23 Apr Audrey Lange
By day, she gets on her editorial groove managing the female-centric publication, Unzippedtv. But at other times, you’ll probably find Audrey Lange roughing it out at contact rugby practice. She works hard, plays hard and is never afraid of sporting a bruise or two. Yet, the 25-year-old has met some naysayers along the way, simply because of her gender.
With a generous helping of candid humour, Audrey tells UNSAID about her journey thus far, the setbacks she’s faced, and how she overcame them.
A “Rojak” Identity That’s Unmistakably Singaporean
“My Mum and Dad are both Eurasians and both their parents were Eurasians as well so when it came to me, it was really rojak. My mum is of Australian, English and Peranakan descent; my Dad is a mix of Danish, Iban, Balinese and English. At first look, many people have the misconception that I’m angmoh, I guess due to my colored eyes and features. But upon hearing me speak, I get quite a lot of puzzled and slightly shocked looks because I have a very strong Singaporean accent. I love my lah-leh-lors and whenever I get asked where I’m from, I’m always proud to tell them I’m a born-and-bred Singaporean!”
1. Dealing with sexist comments
“It’s not like I’m a femme-natzi but I get very annoyed when guys make gender stereotypical statements about my accomplishments. I used to do sales before and when I managed to close a few big deals, some of them would say, ‘aiyah, girls very easy to close sales. You just need to show cleavage, smile and you can get the sale.’. Or when I passed my manual driving test the first time, some of my male friends said, “‘you took auto ah?’ and when my answer was no, ‘you confirm go and show skin right? Did you wear a very short skirt or show cleavage all?’. I know some of them might be joking but it upsets me because I feel it undermines my abilities. I worked hard to close those deals, to build my skill set and I never once used my body to get my way. Sometimes I feel I have to work doubly hard to prove myself and break stereotypes.
1. Creating a platform to help women and give them a voice
“One major thing that helped me get over my insecurities was surrounding myself with people who loved me and helped me see myself in a different light. When I was given the chance to start Unzippedtv.com, I saw it as an opportunity to help other women out there who faced similar life struggles and who needed a positive support group. I wanted the platform to be as real and raw as possible and to use everyone’s experiences and stories to help one another. It touches me a lot when I hear people telling me our content actually helped them or that they’re happy someone is finally talking about things that are not usually talked about online. I feel I have a bit more of a purpose in life.”
2. Dealing with insecurities and low self-esteem
“Since young, I’ve always been insecure about myself; my skin, my body, my personality, my choices. I’ve quite a bit of acne scars, I’m heavy-bottomed and it doesn’t help that being in the media industry surrounds me with so many girls who are super slim and clear-skinned. My insecurities used to be so bad that I wouldn’t want to meet anyone I spoke to via social media in real life for fear that they would judge me when they met me offline. Thankfully, I’ve learnt to compartmentalize those insecurities to stop it from affecting me as much but it does take a conscious effort to stop comparing my flaws with other people’s strengths.”
2. Constantly trying to break gender stereotypes
“In a bid to break gender stereotypes, I kind of grew a passion for unconventional things that girls don’t usually do. I joined rugby, took up a bike license, tried boxing and went mountain climbing. I guess I’m always trying to push my limits and show that girls are just as tough too. Of course, stereotypes do come from somewhere, so I try my best to break them by equalizing roles with my guy friends or boyfriend, like helping the guys with the dirty work in the office or taking turns to pay for meals with my boyfriend. I love the image of a girl who is tough and independent so I try to live that out in my daily activities.”
3. Family concerns over playing rough sports
“Up till secondary school, I used to do ballet and dance. Then in poly, I took up Touch Rugby and that’s when I started coming home with all these big cuts and all sorts of injuries. 2 years ago, I transitioned to Contact Rugby which is a full contact sport and the injuries have only gotten worse since. My parents always sigh in exasperation and tell me they wish I would stop doing things that make them worry. I don’t blame them because it’s painful to watch your own daughter limping, with all these big pussing cuts and it’s even worse when they get random messages like, ‘Hey Mum and Dad…I just had a small accident with my teammate. I hit my eye and I had a slight concussion so I’m currently in the hospital now. But don’t worry! I’ll keep you updated’. Thankfully, they don’t force me to stop playing but my mum is still trying her luck with getting me to switch to yoga.”
3. Remembering why she loves rugby
“Rugby is a tough and rugged sport where you literally throw your body on the line for your team. I have many teammates who have gotten crazy bad injuries like torn ligaments and ACL tears which require surgery, but everyone always just wants to get back onto the field again to rough it out with the team. It has definitely taught me a lot about teamwork and made me a stronger person, physically and mentally. I feel very proud to call myself a rugby player and I’m happy to see more girls taking it up in recent years!”
“I have a really weak bladder, so when I’m out clubbing, or say, mountain climbing, it’s very leceh (troublesome) to go to the toilet. Long queues and the whole squatting thing…meh. Sometimes I really wish I had a penis, so that I can just point and shoot at any bush, without much mess. Point, flick, and I’m done. Life would really be much easier.”
“When you’re very content with life, and content with every single thing you have.”
Stay tuned to more stories from our ladies!