When Neelofa started her Naelofar Hijab business 20 months ago, she had an estimated earning of only RM200,000 in profit.
Then in December 2015, an interview with BBC revealed that her hijab, or headscarves, business raked in a staggering RM50mil in profit. Nobody was more surprised than the actress herself.
“We really didn’t expect it at all. When it was growing rapidly, we realised that we had to keep up. Now there’s no turning back. We’re ready to keep moving forward and expand this brand to greater heights,” she said during an event to unveil Naelofar Hijab’s latest designs for Hari Raya.
When she ventured into the business, the 27-year-old actress noticed a void in terms of contemporary designs and colours for headscarves. She believes her products offer a range that fits the image of today’s modern Muslim women.
“We wanted our customers to have chic yet hassle-free hijab-wearing experience. So we introduce a variety of pastel colours and elegant styles. We’re proud to have so many customers relate to our product,” she added.
However, much of the attention at the unveiling of her Hari Raya collection was on the television commercial for her new range. The seven-minute clip titled Allah Lebih Tahu (Allah Knows Better) depicts a tearful Neelofa seeking forgiveness and guidance.
The inspiration for the video set tongues wagging.
“I wanted a video based on my own experience because it would feel more real. So I drew inspiration from my personal love life and worked that into a concept for the Hari Raya video.”
Neelofa said she’s not seeing anyone at the moment but was tightlipped on details of the relationship that inspired the video.
Previously, it was reported that Neelofa’s two-year relationship with actor-director Datuk Hans Isaac ended in 2014. Reporters brought up his name at the event but Neelofa wouldn’t confirm or deny anything. Instead, she’s leaving it up for interpretation.
“I have never shared stories about my personal life. People just make assumptions based on what they see from the outside. But the video is about showing how I really feel at that time. At the end of the day, God knows better.
“The video is about leaving it up to God. I believe in jodoh (soulmates) no matter what.”
Perhaps more will be revealed later as Neelofa said there are plans to expand the commercial into a telemovie.
“We have this idea to use the story for a television movie. I don’t want to say too much now because I’m scared it might not happen in the end. We’ll plan it after Hari Raya.”
The actress also maintaned that she has accepted what has happened and used the commercial as an outlet to express herself.
“You know how singers express themselves through their music? I guess it’s not wrong for me to share a bit about myself with acting,” she offered.
Speaking of acting, Neelofa also shed light on her entertainment career. Her booming business requires the actress to be selective when it comes to acting commitments.
Neelofa made her big screen debut with Azura in 2012. Last year, she starred in telemovies Lukisan Takdir and Wan Embong. She is also the host of weekly entertainment programme MeleTOP on Astrosaid.
Neelofa said she’ll start shooting a drama series after Hari Raya.
“If I choose to do only one or two productions every year, then I have to make the right choice. The right combination for me is a good script and an amazing cast,” she explained.
Despite limited television and movie appearances, Neelofa was voted Most Popular Star at the recent Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian where she beat the likes of box office actors like Shaheizy Sam and Zizan Razak. It seems that just like her business, Neelofa has found the key to success in the entertainment scene.
“Maybe it’s a combination of my appearances on television as well as social media presence. I’ve always maintained a close interaction with my fans via social media. I think that’s what really helped me.”