“If I want to do something, I’ll always put 110% in whatever I do,” Nadiah said.
Deceived by her petite body size, we wouldn’t have discovered Diah’s big dreams until we’ve spoken to her. Be that as it may, she doesn’t call those as her dreams, but plans instead. She has this belief that if one fails to plan, he or she plans to fail.
Raised up in a family with multicultural background, Diah learns to value differences from an early age. She also knows the importance to be in harmony as well as in unity with those around her. Her big-heart and passion to help others has led her to pursue a medical career. She has recently graduated as a doctor from a medical school in the United Kingdom (UK). This coming July, she’ll be going back to the UK to serve as a trainee doctor for two years before deciding on which route she’ll take to be a specialist.
Apart from focusing on her medical career, Diah has another 10-years plan which is to embark on a business idea that no one sees possible, but herself. Unlike any other old folks’ home that can be seen mushrooming everywhere in Malaysia, she plans on starting up a place that the elderly would feel at home. The concept is similar to replicating their home without affecting the 3 important aspects in anyone’s life – quality, privacy, and independence.
“Each and every one of us is independent with most self-care skills. We don’t become less independent as we grow older. When some might have difficulties in it, we still have to ask them to at least try to feed themselves, bathe themselves, and clothe themselves.” Diah stated. Despite knowing that she’ll need a proper big land for this business idea to materialize, she vows to persevere on it. As for now, she is currently on a path to motivate and inspire others to live healthily.
Diah is pretty devoted to fitness even though her first intention was just to relieve stress. She started off her fitness journey in 2013 by jogging for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. Back then, her weight was not consistent and would often fluctuate. When she came upon Kayla Itsines’s fitness guide, she became more discipline to stay on track with her health goals. “Nothing comes easy but determination and discipline will get you there.” Diah admits.
Once she saw the results appearing on her body, it slowly becomes an addiction for her to workout. This is when she pushes herself further to go to gym and try out weightlifting. “I think in this world, anything you want to do is always self-motivation. If you’re not motivated to do it, whoever asks you to do it, you won’t do it,” says Diah.
Her instagram account, @fmebydr, was started not even a year ago. Albeit that, the attention that the account has gathered up till now is astonishing, nearly 2000 followers from all over the world!
Through this online community, she does not only feel motivated by everyone else’s progress, advices, tips and tricks, she also gets to incite others with her posts that consists of appetizing dishes, from breakfast, lunch, snacks to dinner, together with its recipes.
She showed that meal prep and clean eating is not a challenge. Her generosity in sharing her knowledge has given her a chance to be the ambassador of a well-being product.
LEFT: IRA by Twenty3 Bridesmaids Collection; RIGHT: MOVE by Twenty3 (Launching Soon)
At this point of her life, she is trying and doing her best in every career path – medical, business, and fitness. As time passes by, she’ll soon discover which will work the best for her.“Try to love yourself more now because you’ll love it even more in the future. If you don’t love yourself more now, you wouldn’t even want to make yourself better. If you start loving yourself, then you will do whatever it takes to improve yourself. It’s always the positive vibes that we need to foster.” - Nadiah.
3 reasons why Eleanor Roosevelt is the original #GirlBoss #WonderWomanWednesday
International Women’s Day 2016 may have passed, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop celebrating and promoting the cause of women everywhere! Tea by Twenty3, our basic line of quirky graphic tees that aim to inspire self-reflection, is all about empowering women to unabashedly celebrate themselves and indulge in the self-love that they deserve.
So what's with the name "Tea"?
Tea isn't just a play on "t-shirt", or a random word we picked out to christen our new line of basics. Our graphic designers wanted their work to have a name that would adequately convey the sense of strength, confidence, and femininity that they've imbued into their designs.
So we decided it was only appropriate for this collection to pay homage to a woman who we think is an absolute boss: Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor, the First Lady of the United States of America from 1933 to 1945 and a firm advocate for causes she believed in, has said lots of cool things, including, apparently, this gem:
"A woman is like a tea bag --- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water."
We can't describe Eleanor as anything less than a force of nature.
1. She broke new ground in issues like equal rights for women. During the war, she was one of the first to push for factory jobs to be given to women, in an era where women were expected to stay home and act demure.
“If I were of a debutante age I would go into a factory–any factory where I could learn a skill and be useful.”
Following the war, she was heavily involved in the drafting of the New Deal, in which she advocated for women higher wages and more white-collar jobs. She chaired the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, and was a prolific and highly influential newspaper columnist advancing the cause of women everywhere.
2. She fought for underrepresented racial minorities. She was one of the only voices in the White House to argue for equal benefits for all races under the New Deal, and refusing to acquiesce to demands for racial segregation (she once placed a chair in the center aisle of a public meeting that adopted racially-segregated seating). She broke precedent by inviting hundreds of African-American guests to the White House, when parts of the country were still segregated and racial tensions were high.
3. She played an instrumental role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even after the death of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, her stature in the global civil rights movement was such that she was elected the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Following her death, the UN posthumously awarded her one of its first Human Rights Prizesin 1968 in recognition of her work.
