Tatler Time Travel: Reyna and Naomi Harilela
It was the year 2000 and a very young Naomi Harilela was getting a taste of the glamorous life her mother Reyna knows so well. Photographed by Tatler ahead of Mother’s Day, Reyna cradled her youngest daughter, who was wrapped tightly in a blanket. Looking at the black-and-white portrait now, Reyna is still in awe over how small the then-seven-week-old baby Naomi was.
“I have to say, she was very easygoing. I just wish she was a baby again. Now that she’s older, it means that I officially have adult children. I want them to give me grandchildren so I can live through these moments again,” Reyna says, laughing. A committed philanthropist and the co-founder of luxury PR firm Bonvivant and Bellavita, Reyna has been a prominent fixture on Hong Kong’s social scene for most of her life, while also raising three daughters. She credits her own mother for being a positive force in her life.
“My mother was always so strong, yet always full of jokes. She was the centre of the room: beautiful and confident, friendly and outgoing. She influenced me by showing me that confidence is about being fun-loving and personable; not necessarily by demanding attention,” she says.
Two decades later, a 20-year-old Naomi casts the same praise over her own mother. “Mum is kind to everyone. Every time I bring a friend home, she is welcoming and sweet and makes them feel part of the family.” Applauded for her independence by Reyna, Naomi is currently pursuing a degree in modern history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Though she found it hard being away from her mother during her first term abroad, Naomi has no immediate plans to return to Hong Kong and is looking to a bright future under her own steam.
“It depends on where work opportunities take me but I would love to live in London or Sydney after university. Mum has always given me the space I need to pursue my passion,” she says. One passion the two share is their love of baking.
“We’ve always been really close and I love to bake with her,” Naomi says. “Especially when I bake her favourite coconut cake, watching her reaction makes me so happy.” Reyna adds: “We love to whip up some really fun desserts to enjoy in the afternoon with a good movie.”