Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Editor's Note: Since 2010, Projek Brunei has aimed to help re-tell the Brunei story through the stories of the people. Everyone has a story, and we believe that the more we listen to the perspectives of others, the more time we take to understand someone else's point of view, the richer and fuller our own perspectives and opinions become. We have interviewed close to 100 people - students, professionals, NGOs, expats, creatives, etc - and it does not cease to amaze us how, truly, everyone is unique with their own stories.
In this feature, I chat with social media influencer, Nabeela from Lipstickmyname. She talks about what makes her tick, fashion muses, and shares a few highlights from her colourful journey so far. Be sure to check out her website and IG too.
What do you do?
I always find it difficult to answer when asked to describe what I do. The title sort of bounces back and forth between a fashion-blogger and a social media influencer. I'd like to think of Lipstickmyname as a brand that features the style and clothes that are personally curated by me. Currently, I work with a lot of international brands but I hope with this platform, together with our local designers and other local bloggers, we can elevate the fashion/apparel industry in Brunei and connect it with other markets.
Describe yourself in a few words.
I have asked my best friends to give me a word each because you know what they say, best friends know you better. They came up with the following: Strong. Brave. Strong-headed. Playful. Passionate. Perfectionist. Audacious. They forgot to mention that I am also a dreamer and my head's always stuck in the clouds... but thankfully, I married someone who is always willing to pull me back down to earth.
What are you passionate about?
Fashion. Fashion to me is a form of expression, because you choose what you want to wear, what colour, how you style it, etc. Designs have stories behind them and I am always in awe when designers come up with the unimaginable. I think my favourite thing about it is when you can see the runway being inspired by real-life situations. For example, athleisure (a trend where sportswear is meant to be worn casually) was really turned up a notch when Olympics was held in London and now with all the news on U.S. politics, Balenciaga's A/W 2017 fashion show was inspired by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders!
Music. Music is like a time-machine. It transports you to a specific place in time. A bad break-up, falling in love, silly times with your girl friends... it's all bottled up in a three minute song. It's something I will always appreciate.
Cities. The hustle and bustle of a big city will always excite me. The busy streets, bright lights, high street shopping, sky high buildings, established public transportation systems, the diversity of cultures... I can go on. I studied Urban Economic Development in London a few years back and learnt a lot about cities, how they came about, their sustainability, how they're regulated... it's all very interesting.
What are your impressions about the fashion scene in Brunei?
I think it has always been there, but it has recently gained momentum and I do hope that our fashion industry can become a really successful one. We have always talked about diversification and I truly believe it's something that could work. Last year, there were a lot of fashion events, mostly in modest fashion and for bridal wear, we see more of our local designers penetrating foreign markets, an increase in stores carrying international labels and a lot of bloggers getting international exposure.
In 2016, you attended a few international fashion events. What were some highlights from those experiences?
i. Meeting all the people! I definitely fangirled over a few celebrities and social media personalities!
ii. Sitting front row at Adila Long's KLFW presentation in a custom Adila Long jumpsuit that she gifted to me. The jumpsuit was made from the fabric that was used during the show.
iii. Sitting front row next to Emma (@emmashazleen) and Faa (@faafirds) at the FashionValet show in Jakarta.
Who are some of your favorite designers / labels? Why?
Right now I can only pin it down two Malaysian designers. Number one, Adila Long. She is actually an architect, and me being a hardcore fan of structure, it's no surprise really that I love everything she does. And number two, Nurita Harith. Her designs are always impeccable, dainty and just... goddess-like. In terms of high street brands, Zara is my go-to place to shop. It has everything I'm looking for. I never leave that shop empty-handed!
You have an active and likeable Instagram account. Why is social media important for what you do?
Social media enables you to cross borders and market your products without having to actually leave the country. My followers come from Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, etc and with that I'm able to spread brand awareness across a wider audience.
Any interesting events or projects coming up in 2017?
Ooh! I can't say! Because I don't want to scare my luck away hehe! But I do have a few things lined up for the year and hopefully it will all work out well.
Complete this sentence: In three years...
...hopefully achieve the things I want in life and be proud of what I've accomplished.
If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give the 21 year old you?
I was in my final year in Nottingham when I was 21. So... I'd probably tell myself to drop Time Series Analysis and take an easier module, buy better clothes and travel more.
Finally, any shoutouts?
I think my husband deserves the biggest shoutout for being such an amazing support. I wouldn't be able to do what I love to do, if it weren't for him.
For your information: Blood Donation Campaign happening on 21st and 22nd February at SCR Xpress Citis Square. See below for deails.
Happy Chinese New Year! Here's a great video by local media production crew, Filterworks Productions. Enjoy!
Editor's Note: The first time I met Kueymo and Sushiboy was at a function. I noticed their music first. "EDM? YES!" (I am a huge fan of EDM music.) And then I noticed them. Two fellas handling a setup of hardware, flicking tabs, tapping on buttons, head-bopping away to the bass, not once missing a beat.
You may not know them in person, but you may know their sound. They are on the radio every Saturday night on KFM, and they are on Mixcloud and iTunes. Read on and get to know the gentlemen behind KYSB, Kueymo and Sushiboy!
Tell us about yourselves.
Kueymo: Hey hey! we go by the name of Kueymo & Sushiboy, but you can call us Edmund & Riff. Both of us go way back to when we we're still kids studying in the same school and we just did everything together, from sports to shuffling and here we are now DJ-ing! Sushiboy was actually the first of us two to learn to DJ when he was in Australia furthering his studies, while I went to UK to play University Basketball.
