Shiny, Happy Sheila

Cover girl Sheila Sim knows a thing or two about living life to the fullest. The star shares her get-happy formula with us.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Cover girl Sheila Sim knows a thing or two about living life to the fullest. The star shares her get-happy formula with us.

The Moncler Richard Quinn daisy-adorned catsuit is created for one woman: Sheila Sim. Standing at 1.73 m, the model-actress bears no qualms when asked to slip into the figure-hugging onesie. On the rack it looks… childish almost… but as she emerges from the dressing room, the outfit evolves, coming into full bloom in front of the camera on a star who is confident and completely in charge of her body.

“It’s the daisy outfit!” Sheila declares with a grin when I tell her that I love her enthusiasm at our cover shoot. Despite the early morning call-time, the star is full of vitality from start to finish. “I’ve got to customise something like that for when I’m unhappy, I’ll wear it in the morning when I wake up,” jokes the 35-year-old.

Stylist Neo Lirong, who selected the clothes for our cover shoot, says, “I only picked this outfit because it is Sheila we’re shooting.” It says it all – not only is the statuesque beauty able to carry off the slinky suit with her lean and long body, the vibrant, come-alive prints reflect her positive, enthusiastic approach to life.

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Down coat, bodysuit and leather pumps, all from Moncler Richard Quinn.

It’s very important to set aside time for yourself.

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Naeem Khan beaded mini dress from Pois Boutique. Ear clips from Chopard. Ball ring in sterling silver from Tiffany & Co.

Finding Her Happy Place 

While many celebrities aim to project a happy demeanour at all times, it’s apparent that Sheila’s infectious vibes are genuine, but she admits it has taken her some time to find her happy place.

The last time Sheila was on The Weekly’s cover was in April 2018. Then, she was revelling in post-wedding bliss, having just been married to banker Deon Woo. “I had just got married so I was happy because I was in love.” But Sheila’s journey to self-understanding has led her to find joy even in the small things. 

“A little over one year on, I’ve realised that happiness comes from really simple things like spending quality time with the people I care about and love. That makes me the happiest.” 

Her transformational journey has helped her mentally and emotionally. To look inwards, Sheila is also a believer of retreats, where she gets to meditate and disconnect from the world. “The silent retreat I went to in 2016 was life changing. You can’t look at anyone, no eye contact; you can’t utter a word; you’re on your own. You learn to look within yourself. I realised it was the first time that I had consciously chosen self-love.”

She explains how that self-discovery has benefitted her. “Being mindful has helped me manage my stress. I’m quite good now at managing my stress levels because I’m on a spiritual journey that involves daily meditation.” 

And as if she can’t contain this fountain of joy she’s tapped into, Sheila wants to do more. She shares, “I started a one-year part-time positive psychology course last July. I’ve always been intrigued by the science behind happiness and how the brain works. I’ve also always believed that to be able to help others, I need to first help myself. So, I am excited that I get to go back to school to study something I am passionate about!”

That doesn’t mean Sheila is leaving her day job behind. The dedicated thespian has buried herself in work with projects including Taiwan-Singapore co-production, All Is Well, along with her first major leading role in Daybreak, which premieres on Channel 8 on October 21.

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Ear clips with pear-shaped emeralds and diamonds from Chopard. Ball ring in sterling silver from Tiffany & Co. Herve L Leroux off shoulder bonded knit cropped top, Isabel Sanchis shaded ostrich feather shrug, and Catherine Regehr full feather mini skirt, all from Pois Boutique. Suede boots from Manolo Blahnik.

Loving Life and Work

“Daybreak is my first lead role after five years. I play a divorce lawyer so the drama deals with a lot of emotional topics and my character is interesting because she doesn’t believe in marriage. After 100 days she ends any relationship she’s in, because she’s afraid of being in love and she doesn’t know how to love,” Sheila explains. 

“I’m not very good at technical acting, like I can’t cry on demand because sometimes on camera I feel like I don’t dare to be vulnerable but somehow, I don’t know how, I was bawling when filming yesterday. 

“I was overwhelmed with emotions, crying on camera and I couldn’t stop. But things like that excite me. Not everyone gets to go to a job where they get to explore their entire range of emotions but I do, so I’m very, very thankful for that.”

As much as she loves her work, Sheila confesses she’s longing to take a break after almost a year of back-to-back filming. Part of her plan to recoup from the demands of her job include going on a meditative retreat that will take her away from her husband for the first time.

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Ever the optimist, Sheila has some golden rules for finding your happy place: 

[1] Make Time: “It’s very important to set aside time not just for the people you love, but also yourself.”

[2] Find Your Kin: “It is said you are a combination of the five people you are closest to, so it’s important to surround yourself with good people who have good energy.”

[3] Pick Up A Book: “We should all strive to read more. I keep a Kindle on my bedside table so I can read before bed.” 

[4] Get Healthy: “Exercise releases endorphins so try to keep a healthy lifestyle.” 

[5] Be Mindful: “I meditate daily and since I started practising, I've been able to manage my stress better.” 

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Noir Ninomiya Kei organza vest and skirt, both from Club 21 Ladies. Tiffany T square bracelets in 18k white gold from Tiffany & Co.

Putting Herself First

“To be frank, he wasn’t very accepting of the idea of me travelling without him because he’s a traditional man,” she reveals. “But then I told him that even though we’re a married couple, we should also spend time alone. I’m really excited to spend time with myself because as much as I feel that it’s important to set aside time for the people you love, it’s equally important to make time for yourself.”

She’ll have plenty of quality time to get to know the inner Sheila when she heads to Nepal for her big break, which will last about two months. 

“Being by myself helps me get a deeper understanding of what life is really about because I’m not busy with everyday things. The way I see it, when Deon and I come back together after both are allowed to do our own thing, we’ll be better people and we’ll be stronger as a couple.” 

Perhaps that strength will lead to an expansion in the family? Sheila doesn’t discount the idea of adding one more to her brood, which already includes two adopted kitties. “It’s always been in the pipeline but, like all things, it can’t be forced, so we’ll take each day as it comes,” she says. “If we do get pregnant, then we’ll celebrate. If we don’t, we’ll still celebrate, but with each other.” 

Being mindful has really helped me manage my stress.