How I do it: Tengku Chanela Jamidah

The local designer, businesswoman and style icon in the making takes us through a day in her life

By ELLE Malaysia | Published: 22 Aug 2016

HIDI: Tengku Chanela
Photo: Tengku Chanela Jamidah

I guess you could say I'm a go-getter. I like to do things before anyone else and love challenges. I appreciate the beauty in everything from a Balinese sunset to a well-designed Rosie Assoulin dress. I'm a woman and mother before anything else and I am slightly obsessed with my kids. I create brands. I'm quite the realist. And I've just learnt that I'm also into makeup – creating different colours, textures and shades for DIDA. I never knew it could be so fun!


My family calls me 'Sleeping Beauty'. I must have at least 8 hours sleep without interruption or I won't have as good a day. The only time I am woken is when my daughter kisses me goodbye before she goes to school. I usually wake at about 8am+ and the first thing I do is wish my husband good morning with a smile. I then check my phone for any messages I get overnight, usually from my sister in the US or cousin in the UK, who sends ridiculous jokes or inappropriate translations from Malay to English on movie subtitles, all on family chat. Some of them are hilarious!

I look to see if my son is awake, he usually plays downstairs and has breakfast so I join him. I'm a bread person so it's either Pandesal, which is a Filipino bun, or oats for me. I don't leave for the office till 10am+ so I spend some time getting ready and choosing my outfit depending on what I have planned for the day. Most days we usually take pictures for Instagram, so lately I experiment a lot with different lip colours to complete my look, from dark brown to violet. I always have my Omorovicza lip balm as my lips tend to get quite dry. It's the best I've tried, I bought it at Joyce beauty in Hong Kong.

Tengku Chanela with her family (Photo: Tengku Chanela Jamidah)


Right now I am obsessed with Shu Uemura oil cleanser and skin perfector. I am also loving the Glossier Balm Dotcom for dry patches on my skin. Right now DIDA in Flirt is my go-to nude colour, you can't go wrong with the shade.

Dida's Velvet Matte Lip Creme (Photo: Dida)


I'm a typical Asian. I need my rice and noodles all the time. That and dim sum, at Chynna and Dolly. My husband loves Korean BBQ so it's Da On in Pavilion or Momotalo in Hartamas. We also frequent U on Jalan Bangkung as it holds so many memories for us. That is where my husband asked my mum's permission to marry me. I also love Ploy in Publika, Ekkamai, Ril's for a good steak and pasta at Mario and Luigi. I have a sweet tooth so desserts are the way to my heart. The charcoal pavlova at Bakar is divine, and Jaslyn cakes.


I arrive at the showroom at 11am. My colleagues Narisa and Raissa usually give me a breakdown of what we need to do for the day with regards to my fashion businesses Thavia and Editions. Customers pop in and out during the day. Recently we have had a lot come in to buy DIDA. They are trying their luck and hoping that the sold out Lust is available there. It's not. It's seriously sold out. Sorry guys.

My main responsibilities are running over the marketing and sales plans for the brands. Overseeing DIDA orders as well and making sure the customers are getting their pieces. I love to check our online store to see what colours have sold out. It makes me so happy to hear that little "ping" whenever a sale is made. That's probably why I do this. To make a sale gives me such a satisfying thrill. I'm mainly on my phone orw Whatsapp throughout the day. It's such a constant that it gives me bad neck pain. Which is why I usually go for a massage at least once every two weeks. I leave early to hot yoga at Hot Yo studio in Hartamas where I find my Zen and calm, which helps a lot with my hectic lifestyle.

Tengku Chanela always makes time for exercise in her busy schedule (Photo: Tengku Chanela Jamidah)


Work never ends. I don't think I've ever been able to switch off. Even though I am not in the showroom my mind is constantly switched on to work mode. I answer emails and Whatsapp late at night If I have to. If I have an event I go off to do my hair and then come home to do my makeup with one of my makeup artists. I usually love to style a complete look from head to toe so from the shoes to the hair it will be all perfect for the evening's event. I do light dinners at home where I usually cook a pasta bake or a stew for the kids. I was not made for the kitchen so easy comfort food works best at home. I love my shows – Scandal, Suits, Game of Thrones, Narcos – so my husband and I usually watch an episode on nights I am free. If I have done a workout in the day, it's easier for me to fall asleep but otherwise I do some light reading and even rub some calming oils to get my body all relaxed. My husband and I usually chat late into the night and I'm in bed by midnight on weekdays. Slightly later on weekends.

Dressed up and ready for an event (Photo: Tengku Chanela Jamidah)


What's the best lesson you've learned on the job?
Never give up and never take no for an answer.

How do you overcome professional setbacks?
With solutions. There is always one, you just have to find it.

Are you a productive person? If so, what's your secret?
I can be super productive but I can also be such a homey – lie in bed the whole day and watch Narcos full season.

What's the best career advice anyone has ever given you?
Always maintain good PR with everyone. You never know who will be able to help you out.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to do what you do?
Know what you are good at, then enhance it as best you can.

Do you have a life motto or philosophy?
Treat others with kindness, grace and respect cause if not karma will bite you in the butt.


My perfect holiday: It would have wonderful scenery. It could be the countryside or the beach but it's watching my kids play carefree on the grass or sand.
My perfect day off: Massage and spa
My perfect night out: Hong Kong usually does the trick. Or an underground party in Paris during fashion week. 


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