Nadia Nasimuddin in head-to-toe Chanel
Nadia Nasimuddin, beyond the layered walls of Dior suits and those towering Louboutins, is all warmth and kindness. Make no mistake, the pretty 28-year-old is also possessed of razor-sharp intelligence. And yet, there is an easy elegance about her that sparkles when she laughs. She reminisces about her school days in the UK, which were relatively normal given the intense media attention that has followed her family.
Nadia hails from the Nasimuddin clan that runs the largest privately owned corporation with a firm footing in several industries – automotive, food and beverage, hotel management, and property development to name a few. (The corporation is currently headed by her two older brothers, Dato’ Wira Hj SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin and SM Nasarudin SM Nasimudin.) Thus, it comes as no surprise that she has blossomed with a maturity stemming from her background of privilege and ambition. Now, she’s started her own dynasty, having married Hamzah Alang Tan Sri Azman Shah – of the Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts empire – and borne their first heir Aidan, now two-years-old.
When the BAZAAR team arrives at her townhouse for the shoot armed with a box of Danish pastries, the intimidating vastness of her front door alone is palpable. But as the doors part, we are greeted by a barefaced Nadia in shorts and a tee. Just out of bed, her hair is casually pulled back. She has the ease and confidence of a woman in control.
The glowing complexion and toned body is not rocket science, though: she keeps fit with gruelling gym sessions of cardio and strength training. Her secret weapon? A happy, balanced lifestyle. “To add a little fun to my gym routine, on weekends I begin my day with a workout alongside my husband,” she says. It’s her way of keeping things active what with the more than occasional indulgence of all things sweet and savoury that her job – spearheading Naza Hotel Management and NZ Diners – requires of her.
Her spectacular home is an extension of her personal style. Sky-high ceilings and equally tall windows complete the black-and-white interior from its black wood floors and wallpaper to the cushions strewn in the entertainment room. “Black and white is sensual, timeless. I love everything about the ambience that monochrome exudes when designed well. But the occasional splash of colour is needed for balance,” explains Nadia of her bold, sexy choice of colour scheme.
As we walk through her home, it is clear her décor is a well curated mix of customised furniture, including quirky lampshades and plush bar stools boasting a crest with both their initials. “We decorated our home with objects that are fascinating to us. I was furniture hunting in LA a while back, and came across a magnificent black lacquered tree trunk,” she recalls. “It was glorious, and so I decided to make it functional by turning it into a table. We designed a piece of glass to go over it and I love how it works.”
A regular at Paris, New York, Milan, and London Fashion Week, Nadia regales us with her scintillating tales and fashion faux pas (though she won’t disclose the embarrassing details) about her very first Paris Fashion Week. “I attended an Elie Saab Haute Couture show and was absolutely mesmerised, overwhelmed, and blown away all at the same time. The incredible dresses that came down the runway were beyond beautiful, and the people who gathered to cheer on Elie Saab were all sorts of colourful.”
Thanks to numerous personal invitations to ateliers, she has amassed an enviable collection of couture pieces, stunning stilettos, and one-of-a-kind handbags. “Simplicity is key,” chimes Nadia, who cites Victoria Beckham and Olivia Palermo as her style icons. Of course, much of that simplicity may just be borne out of necessity.
“I am obsessed with travelling, and most of my activities revolve around food. I’ve since discovered that the best piece of clothing to wear if you want to look amazing while tucking into five buttery croissants and four gooey chocolate éclairs is a peplum top!” giggles Nadia as she nibbles on a piece of cherry Danish pastry accompanied with yoghurt. It is precisely this down-to-earth, girl-next-door charm, balancing her sophisticated wardrobe and sharp soundbites, that keeps everyone guessing what she will be conquering next.
As one of the directors of the Naza Group of Companies (an empire established by her late father, Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin SM Amin), business-savvy Nadia oversees the food and beverage sector. Stars of her acquisitions thus far include Bubba Gump Shrimp, which references the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump; Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, the very establishment that sparked the frozen yoghurt craze in Malaysia; Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant; and most recently, Morelli’s Gelato.
“I’m looking for the perfect spot to open an iconic American restaurant – the International House of Pancakes, better known as IHOP,” reveals Nadia. The restaurant is just one of many on her list set to conquer the food scene in KL. She hopes to entice the city’s culinary enthusiasts with exciting flavours from around the world, creating new food adventures for everyone.
Gourmet fantasies and mothering duties aside, Nadia still finds time to dabble in a spot of mischievous decadence. She recently delved into the thrilling world of online shopping with her newly launched site Portluxe, a pre-owned luxury designer boutique that sells past- and present-season bags, shoes, and clothes. “The idea behind Portluxe was to make fashion more accessible for everyone at an affordable price. It’s a hassle-free portal for fashion connoisseurs to sell their luxury branded items, and for all style enthusiasts to own beautiful designer goods,” she enthuses.
“It all began with the classic tale of a woman having way too many bags and shoes, like that is even possible. I realised I had so many bags, clothes, and shoes that I’ve worn only once or twice. A year later they are collecting dust in the deepest, darkest corners of my wardrobe.” Tastefully curated, Portluxe carries gorgeous items by Chanel, Hermès, Balenciaga, Dior, and many other labels, all in excellent condition albeit pre-owned. “I’m waiting for my sister-in-law, Marion Caunter, to spring-clean her closet!”
NATURE & NURTURE
Nadia credits her parents for keeping her grounded and for all that she has accomplished in life so far. “My parents are the reason I am who I’ve become today. The very person I have grown to be is because of the family values they have instilled within me. Virtues that keep me humble, to give and forgive,” she says. “My late father was the one who always reminded us that success doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work, commitment, and perseverance.”
It’s a strong sentiment she shares with all her siblings. “We grew up with his dream in mind. We saw his passion and how driven he was in achieving it. He dreamt big and it takes the five of us today to make his dream come true,” adds Nadia.
One would think her childhood was brimming with sibling rivalry, having three brothers and a sister, all of whom work together in the family’s company. “Sibling rivalry, no, but squabbles, yes! We get over it within minutes though. You could call it a ‘special’ bond,” she laughs.
With a loving family and thriving business, Nadia is certainly living her life to the fullest. “I’m working my dream job! Though when I was a kid, my ultimate job was to be a dolphin trainer. I was obsessed with dolphins, a dream that I achieved during my honeymoon in Hawaii,” she smiles.
Nadia’s genuine warmth and confidence brings to mind an idea put forward by the 19th-Century French writer Victor Hugo: “Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.” Given her inherent drive, and relentless passion for life, there’s little doubt she will realise, with her siblings, her father’s dream.
Monochrome colours her world
Dior dress; and Miu Miu heels, both her own
Nadia loves personal touches, such as the fresh orchids that were a gift from her brother
Images: Aaron Lee. Words: Sharmita Summugam