Most Stylish Woman 2018: Lessons On Love & Patience From Cover Star Datin Dian Lee
October 26, 2018 | BY Lily Ong
Daughter, sister, businesswoman, wife, mother, yogini, an advocate of unity in a new Malaysia—all identities that are tied to Datin Dian Lee's growth in the past decade.
Here, our November issue cover star and our pick of Most Stylish Woman for 2018 talks about how self-care improved the quality of her relationships with her husband and children.
In early 2007, Datin Dian graced the cover of Malaysia Tatler. At that point in time, she had just launched her company, Clearwater, and wrapped up a beautiful wedding celebration with financier Datuk Jared Lim. In the same year, she became a first-time mother when her son, Jedi Isaiah, was born.
“I was pregnant a lot in my 20s, come to think about it,” she adds with a laugh, referring to how she was soon blessed with her next two children, Jora Dream and Jaan Justice, a few years after.
As more and more responsibilities were heaped upon her through the growth of her business and little family, Datin Dian admits that her 20s were all about seeking success based on what society has conditioned us to achieve—being the perfect businesswoman, wife and mother.
In case you missed it, read our October 2018 cover story with billionnaire philanthropists Yuri and Julia Milner
"Knowing your boundaries helps you develop a healthy sense of self"
“I grappled with a lot of insecurities; I thought I knew what I was doing when I was chasing these big dreams and goals I had set for myself,” she reveals.
A subsequent series of challenging obstacles in business and misunderstandings in her personal life depleted Datin Dian’s admirable reservoir of strength.
Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey in the book Eat, Pray, Love, Datin Dian booked herself a solo trip to Bhutan for a journey of self-discovery.
"I grappled with a lot of insecurities; I thought I knew what I was doing when I was chasing these big dreams and goals I had set for myself"
It was one of the most memorable trips of her life—she details the wonderful time she had hiking up mountains and watching the sun rise in the misty morning. “Since then, I have gone on many solo trips to recharge and rejuvenate,” she says.
Did she feel guilty, leaving her husband and children behind, for these pursuits? Of course! But she knew her family will only benefit from these acts of self-love in the long run.
Building Boundaries, With Love
“I am a fan of Brené Brown, an author and researcher who specialises on happiness and forgiveness. In one of her researches, she discovered that people who have boundaries are the ones who are truly loving. Knowing your boundaries helps you develop a healthy sense of self. This means you have more love to give,” she says.
Here, we touch upon her marriage with Datuk Jared, where she playfully says, “I believe that he is one of the greatest teachers in my life, because he makes everything so challenging!”
Married at the age of 23, Datin Dian admits she was not prepared for how much hard work it takes to sustain a strong, loving relationship.
“Marriage forced me to look within myself and examine every single baggage I was carrying. My marriage has pushed every single boundary in my life, but at the same time, it has made me work on myself. I think marriage is about two people consciously choosing one another and refusing to give up on each other,” she says.
Motherhood also challenged her world view. “There’s a sense of meticulousness that comes from being a businesswoman, and motherhood is the opposite of that. There’s no control. There’s a push and pull involved, and eventually you have to learn to surrender!” she says thoughtfully.
Through her husband and children, Datin Dian learnt an important lesson in life: “Let go and flow. You have to recalibrate and realign sometimes, and that’s okay!”
Grab a copy of Malaysia Tatler's November 2018 issue on newstands for the full feature and interview, or subscribe to our digital issue here.
Photographer: Aaron Lee
Styling: Haida Yusof, assisted by Zulvanny Andiny
Make Up: Erlind Natalie Cabanganan using Lancôme
Hair: Ckay Liow
Datin Dian Lee's Outfit for Main Image: Khoon Hooi dress, a Cartier Agrafe Resille necklace along with a pair of Cactus de Cartier earrings
Flowers: Razak Ahmad
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