Guest Kween: YEN HOANG “How Miss Independent Learnt To Love.”

Guest Kween: YEN HOANG “How Miss Independent Learnt To Love.”

Hi, I’m Yen. I am a girl that’s super independent. I grew up believing in my strength, was taught to think that I am bold, that my words carry weight and can help change the world. I learnt that I am a force to be reckoned with when I’m standing on my own two feet, and when I must decide, for myself, I know what I want.

Throughout my early 20s, I had everything: a semi-successful startup brewing, found the greatest group of people I still call my best friends today, moved to the other side of the world, travelled alone and graduated in the top two percentile of my university. Yep, all before 22.

I always knew I was super independent, it probably came with being the eldest sibling and a Virgo (think Beyoncé, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sheryl Sandberg: just to name drop a few). 😉

I was used to walking fast, spending my own money and opening my own doors. I learnt to trust myself and knew who I was through falling down and picking myself back up. I found my niche in the world, paving my own way, presenting my own smile and sense of self to whoever I met. I wasn’t used to balancing myself with another person. I wasn’t used to needing someone, or allowing anyone to help.

YEN

My independence definitely contributed to the destruction of my relationships in my early 20s too. I drove men crazy because I didn’t let them do everything for me. I didn’t let them cater to my every need. I refused to let them pay for every date.

I sometimes wouldn’t let them be the manly-man, the savior, the strong suitor that they so desperately wanted to be for me. It’s wasn’t on purpose; it’s just because I was used to being my own savior. Someone even told me to ‘pretend and be a little less independent, just so they can feel you need them’.

Somehow, something still didn’t feel right. And along the way, I lost my independence: I became that friend who disappeared off the face of the earth because she got a boyfriend. But I fell into this trap, of believing I had to dumb myself down just to make a boy feel better about himself.

My last breakup reminded me how much I needed to put myself first again and regain everything I knew about being independent. Although that breakup shattered my world, it was a sign that I wasn’t meant to be in a relationship with anyone else but myself.

Maybe it was a time for me to fix myself and change. Appreciate myself more and to never make the same mistake. To achieve more goals and more importantly find happiness. To hopefully one day understand, that I’ll attract the right things when I have a sense of who I am.

I had spontaneously decided to accept a job in London (the other side of the world) and pack up and leave within weeks. I had lived in London back in 2011 while studying there and had always called it my ‘home away from home’, so when the offer came through I couldn’t reject it. I called my best friend and told her I was coming, and recalled saying “I have nothing to lose”. I didn’t make plans to come home, or let alone have a plan? I was ready to accept whatever it was that the universe had installed. I felt so free.

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The week my visa appointment with the UK consulate got booked: I met a guy who I never imagined would mean so much to me today. You see, I was so focused on my life that I was completely blind-sided; a relationship was the last thing I was looking for. On our second date, I had no choice but to tell him I was leaving the country. I felt like I owed this to him and was super nervous delivering the update. That’s when I knew, I really liked him.

I asked for answers “Why throw me a bone now universe? I am about to go on an adventure of a lifetime! Do you want me to stay in Melbourne?” I even went to church and a temple to find clarity. I have never felt so vulnerable in my life.

I still left for London and to my understanding we weren’t official. But the distance didn’t change how we both felt about each other. Sure the different time zones were hard but we made it work. Last minute, I booked a flight home so I could surprise this guy on his birthday.

I was super super nervous, I mean, who was I to him to do that? We weren’t even official or anything exclusive! I knew I was taking a big chance. I guess that’s the whole issue with being independent yet a hopeless romantic too. Naturally, we then agreed to a long distance relationship because he acknowledged my dreams and supported it no matter how tough it was going to be.

You see, when you fall for a girl that’s independent, you will get frustrated. She’s used to doing things for herself and by herself. She’s used to following her own rules, making her own decisions, being selfish with her time. It will take a bit for her to get used to putting someone else first, to moulding her life to shape both yours and hers together. Don’t get me wrong, she won’t have trouble loving you, but she might, at first struggle to let you in.

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A long distance relationship ended up being the best thing for me. I learnt to prioritise a relationship; scheduling in calls with confusing time differences, improving communication skills and letting someone into my life, knowing I can still continually work on myself.

