Pain of a 'model' politician: I hope they see me as having beauty and brains
WHO: Kevryn Lim
WHAT: Project director at an events management company
FAMILY: Separated, has a 2½-year-old son
POLITICAL CAREER SO FAR: 2015: Joined National Solidarity Party
The day she first spoke to the media as a potential politician was a bittersweet one.
Ms Kevryn Lim was first spotted at a meeting where opposition parties were sorting out their election game plan.
Although she got to tell the public about her political aspirations, it was her short, tight-fitting white dress that really got people talking.
Her fashion choice and racy photos as a former model soon dominated Internet forums. With that, her credibility as a candidate took a hit.
A month later and the National Solidarity Party's (NSP) Sembawang GRC candidate seems to have bounced back with newfound confidence.
On Friday, she was the image of composure as she delivered her maiden speeches at an NSP rally.
She spoke in Mandarin and English and it was clear from the cheers from the audience that she had managed to capture their attention, if not their support.
Speaking to The New Paper two hours before the rally, Ms Lim was all smiles as she told us about her day, which started at 8am, and how she did not have time to eat due to back-to-back commitments.
Looking back, the 26-year-old said quietly: "I think I've grown. A lot. I wanted to cry, but I didn't because I kept telling myself I had to be strong.
"I couldn't let (the criticisms) take me down because I'm here for another reason and people haven't seen that."
Back then, netizens called her ugly names like "stripper". They also dug up her modelling CV, which stated that she was available for all kinds of photoshoots, including nude ones.
For the record, Ms Lim clarified that she has not done any nude photoshoots.
"Whatever you see (online), it's there already. There's nothing more. It's just rumours," she said.
The harsh comments that followed were hard on her.
The former part-time model said: "I was quite lost because it was the first time in 26 years of my life... Nobody ever said things like this to me.
"I also reflected on myself, but I thought (the comments) were quite extreme."
Defending her modelling career, she said that the experience has helped her in her new role as a politician.
"It's not just about looking pretty... there's a lot of work that we need to prepare (for) that people don't get to see.
"You see models on the runway for just one minute, but they have to be there at 7am for a 7pm show. You see the models sleeping on the floors trying to get every minute (of) rest. (As a politician) it's quite similar. We try to get every minute we can to rest.
"Normally, when we do our groundwork, it's not shown on TV and it's not for show..." she said.
Apart from being a model, she has been a radio DJ in Hong Kong, where she studied fashion.
In Perth, Australia, she worked at a media and marketing firm and also did some volunteer work.
She did this while pursuing her Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communication) and a Masters in Professional Communication degrees at Curtin University.
WATCH: Quick questions with Kevryn Lim
Ms Lim, who joined NSP in March, said that, with Polling Day fast approaching, she hardly has time to breathe.
"Basically, the only time that I get for myself would be the sleeping time, although it's not even much," she said sheepishly, adding that she gets three to four hours of sleep "on good days".
"Sometimes, it's really intense, with so many things you need to do, and it's all at the same time. Everybody goes crazy," she said.
Acknowledging that her small frame and youth may put her at a disadvantage, Ms Lim said she has been practising how to speak more confidently and firmly.
She said: "I like to put up a strong front because I'm really petite and people may think that I can be easily bullied. So I tend to portray myself as a strong person.
"I don't like people to judge me based on my size, or on other things."
Like her looks or her choice of clothes, she said.
"I hope people look not just at my looks, but also how much work I've done for them. I hope they see me as (having) beauty and brains."
Ms Kevryn Lim on...
Even before her candidacy was confirmed, all eyes were on Ms Lim as a fresh young face in the National Solidarity Party (NSP).
The attention became too overwhelming for the 26-year-old, who admitted she was not prepared for it.
"It was quite hard for me in the beginning... because it's not easy to cope with and (the reaction) was quite negative at first, so it took me quite a while (get over it).
"Sometimes, before I go out, I would think if what I wore was appropriate," she said.
But when asked if she feels she can no longer be herself, the new candidate said: "I'm losing a bit of myself in the appearance level, but not my inner self.
"I'm still here to fight for what I believe in and to make a change - this has never changed."
THE NEED TO PROVE HERSELF
Because of the bad press she got from her first public appearance with NSP, Ms Lim feels she needs to do more to prove her mettle.
"When I first came into the limelight, it was because of my modelling career and my looks. But people don't see that I also have a degree," she said.
"It's a bit more work because in mainstream media, I have been seen as just a pretty face.
"I understand that they are not confident about how I can help, that they just see a pretty face. But there's more to it.
"So I hope I will be given this opportunity to prove myself, to prove to people that there's another side to me."
BEING A SINGLE MUM
On Nomination Day, Ms Lim broke the news that she is separated from her Australian-born Singaporean husband and they have a 2½-year-old son.
"It was one of the major things I considered before I entered politics. I chose to reveal it at this point to present the truth to the residents. I don't want to hide anything from them, I don't want them to feel that they've been lied to.
"I don't think it's anything shameful either. I hope the residents know me as much as I know myself. In this way, we can connect easily," Ms Lim said.
During this period, she has left her son in the care of her parents.
"I really feel quite bad, so I try to take every chance to see him. If we have walkabouts at 10am or 11am, I try to get up earlier in the morning to see him. We finish quite late, so I can never get to see him at night," she said.
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