THE TWENTY-SECOND INSTALMENT OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.
Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
1) Please give us a mini introduction to yourself?
My name is Tina and I’m a 32-year-old hydrologist AND fashion blogger from Sydney, Australia. I was born in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka and moved to Sydney when I was 3. My childhood was a great mix of both traditional and western cultures thanks to my parents teaching us all things Sri Lankan-
I’m so grateful I can still speak the language! Other than that it was a pretty fun and normal childhood full of piano lessons, spending hours in the library (massive bookworm!), dance classes and plenty of cricket in the summer!
2) Was fashion something that you always enjoyed/were interested in? Why were you interested in budgeted fashion in particular?
Like most girls, my love for fashion started at a young age during shopping trips with my mum.
The bargain element came into it when I was a poor uni student who still wanted to dress well 😉 I could see that looking good and feeling polished and confident was how you put the pieces together, and not about the price tag.
Since then I’ve been hunting down those pieces that have the trifecta: classy, trendy and affordable. I really enjoy putting together these outfits that not only help me feel ready for what the day may bring but also helps me have some dollars left over for the bigger things in life!
3) Who are your inspirations?
First and foremost my parents. I know as immigrants it’s not easy to set up a new life in a new country.I’m so grateful they did as it’s afforded me some amazing opportunities which I’m determined to make the most of! Princess Diana, of course, would be the other inspiration and Vicotria Beckham. Both are very classy women!
4) Could you tell us more about what is a hydrologist and why you wanted to become one?
Hydrologist, as the name suggests, deal with water and natural resources. My role, in particular, is working for the NSW (state) government in hydrologic modelling. The conceptual modelling work we do go on to form the State water management laws and policies. My dad played a huge role in me getting into this field as he’s a civil engineer. His work has taken him to many developing countries in Africa and Asia to help with water management issues which directly impact the quality of life for the communities.
This definitely inspired me to get into a role which will leave a lasting impact for the generations to come.
5) As a fashion and lifestyle blogger with a full-time occupation, how did you balance your blogger duties and your work life?
With great difficulty! Sometimes I feel like I never switch off as I come home from one job and go straight into another.
It sounds cliche but getting organised is key. The blog started as a creative outlet from my regular job and life so I didn’t have a structure or plan to how I went about creating content, it was all just a bit of fun.
As it has grown and evolved over the past 4 years into more of a side hustle I’ve had to shift the way I do things as it was getting quite overwhelming to keep up (still is at times!). I now set aside certain days for different aspects of the blog such as emails/admin, outfit shots, writing content and meetings with brands and PRs. On top of that, it definitely helps that I mostly have a photographer on tap as my partner does most of my photos and that I can work flexible hours as well. I’m trying to be disciplined about the time I allocate to each part, and also not waste time to scroll social media when I could be doing something productive!
I always think about Beyonce also has the same number of hours in the day- a great source of motivation!
6) What inspired you to start blogging and actually share your outfits on Instagram?
I actually didn’t even follow any blogs when I first started! All I knew was how to hunt down bargains haha. But a good friend of mine suggested I start sharing sales and my outfits on Instagram to help people find their own. My first outfit photos for Instagram were taken by my mum in our backyard before I rushed off to work for the day! A lot has changed since then but the affordability aspect has remained- and always will!
6) How was your first experience collaborating with PR / brands? What would be your advice to young influencers who would like to work with brands
I was very lucky that my first collaboration was with a brand I loved and posted about regularly.
They found me via their brand hashtags and gave me full creative control on the items I picked and how I styled them so it was a very organic partnership.
Picking my own items to style is a must for me with any project as at the end of the day I have to stay true to my personal brand.
This is something I would encourage other influencers to aim for as well. The role of an influencer, I believe, is to impart their genuine and unique opinion and styling to a project while sharing with an engaged and trusting audience. Collaborations are exciting but if the brand isn’t a good fit or the brief is very restrictive (no creative control etc) you will damage that trust you’ve worked so hard to build.
In the end, it’s a lose-lose situation for both you and the brand you’re trying to work with.
7) What would you consider as your greatest achievement or just a proud moment for you professionally / personally?
I never wanted to settle for the daily grind and let life pass me by- but this was the place I found myself in a few years ago.
I proud of myself for starting up and maintaining my blog while working full time and creating a life I love.
The blog has opened many doors and given me opportunities and experiences, as cliche as it sounds, I couldn’t even dream of.
8) Some women believe that to look professional is to dress very conservatively/ traditionally. What in your opinion and any tips and tricks for affordable outfits for women suitable for the workplace?
Obviously, every workplace is different and there are exceptions to wardrobe ‘rules’.
But my style mantra is to keep it classy, keep it simple.
I like to buy a few key pieces that can last me for the work year and so gravitate to classic cuts and colours, such as your basic black/white/grey/navy/tan, that can be easily mixed and matched with each other. I love simple prints as well such as thin stripes, polka dots or plaid so add a bit of interest. My number one wardrobe price that works for the office and also the weekend is a great filling blazer. A blazer does wonders to pull together a simple tip and pants/jeans as well as making a dress more office appropriate.
9) Could you tell us about where you are getting married and where you are going to draw inspiration for the wedding?
We’ll be having 2 days of celebrations: one in Sydney and a second reception/homecoming in Sri Lanka and I’m so happy that we got our first choices for venues (thanks to booking a year in advance!). In Sydney, it will be at Sergeants Mess in Chowder Bay, near Mosman. Mosman holds a special place for us as it’s where Paul grew up, we had our first date and where I lived and bought my first property.
In Sri Lanka, we picked Galle Face Hotel for its stunning sunsets and classic heritage charm.
It’s also the place we went to watch the sunset straight after Paul had bought my engagement ring- though I didn’t know it at the time!
I’m drawing inspiration from my parents traditional Sri Lankan ceremony, as well as adding my own modern and western twist.Paul has a Chinese background so will definitely incorporate his heritage as well.
Will definitely be a mix but hopefully, it makes for a unique wedding!
That is it for this interview! Be sure to check out the previous Belleboss Interview by scrolling below. Until Next Sunday !