Nothing is more attractive and empowering than seeing an independent woman who knows there’s no need to take permission for what she wants to do in life – she just goes ahead and does it. In this modern era; we are surrounded by independent women who are the reason the conventional saying ‘behind every great man stands a woman’ has evolved to become vice versa.
An actress, a loving wife, a caring mother, owner of a thriving business, friend, daughter, celebrity, Malaysia is home to a successful and independent woman; Wawa Zainal.
“Hi!” greeted a chirpy Wawa as she entered the studio where our interview and photoshoot was held. She is gorgeous in the flesh as she is on Instagram.
All alone sans entourage, it was pleasantly humbling to know she needn’t a whole squad to escort her to places. Like any other capable and independent woman, she drove herself to meet with SalamToday.
Had she not announced on Instagram that she and hubby are expecting baby no.3 prior to this interview, not a single soul would’ve been able to guess she was already 3 months pregnant.
Wawa and her actor husband Aeril Zafrel are beyond excited with a new addition on the way, as it has been 4 years since Wawa gave birth to her second child. The couple already have a pair – a boy and a girl who are 6 and 4 so they wouldn’t mind the gender of the next child.
“But if it’s a girl, I’ll stop at 3 kids. If we’re getting a boy, I’d have to try once more for another girl,” she said with a smile.
Granted she was only in her first trimester of her pregnancy, but weight gain wasn’t obvious. In fact, even with her past pregnancies, Wawa remains slim in her petite figure only with the exception of a protruding belly. Women might turn green with envy if they read this, but she doesn’t have to work hard to maintain her figure that way – she’s just blessed with it.
“I think it’s in the genes – my sister who has 7 kids still look same too. She didn’t have to work hard to regain her pre-baby body,” said Wawa.
A LUCKY WOMAN
A peek into the life of Wawa Zainal through Instagram worthy of 3.1 million followers will leave you an impression that she is one lucky woman. Indeed, she is. Young, famous, beautiful, happily married to a loving husband with two kids in two and another on the way, she is truly blessed with a good life.
She began acting at the age of 12, and as she grew older, climbed her way to become one of the most well-known actresses in Malaysia, leading her to take home the Most Popular Female New Artist award during the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian, an annual award show held in Malaysia back in 2012.
But being hounded by controversies is part and parcel of the celebrity life. Wawa and her husband became the media’s target back in 2013 for keeping their marriage a secret from the public. Reason being, the management company they were both tied to had a policy where artists under their wing weren’t allowed to be romantically involved.
Afraid of the consequences that would follow if the company discovered of their relationship status, they decided to keep it a secret until their contracts with the company came to an end. But things didn’t work in their favour when their big secret was revealed, forcing them to explain everything to the media.
Wawa and Aeril apologized to the media and public, and moved on with life.
Of course, things weren’t always easy for Wawa and Aeril in the beginning. Financially, it wasn’t all too stable (they tied the knot at a very young age, 23 for Aeril and 21 for Wawa).
“I remember getting into arguments and fights with Aeril in the beginning because I wasn’t matured enough at the time.”
“Thank God for Aeril who is incredibly patient and puts up with my flaws – eventually I became better as I grew older,” she said.
“Things weren’t always as easy back then for us as how it is for us now. We always look back and laugh at the memories which made us who we are today.”
“People always told me that I could’ve easily married someone with money and success already, but I chose to go through this path.”
“I’d rather struggle and rise to success together with my husband, instead of having the easy way just like that without having to work for it,” she said.
Wawa said she feels lucky to be married to Aeril as they share this journey in the spotlight together.
“It will be hard if I have a partner who doesn’t understand the challenges I have to go through as a public figure, so to have Aeril along for the ride, I’m incredibly lucky,” she said.
Fans on social media have taken notice how Wawa and Aeril are always playful with each other on Instagram, as they often tease each other with inside jokes and harmless pranks.
“How fans see us tease each other on Instagram, that’s how we are in real life. Beyond the husband and wife title, we treat each other like best friends do, that’s the fun part,” she said.
If there’s one thing Wawa learned from her eight-year marriage is that couples need to always compromise and find their middle ground in everything they do.
“The key to a strong relationship first comes from taking care of our relationship with Allah S.W.T, and second taking care of each other’s needs and wants. Lessen the arguments and fights. It’s important to communicate,” she said.
ACTING & BUSINESS
Wawa has not been constantly active in her acting career as she shifts her focus towards her family and business. In fact, it has been awhile since fans have seen her in action on screen.
Wawa said that for now, she chooses to let Aeril shine and go forth in solidifying his career in showbiz.
“I’m going to let him pursue that while I focus on our kids as well as my businesses,” she said.
Wawa currently owns a cosmetic line called Wawa Cosmetics which sell a range of matte lipsticks, blush, eyeshadow and more.
Meanwhile, her other business sells honey imported all the way from Turkey called Soullead.
When Wawa and Aeril were both busy trying to attain success and fame as thespians, Aeril had advised Wawa to stop working so that he can support her.
But Wawa was determined to still make a living and work hard to help her husband raise their family.
“I think it’s important for women to stand strong and do things for themselves. I am glad my husband is okay with that too,” she said.
Behind the Face of Salam
- Face of Salam : Wawa Zainal
Project Manager & Coordinator : Shah Shamshiri
Text: Syahirah Mokhtazar
Editor : Ili Farhana Mohamed
Photographer: Bustamam Mokhtar, White Studio
Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
Stylist : The Latifi
Hijab Stylist: The Latifi
Make-up Artiste : Saidatul Nisa
Wardrobe & accessories : Stylist’s own