Buro.'s Brave Living with Simone Heng: Multi-hyphenate Tracy Phillips on singlehood, grief, and finding joy

Buro.'s Brave Living with Simone Heng: Multi-hyphenate Tracy Phillips on singlehood, grief, and finding joy

Story of our lives

Text: Crystal Lee

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.

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What you may have missed:

Episode 06: 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.

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Episode 05: 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 04: 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 03: Ryana Yusoff

Why do we spend hours consuming stories and telling them? Anthropologists say that storytelling is universal. Stories are the currency of life; they help us make sense of the world and create connections — whether with people or concepts.

Own Your Breath is built upon that belief. The life coaching studio holds monthly storytelling sessions with the hope that it will inspire one to live purposefully and authentically. The event is held at The Eclectic Room, an indie lifestyle boutique along Joo Chiat Road founded by Ryana Yusoff, who's also the brain behind Own Your Breath.

We wanted to give Ryana what she has given to her community of courageous storytellers and compassionate listeners: a space to tell her amazing story of trials and tribulations. In this episode, she opens up to our host Simone Heng about her difficult childhood, living under the poverty line, and the importance of setting boundaries as an Empath.

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.

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