It is a balmy morning in a tranquil corner of Singapore’s Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, the spot that we have chosen for this photoshoot with model-turned-fitness entrepreneur Liv Lo. Outdoor shoots can be tricky; this one, however, proceeds so smoothly that even our cover girl remarks on it. “That’s one of the fastest cover shoots I’ve ever done,” Liv says after we wrap. “It’s really hard to do what you guys just did.”
We will gladly accept the compliment but let us also point out the obvious reason why the morning went so well: Liv hasn’t been a professional model for a while now, but the decade she spent in that job has clearly etched a kind of muscle memory into her body. It is really hard to do what she did—strike poses that look natural and unstudied; connect with the camera while looking lost in thought; sync her subtly shifting micro-expressions to the rhythm of the shutter, while always remembering to let her face catch the light just so.
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This used to be her livelihood. Long before most of the world got to know her as the wife of Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, the Italian-Taiwanese Liv was appearing in magazines, commercials and runway shows all over Asia. For a while, she revelled in the kind of glamorous globetrotting life that aspiring models daydream about.
“It gave me freedom. I got to travel the world and meet amazing people. I was able to support myself and take care of my family. When I got my first big advertising campaign, I bought a house, and that was like when I was 20,” she says. “But after 10 years of modelling, my goals changed. I was looking for something new.”