The Korean-American society darling on fashion statements and her very first Fendi. By Cai Mei Khoo.
The Fendi baguette chosen by Anna Fendi
Shawna Yap has a charming irreverence about her. As rich as her social credibility is, you get the feeling that she does not take the jet-set life too seriously, even if she is away most weekeends for soirées with international friends. Today, lounging in a private room of the Mandarin Grill at the MO, she lightly taps on her iPad, chatting about the youngest Kardashian, 19-year-old Kendall Jenner, currently gaining cred on fashion runways. “Can you believe how popular she is? She is absolutely stunning and does not have to, well, try too hard,” she says, with a glint in her eye. As the team works on her hair and make-up for the shoot, Shawna is completely at ease. “Mandarin Grill is like my second home, my own kitchen, almost. I’m here at least once a week so the whole team knows exactly what I like,” says the California-born and bred Shawna, adding that she simply loves Malaysia. “I moved here about 15 years ago, after I got married to my husband, who’s Malaysian. It’s funny, though. We both studied in the US but it was in South Korea, where my parents are originally from, that we met,” notes Shawna.
“Back then I was working in television, hosting a programme where I discussed the differences between Asian and Western medicine. He used to watch the show. When we first met, he didn’t recognise me as the girl on TV, although he did say that I looked familiar. “I like to think that it was just meant to be – I am a firm believer in fate, after all,” she smiles.
Unpacking her well-loved Louis Vuitton suitcase and garment bag – investment pieces purchased almost 25 years ago – Shawna reveals jackets from brands such as Chanel and Bottega Veneta, and tweed and silk shorts. As timeless as the statement luggage she