From activists to entrepreneurs, we spotlight exceptional women who are pushing the boundaries in their industries.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating some very special leading ladies who’ve elevated the game in the arts, entrepreneurship, activism and sexual wellness scenes in Singapore. Presenting the women we love. You go girls!
Women making their mark in Singapore
Pooja Nansi, Poet and Festival Director of Singapore’s Writer’s Festival
Singaporean poet and educator Pooja Nansi is a driving force behind expanding the local literary scene through other mediums. Aside from publishing three collections of poetry and co-writing a teacher’s resource for Singaporean poetry, she’s the creator of multiple poetry events and projects. Highlights include Speakeasy at Artistry, the highly popular monthly spoken word and poetry event (back in 2013 to 2018) which showcased emerging and established poets, and the Singapore chapter of Burn After Reading, a collective for emerging young poets.
As the first female Festival Director of the Singapore Writers Festival and Youth Poet Ambassador, she’s definitely made her mark in the industry. She’s also vocal about race and gender issues, which she covers in her latest poetry collection, We Make Spaces Divine.
Chia Su-Mae, founder of homegrown skincare brand BSkin
We’re all for BSkin’s multi-tasking and chemical-free skincare that reaps the benefits of bee-based actives and cutting-edge science. But beyond that, founder Su-Mae is also a fierce advocate of gender equality for women in Indonesia and Singapore. The BSkin Smart Skin Advisor (SSA) Programme provides women with the skills for basic dermatology, grooming, public speaking, makeup, photography, presentation and even digital marketing. The brand also works with Liberty Society, a social enterprise that fosters female refugees mainly from the Middle East.
These women sew cosmetic pouches and bags which are sold as part of the brand’s promotions. Proceeds from the sales go towards training and upskilling. Another cause close to Su-Mae’s heart is the Breast Cancer Foundation. She’ll be supporting its latest S-Heroes initiative with a personal fundraising project.
Mili and Maya Kale, co-founders of women’s wellness brand Moom Health
This sister duo has revolutionised the women’s health and wellness scene by offering accessible and personalised supplements for women. Backed by modern science and guided by Ayurveda, Moom’s daily supplement packs are tailor-made to your lifestyle and concerns. All you need to do is answer a series of questions and you’ll get a personalised cocktail of vitamins, minerals, and herbs targeted for your skin, hair and gut delivered to you every month.
Patricia Ho Douven, interior designer and founder of design studio, White Jacket
Patricia was destined for a career in design. She trained under a master artist as a child and has been passionate about creating artistic spaces ever since. Today, the recipient of the Society of Interior Designers’ 20 under 45 award spotlights Singapore artists by hosting art exhibitions at her design studio, White Jacket.
The 12-year-old design studio recently moved to a new space on Upper Circular Road, paving way for more local art. As an interior designer for hotels, Patricia also makes an effort to incorporate local artists into her hospitality projects. We hear that an artist-in-residency programme is also expected to launch soon!
Meryl Lim & Jacqueline Kee, co-founders of sex-positive stores, The Hedonist and Genvie
Gone are the days when the topic of women’s sexual pleasure is brushed aside and dubbed as taboo. The Hedonist (sister brand of Genvie) is more than just an adult toy store. The founders of this sexual wellness company believe that pleasure is essential to our wellbeing and health, and should be represented in today’s society as something accessible, positive, empowering and normal. In its efforts to normalise conversations and destigmatise the topics of sex and pleasure, the brand also organises social events, podcast interviews, and educational workshops alongside leading professionals, and experts in the industry. Not your average sex toy store!
Chow Li Ying, founder of lingerie brand, Our Bralette Club
Many brands claim to be inclusive but sometimes, they just don’t deliver. Not for Our Bralette Club. The body positive lingerie brand founded by Chow Li Ying defies beauty standards by offering a wide range of sizes. Its latest collection is a testament to that. Launched in celebration of International Women’s Day, Solidarity encourages women to support each other no matter their differences. “One of my favourite quotes goes like this: Other women are not my competition. I stand with them, not against them,” says Li Ying.
Desiree Jane Silva, co-founder of Sago House
Desiree Jane Silva has redefined gender roles by succeeding in the F&B scene. Formerly associated with craft spirits distributor EC Proof and the iconic 28 HongKong Street, Desiree is now the co-founder of the speakeasy-style cocktail bar Sago House. Opened during the circuit breaker period in 2020, the unpretentious bar features a rotating menu of fab cocktails. The bar has won many accolades in just two years, including debuting at #63 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list and #49 in Asia.
Andrea Razali, entrepreneur, actress, model and beauty pageant winner
There’s so much to celebrate about Andrea Razali. After being crowned Miss International Queen Singapore in 2020, she witnessed many firsts – including being the first Singaporean transwoman to appear on the covers of renowned local magazines. She’s the owner of Glam by Andrea and Weave, a beauty company that includes hair and makeup services. Andrea’s also an advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community – she’s the founder of Miss Equality World Singapore, a pageant for transgender women.
Sharul Channa, stand-up comedian
We know Sharul Channa as Singapore’s only full-time female comedian but she’s more than that. She’s dabbled in acting, producing and directing throughout her career, even earning herself a best actress nomination along the way. She has a knack for shedding light on important topics such as misogyny, race and social issues in Singapore during her comedy acts, making us laugh but ponder at the same time. During International Women’s Week, Sharul joins hands with comedy queen Kumar for a fun show celebrating women and those who identify with the female gender.
We’re gleaming with pride watching these amazing women make their mark in their respective industries. Feeling inspired? Celebrate International Women’s Day at these events in Singapore. So, who’s your hero?