You might have seen Alicia Tan from her acting roles in local Youtube videos. Today, she's the beauty and the brains behind a following of more than 76.8k on Instagram and 11.8k on Youtube. With her signature sweet smile and humble personality, we recently had the opportunity to sit down and get to know more about this Ipoh-born fashion, travel and lifestyle influencer. Here, we give our top 5 reasons why we absolutely love her! (Trust us, there are many more to that 😉)
(Click to Shop) & Fleur Wrap Front Skort in Light Denim (Launching Soon)
1. She's One To Follow Her Dreams
On Alicia: The Eloise Organza Panel Sleeveless Top in White & Charlize Contrast Panel Tapered Pants in Black with White Stripe (Click to Shop)
I was brought up in a small, but amazing town - Ipoh, and was never exposed to the media industry when I was in high school. I would say that I was quite a nerd in school, and I did pretty well academically. Hence, I pursued my studies with intentions of becoming a banker or a chartered accountant. However, when I came to KL to further my studies, I started getting modelling and commercial gigs, and also started collaborating with local YouTubers and acting in their videos. Through YouTube and modelling, I became more exposed to the social media and media industry, where I found my passion. But that didn’t stop me from finishing my studies, so I finished my Accounting, Finance, & Management degree in the UK, and came back to follow my dreams in the media industry. I started my career in Dubai as a model for Abercrombie and Fitch, and now I’m back in Malaysia to build my own career as a content creator.
On Alicia: The Daenerys Short Sleeves Sheath Dress in White (Click to Shop)
2. She Works HardMy typical day is pretty unpredictable. Some days, I will be doing photoshoots for brands and clients I work with, or going to fashion and beauty events. Other days, I will be home filming my own videos and editing them. As a social media influencer, I will curate my Instagram posts, and that’s where I can share my work and life with my followers.
On Alicia: The Astrid Drop Shoulder Short Sleeve Dress in Navy Blue (Click to Shop)
In the future, I hope I can continue to make videos and make more content! I’m also going to start my own streetwear clothing label this year! That’s really exciting for me, as I have so much passion for fashion!
3. She's Not Afraid To Be Herself
On Alicia: The Jacquelina Off Shoulder Long Sleeves Top with Floral Embroidery in Pinstripes & Judith Frayed Hem High Waist Shorts in Denim (Click to Shop)
There are days where I do not feel confident about myself, and I just think that I’m not good enough. Being in the media industry is competitive enough, and sometimes we are regarded as people who should be sociable and outgoing. Not many people know this but, I’m an introvert. I get nervous meeting new people and being in a public event, and I would always prefer to spend time at home and with just my closest friends. But I always tell myself to just be myself, and be me! To be reminded of what I love to do, and pursue it.
On Alicia: The Alexandrite Contrast Panel Cold Shoulder Shift Dress in Navy Blue
(Click to Shop)
4. She Loves Her Fans, Truly
One of my favourite things about doing what I do is having my followers and subscribers, whom I call my family. I love that I have the ability to express my own creativity, my own words, my own voice and my own story through my social media and YouTube. I love that I can engage with my followers and the world, that I can be their online friend, and I can use my voice and my life to make a difference in their lives to a certain extent. I hope to share my story to empower and support them, just as they have shown me love and support. It’s the most rewarding feeling when my readers tell me that I have inspired them one way or another, and I hope to continue to bring this joy and love to them!
On Alicia: The Demelza Cold Shoulder Shift Dress with Floral Embroidery in Pinstripes (Launching Soon)
5. She's Got The Best Advice
On Alicia: The Arcene Lace-up Detail Shift Dress in Navy Blue (Launching Soon)
Do not undermine yourself. You are one of a kind, and we are all gifted in our own ways! Success does not come overnight, so work hard, work smart, and keep trying! Do not fear failure, because without failure, there is no success. It is better to try and fail, than not to try at all! So go, get it girls! We can do this :D
Yes, we can! Wherever we are, may we all empower ourselves and each other to fight for our dreams, no matter the odds.
We have come a long way as women. With access to education, the freedom to build our careers, enjoy a bustling social life and create the life we dream, some would say we have it good.
Yet, it is important to know that it wasn’t always this way.
