S04E04: Dr Wendy Liew, Founder of The Image Creator, Malaysia

If you don’t study hard, then you cannot get a good job and because my mum is a housewife, she always said, make something on your own. Get a [good] job so that you do not need to get money from your husband. Since young, this has been implanted in our minds.

Dr Wendy Liew

In today’s episode, I am speaking to Dr Wendy Liew who is the founder of The Image Creator based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We spoke about failure, money, growing up poor, the fear of failing, parents’ expectations, gender biases and discrimination, luxury brand marketing, leadership and pride. 

Wendy has trained more than 70,000 people and conducted training for more than 200 corporations in the span of 19 years. She is also the author of 3 books and has certified more than 50 image consultants. She has also been widely written about in the media and spoken on the TEDx stage.

And yet despite her success, Wendy is still down-to-earth and funny!

She didn’t shy away from talking about her upbringing and family situation when growing up in Kampar, a small town near Ipoh, Perak. She said her grandmother didn’t like girls much and her mother suffered the brunt of not bearing sons and Wendy grew up thinking of how totally unfair the world was to girls. 

wendy liew image creator malaysia
“I was so scared of failing. Like if I failed, people will laugh not only at me but laugh at my parents as well,”
says Dr Wendy Liew.

Coming from a poor family and being looked down on by her relatives contributed to Wendy’s resolve to prove to the world at large that she could be successful and rich. 

She was truthful about her shortcomings – her pride, the fear of losing face and most of all, of being a failure. 

Yet Wendy always had it in her to be an image consultant – she spoke about how as a teenager, she would pick her outfits, mixing and matching them even if it was just going for tuition! 

A few career twists and turns that she embarked on made her strict mother furious but I sensed that her mother was and still is her biggest supporter. That’s why she says that her role model and inspiration is her mum. 

Wendy loves this quote by Oprah Winfrey – “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you, always!”

And her favourite book is How Women Rise by Marshall Goldsmith. 

“Having a beautiful family and a promising career that I’m really passionate about is my proudest accomplishment,” says Wendy. 

IIf you ask me about my biggest fear, it is still the same thing, my biggest fear is that I’m so scared [of not having money] because I know the feeling of not having money, how it feels like when your bank account has less than RM50.

In today’s episode, she spoke about:

  • How in her family, the girls were looked down upon and how this unfairness made her even more determined to do well in life
  • Being afraid of being a failure in life and yet wanting success so badly 
  • How her father-in-law’s words made her burn the midnight oil for her business
  • Why she stopped fulfilling her parents’ dream and started on her own
  • How one trait of hers is both a strength and a weakness
  • What she will sacrifice to save time 
  • Why being a lone ranger is a terrible way to run a business
  • What a detractor said to her that woke her up to the truth about “being successful”
  • How her dream came true when she stopped chasing after it
  • How she pivoted (and what saved her business) during the pandemic when corporate training stopped and her revenue fell

One day, one of my friends said to me, Wendy, I tell you, I don’t think you’ll be successful…because you are doing so many things. You are not focused. You are doing everything under the sun. Because of this, you will never be successful. This statement really make me sit down and think whether am I really doing a lot of things? 

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