Naughty Or Nice?

Lush 99.5FM DJ Rosalyn Lee, better known as Rozz, is a study in contradiction. But good girl or bad girl, labels never bother her. She tells ESTHER AU YONG that she lives life on her own terms.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Naughty Or Nice?

Lush 99.5FM DJ Rosalyn Lee, better known as Rozz, is a study in contradiction. But good girl or bad girl, labels never bother her. She tells ESTHER AU YONG that she lives life on her own terms.

Photography Darren Chang
Photography Darren Chang
The radio personality and ex-professional dancer is seen as a bad girl. Someone who’s rebellious (if only through stereotyping since her body is inked with eight tattoos), free with certain expletives, and rather more nonchalant than most.

Scratch the surface and you might find a different Rozz – provided she lets you in, of course. For starters, the 36-year-old cooks and loves it. “I will always make time to cook as I like knowing what goes into my body.” And, although she doesn’t drink much or often, she enjoys a good glass of whisky. “Alcohol makes me sleepy. I can’t ever get happy and drunk. I only get from sober to sleepy, plus it makes me fat.” More health-conscious than she lets on, Rozz faithfully attends pilates class twice a week. On the other hand, she admits to hating running: “It’s monotonous and dulls the mind.” After hanging out with us, she may have a new fitness hobby in Krav Maga, but more on that on the next page. Rozz will make her acting debut in Premonition, a new Channel 5 drama that airs early next year. She plays Belinda, a rookie cop implicated in her policeman father’s corruption case. Just like the character she portrays, Rozz is one tough cookie and fiercely opinionated. “Why do people think I’m a bad girl? It’s the tattoos, eyeliner and black outfits, isn’t it?” she asks as we chat during a break at her photo shoot. “These are outward expressions of myself; cooking and exercising are how I live my life.” While we discuss her public persona, and how she’s known for speaking her mind, we find out that the indie music station morning show host is not one to change her style just to conform to ideals. “I’ll take an f-word any day, but I will not stand for racism,” says Rozz. Actually, the better word to describe Rozz, who is currently a judge on the local reality dance contest The Dance Floor, is decisive. The woman simply knows what she wants. “I’m influenced by my mother. She was very no-nonsense and fi rm. When I was little, if I did anything wrong, she would punish me by making me peel gingko nuts in the kitchen while my brother and cousins played outside. If you’ve peeled gingko nuts before, you will understand my pain!” We have and we do, Rozz. She also picked up plenty of cooking tips from her mother, who died 11 years ago after a decade of battling breast cancer. “For example, I don’t use commercial stock ever. It is full of salt and preservatives. I always have ikan bilis in my pantry. If I need stock and don’t have any made, I boil a handful of ikan bilis for 10 minutes and voila!” says Rozz. “Also, I don’t use salt. I make the soup more flavourful with dried scallops or lots of vegetables.” Handy tips, indeed. When we suggest that she could be Singapore’s Nigella Lawson with her own cooking show, loud guff awing ensues. “Yes, but I’m more Anthony Bourdain, lah,” she says.

Here’s more from the firecracker:

1 I am not addicted to cigarettes. I smoked for a few years, but have never in my life been able to finish a whole pack. Every time I smoke, my body reacts by making me feel nauseous and light-headed.

2 I am not addicted to caffeine. I don’t need coffee to keep me awake. In fact, it makes my heart race and puts me on edge, and I hate feeling like that.

3 I believe that weight loss is 80 per cent diet, 20 per cent workout. I do not like snacking – that’s something Mum discouraged us from doing when we were kids.

4 I choose to eat whole foods. I will not touch processed foods with more than five ingredients in them – or ingredients I can’t pronounce.

5 I do not believe in popping vitamins. The vitamins we need are already available naturally in food. I am also against taking antibiotics. I hardly fall sick so that says a lot.

6 I don’t believe in fad diets. They are what they are: fads.

7 I am against juice diets. First of all, there are organs that detox the body already. They are called the liver and the kidneys. If they aren’t working, a raw carrot isn’t going to help. There are also some real problems with consuming just juice. For one thing, fruits are full of sugar. Go on juice cleanses and you can consume too much sugar without noticing.

8 I have accepted my body shape. I am bottom heavy and boney from the waist up. I didn’t use to like my thunder thighs. I contemplated liposuction many times – to the point where I was ready to make payment once. Thankfully, logic prevailed.

9 I would hike any day – as long as the scenery is breathtaking. It makes me feel I can achieve anything physically. I’m also driven by Instagram. If it means I’ll have a nice Instagram picture at the end of it, I’d hike up a bloody mountain any day.

10 I scuba dive. The best experience I’ve ever had was in Iceland. It was my first-ever dry suit dive into melted glacial water between two tectonic plates at the Silfra fissure. At one point, I had one hand touching the Eurasian plate and the other touching the North American one.

I’ll take an f-word any day, but I’ll not stand for racism.