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How did you meet?
Eunice: We first met at a business meeting in 2006, after Frances’s then-agency called me down as they were looking for an event host. We sat in some shophouse and I remember a lot of hysterical laughter. She gave me a Motorola phone she was launching at the event and I was really shocked, like are you really giving me a free phone?
Frances: I had never seen anyone so grateful and was actually appreciate of how receptive she was. We clicked instantly.
How would you describe your friendship?
Eunice: It’s like we were born to meet. There are just some people you meet in life that you’re on the same wavelength with, so we just instinctively got along and it’s clear that she’s always going to be in my life. We complement each other. I wish we’d met earlier!
Frances: It’s the same for me. When we met, I was in my 30s and knee deep in corporate people so it was very refreshing to meet somebody I could have a very open conversation with. I just felt comfortable with her. Our friendship is like superglue; there’s an invisible bond that binds us through everything.
“There’s an invisible bond that binds us.” – Frances
What is it like being best friends and co-workers? Is it always smooth-sailing?
Eunice: I’ve had a policy of not working with friends and family because relationships are important and when work is thrown into the mix, it can be very tough. But over the years, especially as an entrepreneur, I realise that I’d rather work with someone whom I can trust, will be honest with me and objective about the work. It’s not easy but even when we get into fights and stuff, at the end of the day we always find a way to work things out because our friendship supersedes everything else. Even if the company has to close down, we will still remain friends.
Do you often get together outside of work? What do you bond over?
Eunice: The funny thing is even when we go on breaks, we still call each other up and go, “Eh, what are you doing? Wanna meet?” It’s like we can’t get enough of each other. We bond over a constant craving for food and our sense of humour. It’s just bad jokes and more bad jokes.
Frances: We make fun of each other a lot, a lot of people may not understand our humour.
How has knowing each other changed your lives?
Frances: Eunice is very tenacious; there’s nothing that stops her. And through everything, she remains very humble. Her compassion for others constantly teaches me new things and she’s made me see a lot of things that I was not noticing – simple, everyday things that were right in front of me. It’s like we both see the same thing but she sees something else, and she always opens my eyes to how important it is to care for other people, to always leave space in our lives to help others. I almost feel as though I was a little bit of a zombie before meeting her.
Eunice: Frances is very modest about everything she’s done. People happen to know my name because it’s just the nature of my work, but what they don’t know is that we do a lot of the work together. She’s like the big sister I never had. She taught me to not let others take advantage of me and to not be afraid to say no. She is always looking out for me and is not only my best friend, but the best manager anyone could ever have; she always has my back. My work means a lot to me but I will give it up any day for her. I would drop everything in a heartbeat for her, even WomenTalk. And we’ll start WomenTalk 2!
“I would drop everything in a heartbeat for her.” – Eunice
Favourite memory together?
Eunice: Every time our names get called over the airport PA system because we’re late for our flight. When we travel together, we’re always early at the airport – like three hours early. We’ll check in, then go and find somewhere to sit down and eat. Then we’ll hear, “Calling for Ms Olsen and Ms Chong, you are late for your flight!”
Frances: Then we end up running to the gate which is somehow always at the end of the terminal, and kena all the dirty looks [from other passengers].
Eunice: We’ve got a lot of good memories from travelling for work together. When we work we’re very serious but we have a lot of fun together because I don’t think we take ourselves very seriously. Sometimes we’ll just dance together in the middle of somewhere –
France: like the airport or train station!
The key to a successful friendship is…
Eunice: Agreeing that even during work hours, there’s always time for dessert and coffee (for me, Frances doesn’t like coffee).
Frances: Looking out for each other.
Text: Elizabeth Liew
Photos: Veronica Tay / Styling: Debby Kwong / Hair: Den Ng / Makeup: Hong Ling (Nars)