GHD: My hair, my rules ft. Jessica Jann, Jenn Lam and more

In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with five entrepreneurial women who are leading the way for their respective professions, blazing a path for other women to step into the picture. With two-thirds of Hong Kong managerial roles taken by men, these ladies are proving (righteously) that success transcends gender – and that women are equally deserving and capable of being on top.

We’re delighted to partner with ghd, an innovator in the world of hairstyling. The ray of confidence that these beautiful ladies embody is completed with vibrant, luscious locks made possible thanks to the brand’s state-of-the-art range of hair straighteners and hair care products.

Jessica Jann

This former child star and now actress, model and all-round influencer also has an interest in commerce as the founder of Jessica Beauty Group and co-founder of digital agency Explosive. Recently married to entrepreneur, businessman and soulmate Kenneth King, they’re an undeniable power couple to watch.

Who are your biggest influences in life?

I have a lot of icons and idols in life. My grandma and my mom are two of the strongest women I admire. They have always been encouraging, supportive and loving in every aspect. If I could be half of what they are or have accomplished, I would be a very happy person. I also look up to women like Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey, and entertainers like Beyoncé, Sofia Vergara, Katy Perry and Sandra Oh, who are confident and passionate human beings.

What barriers have you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

Most people might know me as an actress and model. Besides being in the limelight, I run a beauty centre, Jessica Beauty, as well as a social media marketing agency, Explosive, working with clients such as Netflix, Marvel and Bloomingdale’s. It’s been tough juggling everything at once, but it can be gratifying as well. Being an entertainer comes with a lot of rejection. There are negative comments and speculation about me, and it can be tough to digest at times. Not listening to the toxic noise can be hard, but I’m always trying to keep a positive mindset. I’m a great believer that we must be kind to each other by supporting other women around us so we can prosper together.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career similar to your own?

Just go for it! Don’t overthink things and give it a try, as you can do anything you set your mind towards. The key to success is always to work hard, be kind to one another, and stay positive. A positive attitude in life encourages you to reach your potential.

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

There are still issues that need to be addressing, with one being gender disparity. I have a lot of friends who feel they are not paid at the same level as their male counterparts. I do think it’s gotten better because more and more women are starting to be more vocal. For those who are afraid to speak out,I’d encourage them to stop hesitating. If you have worked hard on your craft, then it never hurts to ask.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and our Women’s Issue, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Work hard, stay kind and support one another! You can do anything as long as you set your mind to it.

Margaret Chung

Raised in Canada, Chung came to Hong Kong and started a career as a television host and actress. After years of travelling and working a hectic schedule as an entertainer, she found herself gravitating towards yoga. Today, she’s a certified yoga teacher and teaches an array of classes. In addition to her holistic passions, she’s the founder of Beyond Foundation, which advocates for and helps children with special needs.

Who is your biggest influence in life?

Undeniably my mom. She’s taught me the foundational tools that have guided me through my life’s choices, perceptions and approaches.

What barriers have you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

I’ve never faced too many hurdles in my career due to my gender. I think it could either be because I never noticed them, or I’ve just never thought that gender ever played a role in my triumphs or trials. Always stay humble with your achievements, and accept trials and challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career similar to your own?

Be passionate about what you do. A simple job can be an exceptional one when your heart is in it. Always be open to learning new things ,as there’s still plenty to learn.

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

Sometimes at a certain age, people – or maybe even yourself – have a certain expectation. Goals and beliefs are great, but never put aside your happiness. Don’t be too fixated on numbers and follow your dreams. Let your heart and intellect lead you, and things will naturally follow suit – whether you’re 20 or 80 years old.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and our Women’s Issue, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Don’t downplay yourself. You need to be confident with not just your skill set, but also your ability to self-inspire. Be independent, but also be willing to accept guidance.

Jessie Li

Formerly in the corporate world, Li ventured wholeheartedly into the style and lifestyle influencer space, spending her time in both Hong Kong and Australia. In addition to her rigorous schedule in which she collaborates with a variety of top fashion brands, she also runs her own media and PR company, and acts as a coach for female entrepreneurs around the world.

Who is your biggest influence in life?

My uncle, Dr Harley Seyedin, is one of the most influential people in my life. He won the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award (together with Elon Musk), awarded by the Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics. He was also the most recent recipient of the Peace Through Commerce Medal, a medal of which is the highest honour awarded to an individual by the US Department of Commerce. My uncle was the one who taught me that nothing is impossible and that I should always chase my dreams! He helped me to believe in myself and encouraged me to jump when I needed to. When I left my investment banking job to become an influencer, he was the one who stood by my vision and encouraged me to tap into my creative pursuits.

