Meet the women who inspire, educate, motivate, and are changing Malaysia’s fitness and nutrition landscapes.

    Angeline Ong


    With almost 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, Angeline has a deep understanding of the human body and a passion for yoga – she believes that anyone of any age can benefit from it, by engaging muscles and improving posture. In 2014 she became a registered Yoga Alliance teacher and she has her own yoga practice where she holds group classes and one-on-one training to share her knowledge and change lives. She is proof that following your passions can help you fulfil your dreams…and that yoga does a body good.

    My proudest achievement so far. In one year I have achieved a lot: I became an Ultron (Sportswear) ambassador, I joined this Korean and Swiss team to build a bigger yoga organisation, and also bought my own house, and a nice car for myself.

    The ultimate goal. To make these two brands, Ultron and Yoga Centre, very big and to grow together.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. By posting all of these things on Instagram, I hope everyone starts to exercise. I think health is wealth!


    Nana Al-Haleq


    Growing up, Nana’s mother was strict about not letting her and her sister eat junk food, and this, as a result, instilled in her a good sense of healthy eating and lifestyle into her adult life. She is deeply passionate about combatting obesity in Malaysia, and has delivered talks and seminars across the country about the importance of healthy, active living, to both the young and old. She also likes to challenge the perspective of women in weight-training.


    My proudest achievement so far. Changing more than 10 individuals’ lives to think positively about themselves and to pick up fitness and lose fat and help them to achieve more.

    The ultimate goal. To continue doing fitness and to grow the fitness industry in Malaysia, and to make Malaysians understand more about food education.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. I would like my footprint to be that of someone who changed and contributed something positive.


    Kimberly Yap


    Gold medal triathlete Kimbeley has been involved in sports in one way or another since she was nine, and it’s something she’s still passionate about to this day. In 2014 she met with an accident while cycling on the Penchala Link, and used her experience of recovery to write her book But By Grace to inspire others to overcome their own challenges. She says that as an athlete the focus was always on her, but now she’s made her life about others, working with individuals as a personal trainer at Daily Muscle.


    My proudest achievement so far. Winning two SEA Games gold medals for Malaysia in triathlon. And being able to represent Malaysia in three different sports – swimming, triathlon, and cycling – at the SEA Games.

    The ultimate goal. To help people live a better life. The impact I hope to leave on the world. I would like to empower a lot of other women. I want to empower them to take on their burdens more mindfully so they can come out of it stronger and happier.


    Janell Tan


    A powerhouse of a woman, Janell is as passionate about her WODs as she is with her granola company Kettlebowl – created together with her boyfriend, who both believe that the gateway to fitness is through food. If she’s not lifting weights and beating her personal bests, she’s baking tubs of granola (30 kgs at a time) that are retailed at half a dozen brick and mortar shops around KL, or sent directly to your home.


    My proudest achievement so far. To see Kettlebowl getting out there, having people recognise it and identify it not just as a granola brand, but also as a fitness brand.

    The ultimate goal. Personally, I want to be able to increase my fitness to a more elite level, so that when I compete in the arena I am a potential podium finisher.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. Changing people’s mind-sets and perceptions about health and fitness – that it’s not extra work that you have to put in to achieve, but a lifestyle that you need to adopt, and once you’ve adopted it, it’s not too difficult to do.


    Jesrina Arshad


    What started as a journey of health improvement for Jesrina inadvertently turned her into a digital entrepreneur. With her friends, she launched PurelyB in May 2015 and it went on to become the first website of its kind to promotes all manner of lifestyle, wellness, nutrition, and fitness products and services in Asia to great success – over 56 thousand fans on Facebook is nothing to sniff at.


    My proudest achievement so far. Creating PurelyB. It was something I never set out to do, it was an accidental business…for me, as a first time entrepreneur having done all that [the website, a TV show on Astro] really is my biggest achievement, but I couldn’t have done it alone.

    The ultimate goal. To feel that I’ve contributed something substantial in life, so I feel satisfied. Also ensuring that I am continuously helping others in some way, even if it’s not through my business but through charity or social work, and feeling like you’ve touched people’s lives in more ways than one.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. We (PurelyB) want to make living healthy the norm for people in Asia.


    Joanna Soh


    What drives Joanna’s wellness philosophy are three F’s: fitness, food, and faith. She’s made her workouts and healthy recipes accessible to everyone by sharing them on Youtube (with over 700 thousand subscribers to her channel), and her tireless energy and positivity has made her the most popular fitness user on the site in the region, and an inspiring role model.


    My proudest achievement so far. Growing my Youtube channel and having the biggest platform based in Asia, where I can reach out to different women across the world.

    The ultimate goal. To grow a female online network, that will combine not only fitness and health, but everything to do with women, from beauty to lifestyle, wellbeing, advice, education…and make it the ultimate online network based in Southeast Asia.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. Just to let people know that their wellbeing and health is what matters most in life.


    Talitha Tan


    Predominantly a singer/songwriter and actress – her dreamy indie pop single ‘Okay’ is currently on high rotation on our local radio stations – Talitha is also heavily into keeping fit. She’s a great supporter of women in fitness and extreme sports, and shares her workouts and infectious love for life with the more than 20 thousand followers on her Instagram account.


    My proudest achievement so far. In the gym would be the muscle-up. In parkour it would be the backflip (because I worked very hard for that). And for rock climbing would be fifth place for women’s bouldering in BoulderX competition.

    The ultimate goal. To try as many extreme sports as I can.

    The impact I hope to leave on the world. To show that women are strong, and that they shouldn’t let anyone tell them they’re not.

    This article first appeared in the October issue of SHAPE. Get your copy today for more in-depth interviews with these women.

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