Without the women who have fought for our rights, we would not be where we are.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 each year, we look to the women who have and who continue to drive change in helping women reach their full potential. Today, we highlight 6 (of many) Malaysian women who we would like to thank for their contributions to women’s rights:
1. Ivy Josiah
As one of the pioneer volunteers and former president and executive director of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Josiah has been actively involved in the fight for women’s rights.
Established in 1982, WAO was one of the first organisations in Malaysia dedicated to helping women and children faced with violence. Josiah grew the organisation from a team of five to 20 employees, and played a key role in promoting WAO’s protection services, advocating for law and policy reforms and in educating the public on violence against women. She was also a member of the National Taskforce investigating sexual abuse allegations of indigenous women in Sarawak.
She believes in fighting for the rights of others, having shared that she gets “very angry when there is injustice”, which drives her to take a stand and act.
Today, she is no longer employed by WAO but continues to volunteer for the organisation, while balancing being in the committee of HAKAM (National Human Rights Society), PROHAM (The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights), and Bersih.
2. YBhg. Dato’ Ramani Gurusamy
As deputy president of the National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO), Ramani is a veteran fighter for women’s rights and development in Malaysia.
With focus on professional, social and community work to promote women empowerment, Ramani fought for giving women equal pay, medical, housing and other benefits in the 1960s.
She has been in the NCWO for more than 20 years now and has contributed in forming its many programmes, including the National Policy on Women and Action Plan.
She stresses the importance of young women to be involved in driving further progress in women’s rights. She told The Star:
“We need young, fresh blood in the women’s movement. We need your excitement, your passion and your commitment. So, prepare yourself to get into the movement. Get the leadership skills you need, and you probably already have them. Get into an organisation. Now, with the Internet, you can see what an organisation is all about. See what are the issues that interest you and get involved. We need you.”
3. Toh Puan Umasundari Sambanthan
You may know her as the wife of the late Tun V.T. Sambanthan, but Toh Puan herself is well known as an activist and social worker, raising the status of women, especially in rural areas.
A woman who values the power of education, she graduated with First Class Honors from the University of Madras, where she majored in Chemistry. She then continued her Master’s Degree at the Presidency College, Chennai.
In the 1950s, she was actively involved in fighting for women’s rights, and was involved in spreading awareness of the benefits of Malayan citizenship to rural women. She was also one of the founders and formal president of the NCWO and today, she continues to hold the position as general-secretary of the Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Society, which she co-founded in 1960.
4. Shamsiah Fakeh
Not many have heard of Shamsiah Fakeh. An independence fighter and feminist of the 1950’s, she was the leader of Malaysia's first nationalist women organization, the infamous Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS) and also a prominent Malay leader of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).
Having fought persistently right into the jungles of Malaya, she has survived poverty, war and imprisonment. In her autobiography Memoir Shamsiah Fakeh: Dari AWAS Ke Rejimen Ke-10, Shamsiah writes: “I was merely a woman fighting the British for my country’s independence and the emancipation of women.”
5. Low Ngai Yuen
A mother of four young children, a successful entrepreneur and an advocate for women empowerment, one might think, “Where does she find the time?”
As with the other women on this list, she knows the difference women can make in this world, if only given the opportunity. From 3R TV to film direction and production, and to being the Marketing and Communications Director of the Malaysia and Singapore arm of Carrefour S.A, Low has done much to show that women can and should have the courage to achieve their goals and define their happiness.
Today, she is the president of Kakiseni, a not-for-profit performing arts platform, as well as the president and founder of WOMEN:girls, an organisation with a vision to help women realise their potential as role models and inspire girls to achieve their dreams.
When asked whether women can have it all, Low shares that one should always define ‘all’ in her own way and not in the expectation of others.
And her motto? Do what is right, not what is easy.
6. Maria Chin Abdullah
Familiar to many, Maria is a leading figure in the Bersih movements.
As a feminist and a human rights activist, Maria is a lawyer by profession and a prominent voice for women’s rights in Malaysia. She has been a key fighter for Malaysian women's rights for three decades, helping set up AWAM in 1985 and co-founding Empower, a non-governmental organisation that encourages women and young people to participate in politics and to campaign for civil liberties.
We have come a long way as women, but we are not there yet.
Whether it is calling out on unfair treatment, volunteering your time at an NGO, donating to help a young girl go to school, it is now up to us.
SHARE this with the women in your lives and make equality a reality.
