This story begins three months ago—on June 1st—when I was offered a spot in the ‘Hot Shots’ campaign.
The ‘Hot Shots’ campaign is organized by CLEO magazine, where ‘every year, we select 30 successful women across industries to speak of their success, background, and how they’re reshaping the landscape of their industries.’ I know this might sound surprising, but when I read the offer, I hesitated. Yes, I actually hesitated. I asked my mum and my colleagues if I should go for it. And only when they said, ‘Yes! Of course!” I said, “Yes,” myself. Strange, I know.
Now, despite saying ‘yes’, I didn’t actually announce the nomination—I didn’t tell anyone but those who already knew. Why? Because I wasn’t sure if it was truly going to happen. I doubted. I didn’t think I was ‘Hot Shot’ worthy, and I thought CLEO might change their mind. So before CLEO sent me the official email, with my photoshoot and interview date, I kept the news to myself. Pretty understandable, right?
My photoshoot and interview date was June 12th. At 10.30 a.m. that day, I hopped on a Grab and headed to a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The entirety of the experience was foreign to me. And upon my return home, I wrote a Facebook post summarising the event.
On August 1st, CLEO’s ‘Hot Shots’ issue hit the shelves. Firstly, let me just say, I’m not a fan of my picture. It wasn’t me. But CLEO is a fashion and lifestyle magazine, so what most people are generally used to is not something you would see on such a publication. That being said, after flipping past my profile, I started to read about the other 29 women. And, only then, I realised that being a ‘hot shot’ didn’t necessarily mean being a millionaire—a hot shot could be anyone who is doing what they love and making a change through their works regardless of the magnitude of their success. So hey, maybe I am worthy of being called a ‘Hot Shot’ after all (nope, still doubting).
Then, August 21st rolled around and CLEO posted my full interview—both video and written—on their website and social media. As I’m not a fan of seeing myself in action, I cringed a little watching myself in the video interview. But I’m glad… no, I’m relieved… that I shared from the heart. There was no pretending. My words were true—if you’ve been following me for a while, you know they are. The only thing that wasn’t true to Jeyna was the makeup, which made me seem a little intimidating.
A couple of days after my profile went live, I went for a CLEO high-tea event. It was a weekday, so I had to take a half day off work. It was one of the most awkward experiences in my life. Remember when I blogged about ‘How To Balance Passion & Work’, where I mentioned about how I dislike networking? Well, which introvert actually enjoys networking? I was completely out of
my element! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the instastories. But if you don’t, here’s the status update on my personal Facebook account summarizing the whole 2 hours.
“Thursday, 5 p.m: Currently on my way home from the CLEO event—it’s safe to say that this is my first ‘networking’ event, so I guess it’s understandable to act and feel extremely awkward. But hey, at least I managed to strike up a conversation with a 20-year-old MMA fighter, her manager, and a singer signed under Yuna’s record label. Also, I got a free cookie and a makeup set from Wet & Wild. Overall, I’m glad I did something completely outside of my comfort zone. But next time, can I not go alone? Can I have a plus one please?”
It’s safe to say that I will remember this entire experience for a lifetime. I never imagined being recognised for my work on such a scale. Though I’m still a long way off from living the dream, the past few months introduced me to a world I didn’t know I could be a part of. So I’m grateful, tremendously grateful, for the opportunity. I’m glad, despite the fear of unfamiliar environments, that I stepped out of my comfort zone. And, if nothing more comes my way, I’ll continue to celebrate this moment. Because through it, I have bravely traversed uncharted territory and I’m now more than ready to sail into the unknown… again.
Try not to cringe! You can watch the video interview below and read the written interview HERE!