She's the low-key creative force driving some of the city's trendiest brands. Here, Mandy Gioh explains why she has finally embraced the spotlight and is comfortable stepping into her own.
Dress: Miu Miu
Our October cover shoot unfolds on a warm Sunday morning, deviating from the typical weekday slot, as Mandy Gioh's packed day-to-day schedule leaves her with very little personal time. As one of the city's youthful and prominent creatives, it's perfectly understandable why her calendar is brimming with meetings and engagements. Nevertheless, she arrives on set perfectly composed and enthusiastic, fully prepared for the demanding day ahead.

"I need you to know that I'm typically the one directing from behind the lens, and I'm not used to being in front of it, so please bear with me," she cautions as we begin our first shot. Her concern proved unnecessary as the session flowed seamlessly, resulting in fantastic visuals, which you'll see for yourself as you scroll down.
Coat, top (worn inside) and heels: Ferragamo. Pants: Holy Number 7 from M Store Lab
If you have yet to encounter this young creative, it's probably because she has consciously been low-key throughout her career. However, the rapid growth of her work has compelled her to step into the limelight. She candidly shares, "To be honest, I rarely do photo shoots or publicly put myself out there because I've always had this persistent fear of how people might perceive me."

"I've come to realise that as you grow older and gain more experience in your field of work, confidence is crucial to instil trust in the people you collaborate with—so here we are," she adds with a smile.
Born Gioh Su Lyn, Mandy's venture in design began with a five-year interior architecture course at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Following her academic journey, she briefly gained work experience at a design firm but ultimately found it unsatisfying. Simultaneously, she began to explore her creative talents by designing for friends and family back home in Kuala Lumpur. Then, what started as a simple two-week break to Malaysia became an epic plot twist in her career path. She made the bold choice to resign from her job, decided not to return to Melbourne, and stayed home for good.

"To be honest, there were many times in Melbourne where I felt unsure about what I was doing and whether it was something I was truly happy with. I'm very thankful that another work opportunity beckoned right here in Malaysia, and I seized that chance," she shares.
How it all began
Top: Boss. Earring: Gung Jewellery
That opportunity in question involved a partnership with homegrown influencer Jane Chuck to embark on launching her own beauty brand, Chuck's. Having previously worked together on several projects, the two forged a deep bond of trust and respect, ultimately taking it one step further and turning it into a substantial business endeavour.

"One thing I truly appreciate is that she encourages me to explore and experiment, especially with her 'baby'. At the time, Chuck's was an entirely new venture for both of us and we were learning together. Looking back, it is incredibly satisfying to witness our mutual growth. Do we have arguments? Yes, occasionally. However, it all stems from a place of good intentions. It's usually because we want to push each other to be better," Mandy reflects.
WATCH: Mandy plays Truth or Dare
Today, Mandy holds multiple roles: "I'm a Brand Director at Chuck's and Motherchuckers, a lifestyle fashion brand also owned by the both of us. I oversee the creative team and set the direction for our products—how to best express the mood and tone of the items we want to launch. Next, we are launching a new brand called Pretty Motherchuckers with the vision of offering girls clothes that they can confidently wear for a night out—it's something very sexy. We plan to launch at the end of the year. It's a project that we've been working on for a while now, and it's exciting to see it coming to life."

Furthermore, Mandy is the Creative Director at Frenss Studio, a production agency she co-founded with homegrown photographer Nelson Chong. Having collaborated on prior projects, the two discovered a rare mutual understanding of creative direction and a chemistry that's not easy to come by. Recognising the magic in their partnership, they decided to make it official. Today, their impressive clientele includes prominent names such as Bonia, Hennessy, Netflix, New Balance, Sephora and Zalora.
Taking charge
Artistically, she looks up to figures like Carlo Skarpa, a visionary Italian architect known for minimalism and adept use of curves and lines. In the realm of interior design, she admires Bureau Betak, a Parisian production company behind the majestic runway set-up of the likes of Dior and Jacquemus at Paris Fashion Week.

Mandy's unconventional point of view stems from her educational and professional journey in Melbourne. "I believe that experience definitely has broadened my perspective on both creativity and workflow. When I take on a task, I don't necessarily think that I should follow a particular path. I'm very open to trying different ways and giving you a fresh look and feel. I always ask, 'How can I create a captivating experience for my audience?' From there, I start researching and ensuring that everything aligns seamlessly."
Blazer: Prada. Leotard: Ferragamo. Pants: Boss. Necklace and ring: Gung Jewellery
Working at such a fast and relentless pace, it's impossible not to feel the weight of stress and anxiety creeping in. However, Mandy has found a way to conquer these challenges. "I used to have severe anxiety, especially when it comes to work. I had this intense need for everything to work out how I wanted it to. When someone pointed out a problem, it felt like the world would come crashing down."

To maintain mental balance, Mandy's tricks involve a variety of self-care practices, which include listening to her body and hitting the gym. Plus, her lovable, playful dog, Luna, keeps her spirits high. She also embraces stillness, sometimes taking a whole day to relax and reset her mind. Going for simple 20-minute hair washes are a personal favourite, offering a quick pampering recharge. These small yet meaningful steps have proven to be effective in helping her combat anxiety.
Learning to let go
Talented and creative people often grapple with self-doubt, and Mandy is no exception. "Sometimes, your passion for work can get you worked up in your head," she admits. "I always need to remind myself that the critiques I hear in my mind are a creation of my own thoughts. No one has actually come up to me and said, 'Mandy, you cannot do this!' Once I broke free from my own barriers, I trained myself to be fearless and confident while finding a way to balance and mediate those feelings of uncertainty."

She extends this understanding to her team, recognising that not everyone will perceive her ideas the way she does. "Some things that you do and say will not be immediately clear to others, and it's unfair to project your dissatisfaction onto the people you work with. One important thing I've learned is to always try to explain and find ways to make yourself clear," she shares.
Trusting herself
Jacket: Axel Arigato from M Store Lab. Blazer: Boss. Ring: Gung Jewellery
Having achieved some level of success, Mandy imparts some advice for those considering following in her footsteps. "For me, the key is to not be afraid of failing," she emphasises. "I know it sounds super cliché, but I've faced my fair share of setbacks—including a year of academic struggle in university, delaying my graduation—and have come out stronger. I've also learned not to fear trying new things because you'll never know unless you try."

As she enters her 30s, Mandy reflects on this transformative phase. "Turning 30 this year has been an incredible experience, surpassing my 20s. I've come to understand myself better and am more stable financially, not to mention people now take me more seriously. Moving forward, I aspire to explore more avenues and see myself knocking on the doors of creative agencies or delving into business development. I want to continue growing, learning and challenging myself—asking the right questions and discovering how to elevate my work. I'm really excited to see how I step out of my comfort zone—maybe even beyond Malaysia," she concludes.
Blazer and skirt: Prada. Heels: Ferragamo. Earrings and necklace: Gung Jewellery
Editor-in-chief, TEXT & STYLING / Sarah Hani Jamil
CREATIVE DIRECTION & layout design / Sarah Tai
Videography / NABIL HUSSIN