It’s International Women’s Day! One day could never be enough to celebrate all the amazing women in our lives, but to commemorate the occasion, we shine a spotlight on the 6 women who epitomize the phrase: Girls can do anything.
1. Cat creature/ Annabelle Gao
Annabelle Gao (or Catcreature, as she’s better known on Youtube), has been making videos about art and fashion for nearly 6 years now, and yes, she has a handful of adorable cats who make regular cameos on her channel.
Annabelle studies art at the Rhode Island School of Design, and she regularly posts deeply personal vlogs about school and life in general – she’s incredibly talented, but not afraid to show her moments of insecurity. With her quirky style and soothing voice, she’s someone you’ll instantly want to be friends with.
Personal favourites include her sketchbook tours where she shows her (might we say, awe-inspiring) drawings and shares her artistic process, thrifting hauls where she shows her one-of-a-kind fashion and homeware finds, and best of all: her room tours. This is a girl who knows how to bring personality and warmth to even the smallest of rooms, and her creativity and aesthetic sensibilities inspire us like no other.
2. Mishti Rahman
Bengali-Australian Mishti Rahman is known for her chic outfits and picture-perfect smile, and the doe-eyed beauty is grateful to be able to represent Bengali girls everywhere.
As her Instagram and Youtube following continue to sky-rocket, Mishti (whose name aptly means ‘sweet’ in Bengali) gets a ton of support from girls who are happy to see a fellow brown-skinned girl thriving – and lots of thirst-comments too, of course. She often posts about her commitment to staying true to her roots even when it gets tough, and she thinks it’s important for everybody to grow up seeing people that look like them in the media. We couldn’t agree more!
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3. Kaur Beauty/ Puneet Kaur
When it comes to time management – you’d be hard pressed to find someone better at making the most of every day than California girl Puneet Kaur of Kaur Beauty. Not only does she post weekly videos about makeup and fashion on her Youtube channel, but she’s also a professional make-up artist – and, wait for it – an ivy league medical student. We honestly can’t believe it, either.
As if she wasn’t cool enough already, Puneet doesn’t keep her wisdom and talent to herself. She posts a ton of videos answering questions about med school and often shares her tips on how to get in and maintain a good GPA. She even shares med school vlogs to give her followers a better idea of what her routine is like – all while looking flawless 24/7. Some girls really can do it all!
4. Margaret Zhang
Even words fall short when it comes to describing the self-made 24-year-old, Margaret Zhang. A law graduate, a highly sought-after fashion photographer, writer, stylist, digital strategy consultant, and now film-maker to add to her name, Margaret Zhang’s capabilities far exceeds that of her contemporaries. Thus, it comes as no surprise that she’s in Business of Fashion’s BoF500 list of people who are shaking things up in the fashion world or Forbes Asia 30 Under 30…and the list goes on.
Since starting her blog, Shine By Three, at 16, the sartorial icon now boasts of an Instagram following of 1 Million (and counting). Driven, determined and unapologetic in her creative direction, she has scored herself collaborations with global brands like Swarovski, Chanel and Dior, and graced the covers of numerous international magazines.
But appellations and accolades aside, perhaps the most endearing element about this creative powerhouse is her genuine heart and passion for championing the youths of today. Name another 24-year-old as inspirational as her…I’ll wait.
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5. Mia Kang
Health is wealth, they say. With a Guess Campaign, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and Victoria’s Secret contract going for her, Mia Kang made the difficult decision to give up her rising modelling career to focus on her health and wellbeing instead. In the cut-throat world of fashion, the supermodel-turned-Muay Thai Fighter has opened up on her past struggles with body dysphoria as the result of the unrealistic body expectations placed on her.
Since discovering Muay Thai, she has learned and continues to learn, how to embrace her insecurities and respect her body for what it is. An inspiration to all, the body-activist encourages women to embark on a pilgrimage to a healthier, happier version of themselves.
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The picture on the left was 4 years ago when I was a top model in Hong Kong. From the outside I looked like I was living the life – money, cars, VIP at every exclusive party, working with all the designers, first-class everywhere, champagne, covers of magazines. But the truth is I hated my existence. I hated myself. I barely ate, maybe once every couple of days or when I was in front of people and had to. I smoked about a pack of Marlboro lights per day. I would throw up my food and was addicted to taking laxatives after I ate because I couldn’t live with the guilt and self-hatred. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin and woke up every morning, looked in the mirror, and hated what I saw. Since I started modelling at age 13 I started conforming to the standard of beauty that was dictated to me. That resulted in me losing myself, my mind and my health. I lived in constant anxiety – fear of what people thought of me, fear of having my eating disorders exposed, fear of no longer being deemed as beautiful. I lived in depression, I isolated myself and hated being around people or in public. Dozens of times I contemplated suicide – I thought if I have to live with this self-loathing and this feeling of wanting to rip my skin off just to get out of my body so I can feel somewhat free, I would rather tap out. I look at the image on the left and I don’t recognise that girl, she looks like a stranger. She was so sad. On the right this is me today. I am the same woman, but I now know my worth. I respect myself. I am now happy and healthy. I always wanted to be a strong and confident woman, and so I became one. Put one foot in front of the other. Only you can help yourself. I want everyone to know that it’s okay to not be okay. We cannot go through everything alone. Being vulnerable is so strong. Mental health is just as important as physical, where your mind goes your body will follow. #worldmentalhealthday.
6. Angie Ng
It is quite impossible to label the 32-year-old Angie Ng, and I would like to think she’d prefer me not to. With 45.5k followers on the ‘gram, Angie Ng is more than just your typical runway model. As supermodel since her teenage years, that didn’t stop the ambitious Malaysian-Chinese model to pursue a law degree or become a professional tap-dancer, a SPIN and boxing instructor.
Recognising the double-edged nature of social media, her Instagram feed is not curated to fit the stereotypes that exist in today’s cultural landscape. A non-conformist, she encourages others to be themselves and dare to live a life beyond the precincts drawn by societal expectations.