The affable 34-year-old radio deejay is one of those annoying people blessed with smooth, poreless skin. When we tell her this, she says with a laugh, “Oh, thank you, but I actually have pores!” We want to hate her, but we can’t, ’cos she’s so nice. The “Ah Jie of local radio” (a term she’s earned thanks to 17 years on the airwaves) is also remarkably bilingual (she can host in both English and Mandarin, no problem) and has an adorbs two-year-old son, Luke, and three beloved felines (she built a special “cat highway” for them in her four-room condo, which she moved into earlier this year). We catch up with the down-to-earth mama DJ, who’s just been appointed skincare brand Cetaphil’s first brand ambassador in Singapore and Malaysia, and score tips on how to live a well-balanced life.
8 DAYS: You look great! Many women, after becoming mothers, find it hard to devote time and energy to looking after themselves. They may neglect their looks and abandon their beauty regimens. Have you been through that?
LIM PEIFEN: I’m lucky ’cos my job forces me to take care of myself and stay in at least good shape! I draw inspiration from other mummy friends who are able to take care of themselves and their children very well. If you don’t take care of yourself and are not happy and in good shape, then how can you take care of the people around you?
How do you take care of yourself?
It’s not that hard or time-consuming. It can be very simple and basic things like eating well, getting enough rest, drinking lots of water and using the right products. Good health is more important than beauty. If you aim for health, you will get beauty, but if you aim for beauty, you may not get health. So make sure that the food you put into your body is good, and also that the ‘food’ your skin and hair eats is also good. Cetaphil is a good brand which has been around for 70 years [they are celebrating their 70th anniversary]. It’s gentle and safe for sensitive skin.
Cetaphil and you feels like a good fit. Simplicity, down-to-earth goodness, nothing too fancy.
Yes, I believe that people or things that are alike will naturally come together. Cetaphil is a brand I can relate to — I think you need a good product to put on your skin, as skincare contacts your skin directly. After my pregnancy, my skin became more sensitive. I would get redness on my skin if I don’t use the right products.
Let’s play This or That. Multi-step beauty regimen or wash face is very good already?
(Laughs) My beauty regimen is not very ‘multi’ lah, but it’s still four steps. I do have a thing about cleanliness — maybe ’cos I’m a Virgo! I wash my face last when I shower, ’cos I don’t want the dirt and grime [that washes down from my hair] to stay on my face. I have to wash my hair before I sleep — I don’t want my pillow to be dirty! And I won’t touch my bed before I shower, as in I won’t sit or lie on my bed.
One hour make-up routine in the morning or slap on lipstick in the car?
I do the morning radio shift and I wake up at 5 or 5.30am. I only have time to brush my teeth and for skincare before I leave the house. Okay lah, I brush my hair too. (Laughs) I go out with nothing on my face, only sunblock. I don’t even bother with make-up in the car. I treat putting on make-up in between songs on my morning shift as a waking up routine. Between 6am and 7am, it’s not that busy, and that’s when I start doing my eyeliner and my brows. My everyday look is very simple. Sometimes, when I go out, I don’t use make-up at all. No brows, no mascara or lipstick — nothing.
You don’t do the heavy make-up thing anyway — your vibe’s a bit more natural. It’s not like people won’t recognise you if you don’t have a full face on. But you’re fine if your fans see you without make-up?
I don’t feel the pressure ’cos maybe I’m not the ‘idol’ kind [of celebrity], you know? As a host, DJ and mum, I’m more relatable. [My life is] quite close to what people experience every day. The reason I don’t put on make-up when I’m with my son is ’cos I wanna hug and kiss him all the time, and I don’t really want any products on his face.
Diet like crazy or indulge in all kinds of food?
I love to eat, and I don’t really restrict myself now. I try to eat real, non-processed food, like it has to look like chicken, not processed like sausages. I’ve cut down on carbs, and try to take more proteins, vegetables and fruits. I try not to take a lot of sugar. Once you cut out sugar from your diet, you will see a difference.
Sit in the office and cry thinking of your baby or happy to have some time away and live your own life for a bit?
I’m glad to have time for myself. If I’m not balanced and happy, I can’t be happy around my son, which will affect him. I feel it’s important for mums to be happy with the current state of their lives. And don’t ever think of anything as a sacrifice, ’cos once you think that way, you feel like a victim, and things become tough. Do what you want to do and keep that balance, and stay mentally and emotionally healthy and happy.
Yeah, lots of mums have that maternal guilt.
I went to Sri Lanka recently for a TV shoot and I felt really guilty leaving my husband alone with my son, although we do have a helper. I know my son will miss me, and I miss him terribly, of course, but I really enjoyed myself. I felt guilty but happy — like for once, I didn’t have to worry about his next meal or naptime. Someone else can worry for a change! It’s normal to feel guilty but we should try not to — focus on what you’re doing, have a good time, then go back and be a good mother again. (Laughs)
Exercise regularly or running-after-my-kid-is-my-exercise?
My kid is my exercise! I haven’t exercised regularly for a while now, but I treat running after my son as a good exercise. He’s very active and we bring him outdoors a lot. I run with him, and I’m getting more sun than I’ve ever had in my life! We want to encourage him to be outdoorsy and also expend his energy so that he will sleep well. I also try to squeeze in yoga sessions when I have time.
Me time, hubby time, friends time or just baby time, all the time?
I have less time for everything else so I try to combine baby time, husband time and friends time. Many of my friends have kids as well so we go on playdates. My boy sleeps quite early now, at 8pm, so once he sleeps, my husband and I get time together, but since our son sleeps with us, we will just have a whispered conversation or watch some silly videos together. We had a movie date night recently — it’s possible as we have a helper. Me time is when I catch up with friends, take a longer bath or reply to my messages. Yes, I have to sleep early ’cos I have to wake up early, but sometimes I don’t, ’cos I really enjoy that me time!
Helicopter parent or raising an independent mini-me?
I want to raise an independent child, but I can’t help being helicopter at this stage. My husband will tell you I’m really uptight around our son. (Laughs) During the first year, I was very uptight. I’d be like “What’s that on his face? Is it skin? Is it bread?” (Laughs) When he sleeps at night, I can hear every sound, even from the living room. I have learned to be a little more chill and give myself some sanity and not be so stressed. Now, when he falls, I tell my helper and husband to let him pick himself up. I guess you will know when to let go, bit by bit.
Your skin is great. Tell us the secret to your poreless skin.
Thank you! I have to thank my mum and dad! And I actually have pores! (Laughs) There’s no secret —you just need to have a balanced life, emotionally and physically, and it will show in every aspect of your body and skin, though you do need the help of good products as well. You need to make that effort and take the time to take care of your skin.
You’ve been in radio for 17 years, and have been referred to as the “Ah Jie” of radio.
No lah! (Guffaws) I always tell people, “I’m not Ah Jie (respected veteran big sister); can u just call me Xiao Jie (young miss). It’s a term that’s a bit ‘distant’ so it’s not really me. It’s not something I can call myself. Even Zoe Tay doesn’t call herself Ah Jie! I’m flattered and honored and I take it that I have accomplished something in my career after all these years.
Catch Peifen on YES 933 at 6am to 10am on weekdays.
Photos: Kelvin Chia