Women We Know #35 - Ng Yi Lian
In this series of Women We Know, the newly married fashion editor turned entrepreneur Ng Yi Lian shared with us her fair share of transition struggles in her relationship, in which she finds acceptance and inspired to be her best self at the end of the tunnel. Also an avid Yogi, she finds solace in stretching and fitting in back-to-back classes in her tight schedule.
Who and what do you think of when you hear “Fearlessly Female”?
A woman who is not doubtful of her physical/mental/emotional abilities nor limitations as a woman. And most of all, a woman who understands her ability to achieve anything she wants without bringing down any body else, be it another man or woman—achieving for herself while elevating others. That’s the best example of a fearless person I can think of.
Do you have a female leader you admire in your life?
A few personal friends who have owned or are running their own business/es or gotten to the top without hurting a single person along the way but empowering others during their journeys—people who have not just gone through heights but also through tremendous challenges in their professional and personal lives but thrived regardless. I don’t admire a person who’s had a smooth life as much as one who had overcome. You do not know your real strength until you’ve been severely tested.
What is the one thing that scares you the most and want to try at least once?
The thing that scares me the most is that I won’t achieve my Highest Potential.
What is the hardest life hurdle you’ve gone through and what did you take away from it?
Truly accepting my husband’s children from prior relationships is the most difficult life hurdle for me so far. It took three years of consistent emotional work and vulnerability to get here. Adam and I just got married 2 weeks ago after a 5-year relationship. In the throes of the challenges, I really didn’t think we would ever get here. It would have been so much easier to call it quits. Amidst this challenge, I was also transiting from full-time employment as a fashion editor into my own floral business and it wasn’t a walk in the park as I’d never been someone who aspired to be an entrepreneur. I became one accidentally and there are SO MANY things to figure out—I still am figuring things out!
Marriage was something we mentioned every now and then as an abstract idea but the man I’ve just married is a man who keeps showing up for himself, his children and me. He keeps growing, in every sense of the word, despite really difficult situations at work and at the family court. But he’s a true survivor, since his childhood days of being abandoned, and not carrying through any resentment to his adult life. He’s been awarded the role of sole care and control giver of his two young kids in the Singapore court, which traditionally favours mothers. His tenacity is inspiring and he elevates me by his very existence.
Whereas on my part, I now thoroughly enjoy the creativity of being an entrepreneur—to constantly think of small and big ways to collaborate, to charter a kind of career where it has never quite existed before. The world can truly be your oyster if you embrace both blessings and adversity and just adopt new ways of looking at old things—you’ll see opportunities more than obstacles. And with Adam’s kids now, I can’t imagine a life without them—they are so hilarious and so loving.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
The need to provide for my family and loved ones. No other lofty idea because that’s the realness of my life—I don’t come from wealth or married wealth. There’s a real need that I show up every day because I need to provide.
What is the one life lesson you learned that can’t be taught in school?
To turn your question around, the ONE life lesson you CAN learn in school is to be kind. It’s such a simple concept but most of us don’t do it enough.
What is your definition of success?
When you can arrive at a stage in your life where you no longer desire anything—not the next luxury bag or designer car or big pay check. These things may or may not still come but it’s not about the desire for them, but the nonchalance and disregard for them. To arrive at a place where you just feel at peace with yourself and with Life—that’s my definition of success. And also—that your family and loved ones are fed and healthy.
What is your ideal holiday?
Getting lost in wherever we are, discovering little nuggets of local secrets, being invited to a dinner party where the locals are, being immersed in their local music, language, food, traditions. To be completely transported to another world—that’s my ideal holiday.
What or who are your style influences?
Everything that my eyes can see are my style influences. Visuals influence your innate sense of style in the most discreet ways—you won’t be able to put an exact finger on what truly influences you.
What three values are most important to you?
Owning your life, kindness and love. The latter two are obvious fundamentals but to me, owning your life means being responsible for every aspect of it. Do not look to put the blame elsewhere as our lives today are the accumulation of all the decisions we’ve made in entirety. When we own our lives, it opens up an entire world of possibilities and freedom.
Living in a sunny climate, what are some of your must-haves when it comes to your skin?
Facial masks, mists and sunscreen. I love the soothing feeling of putting on masks and mists. Sunscreen is a no-brainer I guess, but I like mine in SPF 50 with PA++++.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
To achieve my highest potential, whichever I deem that to be.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Being able to continue to look forward to the next five years and so on.
Is there a song lyric or a quote you live by?
In the end, we’ll all become stories.” Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder and Other Stories.
What is your favourite workout and why?
Pilates and yoga—I like how I’m in the now when I’m practising.
How do you squeeze in time for workout in between your busy schedule?
When you have the time, do two back-to-back classes! Because you don’t know when’s the next time you can squeeze in the next one.
What are your favourite healthy food and your favourite guilty pleasure on cheat days?
I do love my salad lunches and I believe any of my food is ‘guilty’ per se cos they make me happy eating them. Why such negative connotations attached to happy objects!
How have working out changed your life?
I feel stronger mentally, emotionally and of course, physically.
What do you look for in active wear?
A lift. Good activewear really does make me feel good even when I’m not working out. No wonder some women spend their days wearing activewear!
How do you reward yourself after a hard workout?
Feeling damn good—I think that’s a pretty good reward.
How many times do you workout in a week?
3-4 times a week if I’m good. I also have stretches of weeks where I don’t get a single workout in!
Any special tips for someone who tries to be healthy
Find something you truly love doing then you won’t feel it’s a chore getting that workout done.
What makes you practice Yoga?
8 years ago, I was in Bali for a month when I discovered yoga cos I didn’t know what was a better way to fill my days in Ubud alone. Since then the amount of emotional healing yoga has given me, there’s no looking back!
Any yoga poses that are meaningful to you? Or which poses are those you took a long time to achieve?
Just the simple downward dog—to be able to have my heels closer and closer to the mat, that makes me have a sense of achievement. I’m not a naturally flexible person so little achievements!
Child’s pose for a sense of recovery and protectiveness and warrior’s poses when I wanna feel strong and firm.
Do share with us some of your favourite healthy meals!
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