The Ladies collection is driven by the desire to give each of my ladies a chance to empower herself by stepping in front of my lens and by recording her written thoughts in the interviews about kindness, confidence and giant hamsters. The Ladies series can never truly be complete for there will be always be an endless list of ladies that I’d be honoured to capture in a frame. Want to take part or know more?
I’ll be posting my ladies’ interviews in whole (rather than the shortened versions in the books), featuring my personalised quotes and original introductions from the books. Enjoy!
[There’s] nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you. I grow so much from those conversations.
Thank you for making so many ordinary moments, extraordinary. We are the #timeturnertwins, queens of going on adventures and growing together. This lady has taught me so much about following my dreams and never taking no for an answer. I credit Berls with the inspiration for having an adventure every month – whether that is a weekend trip or day trip – for these little escapes really make a dynamic life. We met working on an independent student-run amazing magazine called in Brief. It was a chance before the ‘real’ world that allowed us to let our creative juices run wild.
We even met before Berlin had Instagram! So often my mantra is ‘What would Berlin do?’ I love that for this project, I had the choice of a photo taken of you while we were in Wellington, New Zealand, together or one from when you visited me in Canberra. I chose the one of you inside my favourite sculpture, James Turrell’s Within without, at the National Gallery of Australia. Thank you for always making time for me. Here’s to more adventures.
Top three life highlights?
- Climbed Malaysia/Borneo’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu. I spontaneously signed myself up for the hike without having done any exercise for a year. I couldn’t walk for a week after the climb but it was worth it.
- Studied abroad in London and managed to get kicked out of the UK halfway through the year because there was an issue with my student visa. Everything was resolved in the end so yay! Happy days, but the whole experience was rather comical – of all people it had to happen to me!
- Lived in Copenhagen for a summer and worked as part of a film crew for a Danish short film. I lived with a film producer; she asked if I’d like to try my hand in set design and I couldn’t say no!
If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fish tacos or stir fried Chinese broccoli with garlic and onion. I’d be happy with either.
What is your favourite thing to do in your hometown?
I grew up in Malaysia and every time I go back to visit friends and family, I have to spend my first morning back at a local hawker hall for breakfast. It’s my favourite routine. Even if I land at 6am, I’ll head straight out to a hawker hall and order a hearty breakfast (often 2-3 plates of food because I’m ridden with gluttony and I can’t stop myself). Sometimes it’s noodles and chicken rice, other times it’s roti and nasi lemak (our national dish).
If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
On 9 May 2018, Malaysia had their 14th General Election and we saw the opposition party win for the first time since we gained independence from Britain in 1957. It was really monumental because up until this day, we held the record for having the longest running government in history – and it was a terribly corrupted one. One that suppressed freedom of speech, ‘silenced’ people for asking probing questions and stole $1.2 billion of public funds. I currently live in Melbourne but I would’ve loved to have been home in Malaysia when the results were announced – celebrating change amongst a hopeful, ecstatic society.
Who did you want to be when you were growing up?
I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes when I was a kid, so for the longest time I had my heart set on being a detective. I bought myself a magnifying glass and rallied up my friends to help me ‘solve cases’ at school. I was really into it.
If your house was burning down, what is the one non-living thing you would save?
I have a box where I keep treasured momentos: postcards, photographs, letters, boarding passes and concert tickets. I’d save that.
What are three words that you’d like to define yourself with?
Coffee, cute and cubes (I really like packing cubes).
What is on your bucket list?
Live and work overseas. Ride a hot air balloon. Master Spanish, Danish and Auslan. Change careers and work in user experience. Fly business class on Emirates. Run a marathon. Visit Jordan, Morocco, Turkey and Mexico.
What brings you happiness?
A bear hug after a long day. Solving problems. Heated floors in winter. Boarding a flight. Seeing my family and friends; all of whom live overseas. A soy flat white in the morning. Pay day. Cat videos. The latest season of Queer Eye.
To you, what is kindness?
Not being (super) harsh on yourself and putting yourself in the shoes of someone else for they are fighting their own battle (one you may not
be aware of).
What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?
Don’t get trapped in a cycle of comparing yourself to other people. Social media has intensified this, giving us the ability to (constantly) see how well others are doing, but we can’t let it get to us. There will always be someone out there who is prettier than you, more successful than you, travelling more than you, achieving more than you…But there’ll never be another you. Time is better spent investing more in yourself and your happiness, as opposed to living in envy of someone else’s life.