Hello! I’m Surmayee, currently a Partnerships Manager at Sassy, the go-to online publication for all things new, cool and buzz worthy in Hong Kong.
I moved to Hong Kong when I was seven, and grew up in the tranquil neighbourhood of Pokfulam. Once I finished up at West Island School (go ESF!), I went to study engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and it was there I discovered my true passion for urban hip hop dance. I had always loved dancing as far back as I could remember, but I had never formally trained in any genre, so the multiple dance teams I joined in college helped me hone my technical skills while introducing me to some of the closest friends I have today. Nothing like 20 hours of training a week to really bond you to your teammates! Being on my dance teams was a massive part of my college experience, and one I still look on fondly today – it really shaped who I am now.
I moved back to Hong Kong when a job opportunity arose in the digital marketing field (I knew I wanted something more client facing than the engineering jobs on offer at the time). It wasn’t quite what I was looking for, however, and through some very lucky run ins with old friends and acquaintances, I ended up with an internship at Sassy in 2015 and the rest is history! I’m very lucky to be working with such an incredible team of amazing, ambitious and inspirational women. I know I can count on them to always have my back!
I am horrendous at picking favourites, but obviously I love dancing. It’s been an incredible way to learn more about myself, my body and of course, express emotions and feelings without words. I think what I love best is that dance transcends language barriers. I now train at local studios in Hong Kong (like Bedrex and Studiodanz) and classes aren’t always taught in English but it’s never been an issue – you can understand the meaning and intention behind the movement without speaking a word and I think that’s the most beautiful part.
About two years ago, I made a commitment to myself and my health and got really into my active lifestyle. In addition to dance, I go to the gym between four and five times a week, and cover a variety of exercise styles, ranging from weight training to HIIT workouts and barre. I’ve recently discovered my love for heavy weightlifting (thanks to my personal trainer and #ladyboss Rachel Haslam) – it makes me feel super strong and I can see and feel the difference in my body. It’s also reaffirmed my belief that women can, and should, do as much strength training as possible, it’s so addictive! I have to say I love group classes too, because you can vibe off each other and I work best under friendly peer pressure – haha!
Something else that helps me keep balanced is making sure to do things with full intention. For example, I have a strict no phone policy at the dinner table with my family, and like I mentioned, no work comes home with me unless it absolutely has to! It’s important to be present, wherever you are and whoever you’re with.
What makes a woman beautiful?
It was difficult growing up in Asia with a body type that didn’t always fit the norm (or the clothes available!) and I always felt pressure from the perception that girls are their most beautiful when they’re slim and slender. However, pursuing weight training especially has totally converted me to the #strongnotskinny mindset and I’ve learned to embrace my body, lumps and bumps and all. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy, but when you have such amazing women in our community to look up to, it makes it just that much easier. Ultimately, I think what makes someone beautiful isn’t anything physical – it’s their self confidence without arrogance and being kind, which I feel is so easy but always forgotten.
I think so! I do dedicated quite a lot of my life to my physical activities, so I hope I’ll find someone who understands that I need my “me” time through the gym/dance/the movement classes I go to in Tamar Park (shout out to Shared Space, my new obsession!). I wouldn’t say it’s a deal breaker… more like a deal maker if you like pushing yourself physically!