March 08, 2021The Art of Empowerment: Women's Day 2021 Every year, on 8th March, International Women’s Day marks a special time for the team at BONIA, and women around the world. As a brand that is both female empowered and supported, this day provides us with an opportunity and a platform to celebrate and champion the achievements of women. In conjunction with IWD 2021, BONIA has teamed up with three talented ladies for a special campaign called “The Art of Empowerment”. Inspired by the intersection of classical art and the strength of timeless womanhood, this campaign shares a glimpse into the power and perspective of Deborah Henry, Datin Sri Linda Chen and Bono Stellar, as they recreate famous works of art, including Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June,” and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” DEBORAH HENRY Model & Humanitarian Artwork: “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” by Frida Kahlo Deborah Henry is a model and humanitarian whose tireless work champions the rights of refugees, women and children. Deborah co-founded the Fugee School, a non-profit education hub in Malaysia that provides educational opportunities to refugee children. Through her work with the school, she continues to empower and influence the lives of hundreds of children. Why is International Women's Day important to you? Many of us forget that we live relatively comfortable lives and, in that bubble, we can lose touch with the harsh reality. Through my work and by staying informed, I’m aware that millions of women around the world live in oppressive environments without access to education or the opportunity to live to their full potential. Young women are robbed of their right to dream big. Half of the world’s population is losing out and it is important for us to recognise this, especially those with privilege. International Women’s Day is a day to listen, learn and introspect on how we can make a difference. Where do you find your personal strength and power? The main pillars of my life are family and faith. Since an early age, these pillars helped me to establish a moral compass that has guided me through the darkest waters. You never know how strong you are until you’ve been tested. If you face setbacks with a “glass half empty” attitude, you will feel victimised so I’ve tried to take everything in my stride. My career has had its ups and downs and I’ve learned to rise up with every fall. This requires the most important virtue of all: humility. True power is having the humility to be vulnerable and to learn from one’s mistakes. What does it mean to be a woman living in this time? The essence of being a woman today is to be empowered by two things: a voice and a choice. This means learning to use our voices to make better choices for ourselves and for other women who may not have the same liberties. It means raising our voices to stand up for each other. In this ultra-connected world, it can be very easy to put others down, so encouragement and support is more important than ever. I try to imbibe this attitude in myself and in others in the social work that I do with Fugee School. DATIN SRI LINDA CHEN Marketing & Communications Director Artwork: “Flaming June” by Frederic Leighton As the Marketing and Communications Director at BONIA, Datin Sri Linda Chen has served an essential role in making the brand what it is today. A fearless and passionate communicator and businesswoman, she continuously champions the work and talent of others. Not only has she led the team responsible for spearheading the new brand vision, she also ensures that BONIA always embraces and celebrates a spirit of diversity and collaboration. Why is International Women's Day important to you? It’s an important day to be grateful for the accomplishments of women, while educating ourselves on the ongoing fight for women’s rights and equality worldwide. There is still so much that needs to be done, and raising awareness with beautiful yet impactful campaigns like this is an important step in inspiring and empowering other women to achieve their goals. Where do you find your personal strength and power? I find strength in family and friends. The lockdowns that we have experienced the past year has made me realise just how much security and fulfilment they provide me. I find joy in sharing moments with others and I find power in knowledge – both of which also help me to run my team. I believe it’s important to be open to learning from all those around me. What does it mean to be a woman living in this time? Knowing your worth. The achievements of women have long been undervalued and as a result, we have had to fight harder for what we want. The greatest defiance is to understand your value and unique perspective as a woman and use that to thrive in any environment. BONO STELLAR Multidisciplinary Artist Artwork: “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer Nawwar Shukriah Ali, known to most as Bono Stellar, is an independent multidisciplinary artist whose work experiments with the interplay of materials, light and space. She has garnered an impressive list of clients with her company Stellar Studio, including BMW, L'Officiel, Better Cities, Mini Cooper, Nelissa Hilman, Shiseido and Zalora. Why is International Women's Day important to you? It is a day to remind the woman in us that we’ve made it incredibly far, and that, no matter how far we have left, we should celebrate the victories, however big or small. At the same time, I believe every single day is an opportunity to acknowledge our achievements and cheer each other on for our strengths. Where do you find your personal strength and power? I find my personal strength and power through the experiences that I’ve gone through in life. Each experience, success and hardship alike, have taught me how to thrive as an independent woman and creative in the world. After every pitfall, I’ve picked myself back up and found the strength to create a better future. What does it mean to be a woman living in this time? To embrace our individuality to the core and know our rights as a woman. We no longer need to conform in order to fit in. Instead, we should choose to be ourselves unashamedly and surround ourselves with supportive women with whom we can grow alongside.