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Listen up, ladies: Life lessons from 10 inspirational women of KL

With International Women’s Day just around the corner on 8 March, we met up with some of the most empowering and hardworking women in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate their successes and achievements. It’s not always so glamorous, though: These women have been through their share of challenges and blunders to get to where they are today. So we asked them to share some tips on life, career and essentially anything that they have chosen to pursue. 

One common piece of advice was: Don’t worry about what other people think of you or your pursuits — use that same energy to achieve great things. Take Nana Al Haleq for instance. Dissatisfied with her career in advertising, she decided to dedicate herself fully into body building. Today, she’s a fitness model, instructor, and an inspiration to women with her daily tips and workout routines on Instagram.

View more photos of these independent, fearless and capable ladies here. We recently spent a delightful afternoon of champagne and delicious pastries with them, and left feeling well-fed and thoroughly inspired. Special thanks to Mandarin Oriental KL, as well as Benefit Malaysia and L’Occitane for supporting this event to celebrate the women of Kuala Lumpur.

1
Levy Li

Multi-hyphenate Levy Li is a mother-of-one, founder of The Good Co., and the 2008 winner of the Miss Universe Malaysia beauty pageant. She believes that women are naturally amazing multi-taskers and creatives, particularly when it comes to playing several roles at the same time.

“It’s all about balance in life. Do what you like, and be passionate about what you love. Just remember to keep a balance of all the things that make you happy.” 

2
Elizabeth Lee Yong

Between designing her own jewellery brand Bowerhaus, taking care of her adorable baby Blake, and unleashing her creative energy in stunning balloon decor, how does Elizabeth Lee Yong stay on top of it all (and always manage it with a smile)?

“I’ve learnt that you get further if you trust in the help of others, and find like-minded people to work with. From there, you can push each other to be better, together.”

3
Freda Liu

Currently a radio host on BFM, Freda Liu’s past experiences include public relations work, lecturing, and presenting news on radio and television. Here’s her secret to success.

“Be ready to be adaptable. For women, don’t lose sight of your femininity — be proud of it. Success does not come overnight, and most importantly, don’t do it simply for external glory. You’ve got to be sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing.”

4
Shermaine Wong

The world is a little more beautiful with Shermaine and her team at creative design studio Tish, with their curated products, stylish homeware and elaborate parties. Having started with only personalised candles, the company has indeed come a long way. Wong shares some tips on venturing into the uncertain.

“Be fearless and always follow your gut. Don’t be afraid of what people might say. Things will always find their way and become right, even if something goes wrong.”

5
Jenn Low

Bringing more beautiful and versatile jewellery options to the world is Jenn Low, founder of Wanderlust and Co.. This year, her company is running a #DareToDream campaign in partnership with Women for Women International. From now till 19 March 2017, 20 percent of proceeds from the Dreamer Bangle will be donated to the charity organisation. Want some wise words from the lady boss herself?

“You have to believe in yourself. Believe in your capabilities and be convicted in the fact that all you need to achieve your dreams is within you. It takes discipline and perseverance, but above and beyond it all, life hands you different things that you can handle. Take all of it and make the best of it, and you’ll get there eventually.” 

6
Evelyn Marieta

Add some wunder to your life with Evelyn Marieta‘s bath and cosmetics company Wunderbath Co.. In between dealing with hair nets, and mixing ingredients to create new products, Marieta is also a model. When asked about what she finds key to a successful, sustainable business, this is what she had to say.

“Make sure you start something because of passion, and you can always find a creative way to make money from it. It just wouldn’t work the other way around!”

7
Melissa Tan

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about taking a leap of faith, it’s got to be Melissa Tan. Having left her job as a financial consultant in her late 20s, she set out to pursue a career in full-time modelling, and was Malaysia’s representative on Asia’s Next Top Model season 3 in 2015.

“Improving and equipping yourself is most important, because you don’t want to rely on others to get to where you want to be.”

8
Jean Ng

Jean Ng began her entrepreneurial journey in 2015, when she and two friends realised there was a gap in the market for beauty services. They founded 176 Avenue, a one-stop beauty and pampering service provider in Bangsar — and haven’t looked back since.

“You need to be driven by passion to succeed. Don’t let emotions get the best of you. Just find the right balance in your life, and go out there and hustle!”

9
Nana Al Haleq

Fitness model and athlete Nana Al Haleq whole heartedly encourages everyone to realise their potential in fitness. See more of her workout routines and cheeky Instagram stories here.

“The first hurdle and challenge is always the hardest, but get through it! Follow your heart and believe in yourself.”

10
Zaida Ibrahim

The impressive Zaida Ibrahim (sorry, we couldn’t help it) is the founder of Impressed and Curated Co., and a doting mother-of-one. We can’t help but be amazed at how well she juggles all these responsibilities. Here’s her definition of success.

“Being successful doesn’t mean you have to own a business, or be a career-driven person. To me, it’s just about doing what you really want to — whether it’s to be a full time mother, corporate worker or anything else.”