Published: Saturday May 8, 2010 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday June 16, 2013 MYT 8:29:58 PM

Stunning & sporty

Datin Sharifah Menjelara Hussein is svelte, sophisticated and stunning.

Lara, as she is known, went to boarding schools in Kent, England and Mussidan, France. She completed her honours degree in European Studies in Cardiff University and did her post-graduate studies at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris.

A granddaughter of Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, she shares her grandfather’s tenacious streak.

As managing director of advertising firm M&C Saatchi Malaysia, Lara, in her 40s, is more interested in making the company the most sought-after than the biggest.

“Some see us as a boutique agency but we offer the same services as the big boys as we have the skills, experience and quality,” she explains.

Under her watch, M&C Saatchi’s profits rose 42% last year. The company was runner-up in Media Magazine’s Mid-sized Agency of the Year (Regional).

Lara has two daughters, Natasha, 17 and Natalya, 14.

“Natasha is in a boarding school in the UK doing her A Levels and Natalya is at Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur. We are all dedicated horse riders, and I am proud my two girls are competitive equestrian riders and will be competing for Wilayah for the Sukma Games in June this year.

“I ride every morning at 7.30am, show jump and compete whenever possible. We support each other when we compete. We have the same riding friends and share the same tastes in travelling, shopping and food.

“I am also hooked on running. It’s true what they say about some people — once they put on their running shoes, they cannot stop! I used to do marathons but now I run on treadmills in the gym and do weights. I am a believer in Pilates. I work out at least five to six days a week and am a self-confessed adrenalin junkie — exercise gives me a rush!

“I do lots of facials as I am outdoors so much and the tropical sun can age your skin prematurely. I need all the cleansing and moisturising I can get. No Botox as yet, though I am tempted!” she laughs.

Her model figure is down to rigorous exercise and watching what she eats.

“I eat sparingly. I’m not adventurous with food. In fact, I like simple, bland stuff. But I can live on Japanese every day — though, mind you, it’s not bland!”

Lara admits to being stressed at work but says this is of her own accord. “I work long hours but I thrive on the challenge.”

“I live for my kids. Being a mum is the only thing that drives me to success, that’s what motivates me!’’

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