This year has been a blessing for me and my baby (my website), with it growing up smoothly since it's launch in January this year. I can not believe how warm the welcoming from the media has been. When ID Magazine approached me to have an interview, I was so excited and could not believe it because I had been adoring this magazine for a long time due their progressiveness and quirkiness. After that, it seemed like other opportunities kept coming up from different publications, with one of the biggest being from Buzzfeed Australia. I was especially relieved about that one, because earlier in the year I got an email from Buzzfeed America for an interview, but due to some incorrect settings for my new email address (email@example.com), I only saw it 5 days later, and when I responded they told me that they'd already got the material they needed. I remember I cried because I knew it would have been be a big thing for me and my career as a blogger, until then I realised it was not meant to be and I believed other opportunities would come for me.
Guess what??? Not long after that I got an email from Marie Claire Australia again! Yes, again! they wanted to put my profile in their magazine as one of their "7 Muslim Fashion Blogger We Love" standing right next to Ascia AKF, Dina Torkia, Zulfiye from The Hijab Stylist, Haute Hijab, Anam Shaheed and Zahra Sandberg. I was so honoured and felt really humble working with this great magazine twice this year.
Since then, all other international publications have started to pay attention to my blog, even unexpectedly from some traditionally less progressive ones like the Daily Mail UK. It was quite something, and I was looking forward to seeing it online and reading all the responses; and as Sam and I predicted, as much as the article was very positive, some of the written responses are the funniset to read! I am so glad that all these media have shown appreciation and given me very positive feedback for my blog.
I've been emailed by various people with links, telling me they found me online, here and there. I was curious so I started to open those links, and I was amazed to see that a lot of them are in different languages (Italian, French, Albanian, Chinese, Brazilian, Spanish etc) so you might need a translator when you read them! Click on the pictures for the link to read more.
Some of you might know that Fashion blogging and designing has been my passion and medicine to escape from my previous studies and career in politics. I am so happy that I have a partner who always supports me in what I am doing. At the moment I am juggling between blogging, designing and working full-time. It is hard sometimes but I am really enjoying it and trying to allocate my time so I can do all of them perfectly.
A few months ago, I received an email from a freelance journalist who wanted to interview me for some project, but after quickly replying to her, I haven't heard anything since. A few weeks after that, I received an email from another freelance Journalist called Fiona Macdonald, who some of you might recognise from her work with various magazines and interviews with some amazing people. When she mentioned that she would like to interview me for Marie Claire Australia, instead of replying to her straight away I was jumping all around at my office, and I called my husband straight away, who sounded really happy for me as well.
Fiona and I had a long chat on the phone and discussions through email about the topic and the story that I would like to share with Marie Claire. I never thought that I would have a picture in the magazine as well, until Robyn Hynes (Photo Editor, Marie Claire Australia) emailed me wanting to organise a time to do a photo shoot - I was so beyond happy.
Arrive at the location, I was welcomed by the photographer Tomasz Machnik, the make-up artist Georgia Hull, and the stylist Jane Roarty. Straight into make-up, there were lots of questions about my background and my career as a fashion blogger that I was happy to answer. The photographer was doing a fantastic job of keeping me entertained and laughing, and he was very interactive while directing the photo shoot. The stylist chose an amazing hand-beaded dress for me to wear - the first time I saw it, I was so amazed by how complicated the beads were and so happy to put it on.
This issue was just released on Thursday, 4 December 2014, and it is worth owning because you will see other amazing stories from women all around the world. This is what I love so much about Marie Claire, in every issue it is not only about fashion, but always has inspiring stories that you would never have imagined. Plus you will get a free sunglasses to enjoy this summer!
You can also read it online here
Another example of how Instagram helps to expand your networks and opportunities. When Angela Parajo (Radio Interviewer) from 2SER Radio contacted me wanting to do an interview about my website and fashion style, I was so crazily excited, I was thinking it would be fun to do radio interview and would be valuable experience as well.
I had extra motivation to do this interview because it was recorded not long after PM Tony Abbott initiated the "Burqa Ban" in Parliament House. As you would all know, it became a hot topic and lots of people were talking about how Muslim women should dress in public. I find it bizarre that we should try to dictate how other people dress, given that Australia is supposed to be a free country. I was more than happy to do the interview because I wanted to give listeners my view on how Muslim women dress themselves. I emphasised that more than anything else, it's our choice.