In an era when women had far less opportunity to be seen and heard than they do today, Eleanor resolutely pushed through glass ceilings and tried to help others do the same. We're proud to honour Eleanor's inspirational life in Tea by Twenty3. To Eleanor, and other women like her, this one's for you.
In conjunction with November being ‘Depression Awareness Month’ here at Twenty3, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the lovely Terrena. Here she shares her moving story about gender identity, struggling with depression, and learning to love herself.
“The name my parents gave me was Terrence. For as long as I could remember, I always felt like I was a little girl trapped inside a boy’s body. I loved playing with dolls and always wanted to dress myself up in beautiful dresses instead of wearing t-shirts and pants like boys do. When I turned 5 years old, my family began thinking that it was strange I was still playing with dolls instead of toy cars. This led to some of my relatives accusing my sisters of influencing me to be a girl, instead of a normal boy.
Gender identity is a funny thing; you think you know who you are, but everyone else tells you you’re supposed to be someone else. Primary school was a very difficult time for me, because kids can be so cruel to anyone they see as “different”. I was the subject of constant verbal and physical bullying. Not only was I certainly attracted to boys, but my body language and the way I spoke had femininity written all over it. Boys would purposely walk past me and hit me in the chest. Even at that age, I felt sexually harassed, but because I was a “boy”, no one cared. Once, a girl told me that she wished I would stop behaving like a girl and act more like a boy. It hurt me, and confused me even further.
Home wasn’t a place where I could seek refuge. My mother’s friends would comment openly with disdain that I was turning into a girl. I knew that this bothered my mother, but she would just laugh with them and shrug it off. But I knew it was eating her up inside.
I vividly remember the first time my family turned their backs on me. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I innocently asked to play with Barbie Dolls and discovered the dolls went missing the next day. They threw them all away and refused to speak a word to me. It scared me – I loved my family, and I was terrified of being alone. Everyone hated me in school, I couldn’t bear to lose my family too. From then on, I tried my best to be a normal male, even though it was far from who I was.
I’d told lies before, but to actually live a lie made me question my own identity. Who am I? What defines me? Do I exist if nobody will recognize the real me? Do I exist if I don’t even have any sense of my self? It’s a heavy burden for anyone to bear; for a child, it was crushing.
Growing up, my mind was constantly filled with suicidal thoughts. It started when I was in Primary 6. I would constantly ponder on the quickest, most painless way to die. I began harming myself by hitting my head against the wall, but never cut myself because I was afraid of blood. Several times I tied a rope to the windowpane, but never mustered enough courage to put it around my neck.
College came and went and yet, I did not find the courage to embrace my feminine side. I wasn’t ready both financially and emotionally to face the consequences of coming out to my family. You only have one family.
After graduating, I found a job and moved to the city. Away from the environment in which I grew up, I finally began to open up – KL is a much freer and much bigger place where I could grow and learn to rediscover my own self and self-worth. Back in my hometown, I was the weird child under scrutiny from friends and neighbours, but here, I was free to start over. Most importantly, I found a group of friends who have never judged me, and who have been incredibly supportive of my rediscovered gender identity.
Two weeks ago, with their constant encouragement, I stepped out in public in a dress for the first time. It was terrifying at first, but I had their unwavering support. They weren't embarrassed to be seen around me – in fact, they were thrilled for me!
As for my family, I eventually came out to my eldest sister about who I truly am. Her first reaction was shock but she quickly learned to accept it. She even offered to research for the right doctors for me to consult in order for me to receive the right treatments!
I now own several dresses of my own, but I still have a soft spot for that first dress – it was a Shanon Dress from Twenty3. They contacted me, and convinced me to share my story with the world.
For anyone reading this who’s going through the same situation as I did, please know that you are not alone. I promise it gets better.
This is me, coming out of my closet. Having lived a lie for so many years, it feels absolutely wonderful to finally accept myself for who I am.
And who am I? I am Terrena.”
“There is no competition here, there are no winners or losers” – Kayla Itsines
Kayla Itsines, an international fitness Instagram sensation with 3.5 million followers and counting, is a must-follow for any Fitstagrammer. She shares progress shots of women who follow her ‘Bikini Body Guide’ (BBG) alongside workout tips and motivation in the form of photos of her own enviable abs. Her most impressive feat, however, isn’t the thousands of burpees she can crunch out, but the online community that she has cultivated of women looking to get stronger and healthier as well as supporting and commenting on each other’s workout progress through the hashtags #thekaylamovement, #bbggirls, #sweatwithkayla, and #bbgcommunity.
We emailed her recently, and she replied sharing a little bit about herself and her famed Bikini Body Guide, as well as tips and words of encouragement.
So who is Kayla Itsines and what has she been up to?
I’m a 24 year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, Australia and I’ve just completed my first ever World Bootcamp Tour where I was privileged enough to meet and train with nearly 10,000 girls in the UK, USA and Europe. I absolutely love that I can train, educate and give healthy lifestyle advice to girls all around the world through my Bikini Body Training Guide, Healthy Eating Lifestyle Plan, social media accounts and my website, kaylaitsines.com.
Do you remember how it all started? What inspired you to pursue a career in fitness?
