“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness,” as quoted by Oprah Winfrey. These influential women are the epitome of confidence, grace and ever-lasting strength. As days go by, they continue to build success not only in their hometowns but also overseas.

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These amazing Malaysian women are not only known for their contributions to their respective industries, but also in enriching the lives of others. Here are 15 influential Malaysian women who are making waves overseas!

1. Datin Vivy Yusof 

No longer a foreign name in the fashion industry, Datin Vivy Yusof is truly a Wonder Woman. She co-founded FashionValet in 2010 where the e-commerce brand is now one of the region’s biggest brands.

Credit: @vivyyusof on Instagram

Datin Vivy has achieved so many awards both in and outside of the country. She was listed in the Prestige Magazine’s 2015 List of Top 40 Under 40 and in 2017, she was listed on Forbes as one of Asia’s Top 30 Under 30! Datin Vivy also had the honour of collaborating with Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah of Brunei Darussalam in coming up with The Royal dUck, a headscarf collection carrying an empowering message for every woman.

Credit: @theduckgroup on Instagram

The humble fashion queen juggles her time not only as an entrepreneur and a blogger, but also a loving wife and mother to three beautiful children!

Credit: @vivyyusof on Instagram

2. Neelofa

An actress, television presenter, a commercial model and an entrepreneur, Neelofa is truly a queen! Due to her continuous success, she was listed on Forbes as one of Asia’s Top 30 under 30, together with Vivy!

Credit: @neelofa on Instagram

Neelofa is also the founder of her hijab brand, Naelofar Hijab, which is sold in more than 30 countries including Brunei, Australia and more. She is also endorsed by big brands such as Swarovski Jewelry, Titan Jewelry, Lancome Cosmetics and also FashionValet!

Credit: @neelofa on Instagram

Neelofa continues to shine as she was recently appointed as AirAsia’s new non-executive independent director! The AirAsia Group chief executive officer, Tony Fernandes described her as super smart, young and independent.

Credit: @neelofa on Instagram

3. Dr. Amalina Bakri

Who could ever forget Dr. Amalina Bakri, the one who shook the country by obtaining 17 1As in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination in 2004. A beauty with a brain, Dr. Amalina continues to amaze us with her success and endless contributions to the world of medicine.

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Currently serving as a Speciality Trainee Surgeon at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Dr. Amalina specialises in general surgery, trauma/emergency as well as breast surgery. On top of that, she also gives out talks at universities with regards to her specialities!

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Dr. Amalina is truly the definition of a strong and independent woman. She was recently awarded the Darzi Academic Clinical Fellowship from the Imperial College London and is currently pursuing her PhD. She continues to be a driving force in empowering independent women to become fearless, strong and to follow their dreams!

4. Raja Nadia Sabrina

A lawyer turned fashion blogger and entrepreneur, Raja Nadia Sabrina is the wonder woman behind the brand Aere. She believes in crafting fashionable, modest pieces for women in this era.

Credit: @rnadiasabrina on Instagram

Her journey with Aere has definitely been an exciting roller coaster ride. In July 2016, she managed to bring Aere into the international spotlight at the Jakarta Fashion Week. In 2017, Aere was invited as the ONLY Malaysian brand at the Dubai Modest Fashion Week. Talk about achieving another milestone!

Credit: @aere on Instagram

Of course, behind her fast-paced and busy lifestyle, she also spends her time with her loving husband and their two adorable children. Raja Nadia Sabrina is truly a Wonder Mama!

Credit: @rnadiasabrina on Instagram

5. Yuna

This ultimate hijabi queen made waves back in 2006 when everyone started wearing shawls as part of their daily looks. Yuna, the Malaysian songbird who is also a songwriter and businesswoman has been making the country proud, splitting her time between KL and the United States.

Credit: @novemberculture on Instagram

From an independent singer-songwriter to a world-class performer, Yuna has collaborated with a number of big names like Usher, Pharell Williams and Jhene Aiko. She also received the National Youth Icon Award in 2012 for her exceptional achievement in arts!

Credit: @yunamusic on Instagram

Apart from her music career, Yuna also founded her own brand, November Culture. Starting off from selling her well-known Jetfuel scarves, November Culture quickly grew a following with its apparel that mixed in funky vibes. While the brand sadly stopped operations in May 2018, she still runs creative space Tiny Forest in Subang Jaya.

