3 Lessons On Life In The Spotlight With Schawal Co-Founder Awal Ashaari
3.6 million of Awal Ashaari's followers watch his every move on Instagram daily. His feed is curated with events he attends hand-in-hand with his glamorous wife Scha Alyahya and private moments at home with his adorable daughter Lara Alana.
With Scha as his business partner, Awal also runs a retail enterprise named after their nickname as a couple, SchAwal. Together, Awal and Scha create and curate products under their names such as clothing, perfume and accessories.
On his own, he is a veteran in the entertainment business, known for his stint as a TV host, actor and model. Yet, despite his fame, Awal remains humble, approachable and eager to share the wisdom he has accumulated from years in the industry.
Here, this super influencer relates three truths about fame and success that every entrepreneur, innovator and talented creative should know before they decide to step into the limelight.
Persistence Is Key To Success
From the age of 10, Awal recalls a fascination for the performing arts. “In school, I volunteered to try all sorts of performances—sajak, syair and choir—just for a chance to go onstage. It is exciting to have a chance to speak up and be heard,” he reveals.
While he admitted that stage work comes naturally to him, he still had to work hard to penetrate into the entertainment industry at the start of his career.
“It is difficult to be spotted in those days. There were little opportunities to become a TV host, which is what I have always dreamt of doing. But I never gave up. I auditioned for acting roles; I even joined singing competitions like Akademi Fantasia and Malaysian Idol. I tried everything because I wanted people to recognise me and my talent,” he said.
This persistence helped him a great deal when he became an entrepreneur. “Although my pride took a hit at every rejection in those days, I am grateful for the experience. It taught me to never give up when things are tough—which makes me even more determined to be successful!” he says.
With Fame, Comes Responsibility
“People think if you get a lot of sponsors for your posts or if you speak well in front of a camera, you have what it takes. But it’s more than that. There is a lot of self-awareness that comes with fame, like ethics and values. Before you get in front of the camera or stand in front of a crowd, it is important to ask yourself, what’s my purpose for doing this?” relates Awal on his philosophy of fame today.
“You can’t just claim fame without addressing the responsibility that comes with it. When you make a statement as a public figure, people are listening to you. Some of them will follow your example. So it is your duty when you are famous to put positive values out there for a ripple effect,” he says.
Until today, Awal is adamant that ethics come first for him. “I will never put aside my integrity for the sake of viral fame, no matter how competitive it gets in the work that I do,” he emphasised.
To Keep Fame, You Must Work Harder Than Ever
Fame can be as fickle as it comes. When your income is tied to your fame, it can sometimes be normal to fear change in anticipation of backlash from making a wrong move, according to Awal.
For instance, his decision to leave entertainment show Melodi TV3 as a host after six years was a hard choice to make.
“After six years, I realised I wasn’t being fair to the producers because my heart was not in it anymore. But I still had so much doubts. Will people accept my decision? Will I be able to survive after leaving this show? Will there be other TV work for me? Will I be able to support my wife and daughter?” he revealed.
His wife Scha provided him with advice and support during these times. “She said, ‘If you feel uncertain about this, then you must leave. It is not fair to you or the people behind the show. I am sure we can manage.’ Her words helped me put things into perspective,” he shares.
Awal's departure from Melodi has allowed for new opportunities to come knocking on his door. While he acknowledged he has to work harder than ever to make up for the stability that Melodi brought to his career, he has never been happier to take this risk because he knows that he is on the right track towards a better future for himself and his growing family.
Also watch: Awal and five other Generation T listers on the value of time
Photography: Kah Mun
Creative Direction: Allan Casal
Venue: Swiss Watch Gallery, Pavilion KL
Watches: IWC Schaffhausen