Sarah Hani Jamil On Launching ELLE Malaysia In Bahasa Melayu

The Editor-in-Chief also talks about fostering a community where every reader feels inspired, understood, and uplifted.
Published: July 11, 2024
Sarah Hani Jamil Talks Amplifying The Malaysian Woman And Her Vision For ELLE Malaysia
Sarah Hani Jamil, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Malaysia. Photo: Herry Chia

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many girls (and boys) grew up wanting to work at a magazine. Few succeed, and fewer make it to the top. Sarah Hani Jamil is someone who has accomplished both. “Growing up, I spent countless afternoons absorbed in magazines, mesmerised by vibrant layouts, stunning photography, and creative fashion visuals. I used to dream of joining that world,” she recalls. Indeed, the world of fashion publishing is beguiling but not without its own set of challenges. Fortunately, the newly-appointed Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Malaysia has decades of experience to call upon: “Personally, this appointment is an affirmation of my years of dedication to the publishing industry.”  

“I've had the privilege of working with and learning from truly inspiring female editors who have helped shape my career. Being able to continue contributing to and being part of this dynamic field is incredibly fulfilling,” Jamil shares. Her most significant lesson? The importance of collaboration, teamwork, respect, and kindness in the workplace. “Whether you're an intern or a creative director, I believe that treating everyone with respect, regardless of their role or seniority, fosters a positive and efficient work culture.”

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Sarah Hani Jamil Talks Amplifying The Malaysian Woman And Her Vision For ELLE Malaysia
Photo: Herry Chia

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Jamil was most recently Editor-in-Chief of BURO Malaysia, where she honed her craft in the digital realm. She also possesses a decade of print publishing experience from her stints at Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia and FEMALE Malaysia, which taught her the ins and outs of the business. “Merging these two experiences, I believe, gives me a unique edge,” she shares. “Additionally, being supported by a great team whom I respect and am excited to work with makes this journey even more promising.”

With her experience in both print and digital publishing and her fervent determination to succeed, Jamil's future at ELLE Malaysia is poised to be a bright one. She shares her plans for the relaunch of the legacy title in Bahasa Melayu—an unprecedented feat—and, more importantly, who the new ELLE Malaysia is for.

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Sarah Hani Jamil Talks Amplifying The Malaysian Woman And Her Vision For ELLE Malaysia
Photo: Herry Chia

How do you feel about ELLE Malaysia being in Bahasa Melayu?

I think that it will be a refreshing twist to the international title. ELLE is a magazine that speaks to women on various levels—from their lifestyles and tastes in clothes to music, art, food and technology. So it makes perfect sense for ELLE to be available in the national language of our country, as it allows us to connect more deeply with our readers. There’s a huge market to be tapped into by offering content in Bahasa Melayu, allowing us to reach a broader audience. I want the magazine to feel like it truly belongs to Malaysian readers, celebrating their identities, achievements, and aspirations.

How will you approach the debut issue of the new ELLE Malaysia in September 2024?

Without giving too much away, our aim is to inspire and set trends while maintaining relatability on the fashion front. Beyond style, our focus will also be on celebrating local talent and narratives that reflect a sense of pride in our community. 

We want to highlight the achievements and unique perspectives of individuals making an impact within our country and beyond. Rest assured that the September 2024 issue will reflect our commitment to creativity and inclusivity in Malaysia.

What are your plans for ELLE Malaysia in the future?

I see ELLE as not just a magazine but a multifaceted brand that influences and inspires women in Malaysia and beyond. Whether through innovative collaborations, community initiatives, or fresh editorial features, we will strive to set new standards in women’s media while also celebrating our unique Malaysian identity.

Magazine publishing has seen so much change in the last decade. What are your thoughts on this, and what do you believe is necessary moving forward?

That’s absolutely true—the pace of the industry has evolved dramatically! Previously, filing a story was the primary focus of the day. Now, the role has expanded to include video production, editing, being the face of the brand, and social media reporting. It's become a wonderfully multifaceted role that constantly challenges me to think faster, work harder, and innovate creatively.

I embrace this shift because it allows me to engage with our audience in dynamic ways. One of the most inspiring aspects of this development is witnessing the creativity and bold ideas of the younger generation. Their innovative approaches push boundaries and bring fresh perspectives to the table, which I think is very much needed for our industry to evolve.

Lastly, who is the ELLE Malaysia woman?

The ELLE woman is not only someone you aspire to be, but also someone you'd genuinely want as a friend. She embodies style, warmth, and compassion—a woman with whom you eagerly share stories and from whom you eagerly listen.

At the heart of ELLE are the core values of fun, joy, and relatability, which we are committed to amplifying. Our goal is to celebrate and empower women through content that resonates with their lives, interests, and aspirations. We aim to foster a community where every reader feels inspired, understood, and uplifted.

Reach out to Sarah at [email protected] and follow her on Instagram at @sarahhanijamil.

The first issue of ELLE Malaysia is slated to launch in September 2024. Stay tuned for updates on

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