Charting Personal Growth and Finding Inner Peace
With Linda Hao
A multifaceted personality who refuses to let labels define her or her style. Linda Hao is definitely one to watch. From modelling to deejaying to owning her own fashion label, Linda seems to have done it all.
But, as enticing as the glitz and glamour of the fashion world may be, Linda decided to take on a different path, one that allowed her to rediscover herself. Today, she shares a little more about her personal growth and her journey that has made her who she is today.
Having worn many hats (Fashion Designer, DJ, Stylist), which would you say fulfilled you the most?
“It’s hard to find one favourite… I truly enjoy the process of designing and making a garment but it’s a very time-consuming job alone whereas playing music as a DJ is something to be shared and enjoyed together with a crowd. I love both, it’s just different.” By pursuing more than one interest, we challenge ourselves to break boundaries, but more often than not, this comes at a cost, where the pursuit of “success” leads to many feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
Considering how you have taken a rather unconventional route, we have to wonder, what is your personal definition of success?
“To me, taking the first step into something is like the first step to success, to accomplish what you envision for yourself from start to finish. It is more important to think about what success means to you, instead of pinning the expectations of others onto yourself.”
By redefining what success meant to her, Linda was able to navigate through her own path. Something else really close to Linda’s heart is her brand.
Having your own clothing line seems like a really big responsibility and an intense process. How has your brand, YESAH, evolved? What motivated you to make those changes?
“YESAH has evolved just like how my life has. I take life pretty naturally as it comes and since I’ve started on a sustainable journey and stopped producing collections nor participating in the fashion industry, I knew I had to create new ways to maintain my brand and continue the story.”
By embracing change and adopting a growth mindset, it becomes easier to navigate through the complexities of life. However, the stresses of the day get to us and sometimes, we feel overwhelmed and tired.
We understand that in order to cope with the pressures of society, you started practicing Yoga, in terms of improving mental and spiritual wellness, how has yoga helped you on your personal growth journey?
“Yoga came to me at the darkest phase of my life when I was faced with mild depression and dealing with anxiety issues. Through diligent yoga practices, it not only lifted me out of the dark clouds, it also improved my sleep and created a healthier daily life pattern.”
We are glad that you managed to take control of your destiny, but what was the difficult moment that inspired you to make this change?
“There was a time in my life when I was overly occupied with work and left no time for myself. Every day I wake up to a race of rushing this and that — it was a painful journey to find joy or peace in anything that I did. I guess as a ‘public figure’ I was also pretending to be happy and cheerful for the people around me. Deep down, I was severely depressed and sick. I was dealing with a lot of stress and not listening to my body’s needs. I thought I was going crazy until one day I decided to finally take time off and travel to a far off land ( Tibet ) and through my hiking experiences on the high altitudes, I finally found the solitude and peace that I needed. I had to get away to know what I want for myself without being affected by what others say.”
For Linda, these intentional acts of mindfulness have helped her find peace and balance, spiritually and mentally.
From your experience, what is the best trick to recalibrating and being more attuned to mental wellbeing?
“Meditate. Find silence, listen to yourself. Find stillness, listen to your body. Do things to make you feel good inside and out.”
Speaking of taking time to discover yourself and doing what makes you happy, Why do you think some people have chosen to embark on their own journeys as self-employed creatives?
“To find more freedom. I believe one can only dream and create when there is space to breathe and relax. It’s definitely something people need in this productive-driven, fast-paced society.”
In a society that prioritises status and power, we sometimes fail to see the value of being in tune with our spiritual side. Yes, logic and focus are undeniably important for getting things done but by allowing ourselves to indulge in our creative passions, we might be able to unlock new perspectives that would benefit our more “practical” endeavours too.
That being said, it is easy to get lost in choosing an idea and sticking to it. With so many passions to pursue, do you think having a clear focus should take precedence over exploring new ideas?
“Yes. One step at a time. Put all your time and energy into that goal or project before pursuing something else.”
While it may seem exciting and many of us may suffer from the dreaded fomo (fear of missing out) because we fear that we may miss out on other opportunities, it is important to pick one thing to focus on and really give it your all, trust us, it is more satisfying to see a project through than to have brushed past a billion other projects.
Having said that, what is the most important value you have that has guided you through life?
“To believe in yourself and never give up on what you believe in. Trust your instincts.”
To doubt is human. We often need this uncertainty to expose us to alternatives that can push us further. However, too much doubt can limit your potential. By taking time to understand your purpose, you will find the confidence to put your dreams into action.
In order to assuage doubt, we tend to seek advice from those we look up to. Based on your experience what would you tell someone who is looking to follow in your footsteps? (i.e a person who has made a livelihood from being an independent creative)
“Keep believing in yourself. Don’t let anybody put you down. The only person you should compare to is yourself and nobody else.”
As Warren Buffet once said, “The best investment you can make is in yourself”. Listen to your heart, mind, and body and forge your own path.
UNDERCOVER is a social series brought to you by VF+c and STATE Creative. Through the series, we seek to impact the lives of our community through authentic stories of inspiring individuals. Each edition, we partner with a social enterprise to shed light on the issues that matter.
For the first edition of UNDERCOVER, we partnered with The Lion Mind, a non-profit organisation (NPO) whose mission is to promote mental wellness and positive psychology through education and partnership with the community. Due to the rise of mental health cases around the world, we endeavour to do our part to normalise conversations around mental health issues through the subjects featured in our campaign.