This year marks her 20th year in the entertainment industry but there’s no slowing down for multifaceted Malaysian singer and actress Ziana Zain as she continues to do what she does best in the entertainment scene. Here, she talks to Esther Loh on beauty, family and her dreams.
Walking into the studio for the photo shoot, Ziana Zian, whose real name is Siti Roziana binti Zin, is all smiles from ear to ear. Possessing a bubbly personality, Ziana greets everyone with a simple “Hello, good morning” – which brightens up our day.
A mother of four to Muhammad Aiman, 11, Muhammad Ammar, 8, and two-year-old twins – Muhammad Ariel (boy) and Siti Nour Kaseh (girl) – Ziana has been juggling family and a career for the past 11 years. Placing her family first, she makes sure everything is ready for them before she leaves for work every day. Her eyes light up with pride whenever she talks about them.
Ziana has wowed her fans with countless number one hits. Her powerful voice was undoubtedly what led to her being crowned Voice Of Asia in Kazakhstan in 1995. She has also tried her hand at acting and was in popular movies such as Sembilu, Maria Mariana and Magika. Last year, she ventured into musical theatre with Teater Muzikal Gamat 2 and Teater Muzikal Antara. Her recent stint in Mentor, a local reality singing show where she coached a protégé, showed that she continues to have what it takes to be in this challenging industry.
Ziana has been a reader of Cosmetic Surgery & Beauty magazine for some time now and said, “There’s a lot of engaging information inside this magazine!” She enjoys reading about the latest beauty solutions and was fascinated by how new technology can help in sculpting the perfect body.
Everyone in the room was in agreement that Ziana certainly doesn’t look her 43 years. When asked what her trick to looking young and gorgeous is, she humbly replied, “Just a glass of water when I wake up every morning and taking care of the active twins!”
As I interviewed her in the dressing room, Ziana made the effort to keep looking at me as she replied my questions, even as the make-up artist worked on her face. She exuded charm and warmth through her gestures as she spoke to us with clarity and confidence.
I have liked singing since I was young. People started noticing me after I performed in place of my brother, Anuar Zain, at a palace function for the Sultan of Selangor. Anuar was sitting for his SRP (Sijil Rendah Pelajaran or Lower Certificate of Education) then so I jumped at the great opportunity. I also won a singing competition after I completed secondary school, which made me think to myself – I actually have a gift and the crowd loves me! Then, I started working and singing at the same time.
Yes! Before that I tried many other jobs. I was a canteen helper, a florist, [thinks hard] a promoter and a cashier. I flew for Malaysia Airlines for two and a half years. While flying, I gave myself a year to think thoroughly about what I wanted to do in the future. I surveyed the market and tested the water before jumping into it! [Laughs]
I wouldn’t encourage them to do it. There are too many sacrifices you have to make to be in this industry. Besides that, there are many temptations out there and you have to stay grounded. You also need to be mindful of your actions, as people will only remember the bad things you do and will forget all the good deeds you’ve done. Thank God I have my parents to encourage and to be there for me.
[Smiles] Actually, I treat it as a learning process every day. There are so many things I can learn about my husband and my children. The way they speak, their behaviour and their body language intrigues me. My husband also inspires me. Unless we make plans to dine out or we have to work, I try to make sure we have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the dining table together at home. This is important to bond as a family. I also make sure that the children are well fed before they go to school. We also enjoy strolling in the park and sometimes my husband comes with us if he’s home early.
I prefer to stay at home and spend time watching DVDs with my husband and children. Occasionally, my husband and I will go for teh tarik.
After the birth of my twins, many people including the media kept asking my manager when I would be ready to go back into the entertainment scene. So, after some rest and shedding the extra pounds with Slim World (Ziana has been a brand ambassador for seven years), I returned to singing and performing.
From an early age, my father was very particular about what my siblings and I would wear. He always stressed that we must be well groomed before we leave the house. So the concept was instilled in me and it’s a habit now. Of course, this does put some pressure on us, but whether you’re a celebrity or not you should look after your own image. It’s better to do it yourself rather than being told to do so later on.
Since we can’t fight the course of nature, why not embrace it and age gracefully? Accept the fact and try to maintain as much as you can. There are many options to looking good that are available now with cosmetic surgeries and treatments such as lasers and Botox®. You can go for them but don’t overdo it and always go to an experienced and qualified surgeon. The most important thing is to have a calm and peaceful heart. It will take years off your body [smiles].
Personally, I’m not against it. It is something that could do wonders to your face and body. But, it’s not for me at the moment. I’m still comfortable with myself. I won’t say that I wouldn’t do it in the future though. When the time comes, maybe I will get something done [chuckles].
I would get rid of my tummy [laughs]. I haven’t been able to get rid of it since the birth of my twins. I’m watching what I’m putting into my body now though, so I hope it will go away soon!
I want to be involved in the food and beverage industry next. I can’t say when that will happen. There are many things to do such as conducting market research to see what people like before embarking on this little project of mine.
It’s really a challenge because everything has to be done in one shoot. There are no cuts and stops. You need to remember your script, you have to act and keep your expressions in check and read the other actors’ body language as you make eye contact. They can’t be telling you verbally what you need to do next. You’ll also get to learn to co-ordinate and co-operate with a huge cast and it’s great to be a part of the production.
It was the birth of my twins. At my age, the doctor feared that I would develop high blood pressure or other complications. True enough, I gave birth to my twins prematurely via Caesarean section. I lost almost 10 pints of blood. Before I slipped into unconsciousness, I told myself that I needed to see my twins and raise my children. I guess my strong will brought me back. I was placed in the intensive care unit, monitored by doctors and nurses around the clock with tubes inserted in my neck and tummy. The doctor told my husband that my chances of survival were only 50-50. It was scary going through that near death experience. It made me treasure life and my family more. I felt as if I was given a second chance in life.
I don’t see myself as a successful person. I’m not satisfied with my achievements yet. I believe I still have a lot to share. Perhaps one day, after my children are old enough to manage by themselves, I will look into how I can give back to society.
I’m looking forward to a mini album by the end of the year. I’ve been releasing singles for the past three to four years so it’s now time to release an album. Maybe I’ll try to rope Anuar Zain in it as well! [Laughs] There will be some TV shows for the Raya celebrations so look out for them!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ronny Ee @ Pashe Studio
HAIR & MAKE-UP: Najeeb
CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES: Jovian Mandagie