Credit: @yunamusic on Instagram

6. Tan Hooi Ling

From MyTeksi to GrabTaxi and now known as Grab, Tan Hooi Ling is the woman behind the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia. As the co-founder of Grab together with her partner Anthony Tan, Grab is now operating in more than 60 cities in 7 countries!

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Inspired by Tan Hooi Ling’s own struggle in calling up taxis to accommodate her daily journeys, the duo came up with an idea where customers can trust the taxi drivers that they are assigned to. Not only is it beneficial in terms of safety, but it is also helpful for those who are travelling alone or late at night.

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Tan Hooi Ling believes that it is a win-win situation for both drivers and customers. Grab gives out the opportunities for people to create a source of income and become more tech-savvy at the same time. Today, Grab has become Uber’s strong competitor, which is definitely something we should look out for!

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7. Kiki Poh

Who would have known that one of the people behind the making of Disney’s Cars 3 is a Malaysian? Kiki Poh is a Shading and Grooming Technical director who also happens to be the first Malaysian to work as a Pixar animation artist!

Credit: @hypemy on Instagram

Kiki was first recruited by Pixar Animation Studios as an intern back in 2010. She has been working on movies such as Toy Story 3, Monsters University as well as Inside Out! In the movie Cars 3, the character Doc Hudson was one of the characters that Kiki mainly worked on.

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On her recent trip back to Malaysia; Kiki had also conducted an animation workshop at The One Academy to inspire future animators in the country. I believe we are going to see more of Kiki’s work in upcoming Pixar movies!  

Credit: MBO Cinemas on Facebook

8. Sabariah Hussein

Credit: Safura Tawil on Facebook

Known as the Mother Teresa of Montreal, Sabariah Hussein is a 70-year-old woman who made headlines when she cooked for more than 200 people a day during the month of Ramadan.

Sister Sabariah moved to Canada about 30 years ago to work as a special education teacher. Her inspiration on the movement started about 18 years ago, when she felt concerned after she saw women off the streets begging for food. So, she decided to run her own women’s shelter from home. That was how everything started for Sister Sabariah.

Credit: Sister Sabria Foundation on Facebook

Sister Sabariah partners with two churches, a food bank and an NGO to provide food and shelter to the poor and homeless. She also runs a stall at a local mosque where her team of volunteers come to help around. Sister Sabariah welcomes anybody no matter their religion as she believes in doing charity and giving back to the community. What an inspiration!

Credit: Safura Tawil on Facebook

#HHWTTip: You can check also check out #HHWT Explorers: Meet Sister Sabria, The Muslim Mother Teresa of Canada to know more about Sister Sabariah!

9. Sharifah Amani

Ah, the lovely Orked who caught the eyes and hearts of many people around the world with her extraordinary performance in the movie Sepet. Played by the petite and brilliant actress, Sharifah Amani, this phenomenal lady is constantly making waves in the entertainment industry.

Credit: @sharifah_amani on Instagram

Sharifah Amani has starred in plenty of movies and local telemovies, especially ones that were directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad like Gubra and Muallaf. Sharifah Amani also won the Most Promising Newcomer Award at the 18th Malaysian Film Festival in 2005!

Credit: @sharifah_amani on Instagram

Apart from travelling around the world in her cotton baju kurung, Sharifah Amani is also getting actively involved in the directing world. From local festivals to international film festivals, Sharifah Amani continues to melt hearts with her burning talent and love for art! She is currently performing as part of the cast for the theatre play Golden Rain and Hailstones in KL.

Credit: @sharifah_amani on Instagram

10. Christy Ng

Known as the next Jimmy Choo, Christy Ng is the founder and CEO of ChristyNg.com. It is an online shoe company that specialises in handmade shoes, ranging from wedding shoes to high heels and general footwear since 2010!

Credit: @christyngshoes on Instagram

Christy always has a flair for drawing and entrepreneurship. In 2012, she displayed her first designs on Facebook and so they say, the rest is history. Christy’s shoes are different than the rest as customers are able to design their own shoes on the website. No matter how you want your shoes to look like, Christy can do it!

