Gorgeous on the inside and out, these mother-daughter duos share their definitions of beauty and the lessons they’ve learnt from each other.
From left: (On Iman) Silk robe; silk shorts, Eres. Earring, Hermès. (On Wendy) Silk robe; silk shorts, Eres. Necklace; rings, Wendy’s own
Photographed by Darren Gabriel Leow. Styled by Windy Aulia
The definition of beauty is ever-changing—be it Cleopatra of ancient Egypt, Yang Guifei of the Tang Dynasty, or Marilyn Monroe of ’60s Hollywood, these women were considered the epitome of beauty in the era they belonged to. Fast forward to present day and, thanks to the increasingly inclusive representation of beauty, icons now span all ages, shapes and ethnicities, empowering women across the world. But before these inspirational visions, a girl’s first beauty icon is often her mother: From the earliest memories of watching her mother getting primped and prepped, to stealing a swipe of lipstick or a spritz of perfume off the vanity, these are the moments that set the foundation for the beauty rituals that she cultivates through her life. For many, it marks the start of the myriad life lessons a daughter learns from her mother. Harper’s BAZAAR delves into the precious bonds that reinforce what it means to be truly beautiful through the decades. And remember, mummy always knows best.
10S IMAN FANDI, 17
On her earllest memory of beauty… I used to just sit and watch my mum do her hair and makeup when I was younger. Seeing how she took care of her skin taught me how to care for mine. Today, I sometimes help her fix her hair, or put on eyeliner—she’s not great at that.
On their shared traits… I’ve obviously gotten her hair, but more importantly, I’ve learnt her discipline and respect for others.
On her mum’s best beauty tips… Always moisturise your skin, including your lips. And we both have curly hair, so it’s important to find a good hairstylist that understands how to treat and trim it. We’ve been going to the same person for years.
On turning into her mother… I realised this when I decided to pursue modelling. I would always see her pageant crowns in the house and knew it was something I was interested in from a very young age.
On her mum’s modelling advice… From the start, she taught me to show different expressions and to give options at shoots; to respect the crew around you because you are there for a job; and to always have fun.
On defining beauty… It’s about being natural, raw and comfortable in your own skin. That’s where people can see your true beauty—emotions, cares and thoughts are what I find beautiful.
40S WENDY JACOBS,43
On their relationship… Ours can be a love-hate relationship most of the time. But there’s always a special place in my heart for my princess. She gets away with murder sometimes.
On discipline… If you are disciplined with the things you do, at home and at work, and keep good personal ethics while at it, this will naturally be instilled in your children.
On the perception of beauty… When I was younger and modelling, we didn’t have digital imaging to help make us more beautiful. We had the job of taking a product and making it beautiful, and the team had to take a person and turn that into beauty. Beauty has changed with technology, and what we need to do is refocus on the raw, authentic beauty of individuals instead of the edited versions.
On empowering her daughter… We gave her the name Iman, which means “faith”. And that’s exactly what she must have in herself—faith that she will be able to do absolutely anything and everything she puts her mind to. And I will be behind her 110 percent.
50S MANIZA JUMABHOY, LATE 50S
On their relationship… Nada actually “mums” me. She looks after me, tells me when I do the wrong things; and basically keeps me in check and up-to-date on the latest trends in technology, beauty, politics and food.
On her earliest memory of skincare… When I was growing up, we’d use gram flour and fresh cream to wash our face and keep our skin moist and supple. It was certainly a much simpler time.
On beauty habits… Natural products and good eating habits are so important because good nutrition will nurture from within.
On shifting perceptions… We had a very conventional perception of beauty when I was growing up in India: Long hair, big eyes and an hourglass figure. Then, it was about being a size zero. Now, all unique facets of beauty are being celebrated and embraced—from features, to size, and even quirks—and I think that’s truly empowering.
On life lessons for her daughter… I hope I’ve taught her to be kind and to have good ethics, to keep good friends, and to never judge a book by its cover because everyone has something to bring to the table.
On her beauty icon… Sophia Loren is classic but never conventional and [she has] a lot of oomph.
30S NADA JUMABHOY, 30
On learming from previous generations… The accessibility of medical enhancements has, in a way, led to a lot of people feeling the need or desire to change themselves to fit a certain image. Previous generations didn’t have such accessibility to technology, so you had to make the best out of what you have, and that’s exactly what we need to re-learn.
On turning into her mother… I knew I was turning into my mother when I started nagging at my father, and when I realised my choices were more influenced by her than by trends or friends.
On their shared traits… My mum is very sociable, and so am I. I like to go out and I get energy from being around people, organising events and doing charity work.
On gratitude… Being beautiful radiates from being thankful and confident. My mum always told me that there’s always going to be someone better off, or less fortunate than you, and the most important thing is to be happy and grateful for what you have.
On beauty habits… It’s vital to keep your skin hydrated on all fronts. So drink lots of water and use good moisturisers regularly. Face steaming helps, too.
From left: (On Maniza) Diamond earrings, Harry Winston. Dress, Maniza’s own. (On Nada) Dress, Sportmax. Bracelet, Harry Winston. Earrings; rings, Nada’s own OPPOSITE: (On Charmaine) Leather jacket; cotton T-shirt, Diesel. Diamond necklace, Tiffany & Co. Pants; rings, Charmaine’s own. (On Christine) Diamond earrings, Tiffany & Co. Top; pants; watch; ring, Christine’s own.
Hair: Manisa Tan/ PaletteINC using Keune Haircosmetics Makeup: Larry Yeo using Chanel Photography assistant: Eric Tan Assistant stylist: Gracia Phang Editorial assistant: Adriel Chiun Stylist’s assistant: Kimberly Ong
30S CHARMAINE SEAH-ONG, 35
On their relationship… My mum and I see each other at least three or four times a week because she takes care of my daughters, and we’ll have dinner together.
On turning into her mother… My husband says that I’ve inherited my mother’s penchant for nagging and her love of cleanliness. I’ve also begun to fuss about the things she used to fuss about.
On having an open heart… From a very young age, my mother has always taught me to be forgiving.
On her hopes for her daughters… I just want them to be kind and happy.
On beauty… Be kind and loving, and it will radiate from within.
On the perception of beauty… Stereotypes have been thrown out the window. Anybody can be beautiful.
On her earliest memory of makeup… I would sit and watch my mum get ready to go out. I remember she had all these perfume bottles and compact makeup on her vanity table.
On her mum’s best beauty tips… Sunblock is the one thing she’s been nagging about since I was a teenager. That, and drinking lots of water.
50S CHRISTINE SEAH, 59
On the greatest gift she has given her daughter… Unconditional love.
On lessons she has learnt from her daughter… I can be quite particular about certain things so she’s definitely taught me to chill.
On life lessons… Look beyond yourself, consider the bigger picture and always consider the other party’s feelings.
On defining beauty… Basically, it’s just love. When you can love yourself and love others, I think that’s the beauty of it all.
On the perception of beauty… We never relied so much on products or treatments in the past. Now, it’s all about, “which cream works best?”, which is a good thing because women can do so much more to take care of themselves.
On her earliest memory of makeup… I was about 13 when my grandmother told me: “Do you know that you’re becoming a young lady? I think you need some lipstick.” On her skincare essentials… I never leave home without sunblock.