The youngest daughter of Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew reminisces and talks about her journey into womanhood.

Career, family and love,
these are the three things that Diani Lee holds most closely to her heart. With long black silky hair and doe-like eyes, she looks ever the lovely girl-next-door. As one of the beloved children of Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, veteran developer behind Country Heights Group of Companies – in which Diani is also working at as general manager of corporate communications – Diani was exposed to the high life ever since birth. But despite growing up and being surrounded by all the luxuries in the world, she manages to maintain a grounded and humble view of life.

It was 6am on the day of our shoot when I arrived at the Lee’s temporary residence located in The Mines. Their main home in Country Heights Kajang – where all happy childhood memories took place, is currently undergoing refurbishment. Fearful of waking the entire household, I tiptoed my way to the main entrance and did a fast knock on the door. The door opened swiftly and I was invited in by one of her helpers who took me to the living room. It wasn’t long before our cover girl made her way down the stairs – very casually dressed, with spectacles and sans make-up. She greeted me with a bright smile. While waiting for the other team members to arrive, we talked about her wedding preparations. To which her cheerful expression immediately crinkled as she told me all about what had happened within the past week. 

Dress by Red Valentino

Diani explained her task of now having to resend invitation cards due to a change in the wedding venue. “I also need to split my wedding to two days, and there’s so much more work to be done!” the lady said, a hint of stress detected in her voice. Those who’ve gotten married may very well understand the sort of pressures and tension that Diani may be facing. Thankfully, that air of tension evaporated as she whipped out her phone and showed me her wedding photos, recently shot in Perth. 

“We went to Lancelin and the Pinnacles. Look at this location here; you see that big red dress? Well, I changed into that, in a bus and it was so windy!” the chirpy tone was back. Diani first met her partner, Law Wai Cheong, at her sister Dianna’s wedding. Full of laughter and smiles, she revealed that she had actually argued with him during their first conversation. “That actually helped me remember him more. And the second time we met, it was at his sister’s wedding! He is a very private person, and because of that, we were very private about our relationship. He is my lifetime source of happiness,” gushed the bride to be, who got engaged one year ago. 

                                                                                Dress by Gucci

Diani continued flipping through photos until she was finally interrupted by the arrival of our hair and make-up stylist. “Hi, I’m Diani, are you here to make me look pretty?” she inquired with an innocent smile. One hour later, she emerged like a star, with her loose curls, and glamorous attire. We made a quick drive to her stables in Country Heights Kajang, where the shoot was scheduled to take place. “If I can lie on the floor and change on the bus, I can do anything,” expressed our cover girl in confidence. 

And indeed she could, her optimistic and focus-driven approach could be seen translated into her work ethics. Her no reservations approach when it comes to work most definitely adds depth to her professional charisma. 

“During my teenage years, my sisters and I had to work in the company owned hotels during school holidays. I’ve gone on rotation in different departments. We were paid by the hour and it was a humbling experience. My first dose of reality and it taught me the importance of working hard. And only when you work hard, can you move up the career ladder,” spoke an unhesitant Diani on the topic of paving success. 

Prior to her position as GM of corporate communications, Diani started as special assistant to the board’s deputy chairman where she was tasked to overlook human resource operations and special projects. True to the phrase, that hard work pays off; she was promoted to her current position early this year. But having said that, I couldn’t help but pose this question, but do you find yourself placed in the spotlight and having to always prove your skills and capabilities? 

“I agree that being the daughter of the founder has its advantages, which is the part that most people see; but what people don’t see is that with these advantages, there is that much more pressure and also higher expectations to deliver," she said.


This article originally appeared in Malaysia Tatler's December 2013 issue; to read the full story where Diani talks about her childhood, her siblings and being a national athlete, subscribe to the digital copy here.

Photography: Zung from The Photoz; Art direction: Allan Casal; Fashion Styling: Azza Arif; Make-up: Sharman Yee @ Diva Production Celebrity Make-up Academy using Clé de Peau Beauté; Hair: KK Wong from Hair Corner

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