Buro.'s Brave Living with Simone Heng: Rentadella's Ming Bridges on eating disorders, body positivity and sustainable fashion

Buro.'s Brave Living with Simone Heng: Rentadella's Ming Bridges on eating disorders, body positivity and sustainable fashion

Story of our lives

Text: Vincent Li Natasha Khoury

Editor: Crystal Lee

The entertainment industry is notoriously demanding and cutthroat; an environment where eating and mental disorders are unsurprisingly rife. Having spent her young adult years building a music career, Ming Bridges developed body dysmorphia, brought on by the unforgiving standards from her former management team and — you guessed it — social media.

It wasn't until after university that Ming finally sought professional help to work through her issues. Three years post-recovery, she found a new (and sustainable!) path with Rentadella, a fashion rental platform that loans designer pieces and cult labels to its members.

In this episode of Buro.'s Brave Living, Ming Bridges got real with our host Simone Heng about disordered eating, her relationship with food, body shame, as well as her passion for sustainable fashion line. Hit play to get inspired! —NK

Subscribe and tune in every fortnight to Buro.'s Brave Living with Simone Heng.

What you may have missed:

Episode 10: Celine Tan

Celine Tan is the embodiment of the fearless, modern-day working woman. Industrious and fiercely independent, she fought tooth and nail for a life she's always desired — through a troubling childhood, physical abuse, divorce, heartbreak, fertility problems, and financial struggles.

Today, Celine is the partner and brand COO of brand communications and strategy firm The Ate Group. Her passion for caviar led to her opening up her own company last June, after working tirelessly behind-the-scenes for two years. On top of that, she is a mother to a 15-month old boy and wife to a Hungarian PE teacher whom she met off Tinder. How does she do it?

In this episode of Buro.'s Brave Living, Celine goes deep with her long-time friend and our host Simone Heng about her father's cancer relapse, making amends, finding love again in her mid-30s, and how to be a compassionate boss. — NK

Episode 09: Ethan Leslie Leong

Before 28HKS, Tippling Club, and Jigger & Pony, there was Maison Ikkoku, the OG of Singapore's craft cocktail scene. Sitting at its helm is Malaysian-born, classically-trained chef-turned-mixologist Ethan Leslie Leong.

Since his first big break in 1997 at the International Flair Competition in Birmingham, Ethan has nabbed more bartending awards, made his rounds in the nightlife circuit as a bar manager in the '90s, and gone on to create cocktails for F&B establishments and brands including Chanel, Mont Blanc, Guess, and Penhaligon's.

Of course, there's no easy road to success. From juggling different jobs at a young age to enduring multiple challenges in business, the cocktail maestro recounts the triumphs and adversities he has faced in the 10th episode of Buro.'s Brave Living with Simon Heng. — VL

Episode 08: Danielle West

Danielle West was born in Boston to dysfunctional parents. She has lived in some harsh environments in America, Canada and London, including cardboard boxes on the streets of Toronto. Singapore was supposed to be her last stop, where she planned to end her life.

Thankfully, that didn't happen. Instead, she wrote a page-turner of a memoir titled Girls Can't Be in the Mafia, where she detailed her heartbreaking — disturbing, even — childhood, her time in a mental institution and foster homes, her multiple escapes from her sociopathic father and alcoholic mother, her dominatrix stint, and her journey to become a pro-MMA fighter in London.

In this episode of Buro.'s Brave Living, Danielle opens up to our host Simone Heng about her tempestuous past, her relationship with her daughter, and the personal healing she had to do to be her very own knight in shining armour. Spoiler alert if you haven't read her book. — NK


Episode 07: Sam Lo

Even if you don't know who Sam Lo is, you probably have seen her work in and around Singapore. She was the rebel artist who stuck "Press Until Shiok" and "Anyhow Paste Kena Fine" stickers at traffic lights, wrote the words "My Grandfather's Road" on Telegraph Street and on Circular Road on two occasions, and created the LIMPEH portraits series featuring our founding father Lee Kuan Yew

Sam was arrested in 2012 for vandalism. The following year, she was charged with 15 counts of mischief and was sentenced to 240 hours of community service. Her arrest, which sparked a public debate on whether her work was art or vandalism, set her on a journey to become one of the city's most recognised visual artists. Today, she continues to challenge notions of what makes us Singaporean.

Tune in to the latest episode of Buro's Brave Living to hear Sam spill the tea on how she became an artist, details of her arrest, its aftermath, and her views on the local art scene. — VL

Episode 06: Tracy Phillips

Buro.'s contributing editor Tracy Phillips is best known for her outstanding tenure at Zouk. These days, she leads experiential marketing agency Ppurpose. If you're one of her 15,000 followers on Instagram (@tracyjoyphillips), you'll know that she's an avid traveller, a culture insider, as well as an advocate for mindfulness and an all-round joyful way of being — after all, her middle name is Joy.

