March is Women’s Month! A month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the amazing contributions of women all over the world. This year, we want to introduce the woman leading Hong Kong’s Women’s Empowerment movement and connecting thousands of women across our city.
Meet Sarah Vee — community builder and founder of the platform Women of Hong Kong. Today Women’s of Hong Kong has become a safe and supportive space for female entrepreneurs and corporate employees, alongside students and mothers for multiplying connections and opportunities. We were lucky to have the chance to get personal with her as she shares her thoughts and experiences:
1. Hi Sarah, please share with us a little about yourself.
I'm born and raised in Hong Kong of Filipina and Vietnamese descent, and I have a twelve-year-old teenage boy named Jaden. He's half Japanese, half Filipino. I didn't get to graduate college due to difficulties with focus but knowing I can work on my growth at my own pace drives me to push myself. I love learning about the mind and my favourite subjects are psychology. My favourite movies are the ones that really make you think!
2. What are some of your personal experiences that motivated you to start Women’s Of Hong Kong?
I've often felt like I didn't fit into most circles or organisations. Half of the reason was that I needed to work on myself and my level of confidence, but the other reason was that there weren't many options for people like me. Women of Hong Kong was built on the foundation of women supporting women regardless of their background, job status, and age. Just come as you are, and show up as yourself. The only expectation is you're here to give and receive support from other members.
3. How do you empower yourself and the women around you?
I empower myself and other women by creating a safe and supportive space for them to share their experiences and challenges. Too often, women feel like they have to hide their struggles and put on a brave face. At Women of Hong Kong, we encourage vulnerability and openness, and we provide a non-judgmental environment where women can speak their truth and be heard.
In addition, I believe that representation matters, and I strive to be a role model for other women, particularly those from marginalized communities. By sharing my own experiences and achievements, I hope to inspire and encourage other women to pursue their dreams and goals, no matter what obstacles they may face.
4. Do you feel pressured to look a certain way or find yourself comparing yourself with others?
It's not easy to be bombarded with images of what society deems as "perfect" and not feel the pressure to look a certain way. But as I've gotten older and more self-aware, I've learned to recognize these societal pressures and to remind myself that my worth isn't determined by my appearance. It's a continuous process, but I try to focus on being healthy and happy, rather than trying to fit into a certain mold.
5. What are some of your ways to cope with a negative body image and to feel comfortable in your own skin?
I try to remember that the most important person to get approval from about how I look and feel is myself. I also try to focus on the things my body can do, rather than what it looks like. Whether it's going for a run, moving through yoga, Muay Thai, or dancing, I try to move my body in ways that make me feel strong and confident. And when negative thoughts do creep in, I try to challenge them and find the root cause, sometimes it may just be that I’ve not had enough water or nutritious food and I’m not in a great mood!
For the days I’m unable to pull myself out of negative self-talk about my body, it’s good to remember the people who uplift and support me, and that they see value in me regardless of how I look. Being part of a community like Women of Hong Kong, where we celebrate diversity and individuality, has been incredibly empowering.
6. What are some of your self-love rituals?
Closing my eyes, taking a breath, and listing out things I’m grateful for on my journey toward growth. Journaling is difficult for me but it’s extremely necessary. I believe self-love shouldn’t only be about pampering yourself, but doing the work required of you to tune inwards and identify what’s holding you back - this includes the skill to take accountability and be honest with yourself.
7. What advice would you give younger women who are working on their self-confidence and trying to break out of their comfort zone?
My advice would be to start small. Building self-confidence is a process and can be difficult if you hold a lot of self-doubts (like me!). Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who believe in you and lift you up. Find a mentor or a community of like-minded women who can provide guidance and encouragement. Don't be afraid to ask for help or support when you need it.
Also, focus on your strengths and what makes you unique. Don't compare yourself to others or try to be someone you're not. Embrace your individuality and use it to your advantage.
Finally, be kind & patient with yourself. Building self-confidence takes time and effort, but every step you take toward your goals is progress. Remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and learn from your setbacks. With determination and perseverance, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Sarah’s just getting started! She hopes that women all around the world can join and benefit from what her platform has to offer. Head to Women’s of Hong Kong or @womenof.hk to find out more. Send them a DM to redeem a free membership and meet thousands of like-minded women.