COVER STORY | ISSUE 010 | oct '22

She's booked, busy and unbothered! Following a whirlwind schedule across multiple continents in recent months, the jet-setting artist gives us an inside peek into her high-speed world.
Shirt dress, knit vest and Delecity sneakers: Onitsuka Tiger
If you're wondering why you're seeing actor and singer Daiyan Trisha Mohd Nasaruddin, popularly known as Daiyan, everywhere these days, it's because she is. The 28-year-old performer has flown from Southeast Asia to the United States, Europe and back home in a matter of weeks, all in the name of work with a little bit of play thrown into the mix.

As we enter her room at the NH Milano Muscova Hotel in the heart of Milan, Italy, to conduct this photoshoot at the beginning of Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023, Daiyan lounges in her robe, trying to get as much rest as possible from the really long morning of engagements she had earlier. Despite the rush, she stays calm and composed, and pulls herself out of bed to get ready. Just two days prior, the songstress was in New York with back-to-back appointments for the first round of fashion week, so to say she's busy and tired is an understatement.

The perennially stylish starlet first entered the public eye in 2013 as a budding singer. Still, unlike many blessed with talent, Daiyan's passion, resilience, strong work ethic, and easy-going personality are what catapulted her into stardom and turned her into one of Malaysia's most influential entertainers today. As a singer first, she attributes her beginnings to her piano teacher during her secondary years. "She tested my vocals for fun and realised I could sing. She then told all of my music school's teachers and got me involved in singing for the first time in class concerts," she recalls.

Armed with new-found confidence in her capabilities, Daiyan began singing covers on YouTube, leading her to a management deal. Not long after, she started acting. "My first professional involvement as a singer and actor was nine years ago when I landed a lead role in the Dee telemovie on Astro Ceria, which required me to sing as well. Think a Malaysian version of Hannah Montana," she shares.

"Acting has always been another form of expressing art for me; another way to express my emotions and passions. Making music will always be my first love, but acting has a special place in my heart. I really love the freedom it gives me."
Wool jacket: Onitsuka Tiger
Finding her footing
Daiyan didn't always have these dreams to do so many things at once. In fact, it was quite the opposite. She shares: "I didn't know what I wanted to do until I ventured out and tried out these different areas in entertainment. I then realised that I loved every single one of them."

It was right around four years ago—when she successfully bought her own house—that she fully grasped her future in the industry. Following that, she knew she was in it for the long haul.

The epitome of confidence and dedication, Daiyan possesses an unwavering will to succeed. This is evident by the numerous campaigns and TV roles she's landed alongside the many fashion and beauty brands she represents thus far. However, the journey to success wasn't always smooth-sailing. "I realised that I've always struggled to fit in. It started when I was in school, and even now, in the entertainment industry, I don't fully fit in—whether in the mass or urban market. While I can relate to everyone, I'm not exactly like everybody else. I've come to realise that that's actually one of my strengths and that no other person in Malaysia is doing as many things as I am in this line of work. It has made it much easier for me to be authentic and recognise what I want for myself. "

Today, her confidence comes from her vast working experience: "I feel I've done this long enough to know exactly what I'm doing."
Dress: Onitsuka Tiger
The one and only
Describing herself as "a person of art and love," Daiyan has managed to accomplish a remarkable feat of landing 16 TV and film roles over the short span of her career. That, as well as producing many hit singles, several of which have earned her nominations at the Anugerah Industri Muzik, the highest recognition an artist can receive here in Malaysia.

To be able to soar as high as she is currently, Daiyan draws strength from a sage piece of advice given by one of her mentors, producer and composer Audi Mok. "He told me, 'You're going to have to make some huge decisions in your life. Once you make those decisions, stand by them and don't look back.' That has helped me let go of any regrets in most of my decision-making. These words stuck with me the most since I am now self-managed and have been deciding my career trajectory myself," she shares.

For her songwriting process, Daiyan gets inspiration from many things around her, namely notable figures in today's global entertainment scene: "Taylor Swift is one of the very few who has inspired me with her lyrics for years. Besides her, Zendaya, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Anne Hathaway, the ladies of Blackpink and Petra Collins are some of the others I look up to—I am usually so inspired by women."