However, delving beyond her life on the 'gram, her formative years were far from idyllic; caring for a bipolar parent, dropping out of business school to support herself, and growing up in an abusive environment, for instance. It wasn't until she turned her enthusiasm for music and nightlife into a career that things took off for her.

In this episode of Buro.'s Brave Living, Tracy gets candid with our host Simone Heng about how she handled her tumultuous childhood, found friends that became her family, and how she lives mindfully.

Episode 05: Saara Sihvonen

On the runway and in magazines, Saara Sihvonen — who was runner-up in Finland's Next Top Model (cycle three) and has walked for fashion's biggest names including Givenchy, Zimmerman and Saint Laurent — looks every bit put together. However, her modelling career isn't picture perfect.

The fashion industry is infamous for its brutal and at times, dysfunctional working environments that can hit hard on one's mental well-being. At 19 years old, Saara was unprepared for the curveballs thrown at her when she first stepped into the modelling field. In spite of the loneliness, rejection, and criticism she faced, she went on to carve a successful modelling career and establish a new wellness platform to empower those who are new and struggling in the industry.

In the sixth episode of Buro's Brave Living, Saara shares with our host Simone Heng the grit behind all the glamour and glitz of modelling, how her personal struggles led to her being an ardent advocate for positive psychology, and the impact of social media on the mental health of budding models.

Episode 04: Nicolas Travis

Is it any wonder that Nicolas Travis has an amazing complexion? The man is behind local cult beauty brand Allies of Skin, which boasts clean and effective products that are stocked in big-name retailers around the world including Sephora, Harrods, Net-a-Porter, Space NK, and Galeries Lafayette.

However, behind that flawlessness is a backstory of imperfections and faith. Nicholas launched his own skincare label, because he became increasingly dissatisfied with the products that claimed to treat his severe acne. Somewhere along the way, Nicolas also suffered a major fall, that saw him sink into a period of depression.

In the fifth episode of Buro's Brave Living, the tenacious founder talks to our host Simone Heng about his unusual childhood, how he struggled to find his footing in the beauty industry, and his unwavering commitment to his dreams.

Episode 03: Joey Mead King

"Don't fall because you'll bruise your knees and you cannot be a beauty queen."

Joey Mead King — supermodel, TV personality, and co-judge of Asia's Next Top Model — grew up in a community that valued looks more than a college degree, which may come as a surprise, considering how education is prioritised among Asian families.

It seemed natural then that Joey went on to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. By the time she was 15, she knew that she wanted to be a model. Blessed with good looks that could kill, you'd think that she would have had it easy in the glamorous world of television and media, but her interview with our podcast host Simone Heng would reveal otherwise.

In this all-new third episode of Buro.'s Brave Living, Joey revisits her complicated childhood, how she hustled to get jobs as a teen model, and lets us in on her unconventional life with her partner, now known as Angelina Mead King.

Episode 02: Greg Oh

Simone Heng met Greg Oh, our first guest on Buro's Brave Living, 15 years ago at a photo shoot. She had gained a bit of weight and overheard the crew making comments about it in dialect. Greg noticed how affected she was by their comments, took her under his wing, and made her feel safe  a gesture that has led to a life-long friendship.

As one of Singapore's most prominent hairstylists and makeup artists in Singapore, Greg has worked his magic on countless models for renowned fashion titles (including our own Buro. Large), as well as on Hollywood personalities such as Michelle Yeoh and Shirley Manson.

In this first episode, she cosies up with her long-time friend, as he shares his life story as a "fairy in the forest". The pair dive into his childhood and talk about how he found his way into the fashion and beauty industry in Europe and New York, the positive side to social media, his beliefs, and what it means to live life to the fullest.

Episode 01: Getting to know Simone

Success is a quantitative term today. We measure it by riches, designations, accomplishments, and increasingly, the number of followers one has on social media. Whatever the metric, there's a fascinating story behind every successful individual; one that strays away from the materialistic leanings of the almighty 5Cs and veers into a space of self-acceptance and selflessness. We've dubbed that Buro.'s Brave Living.

Former radio personality Simone Heng fronts our inaugural podcast series. She recently found new meaning as a global keynote speaker on the subject of human connection. Her disarming and genuine voice is a win for minority Asian women speakers, who are slowly gaining visibility on the international stage.

In this podcast series, Simone Heng will chat with inspiring personalities who hail from all walks of life. We hope that their stories will inspire and empower you to take on life bravely.