Consummate entertainer, entrepreneur and Harry Winston personality, Fiona Fussi, who dons the luxury diamond marque’s youthful, colour-driven timepieces in this instalment, shares frankly about what drives and impassions her, and what it means to be a role model at 25.
Fiona Fussi shoots from the hip. Her demure looks and peaches and cream countenance belie a feisty, straight-talking personality and a brand of wisdom way beyond her years.
This quadruple threat, who models, acts, sings and hosts, can now add entrepreneur to her list of accomplishments. She recently launched her own brand, Late Night Thoughts Club, a place in social media, where people, her followers and feelers can all join in to share and reflect about mental health, wellness and awareness. She has also debuted a collection of limited edition, eco-friendly merchandise, which is available only on a pre-order basis; 10% of the profits from the sale of these cool drops will benefit Guide Dogs SG.
Earning Her Colours
Speaking to the quarter-lifer feels like taking life lessons from an experienced sage, albeit a youthful one. At 25, she’s already had a decade of experience in modelling, having started at 15, when she won the Elite Model Look Competition in Singapore.
Fiona has also been singing nearly all her life too, calling it her first love. Her voice is her instrument and music was one of her beloved and chosen subjects in school. “I’ve always been very inclined to music, especially singing. So, I still like to do it on the side. I’ll post it on Instagram and my followers love it.” Watch her compelling duet music videos with Brandon Leo and see if you won’t be bewitched by her sweet-sultry-smoky pipes.
It is almost to be expected that hosting, and even acting, became a natural progression for this articulate model-singer. “I love speaking and connecting with people, entertainment and expressing myself. So, I started doing that along the way as well,” she shares. “Another big project that I just started is my own brand called Late Night Thoughts Club. On my IG stories, I’ll always post my Late Night Thoughts, which has been my thing for many years now. I’ve also launched my first limited edition merchandise, which is available on pre-order. So, I’m working really hard on that and I’m really, really excited for everyone to be a part of the club.”
Modelling, which is what she’s still most known for, has taken Fiona to many countries, a couple of which have special places in her heart for the treasured memories and friends she’s made. Her modelling career up to now has also been varied and rich. “I went on to live and work in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and New York for placements. I really love the aspect of travel that comes with modelling. But with COVID, that’s been less, but I’ve still managed to travel multiple times for work despite all that and I’m very grateful for that,” she shares. The avid globetrotter has travelled to many countries for global campaigns and has been the face for numerous international fashion and beauty brands.
Fiona is particularly gratified about the headway she’s made in acting. “I’m really proud that recently, our show Last Madame, which came out in 2019, went on to show on Netflix in the whole of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. We’re even going to show on HBO Go. There’s talk of going on Amazon Prime too, so it’s all very exciting. It is the highlight of my acting career so far.” Her natural and nuanced portrayal of banker Chi Ling in the series that bagged the Best Asian Drama award, also won her rave reviews.
Not one to sit back and let life happen to her, Fiona has always taken the proverbial bull by its horns.
I have always shaped my own life and dreams. I have always been very opinionated. I know what I want. I knew that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry and to start with modelling from a very young age.
“I signed up for that Elite Look Competition completely by myself. I didn’t even tell my parents. I only mentioned it to my mum in passing, along the way. But luckily my parents do support me and even if they don’t, I will do what I want,” she says forthrightly.
Fiona’s trademark code of independence is not driven by a sort of youthful impulse nor thoughtless self-gratification. On the contrary, her self-reliance is rooted in self-assuredness, focus and maturity, as is reflected on her personal colour wheel.
I would be a spectrum of dark blue, green and yellow – dark blue for night time, because I love the night, and I love all the introspection and reflection that come with it, and green because I love Mother Nature and the earth, and all things green… and I’ve recently discovered that it’s also my colour. And yellow because of brightness and life and I’ve also been told many times that I’m full of light, sunshine and positivity.”
The wholistic description of her life in colour is also vivid, perceptive and self-aware.
“Being a 25-year-old, I don’t have as many colours as someone who is a 70-year-old.
I would probably say that my life so far has maybe two colours for two kinds of different phases and stages of my life. From when I was a teen and a young adult, I’d say my life was red. It’s the first colour. It’s like a really bright, strong colour. I was doing everything in my life.
“I was balancing work, I was a straight-A student, I was doing IB (International Baccalaureate) in school and I was also modelling. I was doing all these things and I was burning the candle at both ends and I had the energy for it. I had a thriving social life, I was travelling, it was a lot. When I turned 18, I went full gas, travelling, working, meeting people, going out. I have no regrets. And that’s why it’s red. Just because it was so full and robust and busy.
“And then after I turned 24, I kind of had a shift in my mindset.
Now at 25, my colour wheel has turned to maybe an orange. Maybe like an orange-yellow because some of my priorities have shifted. I’m looking more at long-term goals.
“Especially with COVID now, my lifestyle has kind of calmed down. I’m really prioritising the work that I want to be doing. I’m also prioritising the friendships that I have. I’m sieving through the acquaintances that I have to find the core group of people whom I really actually like. So, I think my colour has changed and I’m excited to see how it will continue to change. I assume that when I’m 28 to 32, there’ll be another shift in colour.”
Fiona remembers a perfect rainbow time in her life, when she was living intrepidly, trying and tasting different experiences, unencumbered and unrestrained by the pandemic.
