On one particularly cloudy Wednesday morning, we gathered three shining exemplars of girl power in a room where there are gorgeous FW17 dresses and booties galore, a plethora of make-up palettes/lippies, and no secrets. As they get primped for the shoot, the fabulous trio — Charmaine Seah (co-founder of Elementary.Co), Jasmine Sim (model/actress), and Tracy Phillips (director of Ppurpose) — are ready to spill the beans, offer one another advice and encouragement, and dispense wisdom on everything they know: How to power up? Can they really “do it all”? Is perfection still a thing? What’s a good song to kick a bad day’s as*? How to keep calm and carry on — stronger than ever? And what makes a woman truly beautiful?
Forget Instagram takeovers. These ladies are taking over this interview, and from where we sit, it looks a lot like a special place in heaven.
JASMINE & CHARMAINE
NEVER LET ANYONE DULL YOUR SPARKLE.
JASMINE: Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
CHARMAINE: I see a woman who has learned to finally be comfortable in her own skin. I see a wife who is constantly learning to be a better equal, and a mother who is trying to be the best teacher to her daughters.
JASMINE: What do you do whenever you’re in need of a boost of confidence?
CHARMAINE: I spend some time alone to reflect and pray, and then I talk to my husband. He’s not one to mince words, and has a way of getting me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to go out and get sh%# done!
But a bold lip is a quick fix. I used to love bright reds, although recently, I discovered dark plums and deep cherry hues which have now become my go-to’s. There’s something about those rich tones that just makes me feel more daring and oh-so-powerful.
JASMINE: What’s your idea of (a) a power breakfast; (b) a power suit; and (c) a power workout?
CHARMAINE: Cheese prata with curry. A Thom Browne dress and heels. A session at WeBarre.
JASMINE: What does beauty mean to you?
CHARMAINE: Beauty is about feeling good
There’s something about those rich tones that just makes me feel more daring and oh-so-powerful.
about yourself, and radiating with confidence whether or not you’re fully made up or completely barefaced. Kindness, a sense of humour and being able to laugh at yourself are things that make a woman beautiful to me.
JASMINE: Where’s your happy place?
CHARMAINE: California – West Coast, BEST Coast.
JASMINE: What about happy food?
CHARMAINE: Mexican food always puts a smile on my face.
JASMINE: Do you subscribe to the slow movement or are you a go-go-go-getter?
CHARMAINE: I’m all for a little bit of both really.
Time waits for no man, and I try never to let a good or exciting opportunity pass me by — because #YOLO! And also, #FOMO! But me-time is extremely important, too, especially after becoming a mum. I need to zone out, wind down and recharge/disconnect, or I’ll definitely lose my sanity.
JASMINE: What do you think of when you hear people talk about “doing it all”?
CHARMAINE: I believe in doing it all, but only to the best of my ability and without sacrificing the things that are truly important to me – my family and my sense of self.
JASMINE: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
CHARMAINE: It’s a piece of advice from my dad. He said: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I’ve always kept that with me and tried my best to be someone who leads with her heart.
JASMINE: What would your best advice for me be?
CHARMAINE: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life’s too short for that.
JASMINE: Lastly, what do you do when in doubt?
CHARMAINE: Phone my BFF!
CHARMAINE & TRACY
YOU’RE AMAZING! 💥
CHARMAINE: What’s your morning routine like?
TRACY: I start with a 15-minute meditation. Then I dab on some energising essential oil before I leave the house for a 20-minute HIIT workout at Ritual Gym before heading into the office.
CHARMAINE: What is self-care for you?
TRACY: I believe in balance, so it’s important for me to make time for reflection and introspection — that, to me, is self-care. I make sure that I don’t get caught up in the daily grind and checklists. This can take different forms, from kicking off the day with some exercise to taking long walks in nature on the weekends. Regular massages, making time to go dancing, and eating well are other ways I stay happy.
CHARMAINE: How would you define beauty?
TRACY: Beauty is vulnerability. It’s knowing who you are and sharing that with the world.
CHARMAINE: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
TRACY: A smiling work in progress.
CHARMAINE: When do you feel most powerful?
TRACY: When I’ve helped someone see her true potential and know that she is loved.
CHARMAINE: Speaking of power, what’s your power breakfast like?
TRACY: If I’m making it, it’s a chia seed pudding, topped with two types of berries, almond flakes and coconut cream. If I’m out and hungry, a full English!
CHARMAINE: Do you have a go-to outfit that makes you feel confident and powerful?
TRACY: Anything that’s occasion appropriate and makes me feel good. The bright and colourful memo always stands.
CHARMAINE: What’s your soundtrack for a bad day?
TRACY: It changes all the time, but my current foot tapper is Dominika by Joseph Ashworth, and Bill Wither’s Lovely Day never fails to put a smile on my face.
CHARMAINE: Complete the sentence: When sh*t happens…
TRACY: I smile to myself. It looks weird but it’s scientifically proven to help, thanks to how our brains are hardwired, and with the release of serotonin, I genuinely feel it works. When I’m really freaked out, like before I have to do public speaking — which I absolutely dread — I use a tapping exercise called the emotional freedom technique (EFT). It’s similar to acupressure in Chinese medicine where you tap on certain meridian points. It’s a simple stress reliever and easy to do discreetly.
TRACY & JASMINE
TRACY: Do you have a feel-good routine?
JASMINE: I like to blast some pop or rap music and dance a little while I’m getting ready.
TRACY: As modern women, we can have multiple jobs/roles at any one time, and there can be so much pressure to live up to a certain ideal or a need for perfection. Do you feel the pressure to do it all?
JASMINE: Yes and no. We can do it all, sure, but we can’t be good at everything because we have limited time and energy. I believe in prioritising. Also, I don’t believe in being perfect. It is only human to make mistakes and have flaws. You either embrace them, or rectify them.
TRACY: What’s your idea of power?
JASMINE: I think it’s a feeling you get when you know exactly what you are doing. I am working on relying more on myself rather than affirmation from other people (especially when it comes to work) to feel good and empowered. Ultimately, it should come from within.
TRACY: How do you keep calm when life gets out of hand?
JASMINE: Breathe. Cliché as it sounds, it really helps you to get out of a knotty situation when your mind is focused on something other than the problem. And when you are more calm, you can then look at the problem more logically, and find a solution.
TRACY: What’s a good song for a bad day?
JASMINE: It depends. Sunshine by Flight Facilities if I need a little
pick-me-up. And Fix You by Coldplay when I am feeling really sad and want a good cry. I believe in crying — it’s so cathartic.
TRACY: What’s your happy food?
JASMINE: Steak! No doubt.
TRACY: Are you a me-time kind of girl?
JASMINE: Yes, I think me-time is important. But I also think that if you’re gaining momentum, then you should just ride the wave and go for it. Of course, when you’re feeling tired or uninspired, taking time off to recharge and relax is the best thing you can do for yourself. Me, I’d travel if I could, but that usually doesn’t happen. So the next best thing is to sleep in and watch some TV or read, or hang out with with my good friends. My happy place is somewhere between my bedroom and a bar (49% extrovert, 51% introvert, haha!)
TRACY: What’s your mantra?
JASMINE: Everything happens for a reason.
TRACY: A beautiful woman is a woman who…
JASMINE: … is comfortable and confident in her own skin. I think that a woman’s attitude and the way she carries herself can also make her very attractive.
TRACY: Complete the sentence: When in doubt…
JASMINE: Just do it! (Unless it is illegal.)
I DIDN’T COME THIS FAR TO ONLY COME THIS FAR.