A Bangkok transplant to Singapore, Chayuda “Nina” Jiaravanon has now been living and working in the island nation for the past six years. Sitting down with Nina after the cover shoot, we find out how this successful private banker has been adding colour to her life during Covid lockdowns, and what the future holds for her.
A glimpse behind her industry
“With my job, because we always have to keep up with the financial markets and current events, every day is quite different,” she explains. “You have to adjust to what is going on, so even though the core of the work is the same, there are new trends to follow, and always new investment opportunities. It keeps you on your toes and makes it all very interesting.”
Of course, as the world continues to deal with pandemic-related problems, and Singapore teeters in and out of lockdowns, Nina finds herself among many from the modern workforce who have had to adjust to working from home. “I think with or without the pandemic, there has always been a push towards everything going digital,” she comments, reflecting on both her starkly different work routine and the changes within her industry as a whole. “This is especially evident in the financial industry where Covid has accelerated technology’s role in providing more financial services without the need of a physical interaction.”
Homebody vs. society girl
For Nina, society events and galas are not a usual fixture on her busy schedule, and she reasons that’s because she would rather spend time with family and friends when she returns home. One of the biggest challenges she has been faced with of late is not being able to see her family for over a year now. She usually flies back to Bangkok twice a month to visit family and friends, but since the recent waves of infection show no signs of abating, travelling home has been on hold for a while.
“This has definitely been the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing my family,” she admits. “Even when I used to study abroad, I still returned home every holiday. It’s hard, but I call my mum all the time and we speak a lot. All of this has made me realise that life is too short and too precious to take anything for granted. Don’t forget to give thanks to people who treat you right, call your parents just to check up and say hi, and forgive those who have wronged you.”
Secrets to staying calm
Despite being limited to life in Singapore – a place some people write off as “boring”, due in part to its limited geography and overbearing restrictions – Nina has found ways to manage stress and cope with idleness during these strange times. “What’s really helped me is my exercise routine. I actually exercise more now than I did before Covid” she points out, adding that workout sessions for now must take place in outdoor gyms. “You really have to go for a walk outside or at least change your environment. In Thailand, going out to the countryside could have been an option to take my mind off things, but since it is not possible here, I just go for a run instead.”
On top of that, she’s found joy in meditating and the importance of being in the present. “Lockdown has really made me just stop and breathe,” she muses. “I’m more conscious that you just need to slow down, sit, relax, breathe, and enjoy the little things. And to not be hard on myself either about not being on top of things all the time, because some things are just out of your control. Sometimes, you don’t need to run around, travel and be all hectic. Just being with yourself is good, too. There’s no need to be so fast-paced all the time.”
She’s actually a travel junkie
It’s abundantly clear what an ideal holiday is for this travel junkie, as she shares details of an upcoming journey she has planned this month which will take her to the West Coast of the United States. The itinerary includes a road trip across Arizona and Utah, with stops at national parks and a visit to the famed Antelope Canyon. As someone who loves the excitement of new adventures, Nina is looking forward to this trip after staying put in Singapore for over a year.
“Before Covid I’d be exploring other Southeast Asian countries, or diving every weekend,” remarks the scuba-diving enthusiast. “I love travelling to exotic places I’ve never been to before. I like nature too, so I enjoy being outdoors and hiking. I remember doing a lot of hiking in Bhutan. Patagonia was also a very special trip for me, as was a diving trip to Komodo Island. I would also really want to do a safari one day… that’s definitely on my bucket list!”
Sharing her style secrets
After recounting her past internships with various fashion houses, including the likes of Christian Dior, Zac Posen and Jil Sander, she adds that she’s very happy to be on the customer side now. “I still like fashion, watch shows, and keep up with what’s going on,” she smiles, “but I don’t think I would work in fashion.”
When it comes to fashion, she usually dresses in a classic style with clean silhouettes, complemented by a minimal, timeless jewellery selection of golden bangles and diamond studs. For this reason, she revelled in the opportunity to wear the stunning high jewellery pieces from Bulgari’s Magnifica collection for the Prestige photo shoot in Singapore. “I felt very grandiose,” she says, referring to the magnificent pieces that she donned. “It’s mesmerising, and you can feel the power of the jewellery emitting towards you. I felt very special wearing these pieces, even more so after finding out that one of the necklaces features the fourth largest spinel in the world. I also like that spinel gems are believed to encourage great passion and longevity.”
What her future may hold
When Nina does return to Bangkok, it will be interesting to see which enterprise she’ll take up, given her family’s extensive empire that spans everything from consumer products and telecommunications to securities firms. Indeed, a bountiful array of options is possible for Nina, the family’s eldest daughter, and this also includes working on Fortune magazine, which her father acquired in 2018.
“Thailand will always be my home. I haven’t really made up my mind what I would get into once I do get back, as we’d have to consider again what my father wants me to help with, or what is suitable for me.” If nothing else, she’s certainly picked up the Singaporean attitude of working hard and not resting on one’s laurels. And when this prodigal daughter does decide to return to the fold, Bangkok’s business and society scene will be all the much richer with the reintroduction of the older and wiser Nina.
Jewellery: Bulgari Magnifica High Jewellery Collection
Photographer: Wee Khim
Photographer’s Assistants: Alwin Oh & Ivan Teo
Videographer & Video Editor: Quinatasya Afridi
Stylist: Joshua Cheung
Stylist’s Assistant: Kelly Hsu
Hair Stylist: Sean Ang
Makeup Artist: Clarence Lee
Producer: Cindy Ow