How I Ended Up In Nuyou Magazine

The lovely photo team at Nuyou (from left): Stylist Bernard Tan, makeup artist Zen Chi, me, coordinator Pauline Lui and photographer Vee Chin.

One of my oldest and dearest friends is Grace Lee, the Editor-in-Chief of Nuyou magazine. Grace and I used to stay at the same hall of residence in NUS — Raffles Hall. You couldn’t miss her – she’s six feet tall and slim! She was a basketball player (I did drama). We never thought we would really see each other again, but seven years after graduation, I became Grace’s colleague when I joined Female magazine as the Editor. Female and Nuyou are “sister publications” – Female being English-language and Nuyou being Chinese. To this day, I think Nuyou has the most beautiful covers of all the women’s magazines in Singapore.

Grace and I would travel for the yearly fashion shows in Paris and Milan. Through these trips we became really good friends, and I believe it was her constant sharing of her faith that prepared my heart to receive Jesus eventually, in 2003.

We meet at least once a year to celebrate each other’s birthdays, together with our other buddy Clara Goh (who handles branding and marketing for Fendi).

A 2009 photo of me (left), Clara (middle with the birthday cake) and Grace

This year, however, Grace came to see me “early” because of my operation. She visited me at home two weeks after my surgery and I could see in her eyes that it pained her to see me not even being able to sit up straight. But as I shared how God had been so good to me, that my cancer was caught so early even though it already affected 5cm of my breast tissue, that the doctor was able to do the surgery and that my chances of survival are so excellent, Grace became encouraged.

A few weeks later she called me and asked if I would share my story in Nuyou for the October issue, which also marks Breast Cancer Month. Of course, I said yes — I would do almost anything in this world for Grace, even a photo shoot when I’m feeling the least pretty I’ve ever felt. I was a bit concerned, of course, if I was going to look puffy because my swelling was still pretty obvious, and my posture was still fairly compromised at the point. But I was enthusiastic about sharing an “overcoming” story with women in Singapore (even though I can’t read Chinese to save my life!!).

Nuyou writer Mindy called me and interviewed me over the phone for the story, then I had to go for a photo shoot a week later, to make it in time for their October issue. I had a good time telling my “horror story” to Mindy – she gasped at all the right places!

My story in Nuyou, October 2010

The photo shoot was at the SPH Magazines office at Genting Lane. Stylist Bernard put me in a silvery blue satin RC (by Roberto Cavalli) dress which, I was so surprised, fit me. It had a elastic waist which was great as it helped to give my now swollen torso some semblance of a shape. Makeup artist Zen gave me a really light face with really dark eyes, which is something I’ve never been able to do at home. And he straightened my hair till it swung like in a Pantene ad — loved it!

The posing was the hardest because I was still aching all over (on top of the fact that I am super kayu when it comes to taking photos. I’m no model, baby!). Photographer Vee tried her best to make me laugh.

Thank goodness I’m not an actress or model or I think I’d be out of a job in a hurry…

It was a nice experience to have just a few months after surgery because, though I’ve never really been a super-vain type of girl, losing a breast did make me feel like a freak, at least initially. Now, three and a half months after the fact, I’m getting more used to my new bosom and it’s feeling much more “real”.

I’d like to thank Grace and Mindy and the wonderful photo team for making me feel, just for a little over an hour, like a normal woman again. And I hope my story helps somebody, even if it’s just one person. (You have to let me know – I can’t read it at all!)