Siti Nordiana, Defeating The Odds
Adversity doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re rich, famous or just an ordinary person, we all go through big obstacles in our lives from time to time.
But as Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said: “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” This couldn’t be truer. The life story of Malaysian celebrity Siti Nordiana is one that beautifully and painfully illustrates that quote.
The beauty of journalism is that it enables writers like us at SalamToday to connect with striking personalities such as Siti Nordiana, giving us the opportunity to get to know them beyond their public persona.
We discover what ticks them off, what makes them happy, what drives them, how they really are sans the spotlight, and what life was like before they became who they are today. These bits of information shared are what inspires us to continuously document life stories of others in hopes that it will inspire our readers one way or another.
Here is Siti Nordiana’s story.
IT’S NANA, FOR SHORT
Let us properly introduce you to this resilient woman. Born Siti Nordiana Alias, she is fondly known as Nana among her fans.
At the age of 15, she paved her way in the music scene and worked hard to win the hearts of music lovers in Malaysia. Along her journey of releasing 5 studio albums multiple hit songs, she frequently paired up with another singer and good friend named Achik, who is the frontman of a local band called Spin.
Together, they released songs that climbed up the music charts quickly. Ultimately, they garnered a huge fan base and were known as the dynamic duo in the late 90s and early 2000s.
In 2006, she big goodbye to singlehood and tied the knot with an actor, Mohd Faizal Yusup. Unfortunately they divorced three years later due to irreconcilable differences but share one child together, a son named Muhammad Rayyan Nakhaie.
The years 2010 and 2011 would probably remain as one of the darkest and most painful periods in her life. In 2010, Achik had unfortunately passed away in a tragic car accident and in 2011, her ex-husband died due to a heart attack at the age of 33. To say she was devastated would be an understatement.
What’s worse, negative comments were thrown at her with many people saying she was cursed with bad luck, thus blaming her for the misfortunes that occurred in her vicinity.
“That was hard to take in. I mean, I lost two people who were a huge part of my life. But ultimately we have to realise that life and death is in God’s hands,” she said.
LIFE AS A SINGLE MOTHER
Being the sole breadwinner of the family and having to fulfill the role of both father and mother to her only child, she was faced with many challenges.
As the years passed, Nana’s popularity faded, leaving her to bend over backwards in order to find other jobs and means to support herself and Rayyan.
She tried many things to ‘revive’ her popularity in the industry, but to no avail. As desperate times calls for desperate measures, Nana who at the time was without hijab, even resorted to change her image from the average girl-next-door to sexy. Still, no luck.
“Frankly, I don’t know what went through my mind at the time. It was not a good move,” she said.
When that didn’t work out, she decided to venture into business. Nana set up a stall at a night market nearby her house to sell goods and even went door to door to sell scarves.
“That phase of my life – I will never forget,” she said. It was a difficult time, going from a celebrity to selling scarves from door to door, but Nana held her head high and soldiered on for the sake of her son and family.
“People looked down on me as I went from being a celebrity to selling scarves door to door just to make ends meet. But that motivated me to work harder. I wanted to prove to people that I can survive,” she said.
Nana shared she almost gave up on her singing career. “When you tried many times but still fail, that’s when negative thoughts start to dampen your spirits.
“People thought I was no longer relevant in the industry and questioned why I’m still in it. That triggered me.
“I wanted to quit, but somehow in that moment of despair, there was a tiny glimmer of hope.
“Sometimes, that one last hope can be the beginning of a beautiful journey. It’s not easy to be successful. The sacrifices that we make will all be worth it.
“My advice to everyone is if you ever feel like giving up, just don’t. You never know when Allah SWT will grant us rizq we never saw coming,” she said.
Lucky she didn’t give up, otherwise Nana wouldn’t be able to taste the sweet success from her comeback to showbiz.
The year was 2015 when she got the opportunity to return to the limelight via reality TV singing competition called Gegar Vaganza which was in its second season. Surprise surprise, after weeks of competing, she walked away as the winner of the competition despite the obstacles and naysayers.
She likened her win to being given a second chance and worked extremely hard since then. It paid off handsomely as job offers poured in one after another. It was like Malaysians were seeing a whole new side of Siti Nordiana. She came back stronger and better.
She’s at a happier place in her life now with multiple job offers in both singing and acting, she has won awards, her fan base grew tremendously on social media. Nana acknowledges she has a lot to be thankful for.
“The Instagram account for my official fan club went from having a few thousands to 190,000 followers. I’m so happy and grateful to have such wonderful and supportive fans. They still come to my shows and many of them wouldn’t mind traveling far just to see me.
“I don’t know what I would do without their support, I love them dearly and truly appreciate them,” she said.
LIFE GOES ON
Nana had penned about her ups and downs in life into one book aptly titled ‘Life Goes On’. The book which took two years for her to complete shares Nana’s experience on what she went through in her personal life and how she overcame her obstacles.
“The struggles of my life I explained in detail through this book. I hope my stories can motivate and inspire others especially single mothers like me to not quit no matter how hard life can get.”
“As a single mother, the thing I have to sacrifice the most is quality time with my son. I’m out here working to provide for the both of us.
“But he understands that I’m doing this all for him. Whenever I’m home, that’s when I pay full attention to him,” she said.
YEARN FOR MORE
Not about to rest on her laurels, Nana wants to achieve more.
“I have always wanted to be a producer and have people sing the songs I have composed. In the long run, I might want to take new and upcoming artists under my own management, who knows.
“The possibilities are endless,” she said.
Behind the Face of Salam
- Face of Salam : Siti Nordiana
- Project Manager & Co-ordinator : Shah Shamshiri & Helmi Anuar
- Text: Syahirah Mokhtazar
- Editor : Ili Farhana
Photographer: Bustamam Mokhtar, White Studio
- Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
Stylist & Art Director : Helmi Anuar
- Hijab Stylist: Farah Dinana
Make-up Artiste : Saidatulnisa Aminuddin
- Wardrobe: Fazbulous by Fazura
- Hijab: Hijab Stylist’s Own