At the risk of sounding cliché, Scha Alyahya and Awal Ashaari are meant to be together. They met when they co-hosted a reality show together, but Awal was already into Scha before that, when he first saw her at the Dewi Remaja beauty pageant finals—he was the host and she was one of the contestants (she was crowned the winner). He was so smitten that after learning that other male celebrities were interested in Scha, his competitive spirit was ignited. He even had to pull some strings so he can end up in the same shoot as her. Such was his determination to pursue the woman of his dreams.
After dating for three years, he popped the question on live TV, stunning a surprised Scha that she was moved to shed happy tears, which her husband said was very “un-Scha-like”. The grand romantic gesture, however, was very much in line with Awal’s character, who is the more expressive of the two.
The pair married on May 4, 2012, and they are blessed with two beautiful girls, Lara Alana, 7, and Lila Amina, who’s about to turn nine months old. According to them, their marriage is based on open communication, give and take, respecting and accepting each other’s differences, with jokes thrown in for good measure.
Like the sun and the moon, they’re complete opposites, says Awal, but their differences are what makes them work as a couple. Where Scha is an introvert, disciplined, a productive planner, and strong in character, Awal is extroverted, calm, adaptable, laidback, a man with a vision. He says, “I must say we complete each other in a very dynamic way. Scha can turn my weakness into her strength, and vice versa. Acceptance is key and communication is everything.”
Scha agrees, saying that if there is one indispensable ingredient for making a marriage work, it’s communication. “We’re all imperfect. Perpetual pouting and grudge-holding don’t build up a marriage. We’d take a break to calm ourselves down and gather our thoughts for effective communication. Success in marriage doesn’t come merely through finding the right one, but through being the right one.”
Looking back over the nine years since they tied the knot, they agree that so much has changed. In fact, their wedding anniversaries are always celebrated over a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant where they take this time to reflect about their life and what they’ve accomplished together. Scha says, “We’ve definitely had hard times, ups and downs. But that’s part of the good. Through it all, we have each other to lean on. Everything we’ve gone through in life, we have one another to share, to celebrate and stick with through hard times. We laugh, cry and pray together. We drive each other crazy but at the end of the day we want to be together for the rest of our lives.”
Awal concurs, “Marriage is not a walk in the park. It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride and you are both part of it. The trick is to fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride. Accept the fact that you’re in this ride together and let’s see where it brings you… and it has brought us where we are today.”
They’ve also grown to become one of the most prominent names in the digital sphere, with a combined 11 million followers on Instagram. As public figures, their life is like an open book—their YouTube channel and reality TV shows give a showreel of their life, from house and furniture hunting, to buying Raya clothes, to even baby Lila’s birth. But the couple would insist that they’re pretty much the same on and offscreen.
Sharing his thoughts on their branding, Awal says, “Before we got married, our work scope was different. Scha is known to be a funny actress and I am more of a serious TV host and when we got together, our fans combined our names as SchAwal. At times we feel we are losing our individuality due to our strong branding and everyone (clients, producers, TV stations) saw us as a couple instead of a person.
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