It’s a statement many say in their lifetime: “Rules are meant to be broken”. But how many have actually been bold enough to break them, let alone ever step out of their comfort zones? That’s what sets the ordinary from the extraordinary apart—taking risks, going off the beaten track in the pursuit of one’s passion and purpose, and facing fear, insecurities and societal pressures head on to not only rewrite the rules but to inspire creativity, freedom and empowerment.
In conjunction with KVD Beauty for the launch of their new, boundary breaking Epic Kiss Nourishing Vegan Butter Lipstick, we’ve sought out three industry shakers who embody this trailblazing spirit—and have the audacity to dream big and live life on their own terms: From Aisyah Aziz and her otherworldly voice and spirit, and jewellery designer Hanya Seah with her custom grills; to Ng See Min who uses body art to channel her clients’ deepest emotions. Here, they share their creative journeys, life’s toughest turning points, and the furthest they’ve gone in the name of beauty—all decked out in high impact, high comfort lipstick shades of Lolita, Bluepink and Role Breaker.
Aisyah Aziz, singer-songwriter
Let’s start from the very beginning—when did you first start getting into music?
Professionally, when I joined a singing competition in Malaysia in 2013—this skyrocketed my place in the industry. I got a lot of traction and attention from that and started performing and collaborating with artists around the region. Personally, I’ve been singing ever since I was five years old. My dad loves performing and made my siblings and I perform for family all the time. Looking back, that trained and prepared us for the real stage.
How would you say you’ve evolved as a singer and musician over the years?
I’ve evolved inwards. Sometimes I reminisce and can see how much I’ve transformed. I wasn’t really allowed to truly express myself when and where I started out—and also because I didn’t want to put my mum through all that noise—but I’m a lot braver now. There were moments where people were like “you’ve changed” or “you didn’t use to sound like this” and I think that’s a good thing.
Was there a turning point in your life that you felt like you had to just break all the rules?
There were several turning points: In 2019 while shooting my music video for Bila Entah, I secretly chose the outfits that I wanted to wear with my stylist—there was backlash from half of the audience, while the other half saw me for me, and the woman I had been manifesting. Another was when I moved out of my parents’ house—that was a pivotal moment while still trying to take care of their hearts. I had been living for my parents, doing everything by the book, going home after work feeling so drained. I never listened or spoke to myself, to the point that I couldn’t even sing—it was like my body reached a point of rejecting old thought patterns. But things changed and through very difficult conversations, I found ways to put my point across without hurting the feelings of my loved ones. Through pages and pages of Whatsapp messages, everything came out. I also dated a really special human being who showed me a lot about being fearless. He exposed me to different schools of thought, and helped me develop my version of my truth. Today, I feel like a completely different person, choosing to be happy. I’m on a journey of self-discovery, yoga and medication.
How would you describe your sound and how you’re breaking boundaries in the industry?
I just want to do music—it doesn’t matter what genre it is, and that can be hard for many to understand. People always expect pop singers to stay pop, or to be too mainstream or too indie—there’s no pleasing everyone. I just want to be able to sing a melody, have my producer put a crazy beat on it—just stick it to the wind, and let it flow. The battle is always inwards—if you battle your doubts and demons, you get to fly, you get to choose better thoughts, and that’s breaking boundaries to me. I like to fusing sounds, I can be emo and still be jazz, but I also can be pop yet keep my haunting neo soul vibe, you know? If I hear something I like, I tend to emulate that somehow but still put my own flavour into it.
Hanya Seah, jewellery and metal creative, co-founder of Chez G
Let’s start from the very beginning—when and how did you first start getting into jewellery making and design?
It started in 2016, after returning from my university exchange semester in Montreal and having a brief experience of the hip hop culture there. Perhaps it was also increasingly trendy to own a set of teeth grills then, with celebrities appearing in music videos and events with mouth bling. I wanted grills for myself. Unsatisfied with the lack of access and knowledge about customising teeth jewellery in Singapore, Chez G was birthed to fill that gap. My partner and I taught ourselves how to make fine jewellery with sterling silver (and now gold) online, and sought advice from local jewellers along the way. We’ve since tried different types of jewellery, from teeth grills to custom rings, necklace and earrings—our style of jewellery making stems from creating pieces we made for ourselves. But one thing’s for sure, I am moving away from doing custom projects and dreaming up my own ready-to-wear collection of fine jewellery.
How are you and Chez G rewriting the rules in the world of fine jewellery?
