In our latest digital cover, Scha Alyahya and Awal Ashaari talk all about their relationship, from the beginning to their tenth anniversary.
Wherever Scha Alyahya and Awal Ashaari go, they bring enigma, star quality, and impeccable style with them. The celebrity duo is, after all, the very epitome of the power couple. So, it comes with no surprise that Schawal — as they are often dubbed by endearing fans — has such a charismatic aura around them. Though it’s not the first time Scha and Awal have been on a shoot together, this time is extra special because 2022 marks their 10th anniversary of marriage.
Right from the get-go, their strong bond and the natural connection between them are crystal clear. Rocking the latest fashion pieces including the checkered Fall looks from Dior, stylish ensembles from Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta’s sleek pieces, and the whimsical creations of Moschino, Scha and Awal masterfully turn the set into their own creative bubble — low key directing each other on poses and what to do next.
Fierce, powerful, sensual, and dynamic — all vivaciously and seamlessly translated through the way they move for the lenses (both as individuals and a pair). As ardent fans of fashion and style icons, the power couple needs nothing but coffee and a sense of humour on set. Like any gentleman would, Awal ensures the perfect knot for the tie that he fixes gingerly on Scha’s Dior look.
Like a picture perfect moment, love is indeed in the air!
Having been together for a decade, Scha and Awal are also no stranger to questions about their relationship. Unsurprisingly, of course — who wouldn’t want to know the secret (or secrets) to a long-lasting marriage?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In exactly ten taps on the table, Scha’s advice is simply that “there should always be communication”. She continues with an affectionate smile on her face: “It’s really important to be transparent about everything”. Nevertheless, modelesque mother of two knows there’s something cliche about her advice. “But that’s fundamental what,” she says, inviting a loving stare from Awal who nods in accordance.
Born in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Scha became a household name in Malaysia through Astro’s ‘Awan Dania’ which ran for three seasons from 2008 to 2010. With equal parts charisma and beauty, Scha won the hearts of many with her unapologetically authentic self but most importantly struck the chord with one very important man.
“When I saw her, I knew there’s something special about this girl. She seems out of place but in a good way,” quips Awal as he gently turns his head towards the ceiling. In one deep breath, he utters: “She was unlike any other. A little rough on the edges but she’s beautiful the way she is and it is not at all made up… just her being herself.”
Unbeknownst to many, the KL-born actor and host actually first met Scha while hosting Dewi Remaja, a beauty pageant that Scha won in 2006. Little did they know, Awal and Scha would be married several years later and started a family together with the arrival of their firstborn in 2014. Although a decade has passed since their matrimony on 4 May 2012, their sentiment and desire for each other have evidently stood the test of time.
Not At First Sight
“I completely ignored him for the first two years… I didn’t reply to his texts,” Scha bursts out with a grin.
She shares that it was Awal who made the first move but it wasn’t meant to be during that time. Oh, dear timing. “I responded with, ‘I’m driving, can I reply later?’ — but I never did”, Scha continues with a smirk.
At that time, she was also new to the industry and was more focused on building a name for herself. “I was new and I didn’t want that to distract me.”
However, it’s clear that what’s meant to be will be. Destiny brought the duo together once again, reuniting them during promotional campaigns for their respective projects. Voila, and the fire has been burning since! For Scha and Awal, the walk down memory lane is all about looking at ups and downs of an enduring relationship, examining things they enjoy doing together, and of course, building a family together.
The Schawal love empire has also grown throughout the last 10 years. The power couple became parents for the first time in 2014 with the birth of daughter, Lara Alana and then in 2021, welcomed their second child, Lila Amina. When it comes to parenting techniques as a father and a mother, it’s all about being as hands-on as possible.
Awal expounded with a tender gaze as his eyes met Scha’s: “If possible, we’d like to do things ourselves”. It’s all about balance when it comes to parental responsibilities. After all, they both gave each other a rating of seven out of ten for parenting skills. Such synchronisation might just be a result of spending such a long time together — as evident through the alluring yet adorable way they carry themselves as a duo in love throughout the shoot.
Two words: Double Trouble.
We sit down with the celebrity power couple, Scha and Awal to talk about their decade-long bond as a married couple, their first impressions, parenthood experiences, and the advice or tips they would share with anyone in a relationship.
Congratulations on 10 years of marriage! If you have choose one favourite memory of being married to each other from the last 10 years, what would it be?
Scha (S): Mine would be my first pregnancy. It was quite challenging. Awal really took care of me. He was really loving, extra loving. I didn’t know that it would be that hard because we were not prepped or informed about anything like how you were supposed to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically. We managed to pull through and now we have two kids.
Awal (A): We waited for one and a half years to get the first one so there was a sort of excitement. At the same time, there were nerves. Growing up, we were like “Okay, once you get married, then you have a child”— but it’s not that simple. There’s more to parenting that we had to go through together.
How do you keep the fire burning after a decade together?
A: Burn more fire (laughs).
S: Burn each other (laughs).
A: Ten years is long time for me. It’s a long time for anyone. It comes with challenges — ups and downs. One thing about us is that we can see whether the relationship is going stagnant. Scha will be the one going “We cannot keep going like this. This is getting monotonous. We need to do something about it”. For me, I’m okay with my comfort zone, but it’s actually draining if you’re doing the same things over and over again.
S: I’m someone who always makes conscious effort. We need to change our routines every once in a while.
What is your favourite thing to do when both of you are together?
A: Definitely eating! Apart from that, we love travelling and watching movies together. We enjoy discovering new places. Wherever Scha goes, she will come up with a list with very uncommon places. Some places might take an hour to get there and some you have to ask people for directions. It makes it more interesting and that’s what we like doing together.
