Great Woman Of Our Time 2019


Portrait of Tammy Strobel

"Jewellery from Pandora. Jacket from Tory Burch. T-shirt from Topshop. Skirt from Marks & Spencer. "

Pooja Nansi, 37

Director, Singapore Writers Festival

“I want to hear a poem about Singapore”… goes the first line of Pooja’s A Rant. Growing up in the East of our Little Red Dot, Pooja used to see people from all walks of life but she never saw them represented in her school books. Becoming a poet simply helped her chart her observances and give her memories some permanence. So imagine her surprise when she was named as Director of the famed Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) this year. “I don’t think I ever thought I would be doing this job. It’s been a cool but unexpected trajectory going from teaching, to organising independent poetry gigs, making my own work and then getting to helm a national festival,” she says. “The light bulb moment that led me to accepting this job was realising it was an opportunity to broaden mindsets about the power of literature and the writer and spoken word.” When asked what she would do to shake up this year’s SWF, Pooja says matter-offactly: “Make it more feminist.”

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Bright Eyes In A Bottle

Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Light Pearl Eye and Lash Concentrate does it all. Formulated with probiotic fractions, the refreshing formula immediately makes skin around the eye contour appear firmer, more rested. Engineered with a flexible massage applicator, it helps you massage the eye area with just the right amount of pressure and reach the entire area around the eye. Enhanced with a Trio-lash complex, it is proven to fortify and densify lashes. Together, younger-looking eyes are revealed, looking more refreshed with eyebags reduced and stronger, silkier lashes.
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Ring Leader

Whether you like a little bit of flair, or you prefer to keep things simple, you’ll love Pandora’s new range of multifaceted rings. Featuring a geometric shape and a sparkling row of cubic zirconia stones, each ring can be stacked together to create an endless array of looks or worn on its own. From $89 each.
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"Jewellery from Pandora. Dress from Maryling."

Tan Kheng Hua, 56


She made waves as Margaret in the iconic Singapore sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, a role that won her Best Actress (Comedy) at the 2002 Asian Film Awards. But Kheng Hua went on to be part of 2018’s historymaking Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood production to feature an all-Asian cast in over 25 years. Her standout role as Kerry Chu won raves internationally and now she’s also represented by agencies in London and L.A. For the decorated thespian, acting is akin to breathing. “I entered the entertainment industry because it provided a form of expression for me that I just could not turn away from or deny myself,” she reveals. “I remember standing in my first home thinking I should take a chance to experience acting full time for a bit, and if I wanted, I could always return to the corporate world where I was also happy. That was 26 years ago and I never went back.” She’s currently working on multiple overseas productions, including the muchanticipated HBO film adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s book, The Garden of Evening Mists.

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"Jewellery from Pandora. Dress from Sandro. Pants from Marks & Spencer."

Karen Chan, 45

Executive Director, Asian Film Archive

Old is gold for Karen, especially when it comes to films. As part of her mission as head honcho of the Asian Film Archive (AFA), Karen preserves and promotes the art of Asian cinema by tracking down and digitising old films shot on celluloid. “There is a hunger for films that speak to Asian heritage, just as there is a need to make sure that Asian films do not disappear just because there is no one to take care of ageing media,” shares the mum-of-two who’s determined to save the region’s arts heritage through her work. “I stumbled rather than entered into this industry, but I realised I enjoyed the process of archiving because the work made me feel like I was preserving something for posterity.” The AFA has 2,100 titles in its collection today. Slightly more than half are Singaporean films while the rest come from other Asian countries. Karen also spearheaded the opening of AFA’s new Oldham Theatre, a cinema at Canning Rise dedicated to screening lesser-known Asian films, which opened its doors in May.

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"Jewellery from Pandora. Dress and belt, both from Loro Piana."


Janine Teo, 37

Founder & CEO, Solve Education! Janine firmly believes that education is the key to solving many challenges we face in the world today. But she found it tough to find a way to give everyone equal access to quality education. This changed during a work trip abroad to nearby Indonesia. “I was going through a slum area in Jakarta one day, and saw this mother trying to operate two smartphones while babysitting her child. I found out that by 2020, 70 per cent of the world will have a basic smartphone and intermittent internet connectivity,” she explains. “There are 262 million children and youth who do not go to school today and it occurred to me that if I could figure out how to educate kids through the use of a smartphone, then I’d be able to break this cycle of inequality.” It was the impetus Janine needed to start Solve Education! in 2015. The company has developed a learning app called Dawn Of Civilization, which has more than 10,000 users as of November 2018.

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Naturally Speaking

Let your jewellery walk you through the forest with this nature-inspired series from Pandora. Look out for limited edition treasures like the double ring or a statement necklace – both of which feature a perfectly settled oak leaf – and discover how they make versatile everyday pieces. Ring, $249, and necklace, $179.
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Jewellery from Pandora. Shirt from Zalora. Skirt from Maryling.

