Updated: Aug 18, 2022
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Irene and what she thinks about perfect body image, positive changes and challenges of 45+ women, what is it for her to feel good and look beautiful, and what advice she would give younger women and 30-year-old self!
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Irene
(at the time of the project)
45 years old.
Irene is born and raised in Hong Kong. Her parents are from China, and they moved to Hong Kong for better lives after getting married.
She had the opportunity to study in Canada, in France for her MBA at HEC School of Business, and in the US at UC Berkeley with the help of scholarships
Irene and her family became an immigrant family in Australia in 2017. So they moved to Sydney, also for better lives for freedom and for opportunities, like her parents.
This year Irene and her family just became Australian citizens.
Irene is a mother to 8 y.o twin daughters.
This year, Irene finally feels secure in her career again, after many years of prioritising her family over her career. She’s currently a marketing director at an education institution. So, she’s really keen to see or to have another go to see what she can achieve.
Irene started her career in the cosmetics industry and worked for L'Oreal in marketing, for eight years. in Hong Kong, and then in Shanghai, and in the Asia Pacific team for a couple of years.
The biggest challenge at this age – “I think my biggest challenge as a 45-year-old mum is the journey to find back myself after being a mum.”
Positive change with age – “Definitely the confidence, self-confidence.”
Watch Irene’s VIDEO interview HERE
Hi, you're listening to My Body My Story podcast.
Actually, most of my life I prefer sitting at the back. And I think I would have made a big difference if I had the courage to step to the front.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the My body My Story project and today with us, Irene. Hi, Irene and welcome to our studio. And while you are sitting in the makeup chair, and Citra is doing makeup for you, I'll be asking you a few questions. And let's start and tell us a bit about yourself.
Sure, so my name is Irene. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. My parents came from China. So they fled China after they got married because they were sent to the village after finishing school and they want to better lives. So that's why I grew up in Hong Kong. So growing up in Hong Kong, a place where people move for freedom and opportunities. I always believe in fair go and hard work. So I had the opportunity to study in Canada, France, and the US with the help of scholarships.
And I landed in a career with global companies that took me to many parts of the world. But interestingly, history repeats and I moved my very own family and became an immigrant family in Australia in 2017. So we moved to Sydney, also for better lives for freedom and for opportunities.
So where did you move from?
From Hong Kong. I've got twin daughters. The ATO is a very beautiful, and I love them a lot. 2022 is a special year for me. I am 45 years old. That's why I was like, pretty struck by the idea of 45 over 45. And I just celebrated five years in Australia. And we just became Australian citizens.
Oh, congratulation, a lot of changes.
But this year, I also finally feel secured in my career again, after many years of prioritising my family over career. So I'm really keen to see or to have another go to see what I can achieve. So I'm currently a marketing director at an education institution. And I'm keen to see what new things I can learn and bring to life for the business for my team, for people that work with me and for my customers.
That's cool. So where did you study like, What did you study? You said you had the chance to study?
Yeah, I did my first degree in Hong Kong. And then I had an exchange semester in Canada in the Western University. And after I graduated, I started working for a year, but then I got a scholarship to go to study in France for my MBA. And from France. I took again, an exchange semester, and I went to UC Berkeley in California.
So that which school in France ?
It is called the HEC School of Business. Probably so famous in France, but less so outside of France.
And you went to Berkeley. Yeah. That's cool. And so you were you were working in the education industry all the time, or just new for you.
This is interesting. I actually started my career in cosmetics industry. Oh, I worked for L'Oreal in marketing, let's call like, eight years. work there in Hong Kong, and then in Shanghai, and also in, worked in the Asia Pacific team for a couple of years. Then, I had this opportunity. I was headhunted to join a US company, which is a private education company. And they gave me the opportunity to work in Spain and Mexico at the beginning of that journey, so I was just really tempted off like moving out of Asia and see what I could do elsewhere. So I joined them and I worked with them for 10 years, they took me to places that I never thought I would be going. South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Korea. They were buying private universities in those places. And I was sent there to work with the business development team and turn around universities, etc. So it was pretty interesting. And it was they, it was also this company that took me to Australia, they gave me the relocation opportunity. Yeah, but I'm not, I'm no longer with them. But I am very grateful of what they offered me in those 10 years.
And you had a great base. Like, I know that having an MBA myself, I know that L'Oreal and Berkeley other good marketing-oriented University and companies, so you had the great school in the beginning, and what a wonderful journey. So you enjoying your work, now you're happy with your position, you know what you do?
Actually, I must say that I am very, very happy with where I am today now, because I feel like I have I have I'm the most confident of my abilities and what I can do at this point of time in life. So it's pretty cool. I'm really looking forward to seeing what what I can do more.
Excellent. So what is your passion? What are you most passionate about?
