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DATUK Siti Nurhaliza isn’t just a singer – she’s a triple threat, but not in the conventional Hollywood sense.

Aside from being an amazing singer, Siti is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist, one who recently managed to raise over RM40,000 for children with life-threatening heart diseases.

R.AGE caught up with Siti at a press conference to celebrate the success of SimplySiti Di Hati, an annual campaign by her cosmetic company, SimplySiti. Three children selected by Institut Jantung Negara – Logasree Vijayan, 4, Andrew Lim, 13, and Aida Zakiah Mohamed Amin, 8 – were able to undergo much-needed surgeries thanks to the campaign.

Siti poses with (from right) Logasree Vijayan, 4 and Aida Zakiah Mohamed Amin, 8, who have completed their surgery while 13-year-old Andrew Lim (not present) was advised to rest ahead of his upcoming operation.

Siti poses with (from right) Logasree Vijayan, 4 and Aida Zakiah Mohamed Amin, 8, who have completed their surgery while 13-year-old Andrew Lim (not present) was advised to rest ahead of his upcoming operation.

Driving the campaign forward was Siti, who showed she still has that same work ethic and humble nature that brought her success in the first place by working as a salesgirl in SimplySiti counters across the country to help raise funds.

After all, Siti achieved superstardom the hard way. Growing up in a poor family in Temerloh, Pahang, she started working at an early age, and would go for countless performances, auditions and competitions to realise her dreams of being a singer.

As part of the campaign, Siti helped apply make up on a fan at the Watsons outlet in Alamanda, Putrajaya. - Photo by SimplySiti

As part of the campaign, Siti helped apply make up on a fan at the Watsons outlet in Alamanda, Putrajaya. – Photo by SimplySiti

She spoke to us about life as an artiste before YouTube, staying relevant in the industry for 20 years, what it was like working as a SimplySiti salesgirl and more.

You’ve been on top of your game for nearly two decades. How do you do it?
If you wanna be an artiste, you have to sacrifice a lot of things, because you have to work hard. There is no easy way to success. And each time I release an album, I approach it as though I’m a new artiste. You also have to be nice to everyone, whether it’s the media or other artistes because our music industry isn’t as huge as the United States’, so, it is important to respect one another.

But how do you keep your music relevant?
I can’t change my style of singing just to keep up with trends, because I would lose my own identity as an artiste. I maintain that because that’s how my fans recognise me. What I can do is evolve and alter the music arrangements. I try to fit what I feel listeners like into my own music.

There are so many YouTube singers in Malaysia now. Any advice for those who want to take their careers to the next level?
I think YouTube is a great platform to discover new talents. We didn’t have anything like it back in my time, so we had to travel a lot for auditions before being discovered. Now, with a click of a button, you can record, upload and get an audience. But not every good singer or musician can make it on the big stage. He or she also has to have a unique quality, and originality.

Aspiring artistes can’t be like, “Oh, Yuna found fame through this so I wanna do the same”. You can’t do that. You have to have your own style. Record companies also have to start looking for these unique voices, instead of going for the same kind of artistes all the time.

Having said that, aside from being talented, artistes also have to prove they can survive the pressure of being in this very competitive industry.

You have a successful cosmetics brand now. Any plans for a fashion line?
In this world of celebrity, we can do and be involved in a lot of things like cosmetic, skin care, body care, hair care and fashion. Fashion is one of my passions. I’m involved in beauty and skin care because that’s my second interest apart from singing. But for fashion, it’s a little complicated because I need to find good materials and designers. Maybe, in a year or two, when I’m ready, I’ll venture into fashion.

Your SimplySiti Di Hati campaign is in its third year, and you worked as a SimplySiti salesgirl again to help drive donations. What was the experience like?
Each year, we have different experiences because we come up with new activities for the fans, like quizzes and makeup sessions for the two SimplySiti users who spent the most on the products. And if they want some makeup tips, or to find out more about the SimplySiti products, they had the chance to ask me in person. It took me a day to travel to those places, so that meant I could only see my fans for an hour.

But with that being said, I didn’t wanna disappoint my fans because I don’t go to places outside of Kuala Lumpur often. So, when I had the opportunity to be closer to my fans, I made full use of it and made it worthwhile for them. There were some fans that followed me to every state even though they live in KL! It was like they were on tour with me. I was really overwhelmed by their effort.

You also gave three lucky SitiZoners some of your personal belongings – your favourite pair of Gucci sunglasses, a clutch from Spain and a sweater from Portugal, which you’ve only worn once. Was it your idea to present them with your own stuff?
I feel it’s more meaningful when you gift someone with one of your personal belongings. You should give them something you love. That’s what makes it special. So, when I was picking out the items, I told myself, “I like this, so I’ll give it to someone”.

You’re very active on social media, particularly Instagram. Is it 100 percent Siti?
Yes, I handle everything whether it’s Instagram or Twitter. I post my own pictures and I write my own captions because my fans are very familiar with what I post and how I usually caption my pictures. If I let someone else do it, people will know it’s not Siti Nurhaliza.


 

Since Siti is such a huge fan of Instagram, here’s an Insta-video from our interview…
And here’s a very expert #selfie she took with R.AGE journalist Vivienne. She does like a million of them with fans every time she steps out.

About

Our entertainment and celebrity news expert who happens to be disturbingly good at laser tag. Graduated with a degree in communications at 21 and went straight into the magazine business. She not only writes for R.AGE now, but also coordinates our long-running BRATs young journalist programme.

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