Effervescent, bubbly, vivacious – these are some of the words that instantly come to mind when you meet Azura Zainal. She may stand at a mere 163 cm but don’t let her petite frame fool you; this lady is a real powerhouse!
We say this not just because of her ability to talk a mile a minute (told you she was bubbly!) but also because of her zeal for life which is evident by the ever-growing number of feathers in her cap. And what remarkable feathers her proverbial cap boasts! Over the years, this Malaysian sweetheart has established herself as not only a successful television host and radio announcer but also an actress, entrepreneur and a published author.
Written in the stars
Seeing Azura now in all her zestfulness, it is only natural for one to assume that she always has been like this but the 35-year-old begs to differ. “I was a very shy kid. I never imagined that I would end up on TV one day!” she says candidly.
How did she make her foray into the entertainment business then? “I did dabble in TV for bit, doing commercials here and there. But it never crossed my mind that I’d make a career out of it. Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer. Even my late mother always said that I would make a great lawyer,” she divulges.
But it seemed that fate had other plans in store for her. She recalls, “While I was waiting for my SPM results, I got a call from my mother asking me to attend a casting. I initially thought it was for yet another commercial but it was actually for an audition for a hosting position for Disney Buzz, which at that point was a new flagship show for Disney Channel Asia!” And as they say, the rest is history. “There were thousands of people who wanted the job. But I just went ahead and gave my best. Within a day of my audition, I was informed that I had gotten the job! I guess I was destined to do what I do now.”
The multi-talented Azura
Of her hosting days at Disney Buzz, Azura only has lovely things to say. “It was there that I developed my skills in TV hosting and emceeing. It was also there that I met lots of great people. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to keep in touch with all the friends I made throughout my years of working at Disney Channel Asia. I still do keep in contact with some of them but I wish I had stayed in touch with the rest.”
Since leaving Disney Channel Asia (or as she calls it, ‘The Mouse’), Azura has moved on to various kinds of entertainment work. “I’m currently hosting my travel show, X-plorasi which airs every Saturday at 2pm and every Monday at 11pm at TV1. It’s my longest running travel show; I’ve been hosting it for more than 10 years!” she says proudly. TV work aside, you would have heard her chirpy voice on the radio – RED FM to be exact. “I had the opportunity to be a radio announcer for 3 years at RED FM,” she recounts.
When she isn’t busy with hosting and radio work, you might find her emceeing at product launches and corporate events or performing on Broadway (yes, you read that right – Broadway. Cool, huh?). Elaborating on her acting career, she says, “I was one of the main actors for Broadway: Dreamgirls the Musical at Istana Budaya. Also, I’ll be premiering my first Malay feature film ever so do look out for it!”
Diversity is key
With so much on her plate, you would think Azura does not have time for any more professional ventures. You could not be more wrong. “In the entertainment industry, people tend to have a shelf-life. You can’t expect to always be on the air. I need to be ready for that when it happens. I’m still very involved in the entertainment world but it’s important to diversify,” she says. Wise words, indeed.
An example of this ‘diversity’ comes in the form of Gcabxi (M) Sdn Bhd, a collaboration with her older sister. “This company focuses on the general motor insurance system and helps Malaysians make passive income just by renewing their car insurance with us annually. You can find out more at www.gcabxi.com.”
Another business in which she is involved is Caboco Fit Studio, which she owns with her Brazilian husband. “My husband is a martial arts and fitness instructor so he teaches Capoeira, Brazilian Jujitsu and his own creation which goes by the name ‘Fit Combat’. For those who aren’t interested in martial arts, we also offer dance classes like Zumba.”
In a good place
For someone with a career spanning decades, we wonder what Azura’s most notable achievements are. She says, “I’m proud of many things I’ve done but there are several which stand out. I wrote a book called Azura Zainal’s Guide to TV and Radio Hosting which was published by MPH. I was also nominated for Best Light Entertainment Presenter/ Performer at the Asian Television Awards. So, that was cool.”
Allowing us a glimpse into her personal life, she adds, “My family and I usually organize barbeques at one of our homes; some will offer to cook dinner. We will play Pictionary or scrabble after the meal. We are also fans of outdoor activities but it depends on everyone’s availability. My family may be very big but we’re tight-knit. We always have a blast.”
It’s not hard to see that Azura is in a good place right now. She seems to have it all – an impressive resume, a successful career, great family and friends – and she is no doubt thankful for all of that. But don’t expect her to rest on her laurels anytime soon. Like she says, “I’m the kind of person who just can’t sit still. I’ll always find something to do to keep myself busy.” Told you she was zestful!
BFM. Available at www.bfm.my
Business Circle. Available at www.businesscircle.com.my
The Star Online. Available at www.thestar.com.my