Nelissa Nezam, 26, Broadcast Journalist
Denim skirt, Levi’s; blazer and belt, Nelissa’s own.
In a world where our lives are so public, you’d think anyone could make a transition to hosting or being on TV. But a passion for journalism and storytelling, and a knack for presenting made it natural for Nelissa Nezam to change from the finance world to being a host and an on-camera personality at Astro AWANI. The beauty is a self-proclaimed overthinker, but made a conscious decision to see the better things in life and turned a flaw into yet another of her many strengths. Now, doesn’t it make you want to do the same?
how was the journey to —and within — Astro Awani?
I am currently a TV Host/Broadcast Journalist at Astro AWANI. I initially graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance. However, my dream of being in the media industry made me pursue a drastic career change into Media Broadcasting. I have been with Astro AWANI for nearly two years and it has been a great learning experience. The job is so dependent on what is going on in the world that every day presents a new challenge.
How did you overcome any gender-related roadblocks in your career?
Never let gender be an excuse or reason for anything. I believe a person with hard work and dedication can achieve anything, regardless of gender.
Do you feel like you’ve taken risks in your career?
Absolutely! I made a drastic change from working in the finance industry to media. It completely changed the direction that my career was heading into. I gave up my job in finance without securing a job in media because I knew I was going to do whatever it takes to make that dream happen. Thankfully, it all worked out. It was a scary decision to make at the time, however one that was necessary.
To not be afraid of change and to constantly train yourself to adapt to new situations and circumstances.
— One life lesson Nelissa would take away from her business.
What’s one flaw of yours that you’ve embraced and turned into strength?
I overthink EVERYTHING. I think of all the possible outcomes, good and bad, before something even happens and it does get quite exhausting. However, I’ve come to terms with it and realise that I can use this to make better decisions in life.
What is the best and worst decision you’ve made? Why?
The best was marrying my husband. He has made me better in more ways than one and I hope I have done the same for him. The worst? Having to grow up—the responsibilities are endless!
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Mindset. I think we need to educate and re-educate people to look past gender. Success knows no gender, it only relies on hard work and dedication.
Working mothers inspire me a great deal. They advocate for women on a daily basis, proving that we should never limit ourselves and we can indeed have it all.
— The kind of women Nelissa is inspired by.
What is the most rewarding thing that you find in your work?
Being at the forefront of news delivery and having the opportunity to meet so many influential and inspiring leaders, politicians and personalities. Being able to do this inspires me and challenges me to push beyond what I think I’m capable of.
Briefly tell us about a significant turning point of your career?
The most memorable and significant moment was my debut on TV. It was 30 minutes filled with adrenaline and excitement. It was the exact moment I knew I was where I needed to be.
In this New Malaysia, how can a person in your position, press for progress?
With the new government in power, I think the media industry is finally able to breathe and report justly. It’s crucial for reporters and news presenters to continue reporting fairly and transparently.