Meet The CLEO Hot Shots of 2017!

Our cover girls, from left: Chan Man Chien, Fashion Designer; Shikin Gomez, Model; Evelyn Marieta, Entrepreneur. Styled by #TeamCLEO, photographed by Chee Wei/YipieYaya Studios; apparel from Levi’s

Resilience. Grit. There are so many buzzwords about career, progression and self-development that has circulated Facebook feeds for years. And it seems like these are revelations that are quite recent. Something I watched more than a year has now gained traction once again — it was a Ted Talk about how students with the most grit (not IQ or intelligence) tend to fare better or do better than their smarter peers. And this hits home.

Cast back to your school days. Were you taught to do well and get straight As, or were you taught the skills to brush yourself off and try again whenever you failed? If you went through a regular Sekolah Kebangsaan education like I did, then maybe the focus was too academic. I didn’t see it back then — but I wished I had the opportunity to build the resilience “muscle”.

But what is it exactly? While we were shooting and interviewing this year’s CLEO Hot Shots, I was  reading Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. The Facebook COO talked about her life post-trauma. Her husband died suddenly, and the world’s most powerful woman who was telling everyone to Lean In could barely even get up. So, she wrote about all the ways to overcome adversity and “spring forward” through post-traumatic stress. One of the ways is to do post-traumatic growth. And while you may not be born with the “resilience muscle”, you can train yourself or build the muscle memory to help you through tough times.



From left to right: On Juanita: White button-down and 721 High Rise Skinny jeans, both Levi’s; earring and halter bra, stylist’s own. On Evelyn: Denim Vest and 711 Skinny jeans, both Levi’s; bra, stylist’s own. On Rachel: Military jacket (tied around waist), Levi’s; cropped top, stylist’s own. On Shikin: Denim Woven Top (worn as tube) and 711 Skinny jeans, both Levi’s. On Ranmeet: Chequered shirt and 711 Skinny Jeans, both Levi’s. On Kayda: T-shirt and denim romper, both Levi’s. On Man Chien: Short-sleeved Woven Top, Boyfriend Trucker jacket and 721 High Rise Skinny jeans, all Levi’sHow does this apply to this issue? Well, when I look at the 30 CLEO Hot Shots, I see women who are empowered, and have their own vision. Rather than cookie-cutter careers, they are the fighters, the movers and the creators to know. And it’s amazing that in a country like Malaysia, there is so much young female talent’s shaping and rewiring our futures.

There are the 20-something CEOs, the hottest talent in the region, sportswomen who represent the country, or have taken the road less travelled. There are the ones breaking the mould in male-dominated fields, or even ones fighting for the marginalised and powerless. I see women with resilience and immense fighting spirit.

Far beyond just the glossiness of our magazine, these are the 30 CLEO Hot Shots who are making a difference. Meet them and see what makes them stand out.

The August issue is also one always close to my heart because I love the CLEO Beauty Hall Of Fame. It’s the annual awards CLEO runs with a panel of judges to showcase the best beauty hauls for you. Tried and tested by us, you just can’t go wrong. We also take you through some of the biggest ideas for your work and career. If you ever had trouble speaking about money with friends, there are tips on how to start the conversation and get over that hurdle. And have you met the new heel heights and geek-chic frames to wear this season? I didn’t know I’d fall so hard for high-low looks that make dressing up for work that much easier and slicker.

Enjoy the issue as much as I do!


Lina Esa
Editor, CLEO Malaysia