Yuna dalam majalah VOGUE

Pada: Isnin, 25 Julai 2016
If you haven’t yet heard of Yuna—born Yunalis Mat Zara’ai—you’ll soon hear her everywhere. Following the recent release of her new single recorded in collaboration with Usher, “Crush,” the Malaysian-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter is preparing to release a new album, Chapters, in May, made with a host of Hollywood super-producers. She describes her sound as “vibe-y—a really cool mix.” And the same description applies to Yuna’s distinctive beauty look, which, with its nods to her Malaysian Muslim culture, isn’t quite like anything the mainstream pop and R&B worlds have seen before. She is, as concisely summed up by her Instagram bio, “a different kind of modern woman.”

That much comes across immediately in her omnipresent head scarves, or hijabs—a defiantly demure statement in what already feels like the year of the naked selfie. “I believe in modesty, so I cover myself,” Yuna explains. “It’s gaining a lot of popularity with hijabi fashion bloggers. I’m no different from those girls, except I make music.” Though Yuna didn’t grow up wearing one—she describes her native country as “more on the liberal side” and estimates about half the Muslim women in Malaysia sport them by choice—she made the decision to do so around a decade ago, and now keeps hundreds of styles in her daily rotation. “It became a part of me immediately,” she says. “When I put it on, I feel more confident. A lot of people think it’s a symbol of oppression. But it’s very liberating, actually.”

Part of that sense of empowerment is in the way a head scarf shifts focus toward a woman’s facial features, Yuna explains. “You’re protecting your identity as a woman. You’re protecting your magic, you know?” Yet she refuses to judge anyone for doing otherwise: “On the other end of the spectrum there are women who believe in showing your body, and that’s fine, too,” she says. “It’s an interesting time to see people embracing differences.”

It’s an attitude Yuna would like to see more of in her own culture. “You know what’s weird?” she says. “A lot of Southeast Asian girls think that being fair-skinned is beautiful. So they always try to use whitening products. I was never considered beautiful back home.” As hard as that is to believe, Yuna is using her fame to ensure her experience won’t be repeated across generations. “When I got here [to L.A.], a lot of people were so intrigued by my features. I think that’s what I realized—in America, being colorful is beautiful. I always try to tell that to the younger girls back home in Malaysia. I recently tweeted about this—I’m tan, too, you can be on my team.”

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