A Mother, Daughter, Sister, and Wife. We Spotlight Three Fabulous Women This International Women's Day

Who better to celebrate a woman than the people who love her? This International Women’s Day, we throw the spotlight on three women as seen through the eyes of their mother, sibling and significant other.
Published: March 8, 2024
International Women's Day Spotlight

As the 16th‑century English poet John Donne famously wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself.” Such is the interconnectedness of humanity that no one is completely isolated from the rest of society. This is especially so for women, who throw themselves into their myriad roles with a faultless dedication. A colleague transforms into a mother with a phone call from her child. A daughter morphs into a sibling‑in‑crime at the hint of trouble. A beloved wife turns into a trusty best friend the second her shoulder is needed.

This March, to toast International Women’s Day, we honour the integral relationships that make up life by showcasing womanhood in all its multifaceted glory. A mother, daughter, sister, wife … we hear just how much these women have impacted the lives around them—directly from their loved ones’ perspective. And why not? No one else could do a better job of saluting these women than the people she loves unwaveringly.   

Related article: The Enduring Appeal of Tod’s Gommino Loafers

Mother & Daughter

International Women's Day Spotlight
(From left) On Aimee: Jacket dress and leather Kate Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S. On Wei: Parka dress and leather Kate Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S.

Model Aimee Cheng‑Bradshaw is focused on making sure her mum, Wei Cheng, is entirely at ease on our set. It’s Wei’s first time ever getting photographed for a publication and Aimee walks her through the paces, ensuring that she knows what’s needed for the photographs and film. The conversation is spoken in a mix of Mandarin and English, with laughter and gentle ribbing punctuating it. With Aimee’s expert guidance (she is, after all, a veteran at this), mum does splendidly well. Once she has warmed up, it’s easy to see just where Aimee gets her confidence and warmth from. Here, Wei shares insights into her daughter.

What was Aimee like as a child?

She was very sweet, lively, cheerful, and expressive through her talents, whether it was singing, dancing, or playing instruments.

Can you share a funny memory about her?

She was extremely chatty and energetic as a child; never able to sit still, especially during mealtimes. There was once when she was so fidgety, singing and dancing around the room in between every bite, we jokingly strapped her into the dining seat chair with a suitcase belt. It didn’t work.

What is her most underrated quality?

Her kindness. I think people tend to focus on her immediate, outward traits—her grace, her beauty, her social media persona … But off camera, she truly has a kind, genuine heart.

Can you share a proud mummy moment?

I can think of two: The first was when she was walking across the stage during her graduation ceremony, and it was announced that she had not only graduated with first‑class honours, but also earned a spot on the dean’s list. She was only one of a handful of students who achieved such an accomplishment. The second was when she was announced as second runner‑up on Asia’s Next Top Model (2015), for which she represented Singapore during Season 3. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with what a modelling career was, but that was the first moment when I knew she would go far in a completely new field to anyone I knew.

What do you feel is her greatest strength?

Her perseverance. When she was a student at university, she would fly in from a shoot in Milan and head straight to the library for an all‑night study session. These days, as a part‑time spin instructor, every night before one of her spin classes, she stays up until 4am, curating and perfecting her class structure and music playlist. She never falls short of perfection, always giving 120 per cent to everything she does and produces.

What is one thing you think people would be most surprised to find out about her?

She’s wickedly good at impressions, especially those of her friends and family. She’s a lot funnier than most people think! Also, [the extent of] her kindness and thoughtfulness. She’s always looking out for others, sometimes even at her own expense.

Brother & Sister

International Women's Day Spotlight
(From left) On Willabelle: Suede Tod’s Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S. Outfit and jewellery, Willabelle’s own. On Ryan: Bomber jacket with fabric sleeves, jersey T‑shirt, trousers with darts and Suede Tod’s Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S. Watch, Ryan’s own.

It’s hard to tell who the older sibling is just by looking at this dynamic duo. But spend a little time with them, and their respective roles quietly and unassumingly assert themselves. They both possess a calm, confident energy that naturally draws people to them, but Ryan turns to Willabelle when he’s uncertain of what’s expected for the shoot—though it could also be said that he’s simply deferring to her experience as a content creator who’s used to being in front of the camera. It’s clear how fond he is of his elder sister and how close their relationship is. Sharing his appreciation of her in a surprisingly deep baritone voice, he says, “Her greatest strength is her determination. She rarely takes no for an answer—I believe this is the driving force behind her accomplishments. With obstacles, she would embrace them as opportunities for growth and and usually takes the initiative to create opportunities for herself. I deeply admire her unwavering commitment to her dreams and am very proud of her wins.”

