Wellness Warriors: 3 Hong Kong Women Who Redefine Strength
1/3 Emily Tan
My definition of bravery today is knowing I can take on any topics of conversation, embrace any emotions and address dark thoughts of my precarious life.
Emily is the ‘it girl’ that excels in every aspect of her active lifestyle. Having achieved certifications for MMA, boxing, pole dancing, parkour and personal training, she is a fitness coach, dancer, mover and aerialist who shows no signs of stopping.
But her world turned upside down in April 2018, when she was diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. For someone who lives to constantly challenge her physical strength and endurance, it was the biggest hurdle she's had to face. In December 2018, Emily underwent a bone marrow transplant that kept her in the hospital for 39 days.
“No business, fitness and nutrition training in my 15 professional years could have prepared me for five intensive rounds of chemotherapy in a span of 8 months.” says Emily. “What did prepare me were the experiences that challenged my emotional and psychological state—the type of experiences we choose to either define our limitations or cultivate resilience from.
After an intensive round of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, Emily is now in her first 100 days of post-transplant, and the road to full recovery will take 12 to 18 months. To find out more about Emily's journey and bone marrow donation, visit emilylolatan.
2/3 Victoria Campos
My body is a testament of my hard work, dedication and passion. And that’s different for everyone.
— Victoria Campos
Brazilian-born Victoria Campos is no average CrossFit athlete—she was named “fittest in Hong Kong” by CrossFit Games in 2017 and is currently the only female coach at CrossFit Asphodel in Kennedy Town. Her CrossFit journey only started in 2013 in New Zealand, but taking part in all kinds of competitive sports from a young age has laid the foundation for her achievements.
When you look at Victoria, it’s impossible not to notice her athletic body—we’re talking about visible abs, strong quads and a defined upper back. In an Asian society where a powerful, muscular female body still isn’t the norm, Victoria is a strong believer in following her own path and not getting carried away by what other people think.
“In the end, it doesn’t matter what others think as long as you’re satisfied with the outcome, and meet the needs of yourself,” says Victoria. “Everyone has different priorities in life, and your body changes with that journey, which should be respected and accepted."
With a passion for the sport and maintaining good health, Victoria sees her CrossFit body as result of doing what she loves.
See also: Girls Who Lift: 3 Myths Debunked By Personal Trainers
3/3 Ramona Pascual
Do things that scare you and don't give anyone else the power to define you.
— Ramona Pasucal
Raised in a conservative Chinese-Filipino family, Ramona attended private schools growing up and her success was defined by landing a corporate job. Despite family pressure, Ramona decided to walk away from her job in finance and follow her heart to become a professional MMA fighter when she turned 27.
“Because I never fit in to the mould, I battled a lot of confidence issues. Sports were my only outlet and I developed a passion for martial arts,” recalls Ramona. “The more I progressed as a competitive athlete and a fighter, the more my self awareness and confidence grew.”
Throughout her MMA career, Ramona has tasted victory with multiple wins, but it is in her defeats that she learned to be honest with her weaknesses and overcome her fears.
“The only constant—a challenge I still struggle with daily—has been my ability to get back up in the face of pain and fear, and keep moving forward.”
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