I learnt to let the small things go, had to invest a lot of trust in someone, believe that not all guys are bad (something that doesn’t come easy for me), to compromise and have patience, extreme patience. And finally, I learnt that when time and luck crossed paths the universe would find me a guy who will fall in love with my driven, spontaneous, independent character.

Go travel the world, battle your demons, set up a business, find people who value your heart and yours will attract. Don’t apologise for working hard, for having goals and being independent: we need more girls like this.

When the right person comes along, they will support you unconditionally and when you do come across that person, know that you deserve them.

I hope you love yourself enough to recognise the things you don’t like about your life, and I hope you find the courage to change them. And I hope somewhere out of the unexpected, a person comes along who will love and support you on your journey too.

Yen started her career in public relations with aspirations to work in the fashion industry, she became curious with e-commerce and technology and evolved her career to where she is now. Awarded Australian Best Young Marketing Talent (2016) for spearheading numerous innovations in her field, she is a passionate marketer with an entrepreneurial edge focused on overachieving outcomes. Competitive at heart, she never wanted to settle for just a nine-to-five job and saw an opportunity start her own business while still working a full-time job. People often mistaken Yen to be quite timid on first impression, but little do they know that she enjoys confrontation, is super opinionated and will definitely shut down dickhead behaviour (if she sees it). Her upbringing has been quite colourful (a story for another time) but as a result she is now super passionate about raising diversity issues (in every form) and empowering young girls to chase their dreams through running mentorship programs and teaching at a university outside of her side hustles.

@yhoang

5 reasons we’re all here for season 2 of GLOW (and why your inner Kween needs to binge it stat!!)

5 reasons we’re all here for season 2 of GLOW (and why your inner Kween needs to binge it stat!!)

5. Season 2 of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) continues the brilliant story of these kick-ass, flawed, edgy, colourful, misfit female characters; who happen to make us all question what we’re really saying when we say “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic but…”

Liberty Belle

The Welfare Queen

Beirut The Mad Bomber

Fortune Cookie

4. The honest depiction of female relationships is everything!! The raw dynamic between Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) as they try to repair their friendship is real AF. This reveals the good, the bad and the ugly of most female bonds; confirming that feminism is not about attacking men, but mostly about not attacking each other.

3. The writers throw a little #MeToo and #Weinstein storylines in for the sake of relevance; giving this modern nightmare a little light relief but cementing more than ever, that this sort of behaviour has been around longer than we all dare to admit. Ruth’s incident shows that women can be victimised and empowered at the same time but also why women shy away from opening up about these awful events, which is a real eye-opener and damn shame!!

2. The style is so so soooo 80s, at it’s best. Welcome to a time when the fashun code was ‘more is more’. You are in for a treat! Get ready for some big hair and blue glitter eye shadow inspo.

1. The soundtrack is E P I C, filled with bangin, deadly, schweet, sick, jams!! I mean, sure we all love a bit of nostalgia but these tunes matched with the rise and fall of these characters is a power combo made in glam heaven. Psst! If you need a workday pick me up, give the below a spin.

Kween Krush: TONI PHILLIPS “(Lost) It Girl!”

Kween Krush: TONI PHILLIPS “(Lost) It Girl!”

Kween Krush alert!! This is where we celebrate everyday women for being complete badass Wonder Women.

Toni, we have a crush on you and it’s not just because you’re one of London’s It Girls or a dreamy DJ with legs for days, it’s mostly how you completely own your ‘sexy’. From your effortless style, cool AF demeanor and hip social life, we’re just utterly obsessed with how you run your shit! We’re equally impressed with how you’re also always up for a laugh and ain’t afraid to tell it how it is!

Yep! You seem to give zero fucks when it comes to what you wear, showing off your body and embracing your sex appeal. Do you recommend more women ooze this confidence?

Well yeah, why on earth not? I do of course have days where I hide under baggy clothes, but I also have days where I’m like: “Hey, you know what? Here’s my stomach everyone.”