Xin Nian Lai Le!
The Chinese New Year celebrations are a beautiful time of reunion with the family and of course, when you see “reunion” and “family” in the same sentence, you can expect food to be involved. As the CNY snacks and dinners pop up around us, it can be easy to decide to forgo our healthy diet.
Photo Credit: shopandbox.com
BUT, wait a minute.
You’ve worked so hard these few weeks! You've made the effort to prepare nourishing meals and you've pushed yourself further and smashed your workouts.
(Take this moment to look back on how far you've come and give yourself a pat on the back ☺️)
To help you keep that progress going, without missing out on the CNY celebrations, we’ve round up some top tips on how you can survive the calorie-loaded snacks and dinners that are coming your way.
1. Eat Mindfully
As we are surrounded by packs of bakwa and boxes of pineapple tarts, we understand it is near impossible to resist them. We’re not here to say run away from them, but a little mindless snacking over a conversation with your cousins can pump in hundreds of calories without you even knowing!
To give you an idea of how many calories you could be putting into your body and how long it’ll take to burn them off:
With all these snacks around, how do you stop yourself from going overboard?!
Choose a few of your favourites, place them on a small plate and slowly savour each bite. This way, you won't end up finishing the whole box, and you can truly enjoy their taste!
2. Eat Slowly
Slow down. You are not in a rush to finish all the food before your family! It can take up to 20 minutes before your body realises you are full so eat slower. Take small bites, enjoy the conversations and you'll be closer to avoid overeating!
3. Choose Healthier Alternatives
For the most part, CNY snacks are calorie-packed with little nutritional value.Instead of avoiding them completely and putting yourself through the torture of watching your family take bite after bite of deliciousness, here are some healthier alternatives to try!
Pineapple Tarts v Organic Dried Pineapple
Or spend some time in the kitchen with your family and make some healthi-fied pineapple tarts here .
Store-Bought v Homemade Bakkwa
Ready for some yummy bakkwa without the calories? Find the recipe here.
YeeSang v Salmon Salad
You can also choose to enjoy the traditional Yee Sang, but fill up on the vegetables and raw fish with minimal plum sauce, deep-fried crackers and oil.
Fried v Steamed Nian Gao
This is a useful tip to remember. When possible, always opt for steamed or boiled, instead of fried cooking methods.
Sweet Drinks v Mandarin Orange
Craving for something sweet or looking to quench your thirst? Forget the packaged sugary drinks and go all-natural with mandarin oranges. Eat one on its own or add some slices to a salad for its sweet goodness and vitamins A and C!
4. Fill Up Before Going Out
You can’t control the menu when you visit relatives or eat out. But, you can always make healthier decisions at home. Eat a healthy breakfast or snack before going out to meet with your friends or family. This way, you will feel fuller and be less likely to overindulge on snacks.
Like these #angang smoothie bowls by @frederikkewaerens
5. MOVE With The Family
Remember to keep MOVE-ing this Chinese New Year! It is the perfect time to gather your friends and family for some active outdoor fun! Go hiking as a family or just for a walk and picnic around the park!
As the CNY heat kicks in, remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated! You can also enjoy a cup or two of that special tea your Auntie brought back from China. Tea and water are great choices with very little to zero calories.
These BPA-Free Infuser Bottles will do the trick!
With a timeline to remind you to keep sipping!
In this annual occasion where cousins, aunties and uncles from all over reunite under the same roof, it is a tradition for us to be reconnecting and catching up over our favourite foods. So while we work towards our health and fitness goals, let’s not forget what's truly important: Family.
Have a Happy Chinese New Year, ladies!
Disclaimer: We do not encourage anyone to be on a calorie deficit diet. This article is written for sharing purposes only and does not serve as a guide. We strongly recommend you consult a physician before beginning a new diet or exercise program.
Many of you have messaged me asking about weight loss and most of them come down to these two concerns:
“How do I lose my love handles, muffin tops and jiggly thighs?”
“I just want to lose weight. I don't want to get bulkier.”
Now, I want to tell you that if you try to lose weight by doing light exercises, such as cardio, dance, and resistance training, and couple that with a low-carb, low-sugar, low-calories, low-protein and low-everything diet, you will be able to see results fast.
But it is not going to sustain.