What do you appreciate most about your sister?

I appreciate many things about my sister, but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be her kind heart. Throughout my life, she has been a constant source of support and comfort. She has always been there for me, whether providing a listening ear, offering words of wisdom, or simply being a voice of reassurance. Her innate ability to show compassion and empathy, and to uplift others with her acts of kindness, is something I deeply admire and cherish.

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when she is mentioned?

That she’s fiercely independent and also a huge perfectionist. Growing up, she’d pay meticulous attention to detail, and her constant strive for perfection in everything that she does shows the exceptionally high standards she has set for herself. She often takes matters into her own hands because she prefers to maintain control over the outcome.

Can you share a specific moment when you were thankful to have her in your life?

When I made the decision to move back to Singapore [from Australia] in 2022, I found myself in a place where friendships were scarce, and familiarity was a luxury. However, she consistently extended invites to meet her friends or to attend events, which I’m forever grateful for. She’d always include me in her busy schedule. I’m very appreciative of her, and it’s also why we’re so close.

How do you think she sees herself, versus how the world sees her?

I feel that she sees herself as someone who’s still evolving and learning, perhaps with insecurities and doubts just like everyone else. On the other hand, the world’s impression of her is that she is capable, confident, and successful. People see the glamorous side, and probably admire her strengths and achievements without necessarily knowing about her internal struggles and the amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Husband & Wife

International Women's Day Spotlight
(From left) On Norfasarie: High‑waist trousers and suede Tod’s Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S. Top, headscarf and jewellery, Norfasarie’s own. On Baihakki: Leather jacket, leather trousers and leather T Timeless Gommino Bubble loafers, TOD’S. Cotton T‑shirt, Baihakki’s own.

There are some love stories that start wonderfully at the get‑go. Then there are others that don’t quite get off on the right foot, but maintain a slow, consistent burn that ignites into great love stories. Entrepreneur Norfasarie and former footballer Baihakki have such a story. They were introduced to each other by their then‑colleagues when they were both 19, but it was not love at first sight. He was unfazed by her work on television, while she found him to be “this annoying tall guy who was incessantly talking about football”, she recalls fondly. But as their friendship grew (he used to pick her up consistently whenever she landed back in Singapore after one of her flights), so did their love. “He proposed to me in the most straightforward and unromantic manner,” she shares. “But what really stuck with me to this day was what he said to my father: ‘Your daughter completes me.’ It wasn’t the grand gesture I had always imagined, but those simple words spoke volumes about his love and commitment to me.” Almost 16 years and four children later, it’s obvious that the love is still very much present in their lives. Baihakki shares the qualities he loves most about his spouse.

What do you appreciate most about your wife?

Her selflessness. She has been holding the fort for years and has sacrificed a lot for us to succeed as a unit—between juggling family matters, our four kids, and her businesses. That has allowed our children and I to pursue our dreams despite constraints. She’s the foundation of our strong family.

Can you share a moment when you were especially thankful to have her?

Covid‑19 was exceptionally difficult for us. Because of work commitments, I had to leave my five‑day‑old newborn for six weeks. The amount of guilt I felt was overpowering. Imagine having to manage four kids by yourself during confinement and lockdown. I’m forever thankful for her generosity and selflessness.

What pops into your mind when you hear her name? 

Quality time. She loves to plan. It’s one of her love languages. It could be as simple as birthday surprises or anniversaries. I had a simple childhood, and I’m not a romantic person. Naturally, every gesture she makes is endearing to me. If you asked me to share a grand story, I don’t have one because every moment with her is memorable.

What do you think is her most underrated quality?

Her resilience and ability to push onward no matter the obstacle. She doesn’t take no for an answer, and she can make the impossible possible.

If you could make just one wish for her, what would it be?

An eternity of happiness and endless blessings for her and our family. 

Photographed by JOEL LOW
Make-up Artiste RINA SIM using CHANEL; JYUE HUEY (for Willabelle and Ryan)
Hairstylist GREG-O using KEUNE HAIRCOSMETICS; JYUE HUEY (for Willabelle and Ryan)

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