is the embodiment of the fearless, modern-day working woman
. Industrious and fiercely independent, she fought tooth and nail for a life she’s always desired — through a troubling childhood, physical abuse, divorce, heartbreak, fertility problems, and financial struggles.
Today, Celine is the partner and brand COO of brand communications and strategy firm The Ate Group. Her passion for caviar led to her opening up her own company last June, after working tirelessly behind-the-scenes for two years. On top of that, she is a mother
to a 15-month old boy and wife to a Hungarian PE teacher whom she met off Tinder. How does she do it?
In this episode of Buro.’s Brave Living
, Celine goes deep with her long-time friend and our host Simone Heng
about her father’s cancer relapse, making amends, finding love again in her mid-30s, and how to be a compassionate boss.
2:59 Marriage and divorce
Celine recounts getting married at a young age, and realising after some time that they both wanted different things out of life. She then went on to chase her career. When she hit her mid-30s, she felt ready to settle down. Contemplating her options, she researched about freezing her eggs abroad in Thailand or Australia.
7:50 Childhood abuse from her cancer-stricken father
Growing up as the only child in the household, she learnt how to be independent from an early age. Celine’s father was an alcoholic, and she had to endure violent episodes as a kid. The beatings, irrespective of her father’s cancer diagnosis, continued until she found the power to leave home at 18 years old. Because of her dad’s condition, Celine couldn't go to university, as money went into medical treatments. Despite everything, she remained close to her dad and made amends with him towards the end of his life.
14:12 Unhappy with life in the UK
After graduating polytechnic, Celine landed a full-time job in London. She felt everything fell into place: she was married (at 20) and was gaining crucial work experience in the UK even though she had no higher education. However, she later realised she was unhappy and unsatisfied with her life. She got a divorce and changed careers. After learning about her father’s cancer relapse, Celine decided to come back to Singapore.
25:25 Settling down in her 30s
After years of prioritising her career, Celine found herself wanting to start a family in 2015. Before tying the knot with her now-husband, she found dating in her 30s difficult; she was worried that she was too old in the dating pool. Celine matched with her Hungarian husband on Tinder and, as they all say, the rest is history.