#BareWithMe: Viola Tan



In January, we launched the series #BareWithMe with Porcelain to celebrate a kind of beauty that we can relate to and champion: The beauty of being real, of being positive, of being you — fearlessly and proudly. In this series, I will be chatting with women who have found their place in the world, who make their own rules and live on their own terms, and dare to bare what they have learned, what they’ve overcome, what they really think, and who they are underneath it all.

Botanical artist and founder of Within.sg, Lucinda Law, who kicked off the series, encouraged us to experience beauty, and to accept our imperfections. This month, the ever stylish and darling Viola Tan serves up a timely reminder for us to be present and grateful, to find strength in vulnerability, not forgetting to treat us to a few precious — and practical — lessons about being an introvert (and the power that comes with it), what it means to be happy, making her way back to a good place in bad times, as well as her cures for jetlag, a broken heart and dehydrated cabin-skin. And, when all else fails — because IRL sometimes that happens — just put your best face forward and say, que sera sera. (Scroll to the end for a little surprise!)


How did you feel when you woke up this morning?
Viola: Blissful and at peace. It was 7 degrees Celcius out, and I’m in the incredibly quaint and beautiful resort town of San Sebastián, Spain. 

Describe the woman you see when you look in the mirror? 
Viola: Flawless, confident and beautiful. I’m kidding! That’s what I wish to see, so for now, I’ll keep working towards it. 

What’s your idea of a safe space?
Viola: Literally? Home. Figuratively, it’s when I’m surrounded by my loved ones. 

What are three things you’re most grateful for right now?
Viola: (1) Being in San Sebastián for the first time with someone extremely dear to me. More importantly, being fortunate enough to travel and see

the world. (2) That my grandma is alive, healthy and happy because she means so much to me. (3) Being surrounded by my family and friends, and having this support system I can always count on. 

What is your morning skincare routine like? What are your go-to products?
Viola: I have very sensitive skin, so I can only count on a few products. I usually cleanse twice before spritzing on Porcelain’s Deep Hydrating Lotion. I also use DR Secret Skincare in addition, and put on two layers of sunscreen before triple-protecting with a tinted SPF moisturiser, also from Porcelain.

What’s a real confidence booster for you?
Viola: Having a good night’s rest and glowing skin.





I don’t go to bed without double cleansing, Vitamin C serum, a lot of moisturiser and eye cream.

How can an introvert find her voice in the world — and live her best life? How do you?
Viola: I read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and these quotes really resonated with me. 

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”

“Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like

extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.”

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my introversion as a strength, and in hindsight, I’ve made many friends and touched people in my own way. 

We all have low points in our lives. How have you found your way back from those times?
Viola: I am extremely thankful I have a support system in my friends and family, whom I turn to for help, advise or a shoulder to cry on. Their faith in me gives me the courage to always pick myself back up. 

You and I have talked quite a lot about vulnerability. In fact, that was the word you chose at our “Bee WoW” panel discussion last year. What lessons have you learned from being vulnerable? How has it been crucial in making you a stronger person?
Viola: I’ll quote Murakami from his book Norwegian Wood:

“What happens when people open their hearts?”

“They get better.”

After opening up and being vulnerable at the Bee Wow panel discussion last year, I received so many words of encouragement from strangers I now call friends. 


If you tie your happiness to another person’s appraisal of you, you’ll never be happy.


I think people are quick to judge in order not to be judged themselves. But when we are willing to show that we are human and stop trying to appear “perfect”, when we open up about our struggles, we might just be helping someone else find strength in their vulnerability. 

Many doors of opportunities have opened for me when I decided to ask for help, and it has been an amazing learning journey for me. 

What is your word for 2018?
Viola: Courage. 

What is your idea of self-care?
Viola: Opening a good bottle of wine in my safe space and getting lost in a book. 

What are you reading these days?
Viola: I recently finished Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. It made me realise that my stress and worries are only a fraction of what many other people are going through. What really inspired me is the fact that many foundations helping millions of less fortunate people have been built by an individual overcoming adversities. 

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. 
Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness." 
— Brené Brown

Honestly, there are so many books and so little time! I’ve picked up The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew, Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. I also want to try my hand at Rushdie.

What/who is your idea of beauty?
Viola: I used to think it’s just confidence, but I realised, too, that having a good heart and positive thoughts bring out a different kind of confident beauty. 

What is your idea of success for women? For you?
Viola: Having a sense of purpose in what you do. I got goosebumps listening to this message at a conference in Dubai, and I’ve been making sure that everything that I set out to accomplish has to be driven by the right purpose since. 

“Purpose is a force that drives you, like a warrior, a trail blazer. Purpose is authentic, purpose makes you feel alive, and a part of something bigger. It gives you goosebumps, a lump in your throat. It helps you move beyond success to a satisfaction so deep, it can only come from knowing that the work you do can, and will, change the world.”

Happiness is…
Viola: Being able to love, and to be loved in return. Remember, if you tie your happiness to another person’s appraisal of you, you’ll never be happy.    

You’re quite the jet-setter. Can you share some of your beauty tips for when you’re travelling?
Viola: I always bring Porcelain’s Deep Hydrating Lotion and sheet masks on board, especially for long hauls, because the cabin air is extremely harsh and dry. I also keep hydrated by drinking a lot of water. 

When we are willing to show that we are human and stop trying to appear ‘perfect’, when we open up about our struggles, we might just be helping someone else find strength in their vulnerability. 

What about your night-time skincare routine? What are your essential products?
Viola: I hardly have the time or luxury to go for facials, so I believe in being disciplined with my skincare routine, both day and night. Hydrating masques are a must. I don’t go to bed without double cleansing, Vitamin C serum, a lot of moisturiser and eye cream.

Any special bedtime habits to help you sleep better?
Viola: My nightcap is usually a glass of wine. I’ve also recently started using pure essential oils like lavender which has a calming effect. 

What’s your recommended cure for:

(a) An unannounced zit?
If I have the time, I go for a facial treatment to help with my zit-uation. 

(b) A hangover?
Drink even more!

(c) A broken heart?
Surround yourself with friends and family. DO NOT stay home and wallow in self pity. 

(d)  Jetlag?
Fight the urge to take naps. Hang in there till it’s (nearer to) bedtime before crashing. 

(e)  Lack of inspiration?
Take a drive to clear my head. 

Finally, your mantra right now is…
Viola: Focus on the few important things that I can really influence. For everything else, que sera, sera.





We’d like to get to know you. Let’s start by you telling us one thing which you feel grateful about today, and why.
To thank you for sharing, we have a little something special for you — one 60-minute OxyRevive facial treatment at Porcelain (worth S$212.93) + our absolute favourite Soothe — Deep Hydrating Lotion (120ml, worth S$69) — to give away at the end of the month.
To participate, simply fill out the form on the right. Or you can leave us a comment on our Instagram later, if you like, under any of our #BareWithMe posts. For Instagram comments, don’t forget to tag @wearohwhere and @porcelainfacespa,
and use the hashtag #BareWithMe to make sure we’re notified.
More details and terms and conditions here.
Can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