The Straits Times
Jan 3, 2015
Colourful Chanel bags. Supercars. Exotic jaunts to Europe. The glitzy images on @kimmylecute's popular Instagram profile paint its owner, Kim Lim, as a princess living the modern-day fairy tale. And she is, in a way.
The daughter of billionaire Peter Lim, the 23-year-old holds court on social media, with more than 57,000 Instagram followers and hundreds of likes per post.
There are selfies galore, and she is seen surrounded by the evidence of her material wealth - designer bags of all shapes and sizes from Hermes, Saint Laurent and Givenchy, in addition to the aforementioned Chanel, as well as a dizzying array of Christian Louboutin heels.
Followers lap up the peeks into her jetsetting lifestyle on the social media platform, which she joined in 2012.
Ms Lim's growing online presence has also netted the former SIM University business management student varied gigs, such as being a style ambassador for Digital Fashion Week here in November last year.
On paper, or the Internet-age equivalent, she seems like she could be a diva. And the difficulty of scheduling an interview and photo shoot through her PR minder reinforces that assumption. On the day of her shoot, the photo studio is packed.
There are 14 people in the room, including a PR minder, a nanny, a bodyguard, three employees from Cartier who arrived with jewellery on loan for the shoot, two hairstylists, a make-up artist, and the editorial, photo and video crew.
At the centre of the circus is the slim, 1.7m-tall Ms Lim, who appears not in a fancy get-up, but surprisingly, in a ratty tank, shorts and sneakers with shades to hide her bare face.
In person, she is not a larger-than-life figure. In fact, she seems younger and quite unguarded, slouchy body language and all. She is not fussy about which outfits or accessories to wear, and poses a bit awkwardly at first, in an endearing way.
To get rid of her nervous energy, she banters with her hair and make-up team, who get her to crack a few smiles.
Later during the interview, Ms Lim says that despite the bling on display, she has a very simple style of dressing.
"My main priority is comfort. I have heels, but I love sneakers," she says in a twang that is a mixture of local and British inflections, thanks to the years spent at the all-girl boarding school Queenswood in Hertfordshire, where she was sent when she was 12.
The Insta-fame has been unexpected, she says. "I'm happy and thankful that people are noticing me, but at the same time I don't really know how I feel about it."
It does make her a bit more conscious about how she presents herself in public, she notes, but she just tries to be true to herself. Her home life is simple too, it appears.
She loves to travel and eat well, but when in Singapore, she eats mostly hawker centre food and home-cooked meals by her nanny, with whom she lives in an apartment in the Orchard Road area.
"My dad is a simple guy too, usually in shorts and a T-shirt," she adds.
References to her 61-year-old father pepper the conversation and she says the two are close.
Her parents are divorced and Mr Lim is married to former television actress Cherie Lim. Kim Lim is obviously aware of her privileged position as the daughter of one of Singapore's richest men who, according to Forbes Singapore, has an estimated worth of US$2.05 billion (S$2.6 billion).
"My dad wants me and my brother to be humble and down-to-earth," she says.
Her 21-year-old younger brother is studying psychology in Australia.
"I have the power and capability to give back to society and help others," she adds.
While she enjoys dressing up - Givenchy is one of her favourite brands with its edgy but casual T-shirts - she also does charity work. She has volunteered at the Apex Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly in Bukit Merah View and has taken part in the family-run Operation Red Shirt charity, which gives out food provisions to the needy elderly during Chinese New Year, for many years. It is a bit strange to picture her in such settings.
However, Ms Lim explains that she does not just pack the food but enjoys delivering and meeting the old folks.
She is also close to her grandmother, she says. The dog lover will be finishing her degree in marketing overseas, but in the meantime, has lots of entrepreneurial ideas.
She is in talks with Thai fashion label Patinya to bring the brand to Singapore and other countries. She would also love to meld her passions - charity and fashion - with her father's football connections.
Mr Lim recently bought Spanish football club Valencia.
"Maybe the footballers could do a fashion show to raise funds for charity," she muses.
As a 23-year-old, the It girl is still finding her footing, it seems, and figuring out what to do with her life. She says her end goal would be to support her father and his business.
"My dad has always been there for me. My main goal would be to help him out and be able to take care of him one day," she says. "Just give me a few years on that one."