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27 Questions with Tiffany Soi, Asia’s rising yoga, rock-climbing and TV personality

Bangkok is a city brimming with talented and fascinating people. In 27 Questions, we interview notable Bangkok personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, important life moments and their hopes and dreams, all revealed in about the same amount of time it takes to sit through a round of speed dating.

You may know her as the host of the original wellness series #TBreaks with Tiffany on Diva TV, or through her fitness-focused and incredibly addictive account on Instagram. Or, you may know her as one of the faces chosen for Sephora’s most recent campaign, #BeautyRewritten (which you can peep the pictures of at any Sephora around town). We first met Tiffany Soi during her very own ClimbFlow Fit-Yoga class at W Bangkok and became instantly drawn to her charisma and unique ability to help us connect with our own bodies.

The qualified yoga teacher, creator of ClimbFlow Fit-Yoga, international rock climber and ex gymnast is certainly a force to be reckoned with, and when she’s in town, we’re down to talk to her. The British-Thai ‘modern multi-hyphenate’ balances herself with many accolades and also spends her time travelling between Bangkok, Singapore and London. While it may seem unsurprising that she also trained as a classical singer and actress, her intrigue is raised to new heights when we find out she also has a First Class degree in Astrophysics! Is there anything Tiffany Soi can’t or won’t do? Needless to say, there’s so much more to her than you may have guessed, so read on to find out some cool, random and sometimes profound facts about Diva TV’s next top diva.

Name:  Tiffany Soi (it’s Soithongsuk)
Age:  32
Neighbourhood: Bangkok, London and Singapore
Occupation: Wellness Lifestyle Advisor, TV and Media host, Creator of ClimbFlow Fit-Yoga method, International rock climber.

All images courtesy of Tiffany Soi

What is your life motto?

“Don’t be limited by others’ constrained boundaries.” People and institutions have tried to pigeonhole me my whole life into a specific category that I simply exist outside of – I’ve broken a lot of those barriers by being unapologetic about my diverse nature. Establish for yourself whether “you can’t” be or do “x” because you are female/too girly/creative/analytical/too athletic/insert whatever excuse.

Tiffany Soi by Max Leo 
What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Bangkok?

When are we not having the best meal ever in Bangkok? A seasonal Khao Neow Mammuang? To be honest the best meals are the ones at stalls that I don’t even know the name of with my family and wonderful conversation – in those times every Gaeng Kiaw Wan, Panang, Som Tum, Phak Boong is a life-changing flavour-bomb of joy. In terms of finer dining, I had a wonderful meal at Bo.Lan and love their ethics and philosophy around sourcing ingredients.

Who is your role model?

My parents. My (Polish) Mama for her pizzazz, boundless energy and take-no-BS attitude. My (Thai) Father for his considered and wise approach to everything in life. Both for their intelligence, entrepreneurship and unrelenting persistence in life in spite of life’s challenges.  That’s where my grit and grace is derived from.

Tiffany was the Star of Smart Water’s Clear Thinking campaign
What was your first job?

A newspaper round when I was 12! I hated it but it got me valuable pennies.

What is your drink of choice?

A solid gin and tonic (with black pepper ground on top) or a beautiful Malbec. Otherwise, a matcha or turmeric latte, or proper earl grey tea.

When was the last time you drove a car?

Last September in London – I was in town for my brother’s wedding. I LOVE driving and I miss having my own sporty car.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning. If I don’t start my day well, it dictates the rest of the day.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chocolate. And Croissants. And Panang curry. I’m not very good at this game, am I?

What is your biggest regret in life?

Taking acne medication for my horrific acne troubles in my teens. First – all my acne came back anyway after I stopped but moreover, those meds caused lifelong damage in my body.

Truthfully though, I have very strong convictions about not regretting anything in life. I think regret is a deeply damaging state – I believe in acknowledging every outcome and understanding our part in those outcomes in order to progress. When you’ve done something “wrong”, accept responsibility, take the hard lessons, make amends to the best of your ability and figure out how to move forward. Regret will keep you painfully trapped. Of course, there are guys I’ve dated that I cringe over (I mean seriously) and decisions that didn’t go to plan, but I have gained something from every twist and turn – I hope to make the best decisions I can in the given circumstances. Every experience, even the most painful and challenging, has shaped me and helped me to relate more deeply with other humans.

What do you hate most about living in Bangkok?

The traffic…we need more public transport, and whilst we have more overline monorail options opening, the city desperately needs more underground line solutions!

How often do you prepare your own meals?

Daily! I make my own breakfasts and brunch delights and I love cooking with my husband – he is a domestic God in the kitchen and we love cooking Thai and Asian flavours together. In Bangkok I admit I eat out most of the time, but that’s because there is so much incredible food around every corner – it’s too easy to eat out all the time.

What is your greatest fear?

Mediocrity. Leaving this world without doing everything on my to-do list and supporting my family in all the ways that I aspire to. And, not being able to leave this life in a dignified and pain free manner.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Eating a chocolate-fudgy ice cream with serious amounts of salted caramel involved.