I went to Wireless Festival in basically my underwear because I was still hungover from the day before and really didn’t care. I’m not saying that people need to get hungover in order to walk about in lace in public, but I guess I’m just trying to say that confidence is really a state of mind, or the state of your mind. And who controls that? Well, it’s you! So as long as you’re happy in yourself and not harming anyone else, I think you earn the right to do as you please.

Is wearing your ‘sass on your sleeve’ something that came naturally to you? Or did you have to hustle for it?

I think I’ve always had that, although some might describe it as ‘not thinking before I speak’. From a young age, I’ve wanted to make people laugh because I believed that was the best way to win someone over. I’ve always spent more time working on my personality than on how I look.

You always seem to be out and about and living your best life! Is your motto ‘work hard, play harder’?

Erm, well that’s all really just an illusion. Nothing on social media is reality, but I think everyone knows that. I stay in a lot and have gym days. I’ll go to classes, head home and do nothing, but I guess from a social media perspective it would look like I’m out a lot because I just choose to show the fun stuff I do, not me at home stress-eating quinoa straight out of the bag. I suppose I do go out more than most, but I’m lucky because of what I do. My job gives me the chance to get invited to cool events and stuff. I love live music, but I also love going to the local pub with some of my best friends just as much.

What does ‘sexy’ mean to you and what do you find most sexy about women and men?

It’s subjective, like everything is… I’m a big fan of personality though: I’m aware that’s what really counts. I find charisma much sexier than a posed picture or a risqué outfit. Sure, I find the Playboy Instagram account sexy; those girls are so hot, however, if they were fully clothed in tracksuits but were making me laugh that would be equally – if not more – sexy to me. Same with guys.

What’s your view on the theory that women are just as sexually charged as men but have to hide it?

I’ve never heard that before. Is that actually a thing? I don’t think girls have to hide it. I certainly don’t hide it. I probably do the opposite of hiding it, I overshare everything. I will happily tell a sex story and leave nothing to the imagination. Who wants prudes in 2018?

What’s your opinion on the dating game? Are we out of our element now with hooking-up being too accessible thanks to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble?

It’s weird. I mean, it was. Now it’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s not anything to be ashamed of, but it’s strange how so many people are meeting on apps. I’ve met all the guys I’ve been seeing over the last few years in person, so I feel like the odd one out. When any of my friends are stressing about having to resort to the apps I just explain how it’s a different world now – it’s a different generation. I have no qualms about sliding into the DMs on Insta. I’ve spoken to some hot guys that way! I used Tinder once years ago, but it was really more like playing a game to me. Never met anyone from it. I do hear some really nice Tinder stories though, as well as some which are hilarious, and some which are frankly terrifying. So really, it’s whatever works for you!

Do you think it still takes courage to be sexually liberated these days? Or is that old news?

I think in the fifties it was courageous to be sexually liberated, but not so much now. Perhaps there are boring sections of the Twitter community that might take time out of their lives to offer their unwanted disapproval. Such as these so-called ‘feminists’ who have single handedly made traditional feminism something that nobody really wants to be associated with by picking on girls who choose to make a career from their sexual liberation. But those kinds of people are of little interest to me. I think anything goes now.

Ten years ago, Jodie Marsh went out wearing a belt over her tits and a t-shirt with the names of all her conquests on. So when you’ve grown up seeing that kind of thing splashed all over the news, you’re probably only going to go one way. I mean, it’s not necessarily gonna encourage you to do the same; my friends and I certainly didn’t start walking around like that, but if that is the more extreme end of the scale, it means you can do something which you consider sexually liberating and it wouldn’t even register. If that makes sense? Basically, if in doubt whip ‘em out! You know you want to.

Do the the terms ‘one-night-stand’ and ‘multiple-sex-partners’ empower you or annoy you?

If they didn’t apply to me then yes, they’d annoy me massively. I’m just kidding, of course – but not really. If I was reading an article and a female was described as having ‘multiple sexual partners’ I’d just think good on you girl. I choose to let people live, so long as it’s safe and not hurting anyone. And there ain’t nothing wrong with a one-night-stand. What if you didn’t set out for it to be? Maybe you would have seen them again but it didn’t happen? Maybe you just woke up the morning after the night before sober and you didn’t connect? Not really a big deal is it? It’s just a term to me.