S: Yes, we love food! We also love discovering new things and new places.
“I think in any relationship, the fundamental part is constant communication and be transparent about everything.”
Scha wears Louis Vuitton
Do you remember when you first met? What are your thoughts of each other?
S: Do I have to answer? (laughs)
A: Do I have to say it in front of her? For me, during that time, I wasn’t really interested in the idea that people have to be a certain way, like girls have to be this way or that way. I was hosting a show that she was in. When I saw her, I knew there’s something about this girl. She seems out of place but in a good way. It’s like she doesn’t care about all this. Everyone tried looking their best and had their makeup done but she’s just being herself, waiting for her turn.
S: Something wrong, right? It was ‘Dewi Remaja’. It was like, “What is this tomboy-ish girl doing in this beauty pageant?”. (chuckles) My first impression of Awal when I met him during ‘Dewi Remaja’ is that he’s a celebrity obvs. It was in 2006 and soon after, he sent me a text. I responded with something like “I’m driving, can I reply later?” — but I never did.
A: Yes! Can you imagine she took two years to reply my text?
S: I think I had something against celebrities during that time. I was a nobody and I was still young. I didn’t really know how to carry myself and didn’t know what to expect. After two years, we met again because we were promoting movies together. We were travelling around Malaysia. Our relationship started when we were promoting our movies. He also did request to be on a cover with me but I wasn’t interested in that idea. It’s because I was not looking and was just trying to build my career.
When did you know you would end up getting married to each other?
S: It’s probably after one and half years together. I think the period of one and a half years is good enough to know each other and bring things to another level.
A: Yes. We got pushed by the public as well like, “When are you getting married?”. When the public knew we were together as an item, the next thing was the marriage question. That bit of pressure accelerated the matrimony as well.
Why do you think so many look at the both of you as a power couple?
A: Really? I think it’s because when two individual celebrities that are doing well in their own fields combine — they become a power couple. I was doing my own thing before we got married. Scha was doing her thing before we got married. We were both at our peak. People were waiting for the moment we have kids and then when Lara was born, people fell in love with her instantly. She became an Instagram sensation. So, that’s how the momentum built up. We didn’t plan anything. It just happened during that time.
S: I think it’s the dynamics we have and also because when you combine our names, it becomes ‘SchAwal’ — so people respond positively to that too.
Is there anything we don’t know about you?
S: We actually argue a lot. We will argue about almost everything. All these while, it has always been Awal who ends up winning. He’s much smarter now. He will agree or say yes just to keep quiet.
A: Ignorance is bliss they say! (chuckles)
S: He knows how to deflect and manoeuvre through each arguments now. People also don’t know that we are from two different worlds and I can be quite direct.
A: We love to argue because our sentiments — opinions, decisions, and perceptions — are definitely not the same but somehow we pull through and make it happen. Now I leave it to her. I’m too old to fight and to try to win anymore. Last time, if I say A, there’s no way I was going to say B. After living with each other for ten years, you tend to know what to do. We are two different people. She’s very vocal but doesn’t take anything to heart. As for me, I’m very reserved and sensitive. Imagine these two entities meeting.
“Ten years is a long time and it comes with challenges, many ups and downs. The thing about us is that when our relationship becomes stagnant, we need to consciously realise the need to change our routines.”
Awal wears Louis Vuitton
What do you love the most about building a family together?
A: What I love most about building a family together is to achieve our goals in life. We do want to be somewhere and there’s a kind of life that we want. It’s slowly happening now with the girls, and how we spend time with them — from making them happy and seeing them grow up. All these things make building a family beautiful for me. Looking at the kids, they both have our traits. It’s like we’re creating mini versions of SchAwal.
S: I think it’s the surprises because honestly, I didn’t know I would be a mother of two. I used to be alright being alone. I ate and went shopping alone. When we are together, having kids and all, I think it’s truly the surprises. I didn’t expect myself to be where I am now. Those are things that I cherish the most.
Who’s the better parent?
A: We’re very hands on. We try not to get other people involved in the household as much as we can. We have a nanny and we have our assistants. Sometimes, my sister will come. We don’t allow others to interfere in the household too much because of the kids. If possible, we’d like to do things ourselves. We try to be as involved as we can from the moment the kids wake up until they go to bed. I can say that both of us have different responsibilities. One is stronger at one thing and the other is stronger at another.
S: Awal is very playful, which I’m not at all. I’m very serious. I’m not very playful with Lara and Lyla but I’m always sitting with and talking to them. I don’t think I’m the fun type of mother. I think we strike a balance there.
A: And I’ll be the one who’d send the kids to school too.
Do you have any advice you would like to give to couples out there?
S: This may sound cliche but I think the fundamental part is that there should always be communication. It’s not just updating each other whereabouts but also in terms of what’s in your mind and what you’re thinking about. I think it’s really important to be transparent about everything.
A: Marriage is not something where you have to just agree completely with your partner. It’s about acceptance. You have to speak your mind and don’t undermine yourself. In our relationship, you can do whatever you want or go anywhere you want. At the end of the day, you come back and we’re a family.
interview RONN TAN | creative direction & styling MARTIN TEO | assisted by PUTERI YASMIN SURAYA | photography CY WONG (REAL PIXEL) | videography POR JIA JUN | makeup KF BONG | hair styling ERANTHE LOO
Find out more about Awal Ashaari and Scha Alyahya in the latest issue of LSA Digital Cover Vol. 004 HERE.