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Joyce wears shirt by Juun J, earrings by Ejing Zhang,
bag by Celine (available in-store only).

Profiles in Confidence

What Empowers You?

Words by Trisha Yeh and Bridget Barnett

Photography by Luke Casey

Stepping into you, I immediately stand taller in the world, both literally and figuratively. I love the instant confidence boost I get, which sets me on a path of self-belief, fearless determination, and poise. You offer me a delicious balance of femininity and power, a perfect fusion of softness and strength. I feel elegant and alluring, while at the same time ready to take on anything. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Thank you, Ann Demeulemeester Combat Boots

Slipping into you, I am geared up right away for a much-needed self-love sesh. And for me, self-love can take on a multitude of forms: I could be headed to the Pilates studio for my biweekly reformer class, I may be treating myself to an afternoon of retail therapy, or perhaps I am simply settling in for a weekend Netflix marathon on the couch. Whatever it may be, I know I’ll be feeling beautiful, alive, and supremely comfortable with you.

Thank you, Burberry ‘Patterson’ Sandals

The moment I decide to sling you over my shoulder, I know my inner queen is telling me it’s her time to shine today. With you by my side, it’s never a dull day. I often find myself in unexpected conversations with strangers, doing something bold I may otherwise not have had the courage to do, or even just remaining confident in silence because I know you are doing the talking for me.

Thank you, Alexander Wang ‘Attica’ Bum Bag

You are my go-to when I don’t want to think too much. I love the ease of throwing you on with the full knowledge that I’m set for the whole day and I look good. Depending on what’s on my agenda, I can dress you up or down in more ways than one. With you, I feel effortlessly feminine, confidently unique, and ready for anything my day has in store for me.

Thank you, Bottega Veneta ‘The Pouch’ Clutch

Meet six fierce females, each empowered in their own unique way, who candidly discuss with us everything from style and career to dreams, challenges, and finding love in a busy city like Hong Kong.

Afa Annfa, Visual Artist

Afa wears dress by Rhode Resort, mules by Loewe,
earrings by Rosantica.

Moving from a full-time role into freelancing can feel daunting. Can you tell us about your experience making the jump?

About 10 years ago I was working at an advertising agency when I quit to pursue being an illustrator. I was also doing some work as a model and talent at the same time – so I guess I was a “slasher”. That diversification of income sources made me less worried about my earnings. The downside of being a “slasher” was that I found it hard to define myself. When people would ask me who I was, I always struggled to answer the question. I felt like I wasn’t part of any specific clique – a complete outsider. It really bothered me.

Now you’ve found your groove and identity as a visual artist, how has work changed?

When I was starting out, I had to accept more commercial projects, where I had instances of difficult clients. I’m fortunate enough to take on fewer commercial jobs now, and can focus on projects and exhibitions that align with my taste and values.

Afa wears bag by Loewe (available in-store only), ring by Rosantica.

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

In a broad sense, I feel like love manifests itself during tough times. The pandemic has really helped the world bond over united beliefs and values – we’re all treasuring our lives and each other more than ever. In a narrower sense, I think you only truly find love when you’re brave enough to be your true self, love yourself, and constantly work on yourself.

Judy Ip, Entrepreneur

Judy wears bag by Alexander Wang, necklace by Joanna Laura Constantine, sunglasses by Dior.

You moved from a full-time role in fashion to becoming an entrepreneurial beauty consultant. What spurred that?

After marrying and having two children, I wanted to make sure I could enjoy that “golden period” of time with my kids more than anything. While I didn’t want to have a full-time job, I also didn’t want to be a full-time mum – I wanted my own career, for my own confidence and sense-of-self.

That flexibility must be liberating. Is there anything you struggle with?

I’m a perfectionist, so when something is out of my control, it makes me anxious. Moments to myself to pray and read helps. Spending time in nature or at the beach also makes me feel more positive and creative.

Judy wears sandals by Burberry.

What do you think about fashion’s current sweatshirt/sweatpants obsession?

Given how much time we are spending at home, I understand why it’s a trend that’s hard to resist! But fashion is in my blood and getting dressed up makes me feel great – so I like to try style it up with high heels, or a blazer and a cap.

For someone that is short on time but wants to look fashionable and polished, what’s your advice?

First, apply foundation to even out your skin tone, and give yourself a swipe of lip colour. Then add accessories, like earrings or a necklace, and a statement hat, such as a bucket or baker boy cap!

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

When you give love, you will find love.

Julian Leung, Barber

Julian wears sweater by Isabel Marant, clutch by Bottega Veneta,
boots by Marsèll (arriving soon).

How did your journey to becoming a barber begin?

I became a salon apprentice at 16, and officially “graduated” and became a barber at 24. That was when I started The 59 Tattoo and Barbershop with four of my friends. We are all into all things vintage. As owners of the shop, we’ve grown, learnt, and refined our crafts together.

Tell us about your barbering toolkit.

I use custom gold scissors from 水谷Mizutani, and clippers from BaByliss GOLDFX. The latter is great for smooth fades. I’m also really into all things gold, and the glitzy design is to die for.

Clutch by Bottega Veneta

Speaking of things that are to die for, can we please take a moment to admire your fabulous hair. How do you maintain it?

