Our favourite cover girls, made up in YSL, gather for a glamorous anniversary ‘homecoming’. As with any catch up, they share honestly about how they’ve learnt, changed and grown through the years…
COVER GIRL: March 2000 & October 2003
CYNTHIA KOH, 43
Cynthia wears DVF dress, and ring and earrings from Swarovski. For group shot, she wears Bottega Veneta gown and earrings from Swarovski.
“Stepping into the unknown forces you to learn. I know what I can do, and what I can do better,” says the spunky actress, who won Best Actress at the Star Awards in 1999, barely a year before she shot her first cover shoot for The Weekly. Audiences today still remember Cynthia’s breakthrough performance in Stepping Out, which saw her shaving her head for the role. The petite powerhouse has received multiple awards and nominations over her illustrious 25-year acting career, but continues to travel the world and live fearlessly.
In 2011, Cynthia ventured into alternative healing when she discovered Bach Flower Remedies, and has since been training to become a Bach teacher. Two years ago, she also teamed up with actress-director, Michelle Chong, and former-DJ, Daniel Ong, to open Mischief at Esplanade, an eatery which serves American street food with an Asian twist.
For her 40th birthday, Cynthia spent six days in Guatemala helping to build a school for kids. “We’re so used to donating money here, but there, I saw a side of volunteering that’s so different – it’s called giving your time,” she quips. “I was the only Asian woman in the group working alongside volunteers from around the world. The priceless experience has been one of the best gifts to myself.”
Whether as a volunteer or as an advocate for alternative healing, Cynthia’s desire to help people is part of something larger. “I want to live my life with a higher purpose,” she reveals, then turns contemplative as she shares what she loves about The Weekly, “This magazine has substance. It is authentic and honest.” She tilts her head, deep in thought, and adds, “I like how it tackles the question marks in life.”
“I rarely wear smokey eye makeup, but I like this very soft version created for me – it is more wearable for today”
COVER GIRL: August 2016
SHEILA SIM, 33
Sheila wears Valentino dress, Salvatore Ferragamo wedges, and diamond necklace and cuff from Larry Jewelry. In group shot, she wears Nida Shay dress, Sandro flats and diamond cuff from Larry Jewelry.
“I was really proud to be on the cover of last year’s National Day issue!” exclaims the supermodel-actress “It’s like you’re representing Singaporean women.” She pauses, as though relishing the memory, and then bursts out, “I can’t believe The Weekly has turned 20 – what a milestone!”
It’s only been a year, but much has happened since for Sheila, who’s also celebrating a milestone of her own. “I was happily single then, after embracing turning 30. Now, I’m engaged and getting ready to marry next year.”
Sheila and her beau dated for just six months before he proposed. “I think it helps that I’m 33,” she jokes, and then clarifies, “I know who I don’t want, I’m clear about who’s suitable for me. There’s no perfect relationship, but it’s the first time that it all feels very effortless.”
Sheila says she’s learnt to be more patient and giving, and cites meditation as key to her growth. “Meditation has changed me. I’ve learnt to live in the now – not for the future, nor in the past.”
“I love how flawless and naturally radiant my complexion looks – it’s got that dewy finish without the unwanted shine. And it doesn’t feel heavy or cakey”
COVER GIRL: October 1999
PAN LING LING, 47
Ling Ling wears Bottega Veneta jacket and pants, and diamond and sapphire earrings from Larry Jewelry. In group shot, she wears Bally blouse and jacket, Bottega Veneta pants, pearl ring from Larry Jewelry and Roger Vivier heels.
Actress Ling Ling was heavily pregnant with her first child when we shot her together with her actor-husband Huang Shinan, for our October 1999 cover. The loving couple has two sons, Beckham, 16, and Kynaston, 13. At our shoot, Ling Ling is a picture of vitality, but her quiet confidence and radiant glow belie a major health crisis she battled just four years ago.
In March 2013, Ling Ling was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer – a biopsy had revealed that one of the six lumps in her left breast was cancerous. “I faced it bravely. There was no fear. I did what needed to be done to move forward,” she states matter-of-factly, “Life goes on.”
Within a week, Ling Ling went into surgery for a partial mastectomy, followed by breast reconstruction. Then came five months of chemotherapy, a month of radiotherapy, and a year off work to focus on recuperation. With her health back on track, it wasn’t long before she was back at work, filming 118. “I’m a fighter. I’m very independent and resilient,” she says frankly. “Shinan has also discovered how strong I can be, and says he has newfound respect for me.”
