Malaysian couple finds niche and joy in creating content on everyday life


Photos By AZLINA ABDULLAH

Ena and Syamly posing in front of their feature wall with plant sculptures. Photos: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

Content creator Ena Hadzir, 46, says she never expected to become an influencer. She was just posting about her passions in life – her family, home, plants, decor and cooking – on her Instagram account (@Ena_Hadzir) and discovered that people were “actually interested”.

That encouraged her to share more and her following grew from 700 in 2018 to 13,200 today (as of Nov 11).

“Even mundane day-to-day things can be interesting, it just depends on how you present it,” she says, adding that she draws inspiration for her social media posts from life.

“I’m drawn to the creative lifestyle, and I make sure things I do around the house have content value and are worth sharing,” says Ena, who lives in Petaling Jaya.

“For example, we have an open living room concept – our living room opens up to the garden. In the mornings, I sit and sip my coffee there. We also have plant sculptures on a feature wall in our living room,” she adds.

Ena also posts about her cooking.

“I cook often and my specialty is ayam butter kicap (soy sauce butter chicken). When I posted it on Instagram, the post went viral very fast because it’s so easy to make with just five ingredients: soy sauce, chicken, potato, onions and butter. And you bake it in the oven so the stove doesn’t get dirty,” she says.

“Previously, I would just state that I was cooking. But now, there are many layers and more depth to my content like what I’m cooking, what the ingredients are, why I’m cooking, and what type of cookware I use,” Ena explains.

She also makes sure the aesthetics are always there – “the pictures must be on point and the colours matching”.

Ena is not the only one in the family active on social media. Her husband, visual creator Syamly Rushdi, 49, also has a huge following of 34,700 on his Instagram account (@syamly), which features street photography.

Ena and Syamly have a graphic design background and met while studying at an art college.Ena and Syamly have a graphic design background and met while studying at an art college.The husband and wife both have a graphic design background and met while studying at an art college.

They shifted their focus to home, plants and decor because the movement control order changed their perception about home living.

“Since we have to spend so much time at home, we should make our home as cosy and comfortable as possible,” says Syamly, a former game designer.

“After that, we got hooked. A home should always be like this; it should feel welcoming and we shouldn’t have to tiptoe around it. Instead, it should be integrated, and not too polished or rigid,” adds Ena, who used to be a lecturer at an art college.

“I wanted to combine plants and decor so we started our plant collection during the movement control order by ordering plants online from a nursery,” she says.

From one plant, it became 10, then 20 and now, they’ve lost count, the couple says.

A family affair

Ena and Syamly and their children, Eman Mika and Erykah Maesya.Ena and Syamly and their children, Eman Mika and Erykah Maesya.Ena and Syamly have three children: Edlan Mikyad, 20, Erykah Maesya, 15, and Eman Mika, eight, who are also featured in their posts. Their two older children are active on social media too.

“Our daughter Erykah is a gymnast and competes inter-state while our eldest son Edlan is studying at the United States Military Academy in Westpoint (New York) under scholarship,” says the couple.

“Although our children were initially apprehensive about having so many plants at home, they appreciate it now. My daughter tells us she feels so proud because her friends admire our home, plus she has a nice setting for Instagram and TikTok,” says Ena.

“We also collect stuff such as vintage ceramics and toys – mostly from relatives. With this kind of open concept home, you have to accept that being totally dust-free is impossible,” says Ena, revealing that she vacuums once a week and dusts every two to three days.

The couple works as a team with Ena cleaning the inside of the house and Syamly taking care of the outside and garden.

“Even while I clean and dust, I create my content along the way. I record my daily routine to post and people like it because it’s real and they can relate to it,” she shares.

Besides their personal Instagram accounts, Ena also maintains two other Instagram accounts for plant sales and their 1ha orchard in Ulu Langat, Selangor.

The couple plans to move there in two years’ time and bring their whole concept there.

That's not mistletoe that Ena and her husband Syamly are standing under, it's a staghorn!That's not mistletoe that Ena and her husband Syamly are standing under, it's a staghorn!“We’re currently working on the land. There are fruit trees like durian, rambutan and mangosteen, and a river running through the land, so we plan to build our home there, and in the surroundings, we’ll build cabins, a cafe and a staghorn nursery,” says Syamly, adding that they plan to take videos and pictures while working on the place to share on Instagram as well.

As influencers who share about their life, home and children openly on social media, do they worry about safety?

According to Ena, the good outweighs the bad.

“It never crossed our minds that we should be worried because we’re doing something positive, and our home isn’t the luxurious kind. We have a lot of vintage stuff, hand-me-downs, family heirlooms, and items from thrift stores. It’s raw and not polished. We like upcycling rather than buying new furniture. We go to bundle shops to source for stuff and we believe in contributing to sustainability,” shares Ena.

“But there are influencers who portray an image that is very polished and perfect, with no flaws, and it might lack authenticity and realness, and attract the wrong kind of attention,” she admits.

“When you have a goal and part of that goal is to have a public life, then those are the sacrifices we have to make. So far, we have gained more positive impact than negative, and we don’t want to focus so much on the negativity,” says Ena.


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