"Eleanor Lee with Kenneth Goh"

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Did you get the irreverence of the multicoloured rainbow masthead on our cover? In all honesty, the move was a gamble, but I wanted the cover to reflect what so many of our Gen Z members are obsessed with: Crazy, unicorn pastel ombre hues that they seem to splash on everything, from hair to clothes and right down to sneakers.

To me, it’s a flashback to the 1980s and My Little Pony.You know, those unicorns and winged horses with extremely silky manes. The pony toys, created by Hasbro in 1983, found fame again with Gen Z in 2010 when the TV series was relaunched. It grew into a whole industry devoted to all shades of the happy, loopy pastel rainbow. (Which, incidentally, are featured in our Style section on page 50 as the power of pastels cuts across all ages, genres and aesthetics).

Which brings me to this issue on youth. Finding the cover star was hard: Which 20-year-old Singaporean star is worthy of a BAZAAR cover? The conversations I had with friends, colleagues and clients on who could potentially grace this issue drew up blank responses—until someone I worked with years ago asked if I knew actress and host Quan Yifeng’s daughter, Eleanor Lee. Already a star in China, where she spent her last few formative teenage years, Eleanor is commonly known as the Apple TV girl. The famous ad campaign in China launched her career when she was just 16. Now, at the ripe young age of 20, she’s carving quite a name for herself acting in dramas and movies, singing and producing her own songs.

Plus, she’s got a body made so perfectly for Saint Laurent samples (read: Model-like proportions and mile-long legs) and enviable alabaster skin. The whole package, so to speak; and yet, still so wonderfully down-to-earth.

I met her with her godfather, hairstylist supremo Addy Lee, and her mum at Violet Oon at ION Orchard right before Covid-19 made such gatherings a thing of the past. Eleanor was lovely, animated and enthusiastic about life. And she had the warmest, cheeriest disposition (find out for yourself on page 78)—truly delightful. We shot and interviewed her the following week. Then, bang! Circuit breaker forever changed Singapore life as we know it.

A blur of events happened right before we all retreated back to our homes for two months. We packed all our documents, magazine references and mock-ups from the office. We transported all our office computers back home. I commissioned Gan to shoot a Special Report to document Singapore on pause (page 20). And then I slowly adjusted to a new work life from home. I’m still seated in my dressing room, converted into a makeshift office for the past three months (I was made to stay home from 5 March, when I got back from Paris Fashion Week), making do with a mah-jong table as a work desk. I go for daily morning walks at Gardens by the Bay for my health as much as my sanity. I hold my daily virtual meetings with my team. I try to channel a more Zen way of being despite the challenges I face daily with heading this title: Planning a major website and print revamp, as well as figuring out how to conduct shoots when the world is in lockdown.

The irony is that social media and digital meetings are actually harder to conduct remotely. But then I read our feature story on Kylie Jenner (page 98) and I’m truly impressed by this billionaire twenty-something who doesn’t seem fazed by any challenge that’s thrown at her beautiful, pouty face. So I tell myself: I have 20 years on her and if Kylie can do it, well, then so can I. And after a quick visit to the hairdresser and dermatologist after the lockdown, I’ll be ready for my close-up again. Enjoy this issue devoted to the power of youth—we certainly had fun producing it.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room