Home-grown singer-songwriter Ming Bridges has not always been the poised, confident young lass she is today.
Growing up, she told My Paper in a recent interview, the 20-year-old was none too happy with her "chubby cheeks".
"I remember my sister and I would spend hours in front of the mirror, experimenting with how we could smile to make our cheeks less obvious, and so our eyebags wouldn't show too much," she recalled with a laugh.
"A lot of people think Eurasians are blessed with good looks just because they look a little different, (but) we all have our own problems and have to...deal with them."
Born to a British father and Chinese-Singaporean mother, Bridges, who is signed to home-grown music company Funkie Monkies Productions, is now much more comfortable in her own skin.
And outer beauty, she believes, starts from the inside.
The self-confessed "health freak", who splits her time between Singapore and Taiwan, said that it is paying attention to wellness and health that keeps her skin glowing.
Besides downing a "super-healthy smoothie" every morning for breakfast, the effervescent gal, who has an English album, Who Knows, as well as a Mandarin record, Ming Day, to her name, also eats loads of fruit and vegetables.
Exercise comes in the form of daily yoga, weight training at least twice a week, occasional powerwalks in the Singapore Botanic Gardens with Mum, and the odd Zumba or dance class.
Bridges, who took home awards for Best Local Singer and Best Local Album at Singapore Entertainment Awards 2013 in May, is the first Singapore artist to helm the MTV Sessions, a popular live-music series by the cable channel.
It will air tomorrow. She is currently working on new English and Mandarin albums.
Of her interest in health and fitness, Bridges explained: "There were times when, say, I had a music-video shoot that would be 26 hours, and I really couldn't deal with just having junk food all the time and living off sugar bursts.
"Being someone who's never stepped into a gym, I (had to) find things that I really love doing...exercises that keep me feeling very healthy and energetic all the time."
As for skincare, she keeps things basic with a cleanse-tone-moisturise routine supplemented with once-in-a-while face masks.
She added that her make-up style is usually fuss-free when she is not working, in order to "make sure my skin has time to breathe".
"I'm not a big fan of foundation because my skin is quite good, so I normally skip it," she elaborated. "I just use under-eye cover-up (concealer) and eyeliner, and, if I'm going out in the evening, maybe some false eyelashes."
She added with a smile: "I'm not naturally blessed with very long ones."
How very modest, Ming.
MTV Sessions: Ming Bridges premieres tomorrow at 1pm on MTV Asia (StarHub Ch 533/SingTel mio TV Ch 350).
Ming's tips and tricks
Like her favourite beauty icon, Australian Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr, Bridges is a health and fitness buff. She kicks off the day with a smoothie packed with nutrients.
"Firstly, I'll put healthy fats - like coconut oil or avocado - in, then something to make it a bit sweeter, like some pineapple or apples...then a dash of ginger and a wide variety of superfoods, such as cacao powder, goji berries, bee pollen and spirulina," she said.
"It leaves my skin glowing."
Keep it clean
Bridges makes it a point to wash her face with a cleanser first thing in the morning and just before she goes to bed.
"In this job, my skin is always clogged with make-up, (making it) easy (for it) to break out," she said.
Her favourite cleansing product?
Angels on Bare Skin by British beauty brand Lush ($25), which leaves her skin feeling "really soft". She also uses the brand's Mask of Magnaminty ($45 for 315g), a deep-cleansing face mask with fresh peppermint.
Both products are available at Lush's Suntec City and Wisma Atria outlets.
Though she keeps her make-up simple, one of Bridges' essential make-up products is blusher.
"If you wake up and feel horrible and ill, slap on a bit of blusher and your face comes to life," she said. "I usually go for a peachy or pinky colour...it keeps me looking young and fresh."
My Paper recommends RMK's Sheer Powder Cheeks in Natural Pink ($65, from Isetan outlets or Takashimaya Department Store) for a subtle autumnal blush.
Walk the line
Another must-have product is eyeliner, Bridges said, as it helps to open up her peepers when she gets tired.
Revlon's ColourStay Eyeliner (available in shades like Black, Black Brown, Navy and Charcoal at $15.90 from leading retail outlets, including Watsons Ngee Ann City and Raffles City) is one of her favourites - she describes the product as simply "magical".
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