Have you ever been slut-shamed for acting exactly the way men do?

Not to my face. I don’t think so, but to be honest I’d have owned it first anyway. If someone were to attempt to shame me, it would be very likely that I’d have already acknowledged it in a more interesting and louder way than they could. So it’s hard to see why anyone would bother trying.

You’re a presenter on Capital XTRA, a voice-over artist and a DJ in an industry that’s hard to get noticed and survive in. Mind sharing some of your secrets to success?

Well firstly, I’ve been doing it for a long time since I was very young, so I think that definitely helps. When I was about 21 I was on a huge radio station and doing all the big music shows on TV. Sadly, it went to my head a bit to be honest. I thought I was the shit, and I can confirm that if you walk around thinking you’re the shit, that’s just not going to work out well for you. As a presenter, likeability and relatability are both kind of important. Perhaps I wasn’t mature enough to be graceful and appreciative of the opportunities I had been given, and my boss at the time didn’t really tolerate egos like that; it wasn’t the radio station for that kind of attitude. I realised very quickly that acting like that may work for a while, but not for long. These days I always witness in others the mistaken notion of self-importance I once adopted, and it predictably leads to their downfall. They’re here today, gone tomorrow.

The secret to success? Be nice to people, it’s not hard to do. And concentrate on the actual job – the one that pays your bills, not all the other fake shit around it. Having said that, I would guess about 90% of the people I know have all purchased fake followers on social media, and it’s seemingly kinda worked for them. Turns out people are believing the hype, but the trouble is you need to have the talent to back it up.

I didn’t have social media when I was starting out, I was simply hired for being good at what I do, and I guess that’s how I survived. My advice: don’t buy fake bits of attention, because it means nothing. And don’t be a dick. It sounds easy, but you’d be surprised.

You’re the creator of the blog LostItGirl, what message are you trying to convey here and who the hell is ‘LostItGirl’?

LostItGirl was originally my alter-ego I suppose, but since it gained in popularity it’s something that I have taken a back seat with and have left to the professionals. I still have an involvement, but it’s now in the hands of people far more interesting and clever at the internet than I.

I started the blog because I found a lot of radio presenters had blogs and honestly, they were all so boring. Just boring stories about boring stuff and I could’t get past a sentence without wanting to cry at how dull and narcissistic it all was. So I created a character who has that bit of crazy in her that we all have, and I tried to centre it around offering a bit of tongue-in-cheek advice based on my own experiences.

Some of the stories are true, some are made up, but everything is exaggerated. It can’t be taken seriously and it’s certainly not for everyone. But I will say some of the people behind it now are guys, so legitimately some of the advice is great on there because you get both a female and male perspective.

Any dating deal breakers or dating disasters you want to confess to? 

Millions. You’d have to read my blog for that. We simply don’t have the space here.

What women are you krushing on at the moment and why?

I love Bella and Gigi, which is a cliché I know. But I like their style. I’ve always held Victoria Beckham in high esteem. She’s chic, funny and she understands the power of being dignified in silence when faced with people who want to trash her and her private life. There’s so much dignity and grace in saying nothing. The world is full of angry little people who love to talk and threaten, but who just end up embarrassing themselves. I also like Kylie Jenner. I think she’s hilarious, but I don’t think she means to be. She’s an accidental genius. I’ve got a lot of time for her.

What tunes should we be listening to right now?

I’m liking Cardi B. Aside from that, it’s best you just listen to Capital XTRA between 1-4pm (that’s when I’m on in case that was unclear).

Any tips on how to ‘rock what you’ve got’ and love yourself (even on your darkness days?)

Everyone needs to stop caring so much about what people they’ve never met think about them because it’s really not that deep. A good tip I think for 2018 would be that if you are having a day when you feel ugly, maybe just don’t post a social media that day. I love a day off socials.

Be yourself, understand that people are and always have been mean, and it’s usually because they are in love with you but can’t admit it. There’s also a lot of jealousy which manifests itself in such a way that those who are will do their best to deny this to themselves by telling you that you’re a piece of shit. It’s whatever. Just do you, and those that are worthwhile knowing will naturally gravitate towards you. Also, hang out with more animals. Animals are cool, humans are generally not very cool at all.

