Tracy Phillips: Finding joy

Jan 15, 2020, 04:00 AM
She’s known to many as Zouk’s former marketing manager, Buro.’s contributing editor, and founder of marketing agency Ppurpose. If you follow her on Instagram (@tracyjoyphillips), you’ll also know that she’s an avid traveller, a culture insider, an advocate for mindfulness and an all-round joyful being — after all, this is a woman whose middle name is “Joy”. 

Sure, social media only reveals so much about someone, but if you delve deeper into Tracy’s life on the ‘gram, you’ll discover snippets of her journey that wasn’t always easy-going. Caring for a bipolar parent, dropping out of business school to support herself, and growing up in an abusive environment, her formative years were far from idyllic. It wasn’t until she turned her enthusiasm for music and nightlife into a career that things took off for her.

In this episode of Buro.’s Brave Living, Tracy gets candid with our host Simone Heng about how she handled her tumultuous childhood, found friends that became her family, and how she lives mindfully.

1:59 Frequent moves
Tracy found herself in Perth with her mother soon after her parents’ divorce at the tender age of four. After years of shuttling back and forth between Australia and Singapore, where her dad resided, she finally settled down here when she was 13 years old. Tracy recounts how stressful the constant move was — which wasn’t made any easier by the fact that her mom was suffering from bipolar disorder.

05:08 Living with bipolar
Tracy opens up about handling her mother’s severe emotional highs and lows. She first realised something was off when she witnessed her mom go through a manic episode triggered by her dad’s attempt to reconnect. It was a downward spiral from there, with her mom eventually getting institutionalised. 

16:01 Diving into new waters
Fulfilling as it may be, ten years in the nightlife industry left Tracy burnt out. The odd working hours had started to take a toll on her. This spurred her to start her own programming agency. armed with experience and knowledge on the inner workings of the industry.

17:33 Single and proud
Being single is the least of her concerns and Tracy is in no rush to get hitched. Having experienced her parents’ divorce and re-marriages first-hand, the idea of a “happily-ever after” is almost an utopian concept to her. She’ll rather wait for a partner that she is truly convinced about, than going into a relationship because of societal and peer pressure.

27:30 Overcoming the loss of her parents
The unexpected passing of her mother, coupled with the pressure to continue her parents’ legacy, drove her to the brink of an existential crisis. It took years of grieving and the unconditional support of her friends to get back on her feet. 

30:22 On tools of self-improvement
She owes her emotional and mental stability to the work she’s done to make peace with both of her parents. Growing up as a Catholic, she found a whole new perspective with Buddhism and yoga, both of which acted as anchors that kept her grounded through her journey of self-discovery. 

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