Strong fam­ily bond

Celebrity cou­ple, Awal Ashaari and Scha Alyahya, and daugh­ter Lara Alana cel­e­brate Hari Raya in style.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Front Page - By AN­GELIN YEOH

AWAL Ashaari re­called be­ing ner­vous when he cel­e­brated Hari Raya for the first time with Scha Alyahya. The cou­ple struck a friend­ship while co-host­ing real­ity show Se­hati Sedansa back in 2008. They started dat­ing a year later. Dur­ing Hari Raya at that time, he vis­ited her fam­ily home.

“I was ner­vous be­cause I had to sing. Her un­cle is pop­u­lar 1980s singer Syed So­brie. Her aunt who was mar­ried to him is also singer Sheril Aida. So they made me sing in front of ev­ery­one,” Awal, 35, said dur­ing an in­ter­view in Kuala Lumpur.

Scha, 34, who was sit­ting next to him said: “I warned him!”

Luck­ily for Awal, he had some ex­pe­ri­ence per­form­ing in pub­lic. He sang Michael Bu­ble’s Sway to the de­light of Scha’s fa­mous un­cle and the rest of the fam­ily.

“I re­mem­ber the whole fam­ily danc­ing along,” he said.

Awal also re­mem­bered how Scha and her par­ents would later join his side for a Hari Raya cel­e­bra­tion with his ex­tended fam­ily.

“As we were still dat­ing at that time, I felt it was one of the big­gest things that she did for me. She didn’t know any­one on my side but she had the guts to just come with me to cel­e­brate Raya with my fam­ily. I was touched,” Awal of­fered. It was also then when Awal knew that Scha was the one for him.

“I still think about the mo­ment when my mum and her mum cel­e­brated Hari Raya to­gether for the first time. This is the kind of fam­ily bond that I want for the rest of my life ...”

They got mar­ried in 2012 and their daugh­ter Lara Alana was born two years later.

“When Lara was born, I re­mem­ber it was a few days be­fore Hari Raya. So, she got to cel­e­brate her first Hari Raya as a new­born,” Awal shared.

Now, the three-year-old is a celebrity just like her par­ents. Lara stars in her own TV show on Astro called Lara Oh Lara and has 2.8 mil­lion fol­low­ers on an In­sta­gram ac­count cre­ated by Awal. Thanks to lu­cra­tive en­dorse­ment deals with fam­ily-friendly brands,

Awal and Scha re­vealed in May that Lara has started fil­ing in­come tax.

“She gets paid ac­cord­ingly when the whole fam­ily be­comes brand am­bas­sadors. It’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to pay taxes so that’s just some­thing we have to do for her as well,” Awal said.

When it comes to rais­ing Lara, the celebrity cou­ple agrees that a child should not be car­ried away with fame. Awal said that a lot of thought went into mak­ing sure Lara grows up to be a grounded in­di­vid­ual.

“There are a lot of peo­ple who shower her with gifts. It comes to a point when I think, ‘Ala­mak, I don’t want my child to be spoiled.’

“So, we are firm with her. We tell her that she has to lis­ten to us, go to school and sleep early. We in­still a lot of dis­ci­pline in her. At school, we tell the teach­ers not to give her any spe­cial treat­ment.”

At the end of the day, Awal and Scha be­lieve in fos­ter­ing a pos­i­tive fam­i­ly­cen­tric en­vi­ron­ment for their daugh­ter. Just as her first Hari Raya to­gether with Awal was a joy­ous oc­ca­sion, Scha hopes the same for Lara.

“I want her to be sur­rounded by her loved ones. I want her to be able to play with her cousins. I want her to have a fes­tive Hari Raya.”

And be­ing a fash­ion­able fam­ily, what will they be wear­ing this Raya? Thanks to brand part­ner­ship with Jakel, the fam­ily has their Raya out­fits all sorted out. Awal said that Lara loves dress­ing up and al­ready has her own style icon.

“For Hari Raya, mother and daugh­ter will get match­ing looks. I think Lara is in­flu­enced by her mum a lot. Prob­a­bly by look­ing at the way Scha dresses, Lara also wants to look like her mum,” Awal said.

Photo: Jakel Tex­tile

en­ter­tain­ment@thes­ Photo: Jakel Tex­tile

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