Natasha Hudson has went through a lot. On the morning of our photoshoot with her, as she sips on water while our make-up artiste Saidatulnisa preps her face, Tasha walked us through her career path and what she has been up to all this while.
“I started really early, about 7 years old. It was commercials then. I took a break for awhile and then got discovered, or is it rediscovered, at the age of 16. I did commercials and TV hostings, mostly for English programmes. I studied Performing Arts during my college days and I was at a point where I felt that I needed to diversify my career path, and earn a bit more income when the offer to act came in. It was for a local Malay telemovie with a popular comedy group. I remember not really liking acting for TV but somehow offers kept on coming in. I’ve acted for local TV dramas and telemovies as well as films. And won two awards for film,” said Natasha.
Somewhere in between all that, Natasha got married, started her own business, and went back to school.
“Whatever I wanted, the openings were there all the time. I said I wanted to start a business, it happened. I said I wanted to study, it happened,” she said.
“I wore the hijab before a lot of other local celebrities decided to don it, and everybody asked if I’m not scared of losing my showbiz-related jobs. I didn’t mind. It’s not for me to control my rizq anyway. The offers were there but I didn’t want to take jobs just because. So while I was out of the limelight, I focused on family a lot, and worked on different areas of life. And whatever I was doing, I was happy enough. For me, I didn’t really have to be on top all the time. Sometimes you have to go down a bit, take a break and come back up again.”
Going Back to School, Business and AmalHope
“I was aggressive with my studies. It’s soul feeding for me. I finish one level, continue to the next, and then next and so on,” Tasha explained when we asked her about going back to school. This mother of three studied Islamic Studies, both diploma and degree at Arees University Malaysia.
“After around 5 years of starting it, I stopped my fashion business. I stopped right before there were too many brands out there focusing on muslimah-wear and before it got too overwhelming for me to handle. But I still have my essential oils business and I have about 2000 distributors under me, Alhamdulillah.”
“However, me being me, I’m always looking for something new to do. And I wanted to do something that I can associate the knowledge that I have and the community. I noticed that people are easily inspired by things on Instagram and sisters are always reaching out for knowledge and sharing so I started an NGO (non-profit organisation) called AmalHope to organise knowledge circles, sharing sessions and halaqahs before moving on to working with other NGOs to help other communities, such as in Syria, Jordan and Lombok, Indonesia.”
“When other NGOs go into calamity-stricken places like these, usually it becomes a one-off thing. Not for AmalHope. We, together with our partners, maintain contact with the same community and work on rebuilding life for the same group of people so that we can be consistent.”
“Everybody’s so enthusiastic in what they do and I feel that helps me grow as a person too. Sometimes I feel like quitting because it can get very tiring. Raising funds and helping others can drain you out, but when one project is done, I always look forward to the next one.”
Rekindling Love For Sports
When we approached Natasha for this Face of Salam shoot, she suggested a shoot with horses. However, as time wasn’t permitting, we couldn’t make it happen but we had to ask, what’s up with horses?
Apparently Tasha has long loved horse-riding and a lot of other sports. “I was very athletic. I was even into rhythmic gymnastics when I was young and almost joined the national team for Commonwealth Games. Anyway, after I came back from Kelantan (where she stayed at during her previous marriage), I really had to deal with myself. And I wanted to do things that I’ve been wanting to do for so many years. The top two things on the list—start cycling again and start horse-riding again.”
“And I did just that– I bought myself a bicycle and I started horse-riding. One thing that I did not expect was picking up horseback archery. I did ground archery with my eldest daughter casually before, but now I’m doing horseback archery. I do it almost everyday these days. And I’m getting encouragement to do it more seriously and enter competitions. It’s a good sport, really. It keeps me focused and it’s very good for my well-being.”
“I feel like this is part of my healing too. In the past, there are times when I feel that I don’t give myself enough time to heal, but not this time.”
On Divorce, Healing and Self-Love
“Yes, there’s a stigma. Yes, people will talk. That’s life. This time around I must say I’m affected. But I just had to get out of my last one,” Tasha said about her recent divorce.
