Pretty x Tough

September 14, 2015

"It’s absolutely vital to find what you are passionate about in life. Being stuck in a job you don’t care about equates to slow suicide." - Christine Amour-Levar

In our ongoing series of kickass interviews, our theme this week is Pretty x Tough. In a society where we follow superficial idols on social media whose images are filtered and curated we have the real deal in Christine. A woman who goes out there and makes things happen and to top it off, she makes it look good

At first glance, Christine is strikingly beautiful. She's tall, slender and you can't help but take a second glance at her. When she greets you there's this outpouring of warmth and sincerity. Like she's keen to be your friend. When she first came to workout at my studio she was high energy, full of laughs and even helped to promote the business. When you discover that this woman was a former senior executive of an MNC and is currently leading a charitable organization for underprivileged women you wonder what else she is capable of? Then you discover she also wrote a book about fitness, is the mother of 4 kids and speaks 6 languages you can't help but gain a deep admiration and respect for her. Christine is not just a pretty face, she's also very tough and she's not stopping anytime soon.

We at KITTED are fortunate to get Christine out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us. We do hope that she will be an inspiration to you as she was for us.

1.) Christine, we know you are one pretty busy mom. So just share with us a snippet of what your typical week looks like!

 Every week is different for me, so there’s never a dull moment! I divide my time between caring for my four children and supporting them in their activities and studies, and working on my various consultancy projects, managing marketing communications for my husband’s company, iRaceMedia, and running Women on a Mission (WOAM) the non-profit organisation, which I co-founded in 2012 to support women survivors of war and abuse. I also make it a point to exercise every day if possible, and I enjoy playing the piano, reading, writing, watching movies, eating out and spending time with my family and friends.

2.) Can you also share what drives you every day? What motivates you in what you do?

The biggest driver for me is to lead an interesting and meaningful life. I love working on stimulating projects, meeting interesting people. I get motivated and excited when I am learning new things, particularly outside my comfort zone.

It’s also important for me to know that I’m contributing to the world in my own small way, thus I derive deep satisfaction from working on my WOAM-related projects. 

3.) It seems like you have it all under control. Are there times when things have been difficult? How did you get through it?

 It’s true life has its ups and downs, but having the right positive attitude will always make a BIG difference. I’ve had my share of tough times, but they only made me stronger and more grateful for the good times. As I often tell my children, “go through life with a grateful heart, you will be happier for it, and it will also bring its share of miracles!” 

4.) What are you working on now that is dear/important to you?

There are quite a few projects I’m currently working on that I’m very excited about:

I’m about to partner with a group of fitness experts and coaches based in Singapore, to launch a new 6-week ‘Get Fulfilled with Mummylicious’ programme in October 2015. This is to help mums get into shape, become healthier and more Mummylicious! The programme will use content and insights from my book, “The Smart Girl’s Handbook to Being Mummylicous” and will be communicated to participants via a mobile app called Fulfilled. You can find out more here.

I am also currently planning our next WOAM event. This will be a special lunch affair held on October 8, at Me@OUE Restaurant Singapore in support of the Committee for UN Women’s efforts to end human trafficking in Asia. Our keynote speaker is Dr Anousheh Ansari, the first self-funded woman in history to fly into space. She is also the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first Muslim woman, and fourth private explorer to visit space.  Tickets for the event are very limited and can be purchased here

Additionally, our WOAM trekking team is preparing to embark on a very exciting expedition this November 2015, with the nomadic Nenets reindeer herders of Siberia, to raise awareness and funds for women survivors of war. This will be the first time in history that an all-female team will accompany the Nenets on one of their 60km-journey across the frozen Gulf of Ob, deep in the Arctic Circle in northern Russia. During this expedition, we will completely immerse ourselves in the lives of the nomads, so this means sharing their meals, working with the herders, and sleeping in ‘chums’ or traditional tents, made of reindeer hides. Temperatures are expected to be as low as - 50 degrees Celsius and could be accompanied by howling Arctic winds!

5.) Is it important to find your passion in life or is it over rated? Better to just work hard? Do we chase the dream or play it safe?

It’s absolutely vital to find what you are passionate about in life. Being stuck in a job you don’t care about equates to slow suicide. Both my husband and I have always followed our hearts when it relates to our careers and I believe we are happier and more successful because of this.

My husband Steve has always been passionate about sports, and horseracing in particular, and as a result, he had a successful career in that industry for over 15 years. Following this, he set up his own company, iRaceMedia, nine years ago, which is specialised in horseracing publishing. Today it’s Singapore’s leading horse racing publishing & media company, and operates internationally providing consultancy, data, smartphone applications and distribution services to business partners all over the world.

I have also always been passionate about sports, and it’s no coincidence that I ended up having a great experience working for Nike internationally over a span of 11 years. Throughout my life, I’ve followed my heart when it came to picking jobs or work projects. Today I’m focused on philanthropy and want to make more of a difference; setting up WOAM actually opened many doors for me, including my current fantastic consultancy job for Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings.

6.) What advise would you give to yourself when you first graduated? Would you have done anything different?

I would do it all over again. I had four job offers before graduating from university in Tokyo. I knew I needed to find a job quickly if I wanted to be allowed to stay in Japan, because a student visa without a confirmed job offer meant you had to exit the country. So six months before graduation, I sent out 60 CVs, sometimes even hand delivered them, and within a few months, I was gratified to find I had four serious job offers, from well established companies.

In the end I picked the job that didn’t necessarily pay the most but it was the one that interested me the most and allowed me to use my Japanese constantly. I started working in a very exciting industry, Advertising, for Japan’s largest foreign agency called McCann-Erickson. This first job, coupled with my passion for sports, later opened other doors for me in marketing at Nike!

7.) What’s your fitness routine like? Have you always been driven to fitness or is this something you picked up in your adult years?

Sports has always been a big part of my life.  I was a very athletic and competitive child. Growing up I played football, tennis, basketball, touch rugby, swimming and could never stay still. Later on as I went on to university, I joined a gym and when I worked for Nike, would still play football regularly with my officemates.  Today I enjoy futsal, running, tennis, yoga, rock-climbing and of course trekking on a regular basis!

8.) Describe a woman you admire and why do you admire her?

I admire many women, but there are two in particular that I look up to very much: Queen Rania of Jordan and Angelina Jolie. Both women don’t simply embody beauty and grace; their humanitarian efforts are truly admirable and changing the world. They use their position and fame as platforms to become progressive female voices in various regions, the Arab world for Rania and the Balkans for Angelina and campaign tirelessly for the UN and many other charitable organisations on behalf of women and children in need. Yet, despite their numerous achievements, they remain grounded and devoted to their families.

 9.) What are your career, and fitness goals for the rest of 2015?

Fitness-wise, I would like to build my endurance and strengthen by body to be in the best possible shape for our Siberia trek in November. 

Career wise, my responsibilities and consultancy projects are increasing, and so are my journalistic writing assignments, thus I’m currently quite happy with how things are progressing. Siberia will be WOAM's 4th expedition to date and we will surely plan a very special 5th year anniversary trek in 2016 – so stay tuned!

10.) Now nobody is perfect. What is your guilty pleasure?

I admit I have a sweet tooth… I can’t refused a Pavlova, especially if it’s prepared by my sister-in-law or my mother-in-law, two of the best cooks I have ever met!

 

Christine looking comfortable gracing magazine photoshoots and also off the beaten path and roughing it out.



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