Only a year has passed since we last spoke to Tan Min-Li but a lot has happened for the former cover girl of Prestige. Not one to rest on her laurels; the lawyer, film producer and panel adviser of her newest venture, Sky Premium, has multiple passion projects, of which she aces them all. At the official launch of Sky Premium, an exclusive privileges club that’s all about curated travel, wine and dine, wellness and shopping perks, she lets us in on what the club’s mantra of ‘The Good Life’ means to her.
Almost a year has passed since you graced the cover of Prestige. What’s been the biggest change — both personally and professionally — for you?
A lot has happened in one year, but the most significant change is that I’ve gone into a new project. Last May, I met celebrity photographer Timothy White in Cannes during the festival and this year, I set up a company in Los Angeles with him. That’s really exciting for me because he is such an amazing artist. What we do is we own his entire archive of photographs, and seek to perpetuate and preserve them so we license the works, exhibit and merchandise them. It’s a whole new direction for me and I’m so thrilled because I’m an art lover.
You were recently recognised in the Best Lawyers 2019 edition for Corporate Law and Mergers and Acquisitions Law in Singapore. How do you go about balancing your career with your other passions?
I get asked that a lot! If you’re really passionate about something, you won’t think of it as work and you’ll definitely find the time. It’s a balancing act for me. I’ve been in practice as a lawyer for many years now and I have a great team behind me. They support me and we each have a role, so that gives me freedom to explore my other interests.
That’s admirable. What’s a day in your life like?
I’m in the office everyday. I’m a morning person. I usually start at 8am, clear my emails and do my meetings. For my venture in the US, the time difference works out well. I do my conference calls at 10pm to midnight before I go to bed. And whenever I’m in LA, I communicate via email with clients and colleagues. With technology, it doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you’re connected. It’s been working out really well and I think the trick is I don’t think of what I’m doing as work. It’s simply doing what I love, like having a meal at a great restaurant or going out with friends.
In a previous interview with Prestige, you mentioned that Asian actors can make it in Hollywood. You were at the screening of Crazy Rich Asians — as an insider to the film industry, how did it feel finally seeing so many Asian faces represented on the big screen? Any concerns for the future of Asian representation?
You know what struck me? It made me so proud to be Singaporean, above all. I think this bodes really well for Asian representation and I’m looking forward to Asians taking bigger roles. As Dev Patel once said to me, the roles he cherishes most are where Asian actions are picked where the character doesn’t have to be Asian. That is where Hollywood becomes truly colour blind.
Sky Premium is all about ‘The Good Life’. What does that mean to you?
Freedom. Freedom to do what I love. Freedom to have a great meal. To travel to amazing places. Freedom and time. When we curated Sky Premium offerings, that’s what we thought about. We wanted to put all these privileges in one place so you have the freedom to choose. It also gives you access to experiences and products you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Tell us about your relationship with Sky Premium.
I’m an ambassador and a director of the company. In that role I advise together with Allan [Wu], on the services and products available. We weigh in on what we feel would be most appealing and attractive.
As a trendsetter yourself, you fit the bill of a panel adviser perfectly.
At long last, my online shopping has come to use. Haha!
Describe one thing that people don’t expect from you.
When people think of or talk about me, people always associate me with fashion, law, or most recently, film production. People don’t know that I have another side to me. I love cooking and I bake — it’s great and therapeutic. I made a cake for my friend’s birthday. I love creating things.
That cake looked good!
It was awesome. I have this thing where the more challenging the cake is, the more I want to make it. That’s how I approach life. I want to take on challenges by the horns, even when it comes to my cakes. I’ll look at a recipe and go: “Oh wow, the cake has 20 steps? I’ll bake it!”
“I want to take on challenges by the horns, even when it comes to making cakes. I’ll look at a recipe and go: “Oh wow, the cake has 20 steps? I’ll bake it!” — Tan Min-Li
You’re so driven. What inspires you?
I want to constantly learn and explore new horizons. Always do what sets your soul on fire. It doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail.
Would you ever give up your law job for your passion?
I’ve been exploring so many different areas, like film and fashion but one thing has struck me: My legal background has been so useful to me. I will never want to lose touch with my legal background and I’ll always keep up to date with it. I will always be a lawyer as that has opened so many doors for me. It has enabled me to have a great network. My first passion is law. I will never give it up.
What’s next for you?
I want to grow my company with Timothy White. It’s called White Light ventures. Aside from being named after him, white light is where positive energy resides. We want to grow it. I want to see the images on a Gucci T-shirt.
With Sky Premium now launched, I’m looking forward to contributing more in helping it grow and develop. We want to be disruptive. We want to create the good life for its members.
Tan Min-Li tells us how to keep the fire burning:
1. Jump headlong
“I never want to live my life with regret. I never want to say “what if?” when I’m 80 years old.”
2. Do not be afraid to fail
“A fear of failure holds you back. Do not be afraid of failure because that’s when you’ll succeed.”
3. If you’ve got a passion, go for it
“If you’re passionate and enthusiastic about something, you will never consider it work. You will make time for it.”