“I really don’t care about what people say about me. They don’t know what my heart wanted. They don’t know me and my life. Some people crave to be married because they want love, I crave to be married because I want a family. I truly believe in the family system. But unfortunately it’s not my luck. God is trying to say, “Tasha, you have to go through multiple difficulties first.””
“A lot of the things that has happened to me I think has a lot to do with my childhood which I just figured out now, especially in terms of searching for a strong male figure or a complete family system.”
“Other people date a lot of other people. I don’t date. I don’t believe in the dating system. I make it official. If it happens, it happens. But if I spot a fake, I run away quickly. And that’s applicable even in friendship.”
“However I have come to realise, and it took me four marriages to realise this, that I need to love myself more. I now understand what self-love means. And I’ve come to realise too that now, I’m being shown all the missing puzzle pieces and Allah has helped me put all of them together. I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of old friends too.”
“Allah has put me in these seemingly random places to teach me something and to save me. I may not get a perfect family of my own, but I seem to get the support of the right friends. They have helped me a lot. That’s Allah’s way to bless me I’m sure and I’m thankful for it.”
Tasha also said, “I had to go through all that to understand myself. I also learnt that religion should be taken moderately. For me, everyone’s going through a trial. Even when we talk about the hijab or niqab and you see a sister putting it on or taking it off, don’t judge. Give her support. You don’t know what’s she’s going through.”
“As strong as I look, I’m not strong too. There are days I crash. And do I have plans to remarry? I cannot plan. If it happens, it happens.”
“I get a lot of women asking me how to end their relationships. To me, if you’re being tortured in marriage, what’s the point of staying in it? Why suffer when you’ve tried. I had to go through four to understand what I want in my life. What the older generation said about marriage is true. It’s not all about love. Love will grow. Marriage is about respect between two people.”
Social Media, Podcast and #KitaSista
When talking about keeping herself busy, Tasha has also mentioned how she’s using social media and technology to connect, not just with fans but other ladies who need emotional support.
“Social media is my forte. I do consultations on branding and social media. Apart from that I also have my podcast and that’s available on Spotify and other streaming platforms.”
“My podcast is based on my observation on a lot of things. People come up to me to tell me about their problems, emotions, attachments, and heartbreaks. I write about them, and as it is, I have been writing quite a bit, so now I project my writings vocally. When listeners listen to my podcast, they feel very connected.”
“But I’m trying to change things up a bit. I want to try to get into interviewing other people. I want to try to talk about normal topics but from a different perspective or angle. I don’t want my podcast to be just another ‘how-to’ podcast.”
A lot of her followers have also been reaching out to her for support and realising that there’s a strong need for a support circle for ladies, regardless of religion and race, Tasha started a circle called ‘KitaSista.’ “I’ve had this idea for a long time, and finally made it happen. It’s more active on Facebook for now. I hope we can have an event soon. Everybody needs one person at least who they can talk to and can give constructive feedback for growth.”
“Keeping myself busy,and planning my life is part of my healing too. Being around someone everyday to talk things out, even for just five minutes mean a lot to me. My children, my amazing children, has helped me a lot. My eldest is really like my best friend. I definitely have learnt from my past to make sure my future with my kids will be different.”
By the end of that conversation, we were at awe. Natasha Hudson is one strong woman. And a very busy one too. May Allah give you ease in navigating life this point onwards. Keep on going, Tasha!
Behind the Face of Salam
- Face of Salam : Natasha Hudson
- Project Manager & Co-ordinator : Shah Shamshiri
- Text: Ili Farhana
- Editor : Shah Shamshiri
Photographer: Bustamam Mokhtar, White Studio
- Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
- Art Director : Amy Miyake
Stylist: Amy Miyake
- Make-up Artiste : Saidatulnisa Aminuddin
- Suit: Wanpa
- Long Dress: MimpiKita
- Shoes, accessories, scarf: Stylist’s Own