What is one movie everyone should see?

This is too hard! Can I break the rules again? Blade Runner – it’s one of the most impactful and striking films of our time and a masterful portrayal of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It’s a character and film noir of contemporary tones with a musical score that was revolutionary. There is emotional power that’s not obviously tangible to everyone beyond the sci-fi audio-visual saga – every time I watch, I am haunted by what it means to be human, what it is to love and to want to live. Other than that, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s Last Life in the Universe (Ruang Rak Noi Nid Mahasan, locally). I adore this Thai art-house film. Its power lies in its subtly strange and dreamlike crafting of two contrasting humans in bizarre circumstances. It’s a worthy tale on life, love, death.

Tiffany Soi crushing stereotypes, captured during Diva TV’s #Youarelimitless campaign
What is your typical Sunday like?

I’ll wake up early to get out and walk outside – it’s the only time of the week where the rest of the world sleeps and is reserved for the few of us who are out absorbing the secret magic. I’ll do some meditating, journaling, reading. Then I’ll head home and have a homemade espresso coffee with the husband. Even though I only have coffee a few times a week, this is one time I’ll have it in the morning with him. It’s our special time. We love the artistry of coffee making! We went on a mini barista training course so love figuring out how to improve our process. The latte art has some way to go mind you. After that, it’ll be a dash down to the rock-climbing wall to get a couple of hours of pulling in – that is our sport and passion. Post training, I’ll make a mean egg brunch! The rest of the day might be dedicated to home improvement activities, more outdoor time, a home movie or…laundry!

Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

Right now, the sensual experience of eating that flourless chocolate cake I just finished. Are we picking up on the recurring chocolate theme? Wellness to me is nothing without chocolate still being involved.

What makes someone a real Bangkokian?

Maybe it’s straddling a motorcycle taxi in a mini skirt. Or using your mobile phone as a sun shield when you go for lunch.

What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

Baby One More Time, Britney Spears. And Gabriel Faure’s Clair de Lune classical piece.

If you could banish someone from Bangkok forever, who would it be?

Anyone in a nipple-bearing wife-beater vest or singlet or whatever those things are called.

Where do you go when you want to be alone?

To somewhere in nature, preferably near some source of water. If it’s the city then museums and galleries make great escape spaces.

What is one thing you’ve never revealed to your parents?

That maybe for a brief teeny tiny period of time I thought I was adopted. I was having a bit of an identity crisis as a multi-racial teen. P.S. I am definitely not adopted.

What is your favourite scent in the whole world?

I am guilty and proud for breaking all the rules here! I’m very scent driven, it is hard to isolate one. The aroma of chocolate, freshly ground coffee, red wine. Certain perfumes that dictate the different eras of my life (currently it is Prada’s Infusion D’Iris). A juicy fragrant Rose flower. London Summer rain. The sea in Krabi. My duvet covers. Frying garlic.

Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?

I’ve been taught by many standout teachers in both sports and school. Other than my parents, I have to hand it to an old maths teacher (who actually wasn’t even my assigned maths teacher for class!) who helped me when I was struggling during school. He reminded me when my own internal resources were wavering “Persevere. Persevere. Persevere. You will see.” I went from being labelled a maths dunce to graduating university with a first-class Astrophysics degree (essentially an applied mathematical degree!). Perseverance has seen me through the greatest obstacles in life.

Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?

I’ll go with the former. Contrary to what people may think, I am a secret introvert and relish being alone. That being said, although it can be overwhelming and maddening being around people all the time, I would be heartbroken not to have time with my loved ones, even if we can drive each other bonkers sometimes.

What is the last dream you remember waking up to?

Where time and distance weren’t an issue and I was able to see my family and friends in London and Thailand, the US and more by quite literally walking through a door. I felt so happy and free. I am so grateful for being able to live in more than one place in the world, and we have amazing tools for connection, but nothing really replaces the physically present time we have with our loved ones. Perhaps that’s the physicist in me coming to the fore? Maybe I need to return to Astrophysics and solve these wormhole problems finally. Who knows maybe I will when I’m done with everything else I’m to right now!

How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?

15 in my present wardrobe… more if you count climbing shoes and the ones in storage in London that aren’t appropriate for South East Asian weather. At the moment I’m mostly wearing out some pretty sandal slides that are practical enough to wear even if I’m running around town but stylish enough to wear with dresses.

What was the best moment of your life?

This is almost impossible to answer – there are too many profound moments in my life to honour! Let’s say in these recent times, it would be getting married to my most fantastic man. It was a fast and fabulous, family-only affair that I treasure. There, that’s my soppiness done!

To keep up with Tiffany Soi, follow her on her Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. And look out for her upcoming (very) soon-to-be-launched #YogaEverywhere with Tiffany Soi, only on E! Online Asia.

27 Questions with Tiffany Soi, Asia’s rising yoga, rock-climbing and TV personality

Catherine is Bangkok born and bred and knows the angles of the city and its people very personally. You'll often catch her writing about the upsides of Thainess, the richness and diversity of Bangkok's third cultures and the true meaning of wellness.

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