A few tips from me if you are asked to do a media interview:
1. Ask for the questions in advance. It is really good to know the kind of questions that they will ask so you can answer them properly and filter if necessary.
2. Give them some draft answers, and make sure you ask for feedback.
3. Make sure to ask them to consult with you first before the interview is published.
You can hear my interview with them here.
After I graduated from university, I barely had any contact at all with my uni friends, especially since I moved to Australia. I was surprised to discover recently that some of them have been following me on Instagram, and commented on some of my photos. One of them is Lily - she was my junior at uni and is now working as a freelance writer for the biggest Indonesian business website SindoNews.
The first contact made was when she commented on one of my photos saying that she would like to write an article about my label "WIWID HOWAT". How much was the budget to build the business, how much profit do I make from it, how do I promote and sell my clothes? Even though at the moment I am at a stage where I would like to focus on my blogging, I was still happy to do the interview.
And when it came up online, I was so happy that she mentioned my first ever fashion show in Indonesia through Jogja Fashion Week 2013. It brought back all of the memories, the craziness of backstage and the fun of photoshoot and media interview. I hope I can do it again one day.
Muslim fashion in Indonesia is an emerging industry and now has its own place in every fashion show across the country. New Muslim fashion magazines have been born since then in order to support all the designers.
When I received an email from Scarf Magazine saying that they would like to feature me in their "My Style" rubric along with other bloggers, I was so excited! The best thing about this article was that I didn't even have to do another photo shoot, they just needed me to send various photos that I'd already done and they would pick up which one they think would be suitable for the theme. They called it "the colourful one".
It was a random night, after work and I was about to have dinner with my hubby. I remember the dinner was Spaghetti Bolognaise. I was in my work room and my husband called "Darling, dinner is ready". I decided to quickly check my email before eating, and I saw an email from someone called Zohra Aly. She introduced herself as a freelance journalist writing for the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and looking for some muslim fashion bloggers to be featured in a SMH article. She found me through Instagram and she asked me to be part of her article along with other bloggers from Melbourne (Zulfiye), a curator, consultant as well as author Tasneem Chopra.
I was so honored to be part of it, I would never have imagined myself being in SMH. I received an email from the SMH Photo Editor Tegan Sadlier to arrange a photo shoot with their photographer Nick Cubbin. We decided to have the shoot in the Paddington area which is my favourite suburb.
I brought 2 different outfits for the shoot, both of them from my wardrobe A.K.A my own private stuff (there were no fancy designer clothes, hehehe). When I was preparing the outfits, I was just thinking I would love to portray 2 different sides of me - the feminine side with a long skirt, and lady-like outfit but with sneakers, which is my favourite.
I ended up bringing my long white skirt with a floral top and paired it with red scarf for my first outfit. For the second outfit, I wore a blazer from Bershka that I got from HijUp and a tutu midi skirt with floral sneakers.
From the first time I started blogging, I had a dream to be featured in magazines. It's such an incredible feeling for someone out there recognise and appreciate your work. I approached many magazines and it came out with a surprising result. One of leading Indonesian Muslimah magazines called Annisa Magazine contacted me via email, and asked me to contribute to their rubric called "Travel in Styles" for a total of 4 pages! Yup you heard me, FOUR PAGES!!!
They wanted me to create 7 days of travel with 7 different looks. I found it really challenging but exciting at the same time because while I don't categorise my self as a Travel Blogger, I have to prove to them that I can do this. They gave me a few weeks to write an article about it as well as the photo shoot.
First thing that I did was categorise which places I wanted to go to, then after that I picked the clothes, accessories and shoes for each day, and chose the right time to do the shoots. I don't like to take photos in places that are too crowded, because you will end up with people watching you. Some people might enjoy it but I personally do not like it unless it's done by professionals.
The purposes for this article was to promote Sydney as tourist destination for Indonesians to visit, as well as to reach a broader readership for Annisa Magazine.
- Location: Harbour Bridge
- What I wore: My own collection
- Location: Auburn Gallipoli Mosque
- What I wore: Ria Miranda
- What I wore: Dian Pelangi