Bringing light and energy everywhere she goes, radio announcer Anne Jacyntha is destined for big things. From her 4 a.m. daily call time to her videos blowing up on TikTok, the 23-year-old opens up about her unconventional career path.
Blazer: H&M Studio; Earrings: Kate Spade New York
As streaming services take over the entire music industry globally, the situation begs the question: is radio still relevant? Over the years, people have consumed audio content in different ways digitally, so how is radio broadcasting holding up? Here in Malaysia, the future is hopeful. According to a survey done by Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM) this year, over 21 million people still tune in, with an average total of 13 hours and 36 minutes per week.

Radio appears to have plenty of potential still, especially when it is quick to evolve. This is the case for the country's primary English-speaking radio station, Hitz FM, and its newly expanded Morning Crew. Adding to its regular roster of male radio announcers for the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot is the first female DJ on its breakfast show—spunky and sassy 23-year-old Anne Jacyntha. If you haven't already tuned in from Mondays to Fridays, expect to hear her crisp and lively voice waking you up and accompanying you to work. In person, Anne commands the room with her hot pink hair (which inspired the art direction of this photoshoot), and if that doesn't grab your attention, her vibrant personality and fast-talking energy will.

"I had to pinch myself when I read your email about the feature. What an honour," she exclaims when we meet for the shoot. Brimming with confidence and enthusiasm, Anne—fresh off her morning radio slot—appears on time at the studio and is ready to tackle the long day ahead by channelling her inner Sasha Fierce.
Jacket and pants: Both MSGM; Boots: Manolo Blahnik
Born and raised in Kajang, Selangor, by teacher parents who encouraged her every move, it was only natural for Anne to gravitate towards public speaking. "I really have to thank my mum for my tenacity. Even as a kid, she always pushed me to go out and talk, and try different things. I remember emceeing my kindergarten concert at six years old in four different languages: English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin. I was very comfortable with being on stage and speaking publicly at a young age. I loved it when the cameras were on. Whenever people came over to our home, I would sing for them. I would do all these crazy things for the spotlight," she shares with a laugh.

This is why becoming a radio announcer felt like destiny for the law graduate. "I know it sounds cliché, but I've always wanted to be one, and that was my number one goal, even in high school. After SPM, there was a radio competition, and they were searching for a digital talent. I auditioned, made it to the finals, but sadly didn't win. However, I was retained to do weekend announcing. That's how I got my break! After a few years, I then transitioned to a full-time show. Fast forward to now, I'm here at Hitz," she reveals.
Anne shares that, again, her mum was the catalyst for this life-changing course: "She was the one who saw the ad for the competition. She drove me all the way to KL and waited in the car while I auditioned. If it weren't for her pushing me, I would've never gotten my big break so quickly!"

As an avid music listener, R&B and hip-hop soundtracked her youth. "I grew up listening to those genres because I have two older siblings who hooked me up to the good stuff, and I still enjoy it very much. I even host a hip-hop and R&B show on Sunday nights at Hitz, and I do it alone. It's just something that I treat as a passion project because I enjoy the music," she says. Anne lists The Weeknd, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and Jack Harlow as some of her international musical favourites. Meanwhile, locally, she's a massive fan of Airliftz, Sona One, Yung Raja and Joe Flizzow.
Top: H&M Innovation; Earring: Kate Spade New York
When asked why she chose the creative route despite having a law degree, Anne asserts that this is her calling: "I care about my work at the radio station. I care about the content that I put out into the world. I think when you have this much passion, you'll naturally just put in the hard work."

"There's also the fact that I am the first woman on the Hitz morning crew. That is an experience on its own. I think I'm very opinionated and sassy. I am careful to be respectful, but I don't hold back. And it's not often you hear on-air personalities like that in Malaysia. That's something I want people to see because I'm sure many people think the same way I do but have never had a voice of representation. In a way, I'm that voice now," she adds.

Growing up listening to the same radio channel and announcers she's currently working with feels very surreal to the ambitious young lass. "It's crazy how life has come full circle. Little me would not have believed it, and I thank my lucky stars every single time. Also, I am aware that not many people get the crazy opportunity to work with their idols, so right now in the studio, I'm like a complete sponge. I'm trying to absorb as much experience as possible from those around me who have been in the industry for 10 to 20 years. Sure, it's a huge transition from my night owl routine to a daily 4 a.m. call time, but as I said, I care about my craft. So I want to be better at it. I want to get to their level of expertise because they are such talented people, and they each bring very different things to the table," Anne exclaims.
Dress and jewellery: Kate Spade New York
Anne's real and relatable account on TikTok has amassed a following of 38,000 and it's easy to see why. While not her intention initially, she now wants her videos to help young girls who need a point of reference regarding having dark skin in Malaysia. "What people fail to realise is that it's just different—how you cover dark circles for darker skin tones compared with fair-skinned girls is a whole different process. There are like 300 extra steps for us to take, but nobody's talking about it! I absolutely love makeup, but it is really demotivating when you head out and don't find products that work for you," she says.

While she's happy and confident with where she is today, Anne reminisces about a time when she struggled with having darker skin. "It's because a lot of people associate fairness with being beautiful. It's still happening today! That was something that took many, many years for me to get over. And not just that, but also to journey to the point where I can appreciate my deep skin for its beauty. However, before I reached that stage, I used to try out all these crazy creams that ended up being removed from the market for having dangerous ingredients," Anne reveals.
Top and pants: H&M Innovation; Boots: Manolo Blahnik; Ring: Kate Spade New York
"The thing is, they work, and you can actually see a difference in your skin tone. The worst part about that was everyone started complimenting me on how I looked great with my glowing skin. That messed with my head a lot and played a role in accepting how I look and who I am as a person. That's why it's so important to have diversity in the media. I wish I could go back in time and hug my younger self and be like, 'Girl, it's all good. You look great, and don't worry about it.' But it's okay. I guess it's lessons you learn as you grow older, right?" she asks in contemplation.
Top and skirt: Both MSGM; Boots: Manolo Blahnik; Jewellery: Kate Spade New York
If there's one thing Anne's learnt from her short, but already fulfilling career is to always seize any opportunity that comes her way. "Funnily enough, it was my ex-boss who gave me this advice. It was just what I needed. She said there will always be someone out there just waiting to snatch up the opportunity I have right now. One day you're getting all these jobs, and the next day, you're not. So the only thing you can do to ensure you work hard when you're given that space," she says.

Ultimately, Anne wants to be seen and remembered as a person who is "legit"."That is my number one priority. And I feel with time and with the videos I've posted, I have been holding up my end because I only share experiences that I genuinely go through. Credibility is crucial to me, and what would make me most happy and content is to have somebody look at my videos and trust that I'm telling the truth."
Blazer: H&M Studio; Jewellery: Kate Spade New York

videographY / DENNIS KHO
makeup / UMMI NASIR
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