It was not long ago that Sheena Liam has made Malaysians proud with her modeling accolade; winning Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 2 in 2014. These days, she's actively global trotting for career and creative ventures with her partner in crime, Ernest Zacharevic. He is an artist and Sheena - a muse to her lover and also an art aficionado who happens to get a kick out of doing embroidery.
It's no secret that Sheena loves to draw and her needlework skills are commendable. What started out as a random hobby became a hook on Sheena's creative fix. Her Instagram page is practically her life journal showcasing her artistic adventures with Ernest, modeling gigs and stunning embroidery works. She admits to rarely finishing her stitch works but when she does, the results are often satisfying. When it comes to creating embroideries, Sheena is inspired by movement, expression, and body language. Thanks to her modeling finesse, most of her sketches are self-inspired and those drawings would eventually become her embroidery masterpieces.
"I use pictures of myself most of the time. I need a lot of reference for body movement, it's hard to just make it up. I move in front of the camera and use the images as reference for my drawings, which will get transferred to the canvas then I stitch. I throw most of my work away at sketching stage, it takes drawing it out to realize it's shit."
It may just be a hobby to pass time but her works have gained the attention of friends from the industry. In fact, she recently did an exhibition for Chi Chi Von Tang, a Singapore-based fashion label.
"Lexie and Lisa from Chi Chi Von Tang called me up about it. They wanted me (to create) an artwork for their store front and it was a large wall so I just upsized what I usually do. The actual fun part was planning the construction of the frames. I had to pull a small team together for that. Cabinet factory workers and rattan craftsmen; they had no clue what I was trying to achieve."
That's not all, Sheena even did a collaboration with her boyfriend for murals that he has painted in Norway. She was asked to cross-stitch twelve art pieces.
"I took it on thinking it would be a fun challenge. I was wrong though, it took me so long and I hated the restrictions of cross stitching. They were based on a pre-existing mural my boyfriend painted in Norway and animated so they had to be very accurate. The whole time I was just dreaming of when I could actually start stitching things I wanted instead. So when I was done I tried stitching my drawings and people loved it so I kept going."
When modeling becomes mundane, stitching acts as an outlet for Sheena to express her creative freedom. Having used to being told what to do by work associates for modeling jobs - from hairdressers, to nail artists, to photographers, and to creative directors; creating embroidery pieces certainly allows her to be in charge.
"Some photographers leave it to you for posing, some direct you. So you never actually have a product of your own. I love helping others realize their creativity, I guess this is something I get to call the shots at."
How does she describe her style and taste aesthetically? Messy. For someone who loves prints, patterns, and colors in the photos she takes, her artwork can be quite the contrast - minimal and clean. Perhaps dating an artist has something to do with it.
"Ernest is a good energy to be around in general. He executes all his ideas out regardless of how ridiculous it sounds. I never quite understand what he's trying to achieve at the beginning of his crazy plans- chopping buses up and stuff but people love the final product. We have very different approaches in our work. He rarely interferes with my ideas as I rarely interfere with his."
With her many talents and skills, Sheena is definitely a force to be reckoned with regardless of what dream she pursues. It's the offbeat persona which she possesses that makes her unique and respectable among peers and artists alike. With a good head on her shoulders, there's nothing that can stop this go-getter from achieving her goals. Considering her philosophy in life is "To try not to be an asshole," we think Sheena is already an inspiration and a success in her own right.
Pictured above, Sheena in Ace Sandal. Get a pair here >
We count our lucky stars for having met Sheena Liam and the fact that she chooses Yoke & Theam to be a part of her journey makes us proud and honored. Have you seen Sheena in our footwear? She rocks them effortlessly. We asked Sheena about her favorite pairs and here's what she has to say.
How often do you wear your Yoke & Theam shoes?
Almost daily. I have to travel light and they can go from casual to work so they're a good option.
Where do you wear them to?
I wear them almost everywhere. People don't actually talk much about them except that one time I wore socks and sandals and caused an uproar.
What's your signature fashion style?
I dress for comfort and not doing laundry. So yes, Yoke & Theam shoes do reflect on my personal style perfectly.
What do you think about our #ytwalkoflife campaign?
I think it's great Yoke and Theam is focusing on inspiring figures. Growing up my role models were always strong women I admired for their work not their looks. I think it's important to focus on what women have achieved above all else.
Be a part of #ytwalkoflife and join our initiative to inspire women with outstanding individuals just like Sheena Liam.
Photos by: @sheenaliam
Yoke & Theam Walk of Life
We celebrate strong and independent women of all age, gender, race and sexuality. #ytwalkoflife is our very own initiative to showcase aspiring personalities to our consumers whom we consider our loyal friends. Our belief is that each individual possesses compelling stories that are unique and inspiring - from fashion darlings to expressive artists, to everyday people - let their life narratives play a part in filling the pages in your book of journey. Take a glance at what it's like to be in their shoes as we feature one personality each month.
Yoke & Theam aims to inspire women to become better versions of themselves. You too can be a part of our movement by sharing your Yoke & Theam OOTD with #ytwalkoflife on Instagram. Tell us what empowers you as a woman and who knows, your story could be told here.
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