While scanning through magazine pages filled with the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner are certainly aspirational, nothing’s as inspiring as real women leading real lives — something that New Balance understands quite well. This season, the sportswear brand turns the focus to three inspiring Singaporean women, everyday go-getters who embody their message of fearless independence, to share their stories of excellence.
That’s not to say they’re perfect though; in fact, the women we interviewed talk about fighting for their dreams, and yet, also feeling empowered despite moments of physical weakness, or boldly making things happen no matter the circumstances. We’ve got Vanessa Lee, a student-athlete who has to find motivation from within during her long-distance races; Jia Hui, a host and content strategist who had to strike out her own unconventional path; and Jiamin, a disciplined yoga teacher and founder of Jyan Yoga, who talks about being pro-active in pursuing her goals.
All this resonates greatly with “We Got Now”, New Balance’s long-standing global campaign that champions courageous pursuit of one’s passions, and creating positive action in the present — or, now. Read on to hear how our three young women are doing exactly that.
Vanessa Lee (@vannielyz)
Student / athlete
on vanessa: NB Pace Bra 3.0 in White, $49 ; Uni-ssentials French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt in Pink Haze, $79 ; Uni-ssentials French Terry Short in Sea Salt Heather, $59 ; Fresh Foam X Vongo v5 in White with Light Mango, $249.
Vanessa is a university student, currently in her final year at the National University of Singapore studying Engineering Science. She’s also a long-distance athlete, and has been running 800m to 10km track and cross-country races since she was in Junior College. When it comes to going after what she wants, Vanessa’s relentless pursuit certainly pays off; she came in first for the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic Track and Field Championships Women’s 5000m and 10,000m competition in 2020, and has already begin preparing for her next race, which could happen as soon as next month.
on vanessa: Bucket Hat, $39 ; NB Pace Bra 3.0 in Black, $49 ; XC72 in Summer Fog with Nimbus Cloud, $189. Cardigan and Jeans, model’s own.
Why she resonates with New Balance
“I really like their shoe technology, which is important to an athlete. They have a wide variety of performance shoes that cater to different kinds of training, such as long runs, intervals, and races, even carbon-plated shoes which are of a newer technology — of these, the FuelCell RC Elite v2s are the best out of their entire carbon-plated shoe line. I also like that the brand includes athletes a lot in their campaigns, people who believe in their products and are actually using it.”
On finding motivation and feeling empowered
“As an athlete, you’ve got to create your own opportunities and take every chance you get. For the long-term, you have to be patient in realising your goals, but it’s all the little things you do along the way that count. It’s easy to be motivated when you’re doing something you love, though surrounding yourself with the right people is important too; every single training, I do better when I run with friends. Also, the sport makes me feel strong — especially when I run against guys and kick their asses [laughs]. I feel empowered. It’s like that feeling after finishing a good workout, I might feel physically weak, but on the inside, I feel strong.”
Chow Jia Hui (@chowjiahui)
Content strategist / host and talent at The Smart Local
On Jia Hui: Uni-ssentials French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt in Varsity Gold, $79 ; Uni-ssentials Cotton Legging Short in Black, $49 ; Socks, $20 ; XC72 in Summer Fog with Nimbus Cloud, $189.
As part of the content strategy team at The Smart Local (TSL), Jia Hui is used to generating ideas for clients’ campaigns. She’s currently focusing on livestreams, which she says is “a very new content type that people don’t really know how to optimise yet”, and trying to make them “organic, fresh and engaging, while aiming to interact with audiences and draw people in”. On top of that, she’s also a host and talent, which requires her to be in front of the camera — though she does work with clients beyond the publishing house as well.
Why she resonates with New Balance
“I was talking to Sheena, the brand manager, earlier and they’ve got exciting plans on inclusivity coming up in the next half of the year! It was an easy fit [working with them], it’s like, I’ve spoken to you guys for so long, how come we’re only doing this now? And there are things I resonate with — such as how they’re standing for confidence and independence, which are things I want to perpetuate in my own life as well.”
On the meaning of independence and fighting for her dreams
“The first thing that comes to mind is a fighting spirit, pushing for things that you desire and things that you want, instead of waiting for things to fall onto your lap. This principle resonates with me very strongly, because I feel that a lot of my life, growing up, has been a fight to push for things that I aspire to do, to push against conventional routes — I was in business school, so it was my struggle whether I should go the corporate route, like the rest of my peers who gun for the big MNCs. For me, I felt like I wanted to take a step away from that, and do media instead, which wasn’t very conventional in my environment. To each his own you know, and I wanted to do something different. I had to carve my own path, so I chose whatever I felt was good for me.”
Jiamin Yang (@jyanyoga)
Yoga teacher / founder of Jyan Yoga
on jiamin: Sports Bra, $49 ; Relentless High Rise 7/8 Tight in Black, $79 ; Fresh Foam 1080v11 in Cyclone With Virtual Sky, $259.
A yoga teacher and the founder of a boutique yoga studio, Jyan Yoga, Jiamin specialises in Yoga Therapy for individuals with back pain and scoliosis, as well as Acroyoga, “a physical practice that combines yoga and acrobatics, for yogis who are looking to make meaningful connections through play”.
Why she resonates with New Balance
“I love how New Balance is constantly making a positive impact on our well-being through inspiring and meaningful work, such as the ‘Own Your Moment’ campaign, which empowers individuals to reconnect with themselves through mindfulness and outdoor activities. It is in line with what I do on a personal and business level — encouraging everyone to take a step back from their busy lives, and having some me-time to understand themselves better.”
on jiamin: Cap, $29 ; Uni-ssentials Cotton Tee in Pink Haze, $49 ; waist bag, $35 ; Fresh Foam X Vongo v5 in Light Mango with Arctic Fox, $249. Skirt, model’s own.
On being pro-active in achieving one’s goals
“It’s all about perspective. It propels me forward in my personal growth and goals as I’m eager to meet my desires for self-improvement and achievements in life. I’m pro-active in setting and achieving my goals, regardless of the situation.”
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ADELE CHAN USING THE LEICA M11 + APO-Summicron-M 50 f/2 ASPH lens.
MAKEUP BY dollei seah.
HAIR BY kenneth ong.
SHOT ON LOCATION AT LLOYD’S INN.