I'm most passionate about adventures. I love exploring, exploring new places, trying out new things. So I actually got married quite late because I was too busy in doing my things. So like things like scuba diving, snorkelling, skiing, wakeboarding, things that take me to the, to the sea, to the sky, to explore lands in different places, was what I was most passionate about. Yeah, and I'm still keen to continue exploring the world. Probably in the future with my daughters more. I'm keen to start from exploring more about Australia. We're relatively new here, Sue. But I really want to continue show publicly this time in the future. Taking my daughters to see the world.
Yeah, so you were an adrenaline addict? You like adventure? And did you do any those breathtaking experiences like buggy jump, or what you call it? You know, jumping from the
Oh, my God. So you're one of them?
Yeah. But it's interesting because I'm one of them. I love trying those extreme things. But I'm not the bravest. So I would really like back off saying, Oh, no, I think I need to just get off this plane. Now. I'm not going to jump out. But I was already on the plane. And I would just do it. So I want to try. Yeah, I push my name. Yeah.
That's great. So going, you mentioned that you turn 45 This year, and I approaching this age of change, I would call it what positive changes have you experienced so far? Related to the age?
Definitely the confidence, self confidence, because I think, looking back, ah, gives me more exposure, more experience, and therefore more confidence. So I'm actually quite grateful of ageing, because without those years, how would I get those exposure and experience and how would I be able to build up the confidence I have today without those experiences?
Yeah. And what is the biggest challenge at the moment?
I, I think my biggest challenge as a 45 year old mum is the journey to find back myself after being a mum. So it's been like 10 years that all I had in mind or in my conversations or in my day to day life, outside of work was my children, everything about my children. So I feel like it's time to resurface myself. As for who I am as a person beyond being a mom, so, but it's a tough journey. I still like have them in mind all the time and I will still prioritise them In most of my decisions, but I still want to wait cover myself. So yeah, that's still small,
they're not grown up.
So yeah, they're just eight. So still a long way to go. So I need to balance out with facing myself and helping them to develop into who they deserve to be.
Yeah. So what would you say your greatest accomplishment so far?
I had my ups and downs. But I think I always put all I could to overcome the challenges, or to not let go of opportunities that presented to me. So I think that's my biggest accomplishment. And I think that's actually an asset I own that will continue to pay off. So it's not about what I achieved in the past, but what I can continue to accomplish in the future.
That's right. That's right. And I love this question. And what if you could travel back in time and meet your 30 year old self? What advice would you give her? Or what would you tell her?
That would be don't stay at the back? Take that brief step and walk to the front?
Do you think you did stay at the back where you will?
Yeah, I did. Yes, actually, most of my life, I prefer staying at the back. And I think I would have made a big difference if I had the courage to step to the front. And I probably deserve being being in the front. But But again, only only eight gave me that confidence. Now to step two, the front end, actually joining this participating in this project is also a step of putting myself to the front, which I usually wouldn't do. But I think I've got the confidence to do this now.
That's great. But then I also think that the position at the back gives you also some advantages, probably because look, you achieved so much in your life, even where you're saying you were in the back. So maybe you had a chance to watch and learn from those who were at the front end making the mistakes.
True. Yeah. That's another way of looking at this. And that reminds me, actually, the other advice I could probably give us, stop regretting. That's also something that I do a lot as well, always looking back. And re-evaluate, re-evaluate over and over again, of how I could do better, that kind of thing. But actually, probably looking forward with would make well would make it easier for me. Although I wouldn't say that looking back was a bad thing, because you learn a lot from looking back. But looking forward is probably even more important, if not as important.
Yeah. And what would you say to younger women who will eventually reach this, who are young at the moment, but they will eventually reach this 45 and start undergoing the changes age changes? What would you tell them?
I think, I think women should really set higher ambitions and believe in themselves. So basically, you don't try you don't know what you can achieve. So just believe in yourself. You can do it set ambitions, and you might be able to do it.
Yeah. And try it. Yeah. Great advice. So if we will talk about body image because we have my body My Story project and it's to do about the everything to do with body. So where do you think this idea of perfect body image comes from? What it is for you, perfect your perfect body
It is the confidence, the self-confidence again, as Asians I think we grew up believing in like a one single limiting standard of perfect body image that's about the look of your body. But with my exposure to Western values, I think that I really change how I perceive perfect body is now I see this as the physical and mental health state of the body. That defines perfection.
so if we go to the question, what does it means to you feeling good and looking good, and what comes first?
What comes first, about feeling good and looking good. It's about being true to yourself. I think that's why I said it's about really feeling good because it is for yourself. And you want to look good because it is for yourself. You don't have to please others so you don't have to look good or feel good to please others. But Be true to yourself and do it for yourself.
And what makes you feel the most beautiful?