Credit: @christyngshoes on Instagram

Today, women from more than 30 countries wear Christy Ng’s shoes and the numbers are growing day by day. Christy is definitely making waves outside of the country not only as the next Jimmy Choo, but as a successful shoe designer herself!

Credit: @christyemilylove on Instagram

11. Felicia Yap

This scientist-turned-thriller novelist is making her way up in the thriller book industry. Known for her debut novel entitled Yesterday, this thriller book has been getting amazing reviews worldwide!

Credit: Felicia Yap on Facebook

Felicia studied biochemistry at the Imperial College London and then completed her doctorate in history at Cambridge University. It is during her times at Cambridge that inspired her to write her book, Yesterday. There are also elements of Cambridge in her book!

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Felicia has already come up with her second book entitled Memory Game. Look out for the prequel to her debut novel, Today!

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12. Zee Avi

This Sarawakian-born songbird is an all-around performer. Zee Avi is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and Ukulele player who made her debut with the song Bitter Heart. If you haven’t listened to any of her songs, be warned because her voice will melt you down to the core!

Credit: @zee.avi on Instagram

Zee Avi is not your typical overnight Youtube superstar. In 2009, Zee came out with her debut album that became a hit in Malaysia. Currently residing in the United States, Zee continues to spread her wings with her music!

Credit: @zee.avi on Instagram

In 2011, Zee Avi received the Youth Icon (International) Award from the Sarawak State Government. She was also conferred the Pegawai Bintang Kenyalang (Officer of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak) a year later. One of her international achievements would be winning the Best Original Film Song at the 53rd Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards that was held in 2016 in China! More recently, she was awarded the International Young Artiste Award at Top Asia Corporate Ball in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Credit: @zee.avi on Instagram’

13. Shila Amzah

Who can forget Shila Amzah – the first Malay-Muslim singer to break through the Chinese music market? Shila wowed the crowd in the Chinese reality singing show Asian Wave when she sang in English, Malay and Mandarin 😱 That’s an impressive feat if you ask me!

Credit: @shahilaamzah on Instagram

Her popularity skyrocketed after the show – her single achieved 1 million downloads in JUST 2 days on Weibo music and her Sina Weibo account has more than 2.5 million followers.

Credit: @shahilaamzah on Instagram

More than just her beautiful voice, Shila has also been a significant influence in relations between China and Malaysia. As a cultural ambassador, she sang for Chinese president Xi Jinping when he visited Malaysia in 2014. Although Shila says she has to work harder to prove herself in China, ultimately it has pushed her to become a better singer.

14. Heidi Nazarudin

Heidi Nazarudin left her successful job as an investment banker to pursue her dream – fashion blogging. Today, she owns The Ambitionista, a fashion and lifestyle blog for working women.

Credit: @theambitionista on Instagram

With almost 500,000 followers on Instagram, Heidi is now one of the most influential fashion bloggers in the world. She also created her own blogger network, The Blogger Babes, which grew from 200 members to more than 5,000 throughout the US ☺️

Credit: @heyitsheidinazarudin on Instagram

Heidi’s dream is to create a global network of bloggers and if given the opportunity, she wants to start a clothing line. This pioneering woman is definitely an inspiration to all of us out there!

15. Anita Yusof

Like many of us, Anita Yusof dreams of travelling the world but this inspirational woman has taken her dream up a notch. The adventure motorcyclist has been recognised by the Asia Book of Records as the First Woman To Ride Around The World 😱

Credit: ANITA YUSOF on Facebook

Originally from Ipoh, Anita is a huge fan of riding and she is clearly not afraid to travel alone. She has explored hundreds of routes in over 50 countries. And can you believe she is a mother of 2 sons?!

Credit: ANITA YUSOF on Facebook

With so many accomplishments, the daredevil has shown us that age is not a barrier to success and Anita’s story will continue to inspire women all around the world 🤗

Credit: ANITA YUSOF on Facebook

A woman is capable of doing so many things in the world. But, a wonder woman is the one who can do everything not only for herself, but for her loved ones too. I hope these amazing Malaysian women will inspire you to go out there and chase your dreams! Nothing is impossible and they are the living proof that dreams can come true as long as you don’t give up. We are all queens at heart!

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