Jaime Teo

She takes risks amd con­quers her fears

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Front Page - BY CH­ERYL LEONG Pho­tog­ra­phy French­escar Lim Styling Dol­phin Yeo Hair Ter­ence Lai/Hair­loom, us­ing Gold­well Makeup Manisa Tan, us­ing Guer­lain Out­fit: Silk Toga Dress with Belt Adolfo Dominguez Leg­gings and Sports Bra H&M Sport Col­lec­tion

… joined a beauty pageant

In­sist­ing that she’s al­ways been a bit of a tomboy (“I had a crew cut – like men in Na­tional Ser­vice – through­out sec­ondary school!”), the af­fa­ble 37-year-old can’t quite ex­plain why she signed up for the Miss Sin­ga­pore Uni­verse pageant in 2001. She puts it down to hav­ing greater con­fi­dence after re­mov­ing her braces.

“When the panel judges asked me why I’d de­cided to en­ter the pageant at 24 – an age that was con­sid­ered late to the game – I told them it was be­cause I fi­nally felt like I’d grown from an ugly duck­ling to a ‘pass­able goose’,” Jaime laughs.

She won the pageant – and with that suc­cess came a Me­di­acorp con­tract which got her into act­ing, host­ing and even singing (Jaime spent some time as part of One Fifth, a Sin­ga­pore-Tai­wan girl group). “I never knew that I had it in me to join a pageant. But after do­ing so, I re­alised that some­times you need to dive right into things to know if they mat­ter to you.”

… jumped out of a plane!

A self-pro­fessed thrill-seeker, Jaime had her fair share of dab­bling in ex­treme sports when she was film­ing trav­el­ogues. Static-line jumping – where you climb out of an air­plane and hang on to its wing un­til you’re told to let go – is the riski­est thing she’s ever done.

“I was at­tached to a cord that would ac­ti­vate my para­chute when I jumped. But for a few seconds, I was free-fall­ing. And I had to do it twice dur­ing film­ing – as if once wasn’t bad enough!” she cries.

But that’s the beauty of youth: You’re al­ways raring to go. It’s a qual­ity worth re­tain­ing – within rea­son – she adds. “When you do some­thing risky, you feel even more alive – es­pe­cially if you can tick it off your bucket list. That said, I’ll never jump out of planes again.”

… opened her own cup­cake business

“The push to start Twelve Cup­cakes in 2011 came from my hus­band Dan (for­mer ra­dio DJ, Daniel Ong) – I was hes­i­tant, but he con­vinced me to go ahead with it. I wanted to play it safe by open­ing our first out­let in an HDB es­tate with af­ford­able rent. But he said we should take a gam­ble and go com­mer­cial. I’m glad the risk paid off, be­cause we were us­ing our sav­ings.”

With over 40 out­lets in Sin­ga­pore and the re­gion in just three years, Twelve Cup­cakes is a run­away suc­cess. This year, the cou­ple also launched Dulce & Su­cre, a dessert cafe sell­ing other types of sweet treats.

“Even after watch­ing our business grow, I’m still afraid ev­ery time we open a new out­let – I worry that our prod­ucts won’t sell, or that peo­ple won’t think they’re good enough. We’ve had busi­nesses that didn’t take off – Cook­ies for Sid, and Junbi – and re­gion­ally, Twelve Cup­cakes doesn’t per­form as well as it does here. But as Dan says, it’s bet­ter to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all,” she points out.

… took a risk with love and mar­riage

In any re­la­tion­ship, there’s al­ways a chance that things might not work out. Even mar­riage isn’t a guar­an­tee that it’s for­ever – some cou­ples get di­vorced after many years to­gether, says Jaime.

“Dan and I will have been mar­ried for seven years this Septem­ber. Ev­ery day, I’m thank­ful that I de­cided to take the ‘risk’ with him. When our daugh­ter, Re­nee, who’s four now, was about a month old, I had trou­ble breast­feed­ing her as she wasn’t latch­ing on prop­erly. On a par­tic­u­larly try­ing day, I was so frus­trated and in pain that I started cry­ing, and so did Re­nee.

When Dan saw us, he said: ‘ There’s no point cry­ing over spilt milk, right?’ I started to laugh and my frus­tra­tion melted away. That was when I re­ally be­gan to ap­pre­ci­ate his support and ef­forts – he could al­ways make me laugh even dur­ing such tough times.”

… be­came a mother

Of all the life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences she’s had, moth­er­hood beats ev­ery­thing else, says Jaime. “I try to work from home as much as pos­si­ble. But ev­ery time I’m not with Re­nee, or not giv­ing her my un­di­vided at­ten­tion, I’m pulled into a guilt trip.

But a friend once said: ‘God gives the child to the par­ent be­cause they’re the best par­ent for that child.’ So now, when­ever I feel in­ad­e­quate or won­der if I’m do­ing enough for Re­nee, I tell my­self that no par­ent can do ev­ery­thing right – I sim­ply have to make de­ci­sions to the best of my abil­ity at that mo­ment.”

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