Elizabeth Tan, 33

Co-Founder, Sight to Sky

Elizabeth believes her superpower lies in being a woman. “Our strength lies in the fact that we nurture others around us; be it our children, our friends or our loved ones,” says the entrepreneur who also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Heatwave Shoes. “As a woman, I want to use my voice to speak up for others who do not have a voice. I started Sight to Sky as a meaningful way for me to pay it forward.” Sight to Sky is Elizabeth’s brainchild – a non-profit founded eight years ago. Its mission is to provide basic healthcare checks that focus on eye issues for poor communities living in remote regions of the Himalayas. Plans are under way to build a permanent eye clinic in the Ladakh area and Elizabeth is working to roll out a social entrepreneurship programme to equip youth with optometry skills. “There is always someone who needs more help than you,” affirms the mother-of-one. “And no matter what your position in life, you can still make a difference.”
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"Jewellery from Pandora. Coat from Marks & Spencer. Shoes from Pedro."

Adeline Thong, 40

Co-Founder, The Last Resort

Adeline, and her husband, Kenneth, open up their home to young people in need who would otherwise have nowhere to go. She shares, “We saw a gap in our social infrastructure in supporting young people who are stranded without a safe home or family, and we saw a need to respond. We have a home, and if it’s what they need, we’ll make room.” And Adeline’s been making room since 2007 when the couple started The Last Resort. “We have a responsibility to look out for our young. Sixteen to 24 years is a critical age group before one becomes an adult. I see what we do as helping them to cross over safely to where they need to be.” Over the years, Adeline has housed more than 35 youths and plans to increase that number, saying, “As long as we have a home, we will keep it open. Perhaps not to everyone, but to as many people as we can, who need a safe space.” 
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Holy Grail Hero

Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum is a must-have first step to every beauty routine. The iconic antiageing serum, with Microbiome science, accelerates skin recovery for stronger, younger-looking skin. The new formula is enriched with a complex of seven prebiotics and probiotic fractions selected and transformed to deliver essential nutrients to skin and its Microbiome. This strengthens the skin’s fundamental youthful functions: Defense and recovery. In just seven days, skin looks youthfully radiant and smoother. After one bottle, skin recovers faster. All major signs of ageing are visibly improved: Radiance, fine lines, face firming, uneven skin tone and uneven skin texture. The self-loading dropper dispenses the ideal dosage of the oil-free and lightweight serum, which is quickly absorbed without leaving residue.
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"Jewellery from Pandora. Coat from Sandro."


Pamela Ting, 35

Co-Founder, Scene Shang

As a child, Pamela was surrounded by beauty, art and design. Her father was a local artist and sculptor whose workshop was her playground. It is little wonder then that the Singapore Management University graduate gave up her corporate job to start Scene Shang, a contemporary furniture and homeware label inspired by Asian decor styles. “I started off  in the banking industry but the creativity I grew up with – the urge to be surrounded by beautiful things and to create beautiful things never left me,” says Pamela. “I love that I get to play a part in giving a voice to contemporary Asian design. Singapore still looks to the West when it comes to design – Scandinavian, minimalist, modern – anything Asian or Chinese is deemed old fashion. It’s slowly changing but it’s a process.” Since its inception in 2014, Scene Shang has made a name for itself with its award-winning modular Shang System, and the brand has just opened its second store at the renovated Raff les Hotel Arcade.
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"Jewellery from Pandora. Dress from Giordano Ladies."

Vivien Leong, in her 40s

Consultant, Ipli Architects

If you have ever stopped to admire the honeycomb-like structure known as The Hive at Nanyang Technological University, then you have Vivien to thank for it. She was the project lead for the multi-use building at the time, while working with CPG Consultants. A trained architect in London, she relocated back to Singapore in 2011 to “use my professional skills to help improve lives”, but says there are still many misconceptions about the industry. “There is the age-old cliche that an architect should be a man. I even know someone who believes that testosterone makes men better architects! I do not agree, obviously,” Vivien says. “Don’t assume that the man in the room is necessarily the boss and the woman his assistant.” Aside from this, Vivien is still enthralled with her profession, saying, “I think going through the rigorous process of designing a building is very good for the mind and soul as there is a good balance between science and art, humanity and functionality.” 
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Your True Self

There’s no one else like you, and your jewellery should be just as special. Featuring a pronounced ‘O’ shape pendant, you can now express every facet of your unique personality and show off  the things you love most by adding on different charms onto the carrier pendant. Charms, from $69 each, and pendant, $99.
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"Jewellery from Pandora. Jacket and pants, both from SEED Heritage."

Cherin Tan, 36

Founder & Creative Director, LAANK

What do Violet Oon Singapore at Jewel, Epion Aesthetic Clinic and The Boathouse Hotel in Phuket have in common? They were all conceptualised and brought to life by Cherin, who helms LAANK, an interior architectural firm born in 2012 with a unique design philosophy. “When I was a student and young professional, interior design was commonly steered towards surface aesthetics, a particular style or a particular trend,” remembers Cherin. “LAANK is built upon my own personal drive to make a difference in the interior design industry. I believe strongly in the way space affects people and over the years have grown a desire to create environments that mean something to their users. Design has to be for the people.” This approach has helped the company to achieve a steady fan base over the years and it has also been recognised by the Interior Design Confederation Singapore’s Design Excellence Awards as the Emerging Interior Design Firm of the Year 2017.
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Eye Believe In Miracles

Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Eye Cream is a wake-up call for your eyes. By brightening and smoothing out lines, it is like a sleep concentrate in a single application. Ultra concentrated with probiotic fractions, it strengthens delicate skin around the eye area to eliminate signs of fatigue. It awakens and brightens the eye area and restores its youthfulness, like a full night’s worth of sleep.