Carmela and Toni used to work together at the same radio station in London. Initially Carmela was too shy to introduce herself to Toni because she thought Toni was the f**king tits and was not at all in her realm of awesomeness. Thank god Carmela finally mustered up the courage to say hi because it’s been love and lols ever since.

For your daily dose of cheek and chic follow Toni on Twitter here!

Kween Krush: NATASHA NDLOVU “The Power To Influence.”

Kween Krush: NATASHA NDLOVU “The Power To Influence.”

Kween Krush alert!! This is where we celebrate everyday women for being complete badass Wonder Women.

Natasha, we have a crush on you because you’re completely slayin’ the game. To quote Drake ‘You started from the bottom now you’re here’. You went from model to blogger to YouTuber to influencer and now the world is at your fingertips.

What’s the hardest thing about running your own empire Bisous Natasha?

Lol, thanks. Now I just need to start making Drake money! 🙂 The most difficult thing about running my empire – as small as it is – would be time management. I currently do not have an assistant and work with people on a temporary basis, so I have to make the most of each day and not procrastinate.

What do you identify most with? Being a blogger, influencer, model or business woman?

For now, I would say an influencer. I used to model but now I do this full time; my goal is to make it into a successful business and be a business woman.

Have you found you’ve had to fight to be seen or heard as a woman in your industry?

My industry is dominated by women, which is a good thing but I still have to fight to be seen, to be paid fairly etc.

What are some of the biggest challenges? Is it as competitive as it seems?

Some of the biggest challenges start with securing a project over someone else, so it does make the industry competitive. There are many friendly and helpful women in the industry but there are always a few who are in it for themselves.

What’s a day-in-the-life of Natasha Ndlovu?

It varies. Some times it involves me in my pyjamas on the computer all day doing admin but some days I go out to several meetings with potential clients for work. Once in a while I am shooting several street style looks or travelling with a brand when there is an upcoming product launch.

Your Instagram account natashandlovu has close to 100 thousand followers! What’s the secret? Is it more hustle than luck or timing?

I have been on Instagram for a while now and many brands and accounts repost my photos. Nowadays, with the algothrithm change, you have to be consistent with posting and keeping followers aware of the content you produce.

How did you come to live in London? Have you found it difficult at times?

I moved here initially because I was scouted for modelling. I then did some interning at art galleries in between before falling into fashion and blogging. It has been a tough journey, especially when family and close friends live abroad, but it has its amazing moments.

You’re away from your Mum and family who live in South Africa. Do you miss them? What’s it been like to build a trusty support network here?

I do miss my family and only see them once a year. The distance and cost of travelling halfway across the world makes it difficult to see them often. It also therefore makes it important for me to build friendships with people I can trust, not just hang out with on weekends.

Do you have any insecurities or anxiety when it comes to being in the public eye?

I am a quiet person when I am at public events where I don’t know anyone so I avoid going alone haha.

What’s more important to you, being recognized as a brand or a role model?

At the moment, honestly, as a brand because I am trying to be a reliable source of content and information but I have always wanted to help other women with the knowledge and experience I have working in fashion.

What is the one thing people don’t know about you?

Oooh, that’s a secret. Ha! To be honest, I am not that mysterious.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I would like to do a beauty collaboration, so I am focusing on beauty content a lot.

Who do you look to for inspo? Would it surprise us?

I look at 90s fashion for inspiration these days. The Calvin Klein – Cindy Crawford era.

Any advice for women/men following in your footsteps? What does it take to be the ultimate #BossKween just like you?

I say keep creating content, work hard, give yourself a little break (Netflix) but keep the momentum going. It’s so easy to look at someone on Instagram and feel like you will never be as successful as them but just focus on your work / content and you will have a breakthrough.

Natasha was Carmela’s first London flatmate. They lived together in a charming little place in Notting Hill, in a street behind Portobello Road. Most of their time was spent watching Netflix, drinking rosé while discussing boys and going for brunch at their fave spot ‘Mike’s’. Carmela will always cherish those days.

Need more Ndlovu? Of course you do!

Subscribe to Natasha’s YouTube channel and for all things #fashun follow her on Facebook.