Shentonista Of The Year 2020: Heartstrings



As she rushed over to our studio with her younger sister, Haziqah, at her heels with a sweet box of doughnuts and many apologies for running late, Zara lit up the studio with her infectious laughter. Our winner for Favourite Look, Zara had wowed us and our readers with her colourful, bold, and eclectic style. Despite her wish to continue on with her personal stylist service, she managed to snag a full-time job in sustainable fashion, something she was immensely grateful for considering the dark times of the pandemic. Zara mentioned that she and Hazi had recently patched up after a falling out, and she couldn’t think of anyone more perfect than Hazi to bring down to the shoot for some sisterly bonding time, despite their hectic schedules. Hazi proudly shared that her older sister—the more stylish of the two, she claims—chose their outfits for the studio shoot, and that she’d constantly borrow pieces from Zara’s wardrobe. Zara’s exuberant zest and Hazi’s quick wit had us in stitches as they shared about their relationship, their decisions in their careers, their dreams and setbacks, and their wish to experience a holiday together.

We first caught up with Zara about all the changes that have been brought into her life since our last meeting.

We last met you in August—what was the biggest change that occurred since then?
There were plenty of changes that occurred that I couldn’t really fathom, and I still question why they happened. But it all came together when I landed a solid job in the sustainability sector in the fashion industry. Everything was in alignment. It was exactly what I had dreamt of and beyond! It was definitely the biggest change and challenged me to reach another level of Zara Rahman.

Previously, you mentioned to us that you were trying to get your fashion side business started—how has that been going?
Unfortunately, as much as I wanted it to go on, it wasn’t working for me. This sent me down a spiral as I felt completely unmotivated and uninspired but I’m so glad that I got through it! As they say, when one door closes, another door opens—it all came at the right time. I have no regrets, but I definitely would want to start up a fashion business again in the future with more experience, motivation, inspiration and purpose to create something I’ve always dreamt of.


What’s something the previous year has taught you?
I would say, keeping faith and gratitude. I believe that this was also my introduction in my previous Shentonista feature, and it has stayed the same. I was going through a tough time last December, and the only thing that has gotten me out of the rut was to consistently practice Buddhism, my new-found faith. I take pride in my faith, and I’m truly grateful and absolutely content that I’ve found the divine path. I’m also very grateful for my closest friends that supported and respected me despite me changing my faith.

How has your relationship with your sister changed over time?
My sister (Hazi) and I had a fallout about a year and a half ago; we just reconnected about two months ago. Despite the fallout, nothing else has changed. It feels just like the good ol’ times but I know there are things I have to work on and I’m trying to become a better big sister. Other than that, we’ve been hanging out almost every weekend at my place, just catching up and having a meal together. 

Even though I’m the older sister, she is more forgiving than I am. The first time we reconnected, she said: “No matter what happens, I’ll always have your back.” It caught me off guard and I felt all sorts of emotions. I was really touched by that; I teared when I was in bed (laughs). Looking back, I’m just very grateful and happy to have reconnected with my sister and all that has truly shaped me to be a better person. We hope to go backpacking together in the future—look forward to the Rahman sisters’ adventures!

Our theme for this year’s Shentonista shoot revolved around the idea of reconnection. After a year of isolation, we hoped for the shoot to be a chance to reconnect—whether it’s with our loved ones or ourselves. Hence, during the shoot, we also grabbed the chance to ask the sisters some tricky questions.

If you could change one habit about your sister, what would it be?
Hazi (H): Zara can be in her own bubble sometimes, and just disregards everything else. She can also be quite talkative.

Zara (Z): She needs to be more expressive and open. She shows more through actions but I need her to tell me. When we fell out and reconnected, all I wanted was to tell her how much I miss her.

What’s a job that the other is best suited for, in your opinion?
H: A fashion consultant.

Z: Hazi would be great as an art curator and organising events. I hope she takes the advice as I want her to be happy.

If you could have a skill that the other person has, what would it be?
Z: I like that Hazi can take a lot of pressure but she really keeps it in. If it was me, I would be heavily freaking out. That kind of composure, patience, forgiveness—those are some of the traits I would take from her.

What was the last disagreement both of you had?
H: I think I paid for something and she went “Did you just pay?!”

Z: Being the elder sibling, I had the mindset that I should have been the one to pay. (laughs)

If you guys could go on a holiday together, what would it look like?
Both: A solo trip! (laughs)

Z: I went on a solo trip, and soon after Hazi went on a solo trip. We planned to meet halfway but were unsuccessful. 

H: Anywhere is fine, it’ll be an adventure. We’re okay with budgeting and hostels.

As a finale to wrap up the Shentonista Of The Year experience, we planned an activity for both of them to take part in together—some physical exercise! While we had hoped to bring them to Warrior Studios for a yoga session, the last-minute implementation of safe management measures lead us to organising a HIIT fitness class in our very own (definitely not a fitness) studio, conducted by Eliza, a Shentonista team member some of you might recognise.

How was the overall experience of HIIT?
Z: It was amazing. I loved it, I really did! 

H: It was actually really good—I’ve always wanted to climb a mountain, but even Bukit Timah gets tiring for me. This helps me train.

What was something surprising you learnt from this session?
Z: Hazi has asthma and while she said it was okay to do this, I was worried. I kept wondering if I should push her a bit more, but she did really well. She was really determined and committed to go through with this session.

Would you go for more classes together?
Z: Most definitely! If Hazi had mentioned this earlier, we would have gone hiking together. This session is a stepping stone towards backpacking and mountain climbing. 

Note: Our shoots and fitness class with Zara and Hazi were conducted before the second tightening of Covid-19 safe management measures that came into effect from 16th May 2021.

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