I no longer want to force myself to stick to a strict diet and end up binging, again and again. In my current training and diet plan, I don't binge. I make sure I eat enough every single day, even though I'm on a calorie deficit diet.
My body fat percentage: Flexible Diet vs Calorie Deficit Diet
So what is a calorie deficit diet?
Calorie deficit is when you burn more calories than you put into your body.
For example, if you burn 2,500 calories per day but only eat 2,000, you have a deficit of 500 calories. When you eat more than you burn, your body stores the extra energy as fat but when you eat less than you burn, you create a calorie deficit.
That’s when your body is forced to burn that stored fat to give you the energy you need. This leads to weight loss.
What is your calorie maintenance level?
Before you go on a calorie deficit diet, you need to know your calorie maintenance level. This is the level at which your weight maintains, because you are consuming and burning the same number of calories.
Everyone’s calorie maintenance levels are different because we are all different! Not everyone with a certain goal or body type has the same maintenance level. That means, not everyone should eat or burn the same amount of calories. So don’t compare yourself to that person who is eating or exercising more or less than you.
Your calorie maintenance level is dependent on many factors including gender, height, weight, age, activity level, metabolic rate, and thermic effect of food.
You can calculate it here.
Keep in mind that while these calculations can be quite accurate, they are still just an estimate.
Why is it important?
Once you've found your calorie maintenance level, you can then determine how much you should eat or burn to reach your goal. This is important.
If your goal is to lose weight, ideally, you should be consuming about 20% below your maintenance level each day. For example:
If you wanted to lose weight and had a daily calorie maintenance level of 2500 calories, you would need to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories each day. This is because 20% of 2500 is 500 (2500 x 0.20 = 500). This means eating 2000 calories per day.
Never overdo it.
Yes, to lose fat, you need to be below your calorie maintenance level, but I want to stress that you should never go too low and expect fast results. This is a journey, and if you want it to be long-term, take it step by step.
Once I know how many calories I should consume and burn to reach my goals, I need to track it each day. I use the MyFitnessPal app to help me with this. It’s free and quite easy to use but any calorie calculator or app can do this. Remember, these calculators give just an estimate so use them as a rough guide only.
As a standard, for a one-pound-per-week rate of weight loss, we need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day by eating 250 calories less than we usually need to maintain our weight, and burning off the other 250 calories through exercise.
Eat more. Eat right. Not less.
When it comes to eating, I don’t just limit my portion sizes and eat less. I actually eat more often, to prevent myself from getting hungry. I also make sure I eat right. This means, I choose healthy. For example, whole grains like oats, vegetables and lean protein. Like my favourite, chicken breast.
When I really feel like a treat, I look for healthier alternatives. There are a whole bunch in the market like QuestBars and granola. Just make sure you read the nutrition labels to see what you're putting into your body and don't go overboard. This is where the sacrifice and discipline comes in.
Try to stay away from foods with empty calories. That means, those that are high in calories but low in nutrients. You know, the ones that are so hard to resist, like sweets, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips and most processed foods. When you fill yourself up with a lot of carbs from these foods, you might create a calorie deficit and lose weight, but you'll lose up to 50% of that weight in muscle.
What I eat in a day
MOVE when you can.
If you don’t want to sacrifice your food intake too much, exercise. Try moving, whenever you can. Start with what you are comfortable with, be it walking 30 minutes a day, yoga, dance or swimming. If you can fit in more, do so. This will also boost your energy! For me, I do weight lifting. When I’m able to lift heavily, I can really feel the excitement inside me. It makes me feel good.
This also depends on your goal. My goal is to be strong and lean. When in calorie deficit, cardio will help with fat loss, yes, but weightlifting will make you leaner.
Remember, there are a lot of ways for fat loss. This is just my plan at the moment because it helps me reach my goal. Calorie deficit is a choice and it might not be right for you.
For motivation to get you breaking your limits...
MAKE YOUR MOVE
This week’s #WonderWomanWednesday takes us to the calm, wooden interiors of La Juiceria Superfoods, where we were greeted with a fridge full of cold-pressed juices and the warm smile of the woman behind it all, Anabelle Co-Martinent.
Anabelle in the Madolen Bridal Gown in Burgundy
Having moved to Kuala Lumpur as a Chinese-Filipino expat in 2006 with her then newlywed husband, Anabelle has since become not only the founder of one of the most successful cold-pressed juice and health food stores in Malaysia, but also, a mother of 2 beautiful children.
