Radiating beauty and charm akin to her dazzling Swarovski accoutrements from the Spring/Summer 2019 collection, multi-hyphenate Neelofa (@neelofa) is our cover star for the L'Officiel Malaysia May 2019 "Be Kind" issue – making her the first ever female Hijabi to be featured on an L'Officiel cover in the Southeast Asia region.
Rising to fame for her entertainment portfolio and also her hijab empire Naelofar, this amazing personality shows no sign of stopping. Named as one of Forbes Asia's "30 Under 30" in 2017, she proves to be the embodiment of Swarovski, a brand she has worked with since 2016.
During our cover shoot, Neelofa gets candid in an interview about her partnership with the jewellery label, her booming hijab empire, dealing with fame and beyond.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Neelofa:
Being a chameleon-like fashion star, how do you describe your personal style?
My personal style has always been laid-back, and I tend to gravitate towards classic pieces. I prioritise comfort as well. Of course, I love to explore and try new trends and styles, but classic is the way to go for me.
How has your experience on the international fashion stage helped you better your own Naelofar label?
For one, don’t be afraid to experiment with new things. After a while, I had to find alternative ways to sustain my brand for it to stay relevant in the fast-moving fashion industry.
Therefore, my team and I decided to rebrand and restructure Naelofar in terms of its image, marketing, communications, designs and so on. So far, the feedback and response from the public have been very encouraging.
As a public figure in a relatively conservative society which often doles out harsh criticism, how do you stay kind to yourself?
Believe me, sometimes, I still take the harsh criticism to heart. But then I always remind myself that I know myself best, and my family and loved ones know me best so it makes it easier to ultimately ignore the negativity.
You have to learn to pick your battles because not all battles are meant to be fought or won. If I had fought all my battles, I wouldn’t be here now.
With your family members fast gaining fame and success of their own, how did you prepare them for what’s to come? Who are you most more concerned for and why?
Mostly, I just have a heart-to-heart talk with them to remind them of what to expect and how to handle criticism. I am always here for them if they need anything. I think I am concerned for all of them but I know they are smart and can take care of themselves.
At times, my sisterly instincts kick in, but everyone has to learn on their own so they can know and do better. So I take a step back and let them do their own thing.
You have been a friend of Swarovski for almost three years now. What is your most memorable moment with the brand so far?
I know! It has been the most magical three years! Swarovski has always been very, very, very generous to me; creative director Nathalie Colin is a gem and she always makes me feel welcome.
All my moments with the brand are favourites, but the most memorable one has to be my visit to their HQ in Austria, where I was introduced to all things Swarovski. It was such a great time.
Do you remember the first Swarovski jewellery you purchased? Do you still have it? And what are your favourite pieces from the Swarovski S/S ‘19 collection?
I think it was a bangle, a pretty one, and yes, I still have it! As for the S/S ‘19 collection, I absolutely adore the lizard skin-inspired Notorious Cocktail Ring as well as the dramatic cascade of silver and gold crystals of the Golden Shadow Notorious Earrings.
What Swarovski values do you relate with?
Well, what about adding sparkle to our everyday life? I think it’s important to note that Swarovski empowers by giving an extra boost of confidence to women and anyone wearing their pieces. It is both inspiring and heart-warming. I also hope in some ways, I have achieved the same mission with women out there.
Neelofa in three words.
Laugh the loudest or building a legacy! (laughs) I think it’ll be consistent, unstoppable and empowered.
What do you have in store for your fans?
For the most part of this year, I am focusing on rebranding Naelofar and Naelofar Hijab. I’ll be travelling out of town regularly to expand my brands internationally as well. Stay tuned for updates!