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Irezumi 2.0



Cozy up and join us for a heart to heart with some courageous women of craft. We hope these stories inspire you as you step into the new year 2022.

Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I'm Jana, a photographer based in Singapore. I primarily shoot lifestyle, but I also photograph children and families. My employment makes me happy, but I've lately begun studying in order to contribute back to society in the future. I moved here after marrying a Singaporean tattoo artist. We've been married for 14 years, have three children, and just adopted a kitten.

 

How would you define 'courage' in your own words?

Courage to me is facing my fears. Taking on new challenges with the knowledge that they would be difficult.


What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

For me, it was beginning a psychology degree in 2020 and a master's degree in counselling in 2021, and then quickly acknowledging that studying in these times is quite difficult. I'm interested in special needs and interventions, so I had to learn how to focus better and muster all remaining brain cells to get decent grades.
From a counselling standpoint, me counselling people is just something so wild, especially since these two years have been very trying for me and everyone around me, but I'm extremely excited to start working with disadvantaged children and youth soon. It's all definitely a bit overwhelming for something I took up as a hobby, but I can't wait to start working in my placement soon.
I'm fortunate that my job is flexible and allows me to organise my shoots and school concurrently.

Did you face any setbacks or challenges and how did you overcome them?

Constantly. Being a mother of three is never easy. Trying to stay on top of things and be a good mom, be present while also making sure we get enough rest. Covid definitely messed up a lot of things for everyone - less work, two surgeries, juggling university and restless children at home, when schools are closed due to the virus, being constantly on zoom was draining too. Also, music is very important to me, so not being able to go to a club and listen to my favourite music, as well as the general state of the event industry, made me quite sad....this year was truly something...not seeing family and friends as well. So when VTL opened up, I ran as fast as I could to de-stress.

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

What advice would you give to a woman about being courageous?

Giving up is never an option. Always strive to think of new strategies to come closer to your goals.

How does Irezumi in Tora give you a sense of courage as you step into the new year?

I chose Tora because it is first and foremost my children's favourite animal. Secondly, I have always imagined myself as a tiger mom, not in the sense of a controlling parent, but rather in a protective and fearless way to be there for my children. That is something not just for the new year, but forever.





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I’m Aim, a model and happy person who appreciates and enjoys life. I try to actively improve myself by learning and trying new things.

What do you love about cats and what are some unique traits about them?

I love their independence and confidence. They always know what they want and at the same time they are cute and smart. Sometimes I think I want to be a one of them.

What do you love about your job and what motivated you?

When I was 15years old I wasn’t confident and I thought I’m not pretty enough. It was hard to get into modelling with this mindset. Over time I start joining beauty pageants and my thoughts became better. Only after I started to believe in myself I could move on and become a professional model.

Was there any point where you felt discouraged and how did you manage to land back on your feet?

There were many times when I was discouraged, but my rock is my family. They always support me and my crazy ideas. And when I’m feeling disappointed they become even more supportive.
In these moments I also remember about what I have and appreciate it even more. I think all of our experiences are very valuable and make us resilient.

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. When life gives you lemons, grab tequila and salt.


This too shall pass.

What advice would you give to a woman about being courageous?

Love yourself and never stop trying and memorize my favorite quotes.

How would you interpret the design captured on Irezumi in Neko Grey?

 I would say it’s mysterious design like cats personality. I love the cool color combination and the print.





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I am an actor and a producer, originally from Singapore and now working wherever good work takes me!

How would you define 'courage' in your own words?

"Courage" is that muscle in your heart you train to get the best out of yourself.

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

The most courageous thing I have ever done is to be a Mum. To enable and be responsible for another human being. To test the limits of my love.

Did you face any setbacks or challenges and how did you overcome them?

I have faced many setbacks and challenges, and some I have not overcome nor do I think I will ever overcome them. However, I try everyday to get better at these things I think I am lacking. I believe in consistent effort. Small daily drills. Over long periods of time. These seem to help me overcome everything in the best, least intrusive and more long lasting ways.

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

My daily mantras are: BE BETTER and DO WHAT YOU CAN.

What advice would you give to a woman about being courageous?

Being courageous, for anyone and not just women, doesn't have to be a big grandiose scheme. It can be small, quiet and unseen. As long as the intentions behind whatever you are hoping to be courageous for is something you really believe in and want, then any step towards that direction, no matter the size, is a good step.

How does Irezumi in Tora give you a sense of courage as you step into the new year?

I am born in the year of the Water Tiger. Irezumi in Tora reflects this spirit of a gentle fierceness towards life that I believe is very much my style.




Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I’m a veterinarian by profession, mum to a baby girl and also to a fur-baby (my rescue cat, Nessie) and a part-time pole dance instructor.

What do you love about cats and what are some unique traits about them?

What’s not to love? :) Cats are amazing animals and I love that they’re independent, intelligent, agile, sassy, and affectionate (when they want to be!) Also, they always seem to land on their feet!

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

The most courageous thing I have ever done is to be a Mum. To enable and be responsible for another human being. To test the limits of my love.

What do you love about your job and what motivated you?

I’ve always loved animals, and from a young age I’ve had a strong desire to care for them and protect them.

Was there any point where you felt discouraged and how did you manage to land back on your feet?

I took a bit of a detour in my journey to becoming a vet.. After Junior College, I started studying Pharmacy in NUS. I was struggling to see myself being happy doing that job for the rest of my life, but after a life-changing conversation with my dad, I mustered up the courage to apply to vet school overseas. I applied, interviewed, got accepted, and the rest is history :)

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” - Dr. Seuss

What advice would you give to a woman about being courageous?

Be true to yourself and fight for your happiness. The path ahead might be scary, but it’ll be so worth it!