Today, as we tell of La Juiceria’s founding story, we share Anabelle’s many words of wisdom and advice for mothers, and aspiring entrepreneurs alike.
A Newborn Baby, And A Newborn Business
It started in September 2013, when Anabelle was heavily pregnant with her second child. Months into her health journey, Anabelle discovered the simple act of eating better gave her more energy. With this, a vision to bring healthy eating in a convenient way to Malaysians was formed.
As her pregnancy came to an end, Anabelle created the first La Juiceria logo and juice formulas, with plans to start a business after her son’s delivery.
“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she recalled.
“I was alone, a foreigner and I had always been in corporate.”
These thoughts could have very well stopped Anabelle from pursuing her business, but with a nagging feeling inside her, she knew she had to do it.
Anabelle in the 3-Way Remy Shift Dress in Black
In the week of her son’s birth, Anaballe ordered organic vegetables online and from a conversation with the delivery guy, she had found her first business partner. He brought on his best friend and together, the three became the first of the La Juiceria team, which has since grown to close to a 100 members, operating an online store, 12 juice bars and two health food cafes.
On Entrepreneurship: Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
This is a statement Anabelle stands strong by.
With a newborn baby in her arms and a determination to make this business a reality, Anabelle set on to build the La Juiceria website. From photoshoots using her own camera to writing product descriptions while breastfeeding, to replying customers in the middle of the night, Anabelle, together with her team, made it happen.
Having worked as a producer for BFM before founding La Juiceria, Anabelle had interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs, all of whom shared a common story:
“It is a hard climb at the beginning but it so fulfilling when you get there.”
Despite the innevitable hard work, loneliness and setbacks of the entrepreneurial journey, Anabelle encourages us to go for it.
“You live once. People fear of many things but if you have the heart, find the right time and do it. Of course, don’t just jump in. There’s a reality behind it and you have to be able to sustain and survive. So if you are able to sustain for a year, take a year to try it out. If you fail, you fail. You learn. It’s a life experience.”
On Motherhood: Nothing Compares To Being A Mother
Despite her many achievements in her career and entrepreneurial journey, Anabelle shared that no number of awards and no number of new outlets can compare to being a mother.
“Being a mother is the most rewarding, miraculous thing a woman can ever have and that’s a blessing. It’s something money can’t buy. It’s something that can never be replaced,” she expressed.
Anabelle with her family at her daughter's 7th birthday party
Having met so many mothers, from mothers with young children to mothers with children all grown up and who have left home, the most important thing that Anabelle’s learned is, “Don’t lose yourself in the process.”
We know of many women, including our own mothers, perhaps, who have taken a step back for their children, moving from “power meetings to power laundry” and in so doing, losing direction.
“You have to plan something for yourself,” Anabelle emphasised.
“Keep yourself abreast with what’s happening and what you want to do in life because there will come a time when your children will grow up and leave home.”
Whether it is part-time, charity work, baking, sewing or starting an online business, Anabelle urges mothers to keep busy, doing something not just for the family, but for themselves.
On Balancing It All: You Have To Be The Best Of Yourself
“Wake up early, fill up calendars, have discipline. If you want to achieve many things, it is not impossible. Just keep going every day and when you look back, you’ll go ‘WOW! I’ve done that’ and now, you can reach even more people and make an even bigger difference.”
Working in the health food industry, Anabelle too has to find time to maintain physical health and fitness. She exercises and chooses healthy as often as she can and despite her love of chocolates and desserts (as every other woman out there), she said, “If you eat right, it is easy to stay in shape.”
Anabelle's favourite item on the La Juiceria Superfoods menu is the
Soft Boiled Kampung Egg (with Avocado)!
In balancing all of being a wife, a mother, handling her business and staying fit, Anabelle shared, “You just do it. You just make it happen.”
We Need More Women Entrepreneurs
"Men are everywhere, at the top of the ladder, dominating entrepreneurship awards, because women always take a step back when they have children," she said.
More than telling us, Anabelle has shown that just as she can, you can do it. You can be a mother. You can be an entrepreneur.
“Deciding to do it is already a first move. Whether you are successful or you fail, you take it as a life experience.”
To mothers, women and all dreamers, do something today.