races, and abilities these days and it’s wonderful to see,” says Nia.

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Nia Atasha

Even though there’s plenty of room for improvement and change, the mission for fashion and models now should be to promote self-acceptance and to embrace our differences. “The notion of beauty standards has evolved, and fairness alone is no longer the sole measure,” says Azura. She adds: “There has been a shift in mindset, with greater emphasis on inclusive conversations about beauty, both in terms of facial and body features.” The arrival of these inclusivities has been a thrill to behold for models such as Azura and Nia as it’s a great reminder that the industry is propelling itself into something much more meaningful.

 

 

“Since the 1990s, the modelling industry in Malaysia has undergone significant transformations. The industry has become more diverse and inclusive, with new opportunities and changing standards,” says Azura. With these positive changes occurring, models are now being scouted not just for how they look and what they’re wearing, but also because of who they are as a person. “Find your purpose, and greatness will naturally follow. Remember, if you stumble along the way, don’t be afraid to get back up and keep going,” she adds.

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Even in the blinding glare of the spotlight, these women often feel it’s necessary to find life-affirming reminders of not just how far they’ve come but who they are beyond the industry. “The essence of my approach lies in embracing gratitude, cultivating patience, and aligning my actions with what resonates deeply within me,” Azura shares. It’s safe to say that health, whether physical or mental, has become one of the top priorities for these fashion models.

Making themselves a priority, Azura and Nia are constantly undertaking small, mindful, and positive acts to improve their day and their entire life. “I really enjoy going to the beach to unwind, spend time with my loved ones, taking peaceful walks, and practising yoga,” says Azura. Despite the endless uncertainties, looking after one’s mental and physical well-being will always be essential, especially for these inspirational ladies. “Lately, I’ve found myself appreciating art again. I’ve been drawing, painting, and making pottery to clear my head,” Nia declares. With so much on their plate, unplugging when your world has been cracked open supplies them with significant emotional health benefits.

In the same way, we have learned to become healthier and live longer through little hobbies and passions, Azura and Nia have also learned that they can strengthen their minds better through conversations and surrounding themselves with their loved ones. Initiating those hard-to-have mental health conversations is hard but it helps with sculpting your life for the better. “Having a supportive circle of people who love you and constantly remind you to take breaks really helps,” says Nia. She adds: “My parents have been my biggest support system—they shaped me to be the person I am today and they’re the ones who make me strong.” Bearing in mind to always put themselves first, these ladies find time to distress by valuing relationships and friendships. “My family serves as the constant source of inspiration and motivation that propels my career forward,” says Azura.

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Nia Atasha and Tengku Azura

Attesting that happiness makes for obvious bedfellows, Azura and Nia are always surrounding themselves with things that make them smile. Whether it’s personal or professional goals, they’re known to never back down from a challenge. “I have learned that challenges get harder but the rewards get better. I’ve just gotta be open to receive what comes my way, both bad and good,” says Nia. Focusing on their triumphs, these women are both willing to take risks and try new things no matter the blockade. “With each passing year, I have learned the importance of gratitude, living in the present, and fostering mindfulness,” Azura discloses. These women are the driving force of their life and nothing will ever stop them from taking what they want. “As long as you don’t hurt anyone, keep doing what makes you happy,” says Nia.

Always showing strength, this duo have continuously channelled all their whirring energy by championing inclusivity, empowering women, and having faith in themselves. “Keep on learning and never stop! Just be yourself, love, who you are, and trust in your own instincts,” says Azura. She adds: “Find your purpose, and greatness will naturally follow. Remember, if you stumble along the way, don’t be afraid to get back up and keep going.” To them staying grounded and showing kindness to others is the way to go.

Tengku Azura & Nia Atasha wear jewellery from Tiffany & Co. throughout.

Concept & Creative Director: Abdul Aziz Draim
Photographer: Chee Wei
Art Direction & Stylist: Min Luna
Beauty Editor: Alisha Azuddin
Interviewer: Syameen Salehaldin
Make-up: Khir Khalid
Hair: Ckay Liow
Hijab Stylist: Naz Living A Style
Assistants: Ashley Lazaroo & Syazrel Boharin

A lover of steamy romance books and all things green, Syameen Salehaldin is the Senior Content Producer for Harper's BAZAAR Malaysia. She spends most of her time immersed in books, and food and doing anything that makes her happy. Expect to see her diving into lifestyle, fashion and beauty trends on this platform.