How would you interpret the design captured on Irezumi in Neko Grey?

The integration of the bold red dragon and pretty pink flowers onto the back of the cat is really special - to me it’s like a reminder that you don’t just have to be one thing or fit into one box, you’re unique and can be whatever you want to be. The way the cat is gazing upwards shows off her confidence and fearlessness, even amidst storm waves.





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I am a 23-year-old fresh grad from the National University of Singapore and will be starting work in 2022! But I harbour many artistic hobbies like acting and singing that I intend to continue pursuing. My rockstar of a mum works internationally and I hope to see as many places with her as possible!

 

How would you define 'courage' in your own words?

To me, courage is having the strength to push boundaries and face what scares you most.

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

Honestly, this question makes me immediately think of all the times I have owned up to my mistakes. It's something that, since young, I promised I would always do.

Did you face any setbacks or challenges and how did you overcome them?

I live fiercely by the belief that we should always conquer our fears. I also believe that working through setbacks results in some of the greatest feelings of accomplishment possible! I'm constantly spurred on by the reward waiting on the other side of overcoming challenges.

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

What advice would you give to a woman about being courageous?

Do not be afraid of how the world may perceive you. Always stand up for what you believe in!

How does Irezumi in Tora give you a sense of courage as you step into the new year?

I love wearing shoes that have a little bit of colour and spunk (I think I get this from my mom). Irezumi in Tora is perfect as it represents the Tiger in me which lives fiercely and with unceasing passion!





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I'm a photographer who has always loved fashion since I was young. I started out as a fashion photographer, and then worked for a fashion company as a creative. Now I own my own studio doing mainly portraits and also doing fashion or commercial photography on the side.

 

What do you love about cats and what are some unique traits about them?

They have such expressive eyes! I look for those when taking a photo of them.

What do you love about your job and what motivated you?

Photography was something that I started when I was 16! I had my own blog shop then and always took photos of products and models before I stopped as I had to concentrate on school. I always thought there was a gap in the market with IC and Portraits photos in Singapore and I am glad I could fill that gap up.

Was there any point where you felt discouraged and how did you manage to land back on your feet?

Of course. When I first started out last year, I was worried that I wouldn't get any customers. Every month I would be thinking, "am I going to have this many customers again next month?". But thankfully there were articles written about the studio and one thing led to another,
the studio got more popular and now I do not have to worry much anymore.

 

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

"If not now, then when?"

What advice would you give to a woman about following her dreams?

If you have been thinking about doing it, don't wait for the right time. Because there will never be a right time. I started out my business at the beginning of covid where everything was very uncertain, and I managed to pull through the toughest part of it and still kept going!

 

How would you interpret the design captured on Irezumi in Neko Grey?

I love how intricate the design is! It looks like patchworks as well. The colours all match very well to one another too.





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I left my job in finance 9 years ago to start the first cat cafe in Singapore - Neko no Niwa. My husband is my business partner and we use the cafe as a platform to promote adoption and responsible cat ownership. We adopted 15 rescued cats for the cafe in 2013, and we have another 3 at home.

 

What do you love about cats and what are some unique traits about them?

Just being in their company is a very sensory experience! Their silky soft fur provides tactile gratification and their purrs calm the soul. Cats are such a visual treat because they are effortlessly cute. Also, there is nothing quite like burying your nose in their fur and taking a huff!

What do you love about your job and what motivated you?

Cats, especially strays, are so misunderstood - they are often labeled as aloof and dirty. After our late cat (also an adopted rescue), Marbles, passed away from lung cancer in 2012, we felt that a cat cafe could honour his memory, change mindsets and dispel misconceptions. And it was never going to be 'just a cat cafe'. We wanted to raise awareness about how adoption save lives. We were also the first, back in 2014, to conduct cat care workshops that were vetted and approved by SPCA. Our goal was to be a resource center for cat parents who want to do better for their fur babies.

Was there any point where you felt discouraged and how did you manage to land back on your feet?

Yes, many times. But I remind myself of the larger good that we are doing as a small ethical business - educating, spreading awareness on adoption and community cats, giving back to the AWGs and individual rescuers. Our social mission keeps us going. Knowing that we have played a part in finding a cat a home or raised funds for the needy keeps us going.

 

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

"A home without a cat is just a house"

What advice would you give to a woman about following her dreams?

Don't let fear or social norms hold you back from asking or doing what your gut tells you to. A few minutes of embarrassment or a minor setback is not worth the lifetime regret.

 

How would you interpret the design captured on Irezumi in Neko Grey?

The dragon tattoo on the grey cat suggests great inner strength. The expression on its face, however, is that of earnestness. It's a perfect representation of the quiet confidence and curiosity that this Irezumi design is trying to convey.





Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I am Sabrina, some call me Arinaa. Born and raised in Singapore. I picked up skateboarding 11 years ago and fell in love with the sport ever since. I am on a seafood diet, I see food and I eat it. I am also a cat whisperer. 

What do you love about your hobby and what motivated you?

I never thought I could pick up an aggressive sport. I like challenging myself and I turn skateboarding into self therapy for both mental and physical health.

Was there any point where you felt discouraged and how did you manage to land back on your feet?

There was a point where I got myself injured badly and I couldn't skate as well as I used to. With a torn right ligament on my knee, I knew I couldn't compete in any competitions. Nevertheless, I joined the Somerset game of skate battle ground and won first place. I always tell myself this " you never try, you will never know.

 

Is there a particular quote or resource that resonates well with you?

"One day you will tell your story about how you overcome what you went through and it'll be someone else's survival guide."

What advice would you give to a woman about following her dreams?

Stop creating competitions that don't exist.

 

How would you interpret the design captured on Irezumi in Neko Grey?

It gives me a quote 'All my troubles washes away".