Q&A: Tengku Chanela Jamidah, Lifestyle Advocates Malaysia

10 October 2016


A popular face in Malaysia’s media landscape, entrepreneur and go-getter Tengku Chanela Jamidah makes her debut on Life Inspired as host for Lifestyle Advocates Malaysia.

Of royal descent, Tengku Chanela is also armed with a keen fashion direction as she co-founded award-winning sustainable collective fashion label We Are Ultra in 2009 with Anita Hawkins and Malaysian designers Jonathan Liang and Tengku Syahmi.

Off camera, we ask Tengku Chanela about being in the public eye, her ultimate guilty pleasure and urban farming.

What do you love most about your current lifestyle?

I love that I am able to experience things new things constantly. I am able to stay healthy by going for fitness classes and yoga, to be able to dine at the newest and hippest restaurants whenever I visit new cities as well as take in the sights and sounds of the vibrant places I explore when I travel.

What’s the worst thing about your current lifestyle? And if there’s one thing you could change about your current lifestyle, what would it be?

I think the worst thing is probably just how hectic it all is with the current pace I am moving on. I would like to have more time to spend with my children as well as go off on a yoga retreat without having to worry about the events and deadlines I will be missing out on.


I love that this city has sprouted such community-based programmes that encourage others to build their own gardens.

Being constantly featured in the media, especially of late, what do you think is the biggest misconception that the public may have about your current lifestyle?

That it’s all glamorous! I am a very hands-on person when it comes to work and my kids so I put in extra effort to make sure things go smoothly. Whether it’s rushing from one fabric shop to the next, or planning their birthday party. I am usually packing the goodies by myself and decorating the tables too. It also takes time to put my looks together for various events and going for many fittings and making sure hair and makeup is perfect, so all this adds up to time taken away from family just for work.

See also: Q&A with Sean Lee-Davies, Lifestyle Advocates Hong Kong

Having to juggle several roles, do you have a productivity hack that has worked best for you?

Delegation. Allowing others to fulfil your role by people that you trust to carry out the job well. Also the fact that I have a supportive family. From my mother to my siblings, they help out whenever they can. I also keep a schedule and calendar at work and at home which is synced with my staff so they know where I am and what appointments I have.

Where can we usually find you on weekends?

On weekends I spend time with my family, at a new brunch spot or the kids will be at the play gym, having art classes or attending birthday parties. My husband and kids love Japanese food so that’s definitely a must. I enjoy walks with my kids out in nature. We go to the local club nearby our house to see the horses and let the kids run around as they please while enjoying the fresh air.


What was your biggest takeaway from the interviews with your guests on Lifestyle Advocates? Did you experience any a-ha moments?

I especially liked the urban farming segment in Lifestyle Advocates. I love that this city has sprouted such community-based programmes that encourage others to build their own gardens. We don’t take notice of the green space in our homes can be used to plant vegetables, which contributes to creating a better environment and makes it healthier for us when we are able to eat clean.

Another takeaway was when chef Philip from Nobu mentioned that our local street food is still what he goes back to. It’s a staple. So, no matter how many fancy restaurants we visit, we are lucky to have such great local food with the melting pot of cultures in our country.

See also: 10 Michelin-starred restaurants in Asia to try

What was your most memorable moment while filming Lifestyle Advocates? Any bloopers you’d like to share with the audience?

I loved that the shoot coincided with my birthday celebrations and that I got to share the memories with the viewers, it was such a fun evening in one of the most iconic places in the city with my friends who are also mothers, leaders in their respective fields and such brave and empowered women.

What is your favourite staycation spot and why?

I like Avillion in PD [Port Dickson]. Its only about an hour’s drive away but it’s a lovely relaxing spot which I spend with my kids to swim and they have a really cute petting zoo in the resort, which the kids enjoy. Plus, the seafood is good and fresh. But if I were to choose a spot in KL, it would be the Hilton KL. We have spent quite a few New Years there as the rooms are cosy and the dim sum at Chynna is my favourite.


What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

I have quite the sweet tooth. After every meal I must have dessert. I usually for to Jaslyn’s Cakes in Bangsar or gelato from Inside Scoop in Telawi to get my sugar fix.

You have five minutes to get dressed for a full-day out in KL with no itinerary. What are you wearing?

Plain white Alexander Wang tee and J brand denim ripped jeans, paired with white Adidas sneakers, or Nicholas Kirkwood flats, big hooped earrings and chunky bracelets and rings.

Lifestyle Advocates airs Sunday, 10:30pm MY/SIN/HK. Catch Tengku Chanela in Lifestyle Advocates Malaysia, premieres, Sunday, 16 October, 10:30pm MY/SIN/HK.

Watch the preview of Tengku Chanela here ahead of the premiere. 

Interview by Dee May

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