Having worked with Terry on our last two campaigns, I felt it was only fitting to speak with her personally on her pursuit of self-love. In fact, it was one of her Instagram stories that caught my attention and inspired me to look deeper within.
In it, she says ‘Their highlight reel of themselves doesn't matter, you yourself matter — You matter in the context of your family and friends.’ This resonated with me so much and I felt this reminder should be shared. Please join us for a heart to heart as she shares her musings on life and uncomplicated beauty. I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation.Hi Terry, tell us a little about yourself
I am currently a full time model and formerly, a pharmacist. I graduated from pharmacy two years ago and found myself working a 9-5 job where I was worn down physically and mentally. Although I learnt so much from being a pharmacist and it really did shape me into the person that I am today, I felt that the profession didn’t align with my passions. I was already doing modelling as a side gig and never actively pursued it as a career. Fortunately, opportunities arose and pharmacy eventually became the side gig. That gave me the self confidence to actively pursue a career in the modelling industry. To me modelling was really just a creative outlet. Besides the fact that modelling was fun and different, I found myself really enjoying the social aspect of the job. I was able to talk to people in the industry who came from all different walks of life and it made me realise that the path I was on was no different to anyone else’s.
My hobbies include reading, watching documentaries and journaling. I find clarity in writing and reading and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed for quite some time now. As for watching documentaries, I think being able to hear other people’s stories gives insight and perspective into my own reality. It also makes me more conscious of what I read, especially in the media.
My current obsession right now is probably learning about minimalism, particularly in the form of architecture and housing. I keep finding random videos about tiny houses and I’m so intrigued by the idea of living large but in a small space. I think it makes us more resourceful as well and it’s always interesting seeing what architects create.
Oh, and I’m also obsessed with Chow Chows and kaya. I think I eat kaya on bread with bananas at least once a day. If not, I’m incorporating it into my oatmeal and French toasts every other day.
The most exciting thing about modelling is never knowing what tomorrow is going to be like. That in itself is also very scary, but since I am still in my early twenties I figured it was something that I should embrace. I’ve been so used to the routine of study and work, that I never got to truly experience the world. Modelling really opened up that door for me. Never would I have thought I would get paid to travel or meet new people. Travelling has always been a big desire of mine, so to be able to do it as a job and to live in a completely foreign country is exhilarating. It’s also always exciting to be able to meet new people and connect with them. I think by talking to others (learning about their journey to becoming who they are now) and also connecting through experience really helps to give me insight and guidance. I love talking to people and learning from them!
I also love trying new styles and concepts, it’s a really fun element to be able to play with makeup and clothes for a living. For instance, I never thought I would do a lingerie shoot and actually have fun and be comfortable in it - but I did. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but it was a style that I ended up embracing and made me feel good in my own skin.
Your thoughts on natural beauty?
To me ‘natural’ is a word that evokes a sense of ‘relaxedness’. To be relaxed, you need to be comfortable in your own skin, your own thoughts and your own ideas. So to me, natural beauty is beyond what you do or don’t put on your face but more so what you do to nourish your heart, mind and soul. To me, nourishing your soul means that you are able to love and give love. To nourish your mind means to constantly open yourself up to a wealth of knowledge and guidance. And to nourish your soul means to allow yourself to be expressive, fluid and receptive to others.
There’s a quote by Audrey Hepburn that I am inspired by and it says..
“The beauty in a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart; the place where love resides.
True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”
To me, natural beauty lies so much further than what we see on the surface. It lies within the very heart and soul of somebody.When do you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I’m comfortable and relaxed. I’m the most comfortable when I’m wearing a little bit of makeup (mainly concealer and blush) and I’m in my thrifted band tee’s/pyjama pants with my hair in a messy ponytail and I’m eating my favourite snacks - all in the comfort of my own room. I’m not saying I seek comfort in being lazy and disheveled looking, but I just feel most beautiful when there are no expectations placed on me, on how I look, dress or present myself. I love being in that state and being able to share a conversation in that state. It creates this safe space where nobody is judged for how they look. Instead, what you say and what stories you share matters more.
I think that’s beautiful when you can strip yourself bare of society’s projections on you (especially their stock standard measure of beauty) and be able to just be unapologetically you.
Wearing beautiful lingerie actually makes me feel empowered, yet comfortable with myself. I think as somebody in the western world, I never had the perfect tanned hourglass body that other women would idealise. They always seemed to be the ones whose bodies were made for lingerie, so for me that was something I never really thought of tapping into.
I was always really ‘skinny’ and I had a visible scar on my knee, so for me covering up was always my go to confidence ‘suit’. I had never really understood what it meant to truly embrace your skin. Although I like to think that I’m an advocate for inner beauty, I’d also be ignorant and dismissive if I didn’t appreciate my outer form as well. I think we’re all beautiful, and we should all embrace our unique features - even if we think they are flaws.
So when I wear lingerie I’m suddenly reminded that my body is this incredible organ that survived multiple traumas, and deserves love too.
“COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY”
No two souls are built alike and I often have to remind myself of that. I have constantly been running an invisible race against others. For most of my childhood and young adult life, studying was really important to me, so the asian in me was super competitive. That took a massive toll on my mental health and I often have crippling anxiety when I think of the future because I'm not so good at adapting to certain situations.
I realise NOW though that competing is natural, but it's not normal to subconsciously compete against others. You’re in your lane, and there is a time and place for your own success. The primary cheerleader in your lane should be yourself, not because you only have yourself to depend on (because that's not how society works), but because you being your biggest supporter allows you to be autonomous and independent.
I think it's just important to remind ourselves that what we see online (with everyone flashing their wealth and success) that it means more to be rich in knowledge, successful in love, and abundant in giving.Find Terry here @yagalterry