With Mils Gan, CLEO’s Associate Art Director (left) and we’re trying all-red CNY outfit ideas in citrus hues instead.
As human beings, we like knowing. We’re at ease if we know what’s going to happen; we’re happiest when we know what to expect; we’re conditioned to be in control.
We grow up with the notion that life is completely linear and that there are milestones to achieve at certain points. School, University, work, success. Then…?? When you don’t hit those targets, you end up feeling frustrated, or go through what’s now known as a ‘quarter-life crisis’.
Once you shed the idea that living our life according to an arbitrary or rigid timeline is not necessary, everything starts to make sense. Contrary to what we’re conditioned to know, we’re organic beings, and life’s timeline is organic too. It shrinks and grows according to you and what you go through.
I used to overachieve. But my life didn’t allow me to grow in the way that seemed like it was meant to. Like a plant that leans towards sunlight, it taught me to grow in certain directions and not others.
“It’s easy to get caught up with what we see on social media, and try to fit into certain standards. However, doing so will only make you lose your identity.”
– sonya danita charles, on freeing yourself from insecurities
I could get all As at school, but I just couldn’t achieve the way I wanted in University. I didn’t get the job I was rooting for and it hurt for years. (I tried everything else and it ended up with me landing the job of my dreams, and being mentored by four Editors in the process. See how that works?)
I started with a marriage in my late twenties and ended up without one anymore – now at 33 I’m still learning, relearning, and discovering. I’m with a team that grows and learns as the publishing and digital worlds morph and become one. Within the noise, what we at #TeamCLEO want to say is that it’s never too late or too early to start, or even Start Different.
So we at CLEO wanted to disrupt your usual feed and bring you an idea we’ve never tried – a digital issue where we’ve curated some stories to ease you into the month.
We spoke to some women on what it means to “Start Different” for some key takeaways you can apply to where you are right now. Grow in the right direction and maybe you’ll make something accidental — much like our cover girl, much-loved Malaysian model and embroidery artist Sheena Liam.
We also shine the spotlight on two amazing Malaysian women who stand out for looking different and owning who they are. Read on how it feels like to live in Nadirah and Sonya’s skin, and relish in their totally open attitudes on loving yourself, accepting and educating in order to be empowering.
February is also known for the month of love, and honestly we’ve always tried to do love different. In the past we trotted around the subject and made fun of it the only way millennials know how to deal with anything — with Tinder and Netflix. This time around we just want to share a truly beautiful love story that was told to us by one of our CLEO Hot Shots, Tati Hani. You’ll be right in the mood for love.
With travel ideas and some fashion and beauty inspo, I hope you enjoy starting different and doing February how you want. For now, scroll below and meet the team that brings you our monthly magazine everything you see on our digital space.
— Lina Esa
Editor, CLEO Malaysia