Hailed as one of the biggest style icons of modern-day Bangkok, Sikanya “Pau” Saktidej Bhanubandh’s life is one surrounded by luxury beau monde. The eldest daughter of MR Tim and Sirikarn Saktidej Bhanubandh, Pau supports their various ventures as senior vice president of PR at her family’s Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel, and as managing director of Kipling Thailand—which her mother has been importing since 1997.
Vivaciously charming and impeccably dressed, the sassy and stylish society belle juggles her time between work, joining her A-list friends at exclusive soirées, and spending time with her loved ones—cue restaurateur hubby Na-chanok “Golf” Ratanadaros and their Chihuahua, Austin. But what lies beneath the glossy facade of her jet-setting lifestyle? Prestige has a chat with her on her views regarding style, what it means to be a society icon, and the key to confidence and happiness.
At events, she always shows up in clothes by Thai designers.
A familiar face at the city’s hottest happenings and most illustrious events, to say Pau is fashionable would be an understatement. The style icon and hotel heiress is known for her flawless looks and elegant precision. Despite the international designer labels in her closet, for media appearances and society events she rarely strays far from home.
“I always wear Thai brands at events because I want to see them grow. We’re very close and love each other. For example, Sean [of Poem] knows me and knows my size and everything just comes out more precise. Do designers from international brands oversee your fittings or even know you? I think Thai people are so talented and can compete on an international level, so why wouldn’t you support someone close to you?”
Her number one rule: never dress inappropriately.
Pau makes it her point to dress to impress when attending events, because she knows what it’s like to be on the other side. “Since I help out my own family and Golf too, I know how much work goes [into organising events] and how tiring it is. The person who hosted it has put in a lot of effort, so the least you could do is to honour them and the venue by following the theme or dress code.”
To her, being well-dressed is about more than just her image. “My number one rule is I will never be dressed inappropriately. I try to look my best not for myself, but because I know how much effort people put into arranging something. I want them to see that I also made the effort to be there to support them.”
She’s a fan of Line Man.
On the red carpet she might be the belle of the ball, but back at home Pau is a loving wife who relishes in street food takeaways and quality time spent with family. “My mum is quite confused because every time she calls me these days, I’m always at home. I just love Line Man and now that there’s Line Pay, I can finally order street food to.”
Her favourite picks of roadside gourmet? “I eat like a horse. I could eat for England. Golf and I both love to eat and what we really enjoy lately is to seek out the best street dishes, such as khao moo krob. There isn’t just one main one when it comes to these things and every website has their own recommendation so we just order all 3-5 different ones to try them all and compare.”
It can take up to an hour to perfect her Insta-famous yoga shots.
While for many, Instagram and social media are just hobbies, Pau takes her online presence very seriously. Up to an hour can go into nailing the shots of her yoga poses. “It needs to be precise,” she explains, “even if only one person sees it, they still need to see the correct thing.” Seemingly minuscule flaws—toes in the wrong position, or an incorrectly angled leg—can mean a post will not see the light of her newsfeed. “I feel like I have somewhat influenced people’s lives, so I try to use my social media as a platform to pass forward useful things to others.”
Aware that her digital footprint is far from small, she tries to be a positive influence on her followers. “I feel like the new generation these days is so influenced by what they see on social media and they think by themselves a lot. Everything we see these days also happens so fast and is on a shallow surface. I want to be a good influence so they think a bit deeper and to have a deeper appreciation for the little things in life. No matter what I do, I want to be a good example and the right influence.”
She believes the key to happiness is learning to let go and to live with no regrets. And the key to confidence? Knowledge.
Ever the perfectionist, Pau explains that she has learned to be less hard on herself. “I’ve learned to let go of things more these days, because now I feel the second where you aren’t happy is already a passed one that you cannot take back. We can’t control anything in this world at all, but we can control our feelings and thoughts.”
She has come a long way, from leaving home to study in the UK, to her stint in entertainment as anchor for Newsline and Radio Thailand, and even a co-host on Channel 3’s See San Banterng. “Looking back, I never regretted any decisions I made, even if it was a bad one. I never want to have any what-ifs or regrets—it’s better to fail and cry and learn from my mistakes so I can do better next time. If I set out to do anything, I am completely serious about it.” For Pau, gaining knowledge played an important role in overcoming the obstacles she faced. “No matter what you do, you need to have more knowledge than what you say out loud. Your knowledge should extend over everything—it will give you confidence, even when you don’t get to say anything at all.”
Photographer: Termsit Siriphanich
Stylist: Pisit Jirathadaphan
Makeup Artist: Chalermphol Wivathana
Hair Stylist: Thananat Lapchaiwat
Editorial Coordinator: Rattanachai Chaipornsantikul
Venue: Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
Read the full interview with Pau in the December issue of Prestige, available from all leading bookstores in Thailand.