Our offerings appeal to the emerging alternative class. They’re different from the fine jewellery that we’re all familiar with. Our custom jewellery allows for self-expression as it reflects its wearer’s individuality, creativity and identity in unconventional forms. We give a new perspective to what jewellery can be, with an adventurous creative spirit, all while using the same expensive metals and stones that fine jewellery uses too.
When did you first feel the freedom to dress exactly the way you want to?
My style is a mix of streetwear, athleisure, 2000s-inspired, borderline-feminine, in some ways masculine. I feel like the desire to dress up came to me naturally at the age of 12. That said, getting stares for my outfits made me feel uneasy at first. I find that even throughout my early 20s I was still very conscious about what others might think about my outfits. It was only at the age of 24 that I started to feel less self-conscious, that everyone has more worrying things to think about than what I was wearing. In terms of beauty, I go all out with hair colours—neon green was my favourite, it matched everything.
Was there a turning point in life where you just had to break all the rules?
The first time I experienced this turning point was when I left my full-time job at a sneaker retailer to pursue jewellery and content creation. Having to leave the stability of a monthly income and coming to terms with an inconsistent income flow took me (and my family members) some adjusting. I am experiencing another turning point right now. A point to be more ambitious than I have ever been, to do more in my jewellery craft and creations. I’m working on some heirloom-worthy designs with 14-karat gold now, which is more affordable but no less durable and gorgeous.
Ng See Min, jagua tattoo artist
Let’s start from the very beginning—how did you first get started in jagua tattooing?
My mum didn’t allow me to get a tattoo, so being the obedient rebel that I am, I started drawing on myself with henna. It wasn’t exactly the look I was going for so I researched alternatives and the universe (i.e. Instagram) led me to a post on jagua ink. It’s completely organic and safe, and creates a tattoo-like finish—and that’s how it all began. Today, my art form is so accessible—I can literally tattoo on a seven-year-old or a 76-year-old (which I have). It’s so much more than a temporary tattoo—I take a lot of pride in my expression, and have been given this gift to help the human consciousness reach another level. These last two weeks, and many morph or discover new selves in this time, and fall in love with themselves all over again. It can be really powerful.
How would you describe your evolution so far?
What started as a naïve alternative has transformed into an art form where I can come into contact with humanity, our flaws and our gifts, while allowing other people to do the same. This art form holds a lot of space for people to express themselves and their lived experiences, and to come into contact with their emotions—I cannot deny the therapeutic quality of this. It allows two strangers to connect over something so deeply humane. Visually, my style has evolved to realism with a touch of pop culture, but the co-creation happens with the client, their story and what we choose to celebrate in their life.
Love how jagua tattoos allow individuals to express themselves so uniquely, in a constantly changing way. How would you describe the transportive and transformative powers of body art and make-up?
I think make-up and body art are so transient, so temporary, that it allows people to be free to express what they’re feeling in that season. A client sits down and decides what they want and why the want it. It allows them to contemplate and come into contact with their emotions, how does that make them feel, and how do they want to feel after this. Sometimes it’s not even the tattoo, but the very sharing of feelings, for someone to hold that space for you for what you’re experiencing. It’s having a genuine connection with another human being—sometimes that’s what we truly need. I feel that way for make-up too. I used to think that aesthetics were pretty superficial, until COVID-19 happened and we didn’t do our hair, nails and make-up and I didn’t feel like myself.
Was there a turning point in your life that you felt like you had to just break all the rules?
For sure. Nobody thought I was serious when I told them I wanted to be a full-time artist. All my life I wanted to pursue art and music but faced push backs. The biggest boundary was that a local university graduate had to do a ‘proper’ nine-to-six job and serve the nation in more ‘serving’ ways, and people questioned my actions: “you want to do tattoos?” When I started Henndrawn to earn pocket money, I used to say “I’m a student not an artist” but preparing myself on the inside to do this full-time. I felt so seen, and so found, even if at times I felt like a machine fulfilling client requests. But this was the only time when time just stood still—such a beautiful feeling. Today, I’m in my own element—the girl with tattoos, the wild make-up and coloured hair who is lucky to have people pay me to do what I love. I hope that one day everyone has a chance to come into contact with who they truly are.
Beauty Editor: Dana Koh
Beauty Director: Alli Sim
Director of Photography: Vanessa Caitlin
Photographer’s assistants: JC, David Bay
CGI: JJ Low / NplusC
Retouching: Retouch Concept
Make-up: Bobbie Ng / The Make-Up Room
Manicurist: Dulcia Lim
Outfits: Aisyah wears a blazer and pants by Alex Perry from Net-a-Porter; Hanya wears a bralette and pants from H&M; See Min wears a dress from Zara