Kiena Suhaimi is no stranger to fame; with more than 81k Instagram followers, 20k subscribers on YouTube and other social media numbers we’re not even listing; she’s definitely a rising star to watch out for! She began her journey on YouTube six years ago when her friends kept asking her for tips on hijab styles. Since then, she has grown her channel to not just include hijab tutorials, but also makeup reviews and tutorials and #OOTD styles. As of today, her videos have gained close to 2.5 million views; an impressive feat indeed considering Kiena is just 20 years old! *gasps* When she’s not vlogging, travelling, hosting or modelling (phew!), she’s in school undertaking her Mass Communication degree at UITM Lendu, Melaka. Join us as we have a chat with this gorgeous, hardworking and multitalented Zahara Warrior!
Describe yourself in less than 5 words.
Outgoing. Passionate. Independent. Devoted. Appreciative.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I think my community is well aware of how obsessed I am with makeup! Little did they know, my passion was ignited when I was 5 years old. When my mum was out working, I would secretly ‘’borrow’’ her makeup! I can never forget how she always ran out of her favourite red lipsticks because of me! It was so funny to be reminded of it! My mum’s red lipstick was kind of my magic wand.
I see myself as a strong, independent woman.
Describe a typical weekday for you.
No day is the same for me. I could be out for photoshoots, or maybe I would be on set for hosting. Sometimes I would go out with my girlfriends or maybe I would be at home making and editing YouTube videos!
What’s your favourite haunts in KL? Any cool spots we should know of?
I love going to one-of-a-kind cafes! One of it is Garage KL Cafe. It is located just beside the MRR2 highway. I love the cabin concept and the fact that any pictures taken there is Instagram-approved! The food there is lovely too. I also love going to restaurants or cafes in Bangsar Village. From desserts to main meals, everything is there!
My mum’s red lipstick was kind of my magic wand.
You’re a YouTuber, model and host. What got you into these fields?
I started this little journey way back in 2011. I was fifteen at that time and I was trying to find a new hobby for myself. At that time, a lot of girls have been asking me how I style my hijab. I figured that YouTube would be the best way for me to teach and to show these girls my simple hijab styles. As the years went on, I got involved in small photoshoots for online boutiques . As years passed, modelling became a part-time hobby for me. The first TV programme I hosted was Hijabsters and it was a 13-episode show. It was broadcasted on Bernama News Channel (BNC). It was a very fun and a huge opportunity for me as I got to meet a lot of inspiring business people and brand owners in the fashion industry. It has definitely given me a lot of knowledge and it also improved my communication skills!
How has that experience been?
I remembered my first day of set, I was really shaking and nervous. Growing up, I’m used to talking in front of crowds. However, considering that hosting is a job and it involves a lot of people, it made me feel scared if I messed up my words! Thank goodness, my production crew are all so kind and lovely. Thye were so patient with me and they taught me a lot of things! I remembered the time when I interviewed Vivy Yusof, a fashion icon and inspiration to me (and to a lot of girls out there as well!), I was really really pumped up and I couldn’t stop smiling! I didn’t even look at my script since I knew every detail of her success. It was one unforgettable experience for me, and it even surprised my Director. He said I was finally coming out of my shell, haha!
Perseverance, confidence and courage! Always challenge yourself to be better every day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years‘ time?
I see myself as a strong, independent woman. I will still be making YouTube videos and I hope that I can go far with my hosting career. Probably I’d set up a business or a line and settled down with a husband, hehe!
As a Zahara Warrior, what advice would you give someone hoping to break into the YouTube/modelling/hosting world like yourself?
Perseverance, confidence and courage! Always remind yourself every day of what you want to achieve. Look out and grab any chances out there for you to shine, expose and improve your talents. The journey might be hard but most importantly, you’ll learn something out of it and if you failed, you’re not afraid to get up and try again. Always challenge yourself to be better every day. I’m a person who needs constant motivation to keep on going, so I always find reasons for me to boost my spirit and energy. It work wonders, always!
I love how Vivy and Neelofa are able to express their identity through their outfits.
Speaking of advice, what’s the best advice you’ve given?
I’m not the best advisor, but what I can say and remind other girls and myself is to be comfortable with our own skin. Embrace yourself. You are special and perfect just the way you are. I love makeup so much that I used to be afraid and insecure of showing my bare skin to the public. I was afraid that I might be judged because I used to struggle with terrible acne. Later on, I realised that if I’m confident with myself, my inner self will shine brighter that what you see on the outside. Never belittle yourself and make yourself feel like you’re not good enough. There’s always a room for improvisation and most importantly, you’re not living with fears or insecurities anymore. Live your life and be happy!
Do you have anything exciting lined up, either at work or in your personal life?
I must say I cannot wait for 2017! I’ll be hosting my second season of TV programmes and pursuing my degree!
Who are your style icons?
My answer isn’t shocking at all. If in Malaysia, it would be Vivy Yusof and Neelofa. I love how they are able to express their identity through their outfits. It is really inspiring to see career women who have amazing fashion sense with undoubtedly great personality. I’m also inspired by Dina Tokio and Indah Nada Puspita!
If you were stranded in a deserted island, which makeup item would you bring?
This is the hardest question of all! I’d go for concealer! My eyeballs are no jokes, haha!
Any beauty secrets you can share with us?
I used to have a really dry skin so it’s my weekly ritual to indulge in face masks or any kind of masks at least 2 times a week. Also, aloe vera gel work wonders for t