What’s sweeter than ripe fruit and harder to come by than a four-leaf clover? The love between a couple so compelling the result of their commitment’s stronger than the sum of their individual efforts. Lovebirds Sofie Chandra (@so_fieee) and Eugene Lim (@geniemule) make a shining example of our sentiment. Throughout sixteen years of friendship they’ve gone from hating each other from afar to sobbing on each other’s shoulders late at night over their existential crises.
If that’s not enough of a transition in relationship between them, they’ve also accomplished some remarkable milestones together. Running for the charitable cause #TheHighPanters, Sofie and Eugene have, as Eugene puts it, “built a community not just for ourselves, but for the underprivileged.” Not only does teamwork play a huge role in success, balancing each other can also, Sofie confirms, “make each other better.”
Speaking of making each other better, Emporio Armani recently launched couple fragrances “Stronger With You” and “Because It’s You” to mark how it takes two to tango. We recently interviewed power couple Charmaine Seah and Derek Ong to identify the spark in their relationship, and this time we shine a spotlight on Sofie and Eugene at The Projector (@theprojectorsg), a vintage cinema we imagine would make the perfect date night activity for the two, who share with us how they’ve made each other #togetherstronger.
When did you first meet?
S: About sixteen years ago.
E: I was in ACJC.
S: I was in National Junior College.
E: It was quite weird. I was with my then-girlfriend at the old Cineleisure and she [Sofie] was with her then-boyfriend. My girlfriend and her had some beef.
E: These two girls were diao-ing each other, and her boyfriend also started diao-ing me. She wanted to leave her boyfriend when she saw me.
S: Nooo! Since we met that way we weren’t friends at all. But we knew of each other.
E: My first impression of her wasn’t very good. Subsequently I found out she’s actually good friends with my cousin.
S: She’s my best friend.
E: We were never friends until a few years back. I was in Bangkok for a work trip and she was there for her birthday with my cousin. My colleague was also friends with her brother, so we decided to hang out as friends. We did a lot of projects together and found we were very different in our working styles, which sometimes clashes but also helps balance things out.
How are you different in work?
E: She’s an executor; the negative to that’s rash. But she gets things done, whereas I’m quite chill so sometimes I get nothing done. I’m always trying to go back to the big idea and make sure we’re on track. We’ve completely different styles but if I do things myself work might never get done, whereas if she does things herself she might get careless.
S: In the bigger scheme of things a relationship’s meant to make each other better. Since we’re so different we help complement each other. As a couple you also need to complete the same milestones together. We both started our own businesses together last year. Because of our similar entrepreneurial journeys, we were working towards similar goals together.
Have you ever considered starting a business together?
S: We’ve different interests in what we want to grow as a career. Eugene’s trying to grow his passion for F&B while I like marketing and content creation. There’re definitely similarities between the two, but it makes things interesting because the conversations we have give us both a different perspective of life.
E: Even when we used to work for different companies we’d constantly be helping each other. In fact, that’s how we started getting closer in the first place.
Can you tell us how you started #TheHighPanters?
E: It’s a charity running group I started in 2012 with a couple of friends. We wanted to get together likeminded people who enjoy running. As a group instead of running by distance and keeping together we run by time. Everyone starts and ends together, but how fast you run’s up to you. We’ve built a community for ourselves and for the less privileged, as well as social awareness which goes much further than funds alone.
S: It was when we started going out and he shared what #TheHighPanters was all about that I started to take an interest in fitness. Eugene’s consistent with his fitness and I was not at all.
E: (jokingly) I was checking out other hot girls and she wasn’t really happy with it.
S: *laughs* Because I was in nightlife for so long I felt tired all the time. I also wanted to make some changes to my life. That was the year I did the Standard Chartered marathon for the first time. Eugene was a huge motivation. Because of his interest — and as a couple you want to do things together — instead of going out for a meal we’d run first.
How has enduring hardships made you #TogetherStronger?
S: Knowing that when I go home I can talk to Eugene about anything is very comforting. I’m generally more emotional and he’s very logical, so there’re times when I just want him to hear me out and not give me any advice. That helps, otherwise I’d be a complete wreck. We also have very similar interests in hobbies, and be it travelling, eating, movies or hanging out with friends Eugene’s always the good part of it. In reality the butterflies and chemistry don’t last. It’s always about the companionship in the long run, and we’ve established we want to build something together in the future.
What do you admire most about each other?
E: Sofie’s a go-getter, not just for herself about everyone around her. She’s a “mother,” always trying to nurture.
S: He has an attention to detail that I admire. He’s also very open, which means we can have intense conversations.
E: Sometimes you need someone to make you have a cold hard look at yourself. Quite often, they’re things no one else would say to you.
How do you manage being public on social media?
E: It’s not real life, it’s what we choose to put out.
S: That’s why we have that same picture we always take together [standing side by side], because we’re not a PDA kind of couple.
How have you managed being in a long-distance relationship?
S: We knew he was going to Bangkok to open a restaurant and bar, but not so fast. Over that six months, I felt the space apart was good because it gave me time to start my business. I still travelled there once or twice a month, so we could still spend time together.
E: Adjusting wasn’t that bad. I’d be away for three weeks and back and she’d travel there regularly, so really we’d only be away for two weeks at most.
S: One of the challenges was exercising. He wasn’t there to remind me but he still did it via text. And I didn’t like not hanging out especially on special occasions.
What’re your goals for the future?
E: Our goal’s always to build a community, whether it’s in business, with friends or family.
Stronger With You (Homme)
Because It’s You (Femme)
Emporio Armani Stronger With You and Because It’s You are available in all Emporio Armani Singapore boutiques and online.