“The foundation I’m using feels light and comfortable, and my complexion still looks so flawless even after half a day of shooting”
COVER GIRL: August 2001 & May 2005
LINA NG, 43
Lina wears DVF dress, H&M earrings and Swarovski bangle. In group shot, she wears Maje dress.
Lina became a household name after placing second in 1993’s Star Search. Her star continued to shine steadily over the years, but in 2004, the vivacious and straight-talking Chinese drama artiste decided to put her showbiz career on hold when she became a mother. “The slower pace of life took some getting used to, but it was the best decision I made. I don’t consider it a loss to forgo my full-time acting career for my children. My small sacrifices will create a great difference in their lives,” says the dynamic mother-of-three, who’s also a certified early childhood educator.
“I see value in investing my life into my family,” she shares. “My boys are now 13, 11 and six – and I’ve been there with them every step of the way. I am the ‘central support system’ for my family.”
After a hiatus of 13 years, Lina challenged herself with a role in the recent TV series Lion Mums 2. “I want to grow. I’ve never done an English drama before. I told my kids that I didn’t know if I would succeed at it,” she reveals. “But I wanted to encourage them to try new things by being a good role model.” There’s a distinct self-assuredness in her voice as she adds, “I’ve learnt to love myself for who I am. I no longer feel pressured to live up to other people’s expectations. I don’t need to pretend to be something I’m not. I’m very happy that I can be myself now.”
“It’s usually quite difficult to find the right shade of foundation for my yellowish skin tone, but my complexion looks really good now – all the blemishes are covered!”
COVER GIRL: January 2003 & February 2008
ANDREA DE CRUZ, 42
Andrea wears Nida Shay gown, and diamond earrings from Larry Jewelry. In group shot, she wears Sportmax dress with belt, gold and diamond bangle from Larry Jewelry, and Jimmy Choo heels.
“My cover shoot with The Weekly happened barely a year after my liver transplant,” Andrea recalls. “This year, I celebrate my 15th year of transplant, and 14th wedding anniversary with Pierre.” The handsome couple had made headlines when Andrea suffered liver failure after taking Slim 10 pills. Her then-fiance and fellow actor, Pierre Png, saved her life by donating part of his liver to her.
“I used to think I was invincible. But after the transplant, I’ve realised how precious life is. I’ve mellowed. I value my friends and family a lot more,” Andrea shares.
These days, she’s a business- woman, running boutique florist, Belmont Flora, and hair salon Cinq, and last year, she co-founded the Galboss Asia symposium.
Andrea says statistics show that her body might reject the liver after 20 years. “Health-wise, it hasn’t been a smooth journey and I had another big scare in 2015. But Pierre, he’s been there for me all the way,” she shares. “He’s my rock. He calms me. Even in the worst of situations, he’d tell me ‘We’ve gone through much worse, we can deal with anything’.”
“The foundation makeup artist Tinoq Goh used on my face glided on very well and provided good coverage”
COVER GIRL: July 2009
DENISE KELLER, 35
Denise wears H&M Studio dress and Swarovski necklace. In group shot, she wears Maje romper and Swarovski earrings.
“Why does The Weekly want me on its cover?” recalls Denise, “Those were the first thoughts that ran through my mind. I was in my 20s then, and rushing through life so rapidly I didn’t have time to stop and think about what was going on.”
Fast forward eight years on, and the ex-MTV VJ has added travel show host, filmmaker, and certified yoga instructor under her belt. In 2015, Denise married Robert Gaxiola, her “best friend and soul mate” in a beach wedding in Bali. “So much growth there!” she gushes, her affection for him evident in her eyes.
“Now when I look at that cover, I realise how far I’ve come, to a space where I’m allowed to look back at my achievements and enjoy them, finally.”
“I love how makeup artist Dollei Seah creates a healthy, dewy complexion for me – it always looks so natural”
TEXT: CANDY LIM-SOLIANO
PHOTOS: BRENDAN ZHANG
ART DIRECTION: BARBARA KOH
STYLING: JEROME AWASTHI
HAIR: DEXTER NG, DYLAN CHAN, KENNETH ONG, NIGEL WOO FROM PASSION HAIR SALON, AND MICHAEL CHIEW FROM HAIRLOOM
MAKEUP: ANDY LEE, DOLLEI SEAH, GINGER LYNETTE, AND TINOQ RUSSELL GOH