Welcome to another edition of “What’s Neue from 9 to 5”.

We here at Neue believe that every person out there has a story to tell.

This week, we find out What’s Neue with Jessica Tieng, a Bruneian who’s not ashamed of being petite.

Jessica, who has been a long-time friend of Neue, admits that she used to have very low self-esteem and disliked some features of her body while growing up! Surprisingly, modelling actually helped her in terms of building up her self-confidence and self esteem. Over time, she learnt to love herself more, flaws and all!

She’s currently a teacher and her absolute favourite pastimes include chilling in bed and binge-watching on her favourite TV shows over the weekends. Oh! And she made it very clear that indie music is her jam and that she thoroughly enjoys playing video games as well as board games.

Without further ado, let’s see how she responds to this week’s #Neue9to5 questions.

(Photo: @hanif.jaafar)

The First 9 Questions:

1. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

While growing up, I had incredibly low confidence and lack self-esteem.

I hated the way I looked. I always felt as if I wasn’t good enough and would often compare myself to others.

Without fail, I would always tell myself: “My life would be much better if … (insert unrealistic goals/appearance)”

Fast forward to my 20s, I have come to the realisation that who you spend most of your time with (say your friends) will play a major role in your life.

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for them, I would never have become the person that I am today.

My confidence grew thanks to the tremendous support I received from these special people in my life. They love me for being me!

Over time, I began to learn to love myself, flaws and all!

You know what? Being different (unique) is actually pretty cool 🙂 

My one piece of advice that I’d like to share would be this: Do not be afraid to be who you really are because those who mind don’t matter, while those who matter don’t mind.

Make it a point to appreciate and keep those special people as close to your heart as possible once you have them.

Why? Because you will soon realise that people like these are hard to come by in life.

2. In an interview with Neue last year – What it’s like to model in Brunei – you said, “Pursuing a career in modelling is difficult in Brunei because there isn’t much of a market here yet.” Now that a year has passed, has anything changed?

In my opinion, I feel that nothing has changed. Well, at least as far as I know.

It feels as though business in the fashion industry has been slow-moving lately.

It’s been a while since I last modelled for a designer or fashion company.

3. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grow up?

In my younger years, I wanted to dive into many different career paths.

In fact, I wanted to be a doctor, an interior designer, a psychologist, an editor, an actress, an artist and a model. But never a teacher! Haha! Life’s funny, isn’t it?

I feel very fortunate to have experienced what it was like to be a model for photoshoots. I’ve also appeared in multiple adverts – which is great 🙂

I would love to study interior designing or be a fine artist, if and when I have the time.

I’ve grown to love being a teacher. In fact, I plan on teaching … for a long, long time!

Admittedly, this was a profession that I had never thought I would be pursuing when I was much younger. Haha!

4. What’s something you’re really into right now?

Painting! I enjoy doing abstract art because I find that it calms and relaxes me a great deal, especially when I have a lot on my mind.

Furthermore, I find it easier to paint randomly experimenting with different colours on a canvas. (Confession: I’m not really good at drawing!)

Oh! By the way, the photo above is a rock that I painted on a while back. (Don’t laugh, okay?)

5. If money were no object, what would you do with your life?

Firstly, even though this may be a cliché answer, I would definitely donate the money to people and places that greatly needed it. And of course! I’d spoil all my friends and family … endlessly!

Without a doubt, I would definitely travel all over the world.

Oh! I would love to build my very own dream house too!

You know, one with a lovely, spacious kitchen with an island in the middle. Oh! And of course, build a walk-in closet (like the one that belongs to Chanel Oberlin, a fictional character from the comedy horror series ‘Scream Queens’). Check out the video below if you aren’t sure what I’m referring to.

And last but not least, I would love to build a school and give the best education possible to children, as well as an animal shelter because well, I love animals, especially cats. (Meow!)

6. What cheers you up?

It’s really just the simple things in life like staying in bed during a rainy day. Those are truly the best days! I also wouldn’t mind spending some quality time with my BFF. A nice massage would be nice too! Oh! And indulging in my favourite food … Penne! In this case, it would have to the Penne Arrabbiata from Caffe Verve! (Check out the pic below!)


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7. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?

I’ve learnt that to be a good leader, you will have to put people’s needs first before yours. The best leaders are always the ones who help you to grow professionally and personally.

I got this from a book that I’m currently reading – “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.

8. What 2 stories featured on Neue’s website did you enjoy reading?

(i) How Games Can Educate Us About Global Warming

I enjoyed this story because I personally enjoy playing games and what better way to get educated about global warming while playing games?! Hehe!

(ii) Salty From Losing? Here’s How To Rage-Quit With Style!

Hahaha! Totally quirky and hilarious!

9. What would you like to say to all our Neue readers? Do you have any words or inspiration or a life story you’d like to share?

I had a life-changing epiphany not long ago when I came to the realisation that it’s really the simple things in life that matter the most!

Like what? Well … it could be having brunch with your best friend at your favourite restaurant or finding spare time to read your favourite book.

Or perhaps satisfying your craving for that heavenly chocolate lava cake that you’ve been thinking about all day!

Or listening to calming sound of the waves at the beach and feeling the smooth sand in between your toes.

Embrace the simple things in life because at the end of the day, it’s those little things that will make you happy and that’s what truly matters!

The Last 5 Questions:

1. What challenges do you think you would do well in ‘Fear Factor’. Also what challenges do you think you would do TERRIBLY?

I’d like to think that I’ll easily handle any eating challenge. My strategy would probably be holding my breath while swallowing the food! Easy peasy!

But I’d probably fail miserably if any of the challenges involved creepy crawlies! This is indeed something that I won’t be able to tolerate.

My gosh! Just the very thought of being in the same room with spiders or cockroaches is making me queasy!

Oh! Also I’d fail miserably if any of the challenges involved great heights or needles! Eek!

2. Which fictional character do you believe is most like yourself?

It would probably be Rachel Green (portrayed by actress Jennifer Aniston) from the TV sitcom ‘Friends’.

Why her? Well, it would be because of the following reasons:

(i) She’s a terrible cook … like me!

(ii) She’s deeply loyal and empathetic. Personally, I feel like I do have a great deal of empathy. (Confession: I cry a lot like Rachel and I do cry in the movies! Haha!)

(iii) Even though she has her insecurities, she still goes after what she wants. I can totally relate to that. For example, even though I have self esteem issues, I would still push myself to be out there. Or sometimes, when I feel like I’m not good enough, I would still do what needs to be done by giving my very best of course! 

3. You’re having a bad day. What’s your go-to Karaoke song? And when you’re happy?

On a bad day, it would have to be the 1992 hit “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. Why? Well, just have a listen to the melody and the lyrics … “sometimes everybody cries”

On a good day, I’d listen to the song ‘Good Life’ by One Republic. Why? Because life is good! I truly love the whistling tune. How can you not but feel incredibly happy while listening to this song?

4. Would you rather go 30 days without your mobile or your entire life without dessert?

I would rather go 30 days without my mobile because I feel like in a way, people are so glued to their electronic devices! It would be nice to not look at the screen all the time and to instead, thoroughly immerse yourself in the simple things in life like … ice cream! Yum! Mint & choc chip, anyone? Hehe! 

5. Would you rather trade some intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?

Hmm … this is indeed a good question! I would definitely trade looks for intelligence because good looks will fade anyway sooner or later. Also, being intelligent can bring you places. Who knows? With super high intelligence, maybe I’d be able to invent something to help tackle global warming or cure cancer and the common cold?

See You In The Next #Neue9to5

Would you like to be featured next? Or would you like to nominate someone you admire to be interviewed?

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