Name: Hélène Yon
Current City: Seoul, South Korea
Occupation: Industrial Product Development Manager at a top Cosmetics Company
How would you describe your style?
Casual, feminine and elegant.
If you had to wear one outfit everyday, what would it be?
Skinny jeans with a silk top, jacket, heels and pendant earrings, or a black dress.
Who or what influences/inspires your style?
I use my emotions and my mood to get inspiration. It can also be from the city I live in or place I travel to, as well as random conversations or an easy search on Instagram or Pinterest.
What do you enjoy most about your current life?
Being able to travel, making a new place home and still be surrounded by genuine people wherever I go. I’ve realized that life doesn’t change so much but it’s the way that I see it that will make the whole difference.
Have your travels shaped your style in anyway?
I tend to buy more comfortable and practical clothes that I can use for traveling, at work or evenings. I also try to look for unique or designer-made accessories, colors and shapes.
Which countries have you visited?
Probably over 30 but there are so many more that I would like to explore and/or live in. After spending all of these years in Asia, I would love to see more of South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
How do your cultural roots affect your style?
I’d like to say that I am a citizen of the world, and I consider my culture and home beyond my Chinese and French roots. Home for me is not only the place where I grew up, or move to (South Korea is my 4thcountry), but it is also the place where I become myself.
This mixture of culture and emotions affect my style, as it is link to the way I see life. I like to wear basic pieces but I will add a touch of color here and there through shoes, jewelry or some other accessories to brighten the day.
You have an interesting family History, can you share how your parents ended up in France?
My ancestors are Chinese. Two generations of which (grandparents & parents) escaped the place they called home. They first fled from China to Cambodia during the rise of Communism and the Great Famine, then from Cambodia to France due to the bloody civil war.
My family had to start all over again in a new country without a single penny. My siblings and I were born and raised in France, and from an early age, I knew that I would have had to work hard to earn every little thing. From my family’s experience I’ve learned that nothing in life should be taken for granted as you can one day lose everything, and that our values and integrity are things that cannot be taken away from us.
Have you ever had to make any hard sacrifices in order to pursue your dreams/career?
Growing up as the youngest girl in an ultra-conservative Chinese family where respect of ones’ elders is important, and the roles and rights of men and women are clearly cut, I understood quite quickly that I needed to stand up for what I believed was right.
I told myself that I would not only be the pretty smiley girl that should know how to take care of a home, but I would be a successful and independent woman making her own life’s decisions.
Being this rather modern girl fighting the odds wasn’t easy but I was brave enough to follow my instincts, even if sometimes it meant putting some distance between my family and me to protect my feelings. I learned to be tough and only counted on myself.
I’ve never seen that as a sacrifice but more as a life goal.
Your background is in Chemical Engineering; it is useful to you now as a Project Manager in the beauty industry?
Yes definitely, it helps me a lot- to quickly understand industrial constraints and risks, as well as guide and challenge the team and partners to successfully launch new products on the market.
Also in this rather misogynous environment – more valid in Asia than in the Western world, my suppliers quickly understand that they cannot talk nonsense, as I like to understand how things work.
Has your perception on beauty changed since you’ve been working in the beauty industry? If so, how?
My perception on beauty has for sure changed over the past years but probably not because I am working in the beauty industry. I believe that Beauty comes from the inside. But what I like in my job is that its beyond the glitters and shallowness. I tend to believe that we create products to give self-confidence to women. By taking care of herself and feeling beautiful in her own way, she will have the strength to be the amazing lady she is and glow.
Do you feel a pressure to look and dress a certain way because of the field that you work in? As in, wear makeup every day or be fashionably dressed at your job?
Honestly I don’t, maybe because I am working on the technical side. I’ve realized that I tone down a bit, for example with my everyday make-up, I usually don’t go too intense with wearing a bright colored lipstick at work even if I would love to. I just feel sometimes it is a bit too much.
You work in a female dominated industry, would you say that because of this women are treated more equally and fairly there?
Probably yes although we still have mainly men in our board of directors. I am not so good at judging though as I think it should the case in any big leading company, at least in developed countries or society.
Do you feel a greater sense of support among women in your industry in light of the rise of the women’s movement?
There is definitely a sense of support and cooperation in my company but I would say it is not only among women but also among employees. And it is not linked to this industry but rather to company culture. I was working for a competitor before and I can definitely say that it wasn’t the same kind of support, or at least from my experience.
What does female friendship mean to you?
Friendship in general means a lot to me.
I am mainly surrounded by women- all with different personalities, but with on thing in common, their amazing souls. These women have been through a lot and are not afraid to open up. They not only share their learning but also their fears.
They care for me as much as I care for them. They are the ones I can share good laugh with, a glass of wine or some unexpected life craziness. There’s never a dull moment with these ladies and they can turn every frown into a smile with a few simple words. My female friends know me better than I know myself. They are in other words my sisters and I am so grateful to have them in my life.
Describe your life 10 years ago in three words.
Inseparable couple, predictable, incomplete.
What does being a BagLady mean to you?
A Nomad woman carrying all her stuff around in a big bag full of memories.
What do you like most about our garments?
The fact that it is comfortable, simple and easy to wear but you still feel feminine in it.
What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
Many things, but most importantly would be to learn to fall in love with yourself, accept your beautiful imperfections and own whom you are. The relationship that you have with yourself will set the tone for any relationship that you would have.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I am enough the way I am and don’t let anyone change my smile and laughs. It is also ok to get lost to be able to find yourself again.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
It happens each time someone tells me that I inspire them.
How do you define happiness?
Happiness is being able to feel every little thing from the sun tanning your skin, the sound of the sea waves. It’s being able to see different kinds of feelings like joy, sadness, anger, excitement is a gift.
All emotions are beautiful and not being afraid of embracing them fully is really powerful. It shows why life is worth living.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
You are the energy you want to attract. Open your eyes, heart and mind to new things. Only you are the limit. Make sure your thoughts are in line with where you want your life to go and the rest will fall naturally. You will for sure come across unfortunate souls but angels are also around your way.