Successful women seem to get asked a lot about the women in their lives who inspire them – I don’t really remember men being often asked the same. I suppose it’s a thing typical (and wonderful) of our gender; to seek wisdom from and find strength in those around us. I borrow mine often from memories of my maternal grandmother who raised 13 children almost entirely on her own – I can barely keep a house plant alive!
On days when I’m quite ready to throw in the towel, I think of the curveballs life threw her (for one, my grandfather suffered a stroke and remained an ill-tempered man till the end of his life) and her steadfast patience and kindness despite it. Though I am not religious, her godliness helps me see beauty in her faith – quite remarkable considering my scepticism on the matter. She is, till today, the most amazing woman, nay, person, I know.
The most amazing woman I know – my grandma.
This leads me to consider what makes an amazing woman, amazing. Just take a look at the diverse group of Malaysian women on Marie Claire’s Amazing Women panel this year. We have Shila Amzah who refused to listen to naysayers and ventured beyond her comfort zone. Watching her win crowds over in a language she completely doesn’t know, was jaw-dropping and gave me a serious case of patriotism. Then there’s Vivy Yusof whose business began like any startup – small. That glitzy Fashion Valet shop front smack in the middle of Pavilion KL is eight long years in the making.
Her courage and her power vocals never fail to move (and induce tears).
What binds these women, beyond the title we’ve bestowed upon them? What does scientist Dr. Reena Rajasuriar who’s on a quest decode the drivers of premature ageing among HIV and cancer survivors, have in common with Chryseis Tan, who’s running a business empire and building new ones?
Behind the scenes of our Amazing Women 2017 shoot!
Maybe it’s a cocktail of passion, courage, and a little bit of recklessness too – I don’t think great success can happen without turning a blind eye and deaf ear to all the raised eyebrows and well-meant warnings. Maybe it’s because they all had someone who inspired them to just get up, do it and keep at it.
I don’t have the answer, but something tells me you can’t buy it from the mall.