What barriers have you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

I feel like women are often underestimated. People want to put you in a box – like you can’t be more than one thing, otherwise you’re a threat. Whether I was an investment banker, an influencer or an entrepreneur, I always came up against people who doubted my capabilities and judged me before they knew what I could do.

I feel the only way to overcome these preconceptions is to prove them wrong. Nothing is better than rising above and making a statement by being a success. I’ve always put in the overtime to ensure I’m achieving my very best – and I’ve found that has gained me a lot of respect from those I work with. Don’t let the negativity stop you; put your head down, work hard and prove them wrong.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career similar to your own?

For any career path, I think it’s essential to find your lane and identify your USP [unique selling proposition]. When it comes to the world of influencers, the market is so saturated. You need to look at where you sit within the space and what it is that you can offer that’s different enough to cut through. Having a niche is a great asset!

On top of that, I think there’s a misconception that a career as a content creator is easy. If you want to be successful, you need a strategy – and that requires dedication, commitment, and hard work. If you want to succeed, then you need to go big or go home!

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

Most women my age are facing the challenge of balancing their career, family and friends alongside chasing their dreams and ensuring they stay healthy in both body and mind. This work/life balance can be overwhelming. For me, the greatest thing I’ve done is to build a career around my passion. While it wasn’t easy, it means that when I’m working, it’s still fulfilling what I love. As a result, it doesn’t feel as if I’m grinding away at a job I hate. I enjoy what I do, which means my workday is also a play day, and that helps with balance for me.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and our Women’s Issue, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

One piece of advice that I would like to share with younger women is the need to build a solid personal brand. Whether you want to become a CEO, an investment banker, an editor of a magazine or an entrepreneur, there’s one common factor when it comes to success – and that is personal branding!

Whether people are buying into your products, your services or your lifestyle, they’re buying into you. As a result, branding is critical. When it comes to building a strong personal brand, authenticity and originality are vital! It’s not about what others do; it’s not about the latest trend on social media; it’s not about what others think. It’s all about following your heart on what you think is right. People are buying into your vision because they like your idea or your passion. Remember, don’t be a follower; be the next trailblazer!

Jenn Lam and Tawnia Lai

The co-founders of cosmetics brand WULT (WokeUpLike This), these two set out to create a business that deters away from the nasties and heavy metals that lurk behind the gloss and glitter of most beauty products. WULT is one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong, as it’s sculpted to put the earth and its people at the forefront – sprinkled with love, passion and integrity.

Who is your biggest influence in life?

My sister has been a significant influence in my life, and her strong presence and guidance throughout the years have contributed to who I am today. From selecting my major in school to making business decisions, she encourages me to listen to my heart, but act with reason and intent. Although she’s under tremendous pressure overseeing our family business, she has created a refuge for me to find my calling freely.

What barriers have you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

I have been lucky enough to build a brand with one of my best friends. Through unconditional support, we’re showered with love from our fans. There’s still so much to learn, especially within a beauty industry that’s continuously shifting. One of the initial barriers coming into this business was learning how to break the conventional mould that beauty has to look a certain way – like your skin has to be a certain tone, your features a certain proportion or your body a certain type. Jenn and I have mutually agreed that this is not part of our vision, and that we want to spread the notion that beauty comes from empowerment – setting your own rules, and celebrating what you are given and have worked hard for.

We realised that tackling unrealistic beauty standards is a larger dialogue. Through love and support from one woman to another, we can march together – viewing make-up as a form of self-expression to embody individuality rather than conforming. This message is something we embedded into our product names, with empowering phrases that are meant to uplift.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career similar to your own?

Running a business can make you grow 10 years in one. Along the way, I had so much doubt about myself, realising my inadequacies and insecurities – so I would say have the courage to overpower your inner voice of self-doubt. From my experience, in spite of doubting yourself, try to ignore it and directly proceed to action. You’ll realise you know more than you think you do. You can do more than you think you can. From these little milestones of successes, that voice of doubt is transformed to a view of caution. With experience comes confidence, but at the beginning, it does take a lot of courage to propel yourself.

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

I feel that the biggest issue is the notion or mindset that you can “have it all” – but the reality is that you might have to compromise on something. What I’ve learned is that I need to find clarity with my priorities and work more efficiently. I’m still working on not overloading myself with projects and becoming better at delegating duties to the team as a leader.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and our Women’s Issue, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

I think that life can be more enjoyable if we’re open to sharing more with each other. Not just our triumphs, but also our struggles. Everything is just better when you’re surrounded by love and support! 

Text / Michael Cheung
Photography / Kenneth Deng
Hair / John Zhang using ghd tools and products
Make-Up / Lavinia Tang
Photo Assistant / Alex Y
Project Assistant / Damien Lam
Videographer /Tanley Lau
Wardrobe / Intimissimi

In this Story: #legend100 / #Women / #PRINT / #video
Featured Influencers