I never ever comb my hair when it’s dry– that’s important! After I wash my hair, I apply conditioner or treatment and comb through with my fingers. I also apply a hyaluronic acid serum to my hair before blow-drying – it offers all-round protection, and helps maintain volume. Then I use a diffuser to blow dry. When I wake up in the morning, I lightly wet my hair with water in a spray bottle. Then I’m good to go!

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

Be humble and listen to people with your heart. Love is all around us.

Cecilia Yeung, High Jumper

Cecilia wears blazer by Frame Denim, bag by The Row, shoes by Prada,
ring by Ivi, ear cuff By Yvmin (arriving soon).

Last year you injured your right foot. How did that affect your training?

It meant no high-intensity training for a year. I went back to basics and focused on my weaknesses, such as core techniques, which I had been neglecting in the past.

What’s your routine like now?

I’m mostly training at home. I used to train outdoor every day – I miss it as I quite enjoy the feeling of sweating!

The pressure to perform as an athlete must be nerve-racking. How do you deal with that?

When I want to get good results in competitions, I feel anxious. I try and manage it by remembering to enjoy the process, rather than focus on the results; I tell myself to breathe, listen, and look at my surroundings and try by present and engaged in the experience.

Do you ever feel pressure surrounding your appearance?

I definitely feel body-conscious being an athlete. For high jump, your body weight affects your performance directly so I need to control my diet. People have so many opinions on it – I’m too muscular, I have too many gym sessions... The list goes on. I just have to remind myself to be me, stay healthy, and that everything will be fine.

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

One can simply fall in love with the city itself! We have hills, waterfalls, forests. We have parts of Sham Shui Po where we can have a taste of local favourites such as pig liver noodles at Wai Kee Noodle Café. Then, we can take the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island, and fall in love again with what feels like an entirely different modern city.

Louise Wong, Celebrity Model

Louise wears dress by Alexander Wang, bag by Balenciaga,
pin by Lelet Ny, boots by Ann Demeulemeester (arriving soon).

Being a model, have you ever been made to feel self-conscious?

Definitely. Modelling around the world, I’ve seen that every place has their own criteria on what the most ideal body is. I’ll go to one place and they’ll say I’m too fat, then I’ll lose weight and go to another country and suddenly I’m told I’m too skinny. After that happened a few times, I chose to embrace just being myself – you can’t win every job.

When do you feel the most confident?

I’m not a very confident person in my day-to-day life but, funnily enough, walking shows and being in front of the camera is when I feel the most confident.

What do you always feel good wearing?

A dress that is flattering, easy to throw on, and requires minimal styling!

Can you tell us about a difficult time in your life and how you coped with it?

When I was in high school, my family was going through a tough time, so I chose to start working different part-time jobs to help out. My family was the motivation I needed to get through it.

Speaking of family, you are a mum to six-year-old daughter, Affa. What do you most want to teach her?

I want her to always think about her actions and how they can affect and impact those around her.

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

I believe everyone has their own path, so just follow yours.

Joyce Cheng, Singer

Joyce wears shirt by Juun J, earrings by Ejing Zhang,
sandals by Amina Muaddi, bag by Celine (available in store only).

Can you tell us about a difficult time in your life and how you dealt with it?

Back in 2018, I fell into a deep depression even though I was surrounded by amazing friends. I was blessed enough to be working with clients non-stop, and for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have to worry about my finances. I even held my very first two-night title concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum – a major milestone for every singer in Hong Kong! It didn’t make sense at all; I should have been happy. However, it was only then – when life seemed to be going well – that I realised how immensely lonely I was. I would always be out, with friends, or working – anything but being alone. And if I was alone, I drank. Finally, I decided to take seven days “off” – off social media, off attending social events, off from the world. I forced myself to go to sleep early, wake up early, and walk my dogs in the morning. I would take a book to a café by myself – no makeup, cocooned in an oversized coat – to read and have breakfast. I’d also take the time to pray. And I realised the root of my unhappiness stemmed from my inability to spend time with myself. That was a life-changing revelation. I now value the time I have by myself. I still have down days, but in general, I’m doing okay now. Thank you so much for being so open and honest with us on that! My friend, Sunny Chan of Supper Moment, actually wrote a song for me after I poured out my heart to him about it. It’s called About Loneliness.

You have also addressed issues like body positivity in some of your songs too. Can you tell us more about your journey with that?

Yes – my songs Aren’t You Skinny Enough (你瘦夠了嗎) and Goddess both are about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about self-acceptance, self-love, and for me – when I put out those songs – it was when I needed to hear it the most. There are days where I feel like “Damn it, if I had longer legs, I’d rule this world!”, but you know what, I can still rule this world with chunky monkey hams. Who’s to say I can’t, right? I think even the most beautiful, fittest humans in the world still have days when they struggle, too.

What would you say to people struggling with confidence?

Years ago, I read something that has since stuck with me: “Confidence is not walking into a room thinking you are better than everyone, it is knowing that you can walk into a room without needing to compare yourself to anyone.”

How does one find love in a city like Hong Kong?

You tell me. Single AF.

2020-09-16 00:00:00.0

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