Sushiboy: Yeah, I studied in Brisbane, Australia for 4 years, but I was already into Electronic Music before that but never had the chance to own a device. In Australia DJ-ing is a thing and the devices are everywhere, so I took the opportunity to get one to call my own and that became one of my many hobbies. Just messing around with the buttons & knobs and getting some tips from my good friend, DJ Rory who is now one of the best DJs in Brisbane. My other hobbies include trying out new food and going to gym after regretting eating too much.
Kueymo: I can relate as well, I love food! other than DJ-ing, I love to travel a lot even if it's just alone or for the weekend. I guess that's why I'm growing up a few shirt sizes. I also enjoy reading a good book and hitting the gym whenever I can.
How did your interest for music begin and when did you decide you wanted to be a DJ?
Kueymo: We've always had the love for music in general. But what really sparked our interest was when we were about 15 or 16, we were really passionate about shuffling. We would just shuffle on for hours at a time everyday losing track of time. I guess the songs just kept us going and the harder the better! We we're heavily influenced by Hardstyle DJ's from the likes of Headhunterz, Bass Agents, Bass Oscillators, NoiseControllers, Showtek and the list goes on.
Sushiboy: Yea, I remember those shuffling dance days, Hardstyle Music actually made me love Electronic Music more to be honest, and I still love Hard Music. I always wanted to be a DJ ever since I fell in love with Electronic Music, so I started off mixing tracks using Virtual DJ on my laptop. I only started advancing in Australia because as a university student there isn't much to do, so got myself a proper DJ Controller and learnt more tricks and getting more tips from there on.
Kueymo: I actually started DJ-ing on my Samsung phone roughly 2 years ago. The aim then was to replace the slow parts in a track with a much more hyped up tempo. It was a tricky process especially on a phone and eventually I decided to get a controller to get the basics in. Countless hours learning off youtube and with criticisms online, I started to get better at it.
Sushiboy: To be honest, I only wanted to go further when I discovered that my friend Edmund (Kueymo) had the same interest in DJ-ing. That's when the duo was formed. I know going duo with a person that does all the craziest things with you is more fun than going solo. I've never regretted being in a duo with Kueymo, we both share the same goal, the same ideas and the same passion. A true definition of "Bromance" right here!
Kueymo: Us being DJ's was always about bringing the EDM culture in Brunei and move it away from the social stigma that comes with it. We started our radio show with the help of Kristal FM last September in an attempt to reach out to the local producers and DJ's to give them a platform for them to air their mixes, original productions and remixes. So far everyone has proven to be nothing short of amazing! You'd be amaze by how many talented individuals we have, some even making it big internationally in Australia, Malaysia and even Singapore!
How did you come up with the names "Kuey Mo" and "Sushi Boy"?
Kueymo: Well it's going to sound really childish but I was given this name when I was very young but basically a girl I liked gave me the name and it was escalated when her boyfriend came looking for me shortly after to show his dismay. I continued using the name just out of pure fun to annoy the boyfriend, but the name only stuck with me after I started uploading my shuffling videos on to Youtube.
Sushiboy: Many of my friends start calling me 'Sushi', especially my Bandar friends because of my love for sushi after my incredible discovery of the newly open Excapade Restaurant back then.
Share your earlier performing experiences and your most memorable one.
Sushiboy: Hmm, I guess the most memorable one in Brunei would have to be our performance at BpmFASS. We played festival vibe EDM to everyone, We were nervous at first because we don’t know how the crowd would react to this genre of music but WOW! they were enjoying the music, cheering and playing along with the tracks!
Kueymo: I'd have to say the same! BpmFASS would be the most memorable out of all our events. Talking about our earlier experience, we started off just playing house parties, sometimes with just 2 or 3 people during a BBQ but it didn't matter as we'd still put on a show with mashups and live remixes. I guess the saying goes that you won't be able to get big crowds until you're used to playing to an empty room.
Share with us about the 100 most influential young entrepreneurs 2016?
Kueymo: The 100 most influential young entrepreneurs 2016 was a superb event! It's organized by our friends at Entrepreneur Insight who heavily focuses on start ups and SME's. It was a great opportunity to connect with the many young entrepreneurs from across Malaysia and pick their brains on the subject. Hopefully we'll be able to apply it in our daily dealings. We obviously didn't win, we were mainly there to support our very good friends Leng Yein & Leng Sean AKA The Leng Sisters!
Sushiboy: It was a great experience to see our good friends claiming their spot in the Top100; they've been there for us since the very beginning, kind of like our role models. Similarly to being a duo, they've taught us a lot on what we needed to know in the business so it's a very good feeling to be able to be there for them as they receive their award.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Kueymo: For our radio show, we're always looking for new guest mixes from international DJ's that the audience wishes to connect with! We've scheduled quite a few of them into the first quarter of next year, but towards the end of the year, we've got something big planned! so make sure to keep connected to our instagram @KYSBofficial and stay tuned!
Sushiboy: Definitely 2017 is going to be big for us. I won't say only us but also the local producers that we are working with. One of our aim next year is to push the local producers further, to get them known better by collaborating with them, introducing their tracks to other international labels and maybe also get their tracks heard internationally! We want to bring 'The Family' up with us and basically bring Brunei EDM to new heights! Other upcoming projects for 2017 would be to perform in clubs and festivals in the region and of course we do not only prioritizes performing outside of Brunei but we are always looking forward to events in Brunei; special mention to BpmFass & TheCreativeCore BN. These are some of the people who show true passion in helping local talents. Much Love Friends! Big Ups!
Any words of encouragement to those interesting in being a DJ?
KYSB: Just get out there! Take every opportunity you can to share your work; one step at a time. If you have a friend that wants to learn to DJ or Produce, share your knowledge, learn together. There are always people who wants to listen to your work and we are always open to listen to any work! Do anything you can to improve, by any means necessary!
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