TIFFANY TAN (@lovage)
Illustrator, Muay Thai fighter and fitness trainer, 29
This spritely multi-hyphenate and all-round badass will knock you out, and illustrate on your cast in a heartbeat. A decorated Muay Thai champion and an avid fan of the colour pink, Tiffany Tan finds the art of Muay Thai incredibly liberating: “It teaches me commitment, patience and dedication,” she says. “I started with boxing actually and never thought of doing Muay Thai. But I fell into it, and subsequently, madly in love with the community.”
But her first love is still illustration. “You know, I’ve always wanted to illustrate children’s books and it’s been a long process getting to where I am now. Although a different genre, illustration is still my ultimate calling.”
Like all success stories, it hasn’t always been the easiest journey to achieve what she has today. “Being your own boss isn’t as glamorous as it may seem. I answer to a range of different people at any given point of the day. At the start of my career as an illustrator, I had to juggle full-time jobs while slowly dipping my toe into the industry,” reveals Tan, who first taught children in an art studio; then in an art gallery, to supplement her income as a fledgling illustrator.
PVD treated titanium Admiral AC-One 45 Chronograph watch, Corum.
Top, Proenza Schouler.
Choker, CK Calvin Klein.
Nose ring; hand wraps, Tan’s own
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DEBBIE YEW (@debbieyphotography)
Photographer and Founder of Moonrise Studio, 26
A theatre graduate who has photographed the likes of Steve Aoki and Zedd, Debbie Yew is a sought-after event photographer — whose offices are the dance floors of Zouk and
Marquee. It’s unconventional but then again, that’s just the kind of woman Yew is.
“Rebels inspire me. Individuals who go against the flow and relentlessly chase their passions inspire me. ‘Know the rules, then break them’—this saying is something I live by and I’m actually considering having it tattooed on me,” adds Yew, before admitting that it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“Photography is not all glitz and glamour. The truth is, my job is often the opposite and physically exhausting. I haul around heavy equipment on a daily basis, navigating dance
floors and sweaty people just to get a perfect shot. And female photographers get judged more and taken less seriously—especially from the older generation of more traditional
“In my line of work, time translates to money, given the nature of event photography. To be effective with my time, I tell myself that it’s important to disconnect and reset every now and then. It makes me more efficient.”
Rose gold, titanium and diamond Admiral AC-One 38 Automatic watch, Corum.
Ear cuff; nose ringand rings, Yew’s own
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SASHA WIJIDESSA (@sashajiliane)
Former General Manager and Sous Bartender at Operation Dagger, 24
“I wanted to be a nun at one point, can you believe that?” asks Sasha Wijidessa when talking about her childhood ambition. “Then the chance to bartend came along and everything worked out.”
No stranger to alchemy and chemicals, this pharmaceutical science graduate is a complete natural when it comes to the art of preparing the perfect tipple. “Bartending for me just
sort of happened. I first took it up part-time when I was in college to get extra cash. But I started to realise that I really loved and enjoyed every part of it. I’ve never been so passionate about, and devoted to, anything else I’ve done!”
But her parents had a different profession in mind for their daughter. “I studied pharmaceutical science and was going to pursue a degree in dentistry — something that my parents were very excited about. So there was resistance from them when I started working in nightlife. In their eyes, there were only certain jobs they deemed appropriate for their
daughter to take on, and bartending was not one of them!”
“It was very hard at first, to know that choosing to be authentic to who I am, and choosing to do what makes me happy, was also choosing to disappoint and worry the people I love
the most,” she continues.
It took some time, but the rising star in mixology finally managed to win the approval of her parents. “Constantly keeping my parents in the loop of what I was doing, even though
they didn’t like hearing it, slowly convinced them. I felt it was important for them to be informed about the industry and what I do to have a better understanding of my job.”
Steel and rubber Admiral 42 Automatic watch, Corum.
Dress, Proenza Schouler.
Ring, Wijidessa’s own
VICTORIA WOON (@hellotako)
Tattoo artist, 32
Beneath her steely and edgy exterior (she sports a tattoo-sleeve on her left arm), Victoria Woon is surprisingly verbose, and a total softie. Influenced by Japanese anime as a
child, she went on to pursue a career as a tattoo artist, with the full blessing of her parents. Today, she has established a cult following, and prospective clients have to
contend with a month-long wait list.
“I was always interested in tattoos, but I didn’t think I’d ever get to do it as a job as I assumed my parents wouldn’t be able to accept it. If it had really proven to be a big
issue, I doubt I would have been willing to sacrifice my relationship with them to pursue it as a career,” Woon explains. “I’m very close to my parents and it was a struggle
trying to enter an industry that I knew they had reservations about. So I felt that I had to work extra hard to show them what I was capable of and to lay their concerns to rest.”
“They’ve always been supportive but it did take some time for them to be totally comfortable with the idea. They were worried that I’d mix with the wrong crowd. But thankfully, I now have their blessings. It’s been just over seven years and it’s been one of the greatest and most fulfilling experiences of my life. Nowadays, if the topic of tattoos come up,
they get very excited. And they love to show people my work!”
Rose gold and titanium Admiral AC-One 45Chronograph watch, Corum.
Top, Pleats Please by Issey Miyake.
Nose ring and earring, Woon’s own
Stylist and Text: Adriel Chiun
Makeup: Cheryl Ow using Marc Jacobs Beauty
Hair: Sean Ang using Ouai
Photography Assistant: Loy Kok Wee
Styling Assistants: Beverly Tan