During school, I always had a passion for playing sports and helping people that led me to study Personal Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness. It all started when I began to upload the amazing transformation pictures of the clients I was training at the Personal Training studio to my Instagram page. Their motivating and relatable transformations drew the attention from girls all around the world who were curious as to how my clients and I were training and achieving these results. It was my clients who inspired me to continue to grow and learn as they were finally feeling the confidence they deserved, and nothing made me happier than seeing them being able to work towards and achieve their health and fitness goals.
Why do you think your BBG exploded? How is your BBG different compared to other exercise regimes and fitness guides?
I think my program has received so much positive feedback because the results are from real women who have all achieved REAL results. It’s not about a quick fix, it’s not a fad, and it’s a healthy, maintainable lifestyle change that is adaptable and REALISTIC for women of all ages, body shapes and fitness levels. My 28-minute high intensity, plyometric, resistance training sessions are designed to help girls achieve the results they have been seeking for so long – toned thighs, flatter stomachs and strong, slim arms, without having to spend hours a day in the gym. The biggest difference of my guides is the end goal that women worldwide are achieving; rather than being a weight-loss or a muscle-gaining program, it is simply a plan for women to develop a routine and discipline themselves to keep active and healthy in order to feel the confidence they deserve.
What do you think are the most common mistakes girls make when it comes to fitness and diet?
Girls often have the all or nothing attitude, where they fluctuate between taking their health seriously by eating extremely healthily and exercising every day, to doing absolutely nothing at all. Going through these constant changes is only going to have a negative effect on your body. This yo-yo type of attitude is frequently the main cause for rapid weight gain or weight loss, bloating, disappointment and emotional eating. My tip is to not overdo it, take things slow and make small, realistic changes; soon your body will develop a habit it can maintain long-term!
What motivates you?
My amazing BBG Girls are my motivation. Their inspirational, amazing, transformations as well as uplifting and encouraging energy keep me motivated to continue to provide health and fitness education, advice and support to women all across the world daily. These incredible women are SO dedicated and have put in so much hard work to feel fit, strong and confident and that gives me motivation to keep striving to be the best version of myself every single day. I feel blessed to be a part of such a positive community of women.
Did you ever think you would come this far? What do you think is the key to your success?
I had no idea that I would be in the position that I am in today and I feel honored and blessed that I have been given the opportunity to educate and help women from all over the world on their healthy lifestyle journey. I believe that it’s not my success that is being celebrated through my Instagram but the inspirational success of the amazing BBG girls. These girls have worked so hard and dedicated themselves to get the results they desired.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you since you become a worldwide fitness icon?
The last 12 months have included so many exciting moments; on both my Australian Tour and World Tour, but I’ll never forget walking on stage at Basketball City in New York City in front of 4,000 girls. I was taken aback that so many girls had travelled from all over New York and the USA to come and train with me and start their weekend actively! It was a very overwhelming experience and I count myself extremely lucky to be fortunate enough to be able to not only train, but also meet all these beautiful girls in person.
“Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is living” – Kayla Itsines
Closer to home, our founder, Sherlyn Tan, also found inspiration and motivation through Kayla and her Bikini Body Guide. What started as a means to overcome her battle with depression has turned into a veritable change in lifestyle, driving her to pursue bigger dreams. Read all about it next week!
Su, a breast cancer survivor, wearing the Alsou Dress.
“When I was diagnosed with stage 2, breast cancer 7 years ago, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, even when I went for an operation. How could it be possible when I led a healthy lifestyle? I had a good family with two healthy young daughters and no work related stress.
What broke me was when the doctor told me I had to receive chemotherapy treatments. That was the first time I had tears in my eyes. This sounds a little ridiculous but as a lady, I want to look beautiful! It was very difficult for me to grasp the idea of losing all of my hair. After consulting many different doctors, even ones in Singapore, they confirmed that the only way I could be treated was through chemotherapy. I couldn’t deny it any longer; I just had to face it.
Typically with chemotherapy, hair starts falling out two weeks after the first injection. I took the plunge and shaved my entire head. When I got home, my youngest daughter who was 7 years old at the time took one look at me and started crying at my new appearance. This broke my heart, I felt like an alien in my own home. From then on, my daughters slept with their father while I slept alone. As a family, we slept this way until my treatment was completed. On the bright side, I found a beautiful wig, which gave me a hairstyle I've never had!
I tried to turn negativity into positivity. I found God through this challenging period and I thank Jesus for being by my side through this entire experience. Supportive people surrounded me, from my husband who accompanied me for all the treatments and sat beside me while I was put on drips, to my boss who generously offered financial support. He issued me a check and told me to buy whatever I needed with the money to ease things for me. I also had the support from my friends at the Pink Ribbon Foundation. There is always someone there to support you when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom.
I recovered, but towards the end of the 5 year “danger period”, I was diagnosed with Thyroid complications. I was prepared for another round of fighting – I’d beaten cancer once, I could do it again! Luckily for me, it turned out to be not cancerous, and went away with medication after about a year. I am completely healed now and I live by the tagline, ‘never be a victim, and always be a fighter!’” - Su