Shentonista Interviews – Jacky & Linda: A Sunny Attachment


Linda & Jacky

Cupid’s here a-visiting again and we at Shentonista would like to celebrate this season of romance with you by sharing some modern day love stories as part of our “Shentonista Interviews” series. Creative, entrepreneurial and all-around inspiring, these featured couples for our Valentine’s Day special show what makes them tick.

Our final couple met at a movie casting: he, a promising filmmaker, her, a budding actress and fashion entrepreneur. Meet Jacky Lee and Linda Hao, an impossibly bright and positive couple whose cheerful demeanours belie an iron will to succeed in their chosen paths. Having recently completed their movie, aptly named “Sunshine”, the enthusiastic pair discuss the benefits of working in different industries, supporting each other and the fragility of a treasured handmade bag.

// For this part of the interview, Linda and Jacky were questioned independently. //

How many Valentine’s Days have you celebrated together? 

Linda (L): Third.

Jacky (J): Second? Wait wait… I think it’s third. It’s the third.

What was the first item you gave each other? Do you still have it or use it?

L: Oh my god (laughs) I can’t remember. I love shopping so every time I see something that’s suitable for Jacky, I’ll buy it. I made something for him though. It’s a tote bag for him with a special patchwork design. It’s the one and only.

Do you think he still has it?

L: He has it but he won’t use it. He doesn’t want to use it, he thinks it’s very fragile because it’s handmade.

J: First item I gave her? Oh no, I cannot remember. First item she gave me? Oh no, I cannot remember! I forgot everything!

What about the handmade tote bag?

J: Oh yes that I can remember, it’s quite fragile. I’m not someone who will carefully place things into my bag, I usually just throw them in. So even if there are sharp objects I might throw them in, so yeah, I’d rather not damage it. It’s safe at home.

Linda, who inspires your fashion?

L: Street culture and Japanese street snaps. I believe in mixing and matching. There’s really no one particular that I follow at the moment.

Does Jacky have an influence on you?

L: Not really, but because he likes caps and glasses, when I go shopping these days, I tend to look out for caps and glasses too.

Jacky, who inspires your films?

J: I think it’s mostly personal experiences and the stories around me; it could be something that I read in the papers or heard from a friend. But regardless of which, to me, most importantly, the end-product has to be a film that I personally like and enjoy. I don’t want to end up making films that I won’t enjoy.

// For this part of the interview, the couple was interviewed together. //

Who is the better dresser? 

L: ME. I have to style him all the time.

J: But she needs someone to take her outfit photos.

Do you think your styles have changed since getting together?

J: Totally. I wore a lot of black when I was in Melbourne but since we got together I became A LOT more colourful and wear more prints. In the past I didn’t dare to clash prints and colours but now I really don’t care.

L: I think mine actually became more streetwear-inspired ever since we got together because Jacky likes streetwear. I was more of a “fashion-fashion” person but now I mix it with street elements.

What’s your favourite item of his/her?

L: (Without hesitation) Oh there’s this pair of glasses that I really really like, it’s his pair of vintage glasses.

J: It’s a two-toned frame, the pair I wore on Shentonista the other time. Here.

L: It’s a vintage piece so you don’t really see it so often.

And your favourite of Linda’s?

J: She’s got too many things. But I would think it’s this navy vintage dress.

L: Oh I don’t really like it now. It’s a vintage printed chiffon dress with a flared bottom. It’s red, white and navy with a mandarin collar.

What’s your support system like with each other? 

J: Money money money. Kidding. (Laughs) I think it’s a good thing that we can work quite well together. Even when there are things we don’t agree on, we are able to talk it out and not argue over it or be too stubborn about our ideas. We work quite a fair bit together but it feels more like a collaboration, to be honest. I think a lot of couples struggle to work together but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for us.

L: I think it’s also because he doesn’t really do fashion. So when I tell him about my job or my ideas, he doesn’t really have strong ideas that clash with mine. He gives me emotional support and will never say things like, “Eh, I don’t think it’s nice la”.  He tells me about the film industry and I tell him about the fashion industry. I don’t think we have opinions that clash.

J: I think we are not too rigid in our thinking. I’m quite spontaneous in a sense that my ideas always change and evolve and Linda’s always game to come on-board.

Having just filmed the movie “Sunshine” together, was Linda the muse or inspiration for this movie? Or did you already have the idea brewing and thought Linda would be suitable for it?

J: I think the film evolved. Initially I wasn’t so clear in terms of visual direction but when she came on-board and played a part, she made it clearer. She did all the costumes and ideas were constantly bouncing off each other. Like I said, it’s always complementary and not like, “Oh because Linda’s on-board, let’s do this”. We had to drop a lot of ideas along the way as well due to other issues like budget and all.

L: Actually he only knew me because he casted me for the role of the female lead for “Sunshine”. He had already written the story then and we weren’t even friends yet. It was after that casting that he started to ask me out. Initially, I thought it was just the director wanting to know his actors but after a few suppers, I realised it wasn’t about work anymore.

When did the interest in Linda start? 

J: It wasn’t immediate, it took about six months for us to start dating?

L: No, it was quite immediate. Asking me out was quite immediate.

J: Hahaha, okay yes quite immediate. (Laughs) I mean, if you see someone that you like you should just go for it la, why do you want to wait around and be like “Oh, let’s finish work first”? It just so happens that we met during the movie casting. Hey, Spike Jones did it too.

L: I was pretty puzzled because the movie filming didn’t take place till very much later. I even thought there wouldn’t be a movie anymore.

J: I actually wrote the script two-and-a-half years ago but due to several factors such as the revision of MDA’s scheme and the coordination of our crew’s schedule, the production was delayed. In retrospect, if things had gone according to plan, I don’t think Linda and I would have gotten into a relationship.

Jacky, did you feel any form of jealousy when she was filming with the male lead?

J: Actually no, not at all. I don’t think I treated her like a girlfriend during the shoot.

L: Yeah me too. It was my first time filming a movie and I’ve heard so many horror stories about directors and their starlets, so I told Jacky that we should keep our distance a few days before the shoot. On set, we were just professional crew – I would only treat him as my director, not as my boyfriend.

J: I was quite stressed during the shoot because so many things could go wrong but thankfully they didn’t. The crew was made up of students and working professionals who came together to help put this movie together. There was a lot more at stake because I was worried about wasting people’s time. There was a clear distinction between personal and professional during filming, I would even ask Linda to a taxi back after filming because I was too exhausted.

Linda, having just launched your own fashion line, what do you think of the local fashion industry?

L: I honestly think it’s a little bit depressing because the local market does not fully appreciate the work and effort put into each handcrafted work. Everything I create is made from scratch and with a great amount of thought put into each detail – every sequin is sewn by hand. I feel that local consumers would still rather spend on the bigger brands instead of supporting the smaller independent labels. It’s going to be quite difficult for us to survive if consumers only go for high-street and high-end brands.. With this new capsule collection being sold online, I’m hoping that it’ll be YESAH’s venture into the overseas market too.

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