Like most great artists, personal experiences and emotions influence her work. "Sadness and heartbreak push me to create the most. As sad as that sounds, it does give me the best fuel to express fully," she confesses. And the result is one of the most heartbreaking ballads she's ever written, released during the pandemic's peak: Penat. It tells a story of unrequited love and being tired in an undefined relationship.

"I'm always honest with my music; that's a guarantee. Penat was special because I think it was my first huge heartbreak Malay single. Everyone has that one heartbreak that really destroyed and changed them, and this was mine. So it will always have a special place in my heart, and I think my fans know too," she shares.
Shirt dress, knit vest and Delecity sneakers: Onitsuka Tiger
For the love of fashion
These days, you'll most likely see the young lass toting the latest It-bag or the season's newest collections. Take a scroll through her Instagram page, and you'll notice some pretty striking looks!

"I'm not so much of a beauty junkie. I don't experiment with makeup on my own. Instead, I always collaborate with a makeup artist or hairstylist to create the beauty looks for me," she says. On the other hand, she is very much a fashion girl, even acting as the muse for many high-end homegrown designers, including Jovian Mandagie and Alia Bastamam. "I love how empowering fashion is. The art, the drama, the creativity of expression—it inspires me to just be myself," she explains.

Describing her sense of style as "chic, classy and celestial", Daiyan reveals that her involvement in fashion was relatively recent: "The funny thing is I didn't even grow up with fashion. I knew that I always loved experimenting with my appearance, but I knew nothing about high fashion. I only ever had my first Louis Vuitton bag when I was 25. Two of the first few brands to give me work opportunities to create content with them were Longchamp and Dior. That was about four years ago. The rest is history."

Her love for style has brought her to many countries, including the recent Milan Fashion Week for the Onitsuka Tiger Spring/Summer 2023 show, alongside singer Hael Husaini. "It's exciting for me because I've been working with the label for almost a year. I think the first time was for the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur store opening in Malaysia. In recent years, Onitsuka Tiger has established itself as a true fashion brand. So, being involved in Milan Fashion Week is very exciting for me."
On Hael Husaini: Zipped jacket, kaftan dress, Delegation Chunk boots, printed socks, and sunglasses / All Onitsuka Tiger | On Daiyan Trisha: Dress and Petal sneakers / All Onitsuka Tiger
Getting comfortable
While Daiyan is keeping mum as to when we'll hear new music from her next, she knows one thing for sure: "At this point in time, I want to make music that reflects who I am as a person. I've never really made music to please the mass market—I make it for myself and my listeners who enjoy them. What I can say is that it's only going to get better."

She owes her popularity to her fandom called the #Daiyangels. "They're low-key but so strong. They're not always the loudest, but I always feel their love and support. They're so smart and talented, each one of them. You know how they say that the fans reflect the artist? I'm so proud to have them as mine," she affirms.

Nonetheless, no matter how famous or much-loved Daiyan is, dealing with haters is a frequent occurrence in her life. "I've heard so many misconceptions about me—that I came from money and that I'm atas-atas. The truth is, what I have today stems from sheer hard work. I come from an average, middle-class income family and was born and raised in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor. My parents have always taught me to put my education first and to do what I love. I worked really hard to achieve the lifestyle that I have today," she clarifies.

When asked if she ever gets nervous performing, she reveals: "Usually, it's the moments before I get on stage to perform that I am on edge the most. But when I finally sing, the nerves fade away. But I haven't performed in a while because I'm so busy with my fashion engagements, so I don't remember the last time I was nervous."
Wool jacket and pants: Onitsuka Tiger
On the horizon
Despite her massive fan base, social media following, and constant scrutiny over her personal life, Daiyan plans to live as authentically as she can. "I just need to trust my gut and instinct. It has been my life's compass for as long as I can remember."

So what's next for the Daiyan Trisha? "So many things. I wish I could duplicate myself so the process would be faster, but I know the best things come with patience. What's confirmed, though, is that I'm finally moving into my new house and my new TV series, Projek High Council, is coming out in November. So my fans can at least look forward to that, as well as a few surprises along the way," she reveals.
Watch: Get ready with Daiyan Trisha
for Milan Fashion Week SS23
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