“Looking back, it would be back in my red colour stage. It would have to be my stay in Hong Kong, when I was there for 3 and a half months. Or my Japan trip. Those two were my best and favourite trips. Tokyo was the only city where I stayed for 7 months. And it was just perfect for me. It was more for my heart I think. I was so happy because I was in a city I love. It had a support system. I had my close friends. I was free, I was exploring. I’m a very adventurous person, I love to travel, love to try new things and new food, new places, and I had so much energy. I was so busy, every single day I was doing new things, travelling, aw, it was so different to life now, but I don’t know if I can ever have that again. Don’t know if I can feel exactly that way again, because I don’t believe that we can replicate the exact same time and place. I mean even we change with time, right?”
She has achieved so much success in so little time, yet Fiona is always mindful of the pitfalls to running fast and scaling steep.
Says the discerning new thespian, “I did not learn about successes and failures through my work. In work, every single person on this earth will have successes and failures. It’s a given.
But actually, I learnt the most about my successes and failures through my mother. I’m very close to her and we talk a lot and whenever I’m feeling frustrated or sad or upset about any sort of failures or shortcomings, she’ll always help me to put things into perspective.
“Same as with my best friends. I always find that they help me to stay grounded and to remember that success is great, but actually failures, shortcomings, obstacles, they are all a lesson and all ways to improve, because we will always have that along the way. But when it comes to shaping me as a person, definitely my mum and my closest friends, who have been my support system throughout my life.”
Fiona readily debunks the common misconception that celebrities and influencers have a perfect life. “I think it’s very easy for people to look at celebrities and influencers and see through the social media lens and assume that they’re perfect and they have a perfect life. But I think people are becoming a little more woke, especially because there is awareness on what’s perfectly imperfect. There’s no such thing as perfection; people are favouring more raw images, unedited images, so I appreciate that.
“I have dark days just like everyone else. I have insecurities. I think if you follow my Late Night Thoughts, one of the reasons why people love it is because I get very honest and I talk about things that are very introspective or reflective, about psychology, about human nature, all these kinds of things.
And on dark days when I am feeling doubtful of myself, I struggle a bit with being a perfectionist. So, when things don’t go my way, or when I do things and it’s not enough, I need to affirm myself, or I talk to my trusted circle, I reach out, I try to change my perspective.
“I’m a very proactive person when it comes to mindset and mental health. I don’t like staying in a funk. I will try to be proactive and try to get myself out of it.”
As she hits the sweet 2-5 spot, will she, like many high-flyers of her generation, be stymied and burnt out by a quarter-life crisis?
“I totally know about this quarter life crisis you speak of because that is in our vocabulary as millennials/Gen-Zers, but luckily I did not experience that. Maybe I got my priorities shifted a little bit, but I just got my head down, got back to work, to doing things I loved – reminding myself of what I’m passionate about, what I want to do more of, and even just taking a break. More than in the past, people are now more aware of how important it is to take care of their mental health, their bodies, so no, I haven’t been taking it too badly.”
To Those Whom Much is Given
Fiona unabashedly accepts her unspoken responsibility as a role model to those who identify with her and are inspired by her. She also champions the need for people to take up a collective responsibility in caring for the earth. Not one for false modesty, she says, “I have been told that I am a role model and luckily, I have been told that I am a good role model, because I do think I have a good head on my shoulders.
I’m very aware of everything, mentally, emotionally, and I’m mindful, so I try to care for the world, care for the earth.
“I’m eco-conscious, that’s why my brand is also eco-conscious. I think it begins with mindfulness and just being aware of who we are, what we do and how we can then make a positive change. If every individual does what he or she can, then we’ll change the world. We should all be more aware of the waste that we’re creating, the way that we’re living, how we can minimise our impact and also helping others.”
Her strong desire to constantly give back and pay it forward sees her getting involved in different charities, supporting other people, lending her voice to them and raising awareness for their causes.
“I’m very vocal about social causes and trying to spread needful awareness on my IG. Also, 10% of the profits from my brand for my first limited edition collection will be going to Guide Dogs SG, because I also do some things with them. And they’re doing some great things with the visually impaired in SG, so, I’m glad to hear that people think I’m a good role model and I think that we all should try our best to create some positive change and to leave the world a little bit better. I’m happy to say that most people who’ve met me say they feel better than they did before.”
Fearlessly and without regrets – that’s how Fiona wishes to continue living her life, in the shades and hues of her own picking.
“When I’m lying on my death bed, will I have any regrets about the way I lived my life – that’s always been kind of a big driving force for me. And when I look back, no – so far, I’ve lived in all the places I wanted to, I did all the fun, crazy things I wanted to, I met all those friends, I took the acting and hosting jobs that I wanted and even now I still have a lot of things I want to do, and I want to take my time I guess, to see what else life has in store. I feel like we can have multiple lives in one life.”
The versatile entertainment powerhouse likes her timepieces multi-functional too. From the fun, colourful and sparkly Harry Winston collection of timepieces she fronts in this feature, she is particularly drawn to the the gold one.
I like gold accessories. I find the gold watch with Milanese bracelet so easy to match with everything. You can dress it down, you can wear jeans with it, or you can dress it up and wear it with a dress, it matches everything. I really like the trendy double-strap style too. It’s nice in all the colours as well. The Harry Winston Emerald collection gives you so many options in terms of mixing and matching.
See the Harry Winston Emerald collection here.
This feature is produced in collaboration with Harry Winston. Artwork by Curatedition, all rights reserved.