Model Aimee Cheng-Bradshaw's Parents Cut Her Off Financially At 18
But the "super frugal" model says that was how she learnt to live independently.
Her home: “In London, I stay in a three-room apartment that I share with two friends and my boyfriend. We all study at the same college.” In Singapore she stays in a semi-detached house in Yio Chu Kang with her dad, who works in the oil trading industry, and her mum, who runs cafe The Spread at the NUS Business School.
Her ride: Public transport or the occasional Uber ride.
The Soup Spoon, her old Singapore American School student card (“I don't know why I am still carrying this around!”) and UK, Singapore and Hongkong currencies. “I also have an old $2 note and an SG50 $50 note — see how nice and flat they are?” she beams. “I will never spend them!”
8 DAYS: Now that you’re back in school, what are your spending habits like?
AIMEE CHENG-BRADSHAW: Super frugal! I buy coffee and a chicken avocado sandwich every day, even though I hate sandwiches. I don’t really go shopping in London. Things are pretty expensive there. I only bought a new pair of jeans ’cos my previous pair ripped (laughs). I have the occasional dinner out with my flatmates. Otherwise, we buy groceries and cook at home.
What was the last thing you bought online?
A pair of basic black sandals that I shockingly don’t already have, from Zalora. They were for one of the shows I’m walking in [at Singapore Fashion Week]. I’m working with really tall girls, so I want the extra height. The [client] usually provides shoes, but it’s good to have a back-up pair.
Are you tempted to buy designer goods ’cos you wear them so often on the job?
No, I prefer simple things. I don’t dress up when I hang out with my family or go partying with my friends. I only buy expensive things occasionally, like a jumpsuit I can wear for events. But I get stressed if I spend $100 on a shirt ’cos I’d be worrying about ruining it!
I spend most of my money on Uber, and I really like to buy shoes. My biggest shoe splurge is a pair of thigh-high boots that I got for about $170, and that was a pretty big investment. I try not to buy things that cost above $200.
What do you think is worth spending on then?
The best investment I’ve made was a 50-hour yoga immersion course. It’s really good ’cos I need to keep in shape for work. Yoga is an expensive hobby, but I always come out of each class feeling really detoxed and relaxed.
A money mistake that you made when you were a rookie model?
When I just started modelling and was in Hongkong, I ate out a lot ’cos I didn’t know how to cook (guffaws). I was 17 and didn’t have the patience for cooking, so I bought overpriced salads every day. It added up to a lot.
Back then, my parents still gave me a monthly allowance and I was low on money every month. They only helped me out financially ’cos it was my first trip. But when I came back from Hongkong, they said, “You are 18; you’re on your own now.” I was like, “What? This is too soon, I’m not prepared!” (Mock cries)
They asked me what I usually spent on when I was in Hongkong, and I said, “Food.” My mum was like, “Okay good, buy good food and make sure you’re well-fed.” But my dad said, “Why aren’t you cooking at home?” (Laughs) I only learnt how to cook later from my flatmate when I was modelling in Bangkok.
What did you spend on over the past weekend?
On Saturday I had a fitting for fashion week and the only thing I did was yoga, but I don’t know if that counts as spending ’cos I had already paid for the classes in advance. I’m so tired of eating sandwiches and pasta in London!
So I had prawn noodles at the Ion Orchard food court, which cost about $5.90, and later, I spent about $7 on chicken rice. It’s expensive, but ’cos I happened to be in town, I just ate there. Usually, I prefer to go to coffeeshops.”
On Sunday I did a catwalk coaching class, and spent about $15 on an Uber ride to the location. Then I met my mum for dinner, and she paid ’cos I’m visiting her (laughs). I also shopped online ’cos I have no time to go to the stores, and bought a pair of shoes.
PHOTOS: EALBERT HO