Thanks to Women's Five for featuring me as 1 of 17 women that they interviewed.
Women's Five is a female only training programme that culminates in a 5k race in Hong Kong.
You’re a successful artist and runner. What do you think of when you hear the word successful? My immediate response is to rebuff the notion that I am successful. I have certainly been lucky in terms of the opportunities I have been offered for my work and at races, but I am a long way off achieving my greater goals. This is especially true in running.
If you could go back in time and visit your younger self, what advice would you give yourself? I would tell myself to be kinder to my body; to rest more and to eat better foods… and to drink less alcohol!
What do you do to bring your productivity levels to a 10. Any tips for us? I am absolutely excellent at procrastinating! I have taught myself to be a productive procrastinator though… Don’t want to tackle that deadline, head out for a 20k training run instead; don’t feel like going running, sit down and sort out the accounts; Don’t want to tackle the laundry, head to a coffee shop and sketch for a few hours. That way, I get stuff done but I feel like I’m rebelling against my responsibilities.
With all your amazing accomplishment so far what 3 things would you credit them to? I would credit my family and friends first and foremost. My dad has supported my dreams of working in fashion and being an artist since I was a kid. And, running long distances takes a lot of time away from your social calendar. Without friends who understand your commitment and passion, it wouldn’t be at all possible. Not only do my friends have a huge understanding of my training schedule, they also come and meet me on races, pick up my sweaty ass from finish lines and keep me motivated on my race group chats.
Next, I would certainly attribute stubbornness to helping me achieve some of my goals. In work, it took me over 8 years to get to the point where I could work full time freelance doing the job I love. In running, without stubbornness, distances like 50, 100, 150 kilometres are just not possible.
Lastly, I like to think that I am someone who doesn’t take life too seriously. At the end of the day, I paint pretty pictures and spend stupid amounts of time in the mountains. If you can’t have fun doing these things then you miss the moments that make them worth remembering in the first place.
Hardest thing you have currently done to date? Quitting my day job is up there, alongside running Pulag 100 (a 112k mountain ultra in the Philippines). Both were equally very traumatic but rewarding.
What do you think there should be more of and what do you think there should be less of? I think there should be more compassion for others, I worry that we are evolving to be very selfish. I definitely could be contributing way more but I try to put in where I can; either by adopting an ugly old cat no one will take, or working with wonderful children’s charities like the Sovereign Art Foundation. I think that there should be less tardiness. I cannot fathom how people do not have have ability to be on time, I don’t understand how that works!
What challenges are you currently facing and how are you trying to overcome them? In my art, I’m looking to expand my business and my practice. I’m trying to secure a bigger space and as we all know, in Hong Kong rent is prohibitively high. I’m trying to overcome this by sharing a space with other creatives, which should also help to evolve my practice. It’s a wonderful thing, to be able to share ideas and collaborate.
In running, I have signed up to a race next summer with a team that is a lot faster than me, and being able to run 100k at the speeds we are aiming for will take a lot of training and dedication. I am coached by Andy Dubois of Mile27, and if I pull my socks up and follow his advice to the letter over the next 8 months, I might just be able to keep up!
What part of the day is most important to you and why? I used to be a night owl, and now I have grown to love early mornings. Maybe it’s an age thing, or maybe it was born from the necessity of having to train at sunrise to beat the summer heat. Either way, I really enjoy being awake when so many people are still sleeping and getting a head start on my day before lunch.
What do u wish you did more of in a day and what do you wish u did less of? I wish I did more painting and creating. I find it comes in bursts and it’s very hard to be creative when you’re ‘not in the mood’. I’ve learnt through having commercial clients with deadlines, to overcome this to an extent, but I still tend to cram painting into manic bursts. I wish I watched less netflix, it’s not teaching me anything productive to binge a tv series, but it is nice to switch off occasionally.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve made? I recently volunteered at a race and borrowed my friends camera to shoot the runners on the course. I took 450 photos and they were all blurry (!!), but it was exciting being out there capturing people from the very first runners, to the back of the pack-ers. So, I have invested in my very first ‘proper’ camera and am trying to learn how to use it, it’s my 2018 resolution.
What’s one of your best memories? Probably every finish I ever cross. More often than not, there are moments during a race where you are unsure that you will make it to the end. Physically, it is hard, but it’s usually your mental game that determines if you DNF (did not finish) or not. Crossing the finish line is affirmation that you overcame your negativity and self doubt, dug in and got on with it. It’s a really, really, really, good feeling.
What is your spirit animal and why? A Cat. They sleep and eat all day long, love having a cuddle but are also fiercely independent, and they are constantly curious and going on little adventures.
Who inspires you? So many different people inspire me in different parts of my life. My friends Tiffany and Lindsay inspire me by running big companies and raising small children, and yet still somehow always having time left over for their friends. My friend Dervla (interview below) inspires me by being immensely dedicated to launching her new business about health and wellness retreats. My friend Brenda inspires me by trying to change the world a little bit, through promoting recycled textile thread that also helps the communities in their supply chain. All of the women I run with in our group called HOTH (Hot On Their Heels), inspire me with their training, dedication, race efforts and their career pursuits. I have so many other amazing female friends, mentors and role models. I feel very lucky.
What messages are given to girls and women today that you disagree with? That we are not as strong as men, that we are not worthy of being paid the same, and that we should not shout and push back against these messages in case we give the impression of being ‘crazy feminists’.
What messages do you think are given to girls and women today that you agree with? That we should lift each up and support one another and that the future is getting much brighter for women and the goals that they want to pursue.
Can you dig a bit deeper on the women’s sports industry and the way it’s portrayed – is it going in the right direction? Hong Kong’s health and fitness scene continues to grow, and there are new female focused businesses, events and races are being introduced. The overall message seems (to me) to be trending towards a focus of strength and performance, over achieving an aesthetic goal. I think this is also driven by the rise of social media and women being able to control their own message. It is changing the way women are presented, and how they are consuming sports. I think the downside to this is the lack of official accreditation required to become a Instagram fitness star, and I think that women should take the time to educate themselves on the science surrounding their chosen sports.
Best health or lifestyle advice to women and girls? Find something that you love to do, and do it because of the way it makes you feel. If it is uplifting and it’s something that you will look forward to doing, then it will never feel like a chore. Surround yourself with other like minded people who like to do the same thing and you will find yourself part of a community that constantly inspires you.
What do you think women need to know in 2018? I think women in 2018 need to know about more influential women. It’s my personal goal next year to meet more women whom I can learn from; to share content about influential women in sports and the arts (and of course the many, many other areas of interest); and to try my best to be a positive role model to the young women in my life, such as my niece and my Goddaughters.