Cover Story

Debbie Lee: “I Love Chatting With Jordan!”

By: Kua Kee Eng Photography by: Johny Kok Make-up & Hair: Amy Ng Location: bijou, Mont Kiara

Debbie Lee — being a mum is her top priority! Nothing else can measure up to that — neither her successful career as a fitness instructor nor entrepreneur! Parenthood introduces to you the woman behind Fit For 2 and bijou.

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here were chuckles of laughter when Johny, our photographer was snapping away pictures at bijou. Well, the whole crew couldn’t help smiling, laughing and blowing whistles into the air when the adorable four-year-old posed unabashedly for the camera. Accuse me of exaggerating but Jordan, the pretty girl who graced our cover with her mother this month, was so confident and poised, she could strike attractive poses without being demonstrated, and very natural too, at that. Her mother, Debbie, did not mind a single bit that her daughter was stealing her limelight. And she obviously enjoyed watching her daughter in the middle of everyone’s attention.


“Priorities have not changed since Jordan was born. She is my number one priority, then work, and then comes my husband and finally, there is me,” was her remark when asked about her list of priorities.

Life Revolves Around Jordan
There isn’t a word that could describe her passion for being a mum; Debbie likes to be a mum more than anything else. When she was asked what’s the best thing about motherhood, “Everything!” was her absolute answer. Motherhood has definitely changed her life. “Nothing prepares you for motherhood! There is the immense feeling of love for your child. Also, it is amazing how protective you become of not just your child, but your family unit, ” said Debbie, “it becomes ver y apparent just how important family bonds are and how unimpor tant everything else is in comparison.” Debbie also admitted that she’s a perfectionist, a control freak, having to think back of the time she first became a mother. “When I was first a mother, I was completely out of my comfort zone and I didn’t like not being in control. I wish I had known then that I ought to relax and just let things take their course,” she said. Indeed, she would have had a much easier time adjusting herself to being a mother, only if she realise it then. Still, I think Debbie has yet to rid herself of the perfectionism in her motherhood (of course there’s nothing wrong being a perfectionist, except a bit stressful though) — when I asked her to rate herself as a mum from 1 to 10, guess what’s her answer? “A definite 10” was what she was looking for, if ever this question was addressed to her daughter, Jordan. See what I meant!

Now, let’s take a closer look on how Debbie’s life revolves around her daughter, Jordan. “My daily routine starts with my daughter waking me up and then getting showered before sitting down for breakfast. I then drop my daughter at school before heading to Fit For 2 for a meeting at 9 a.m. with the manager there and followed by teaching two classes to pregnant mums and new mummies. I then pick up my daughter from school and head home for lunch with her,” said Debbie, “and

Why Debbie on Cover?
When my editor, Teresa, said that we’re having Debbie Lee on Parenthood’s March cover, the first question I popped to her was “Is she someone famous?” “Famous is not the factor,” came the reply. “She is a successful entrepreneur who owns a fitness studio and a restaurant. She has the looks of a healthy radiant mum. She is a Datin who prefers not to use her title. She’s humble, she’s fit, she’s every inch what a moder n mum should look like,” Teresa tattered off. Well, enough reasons to be on the cover. And the first time I met her in person, my impression of her was a woman full of energy. Debbie is cheerful, practical and most obviously a loving mother. A fitness instructor by profession, Debbra, affectionately known as Debbie, owns Fit For 2, a fitness studio in Bangsar, and co-owns bijou, a newly opened restaurant in Mont Kiara with her husband and her father-in-law. However, it doesn’t matter how successful her career is, nothing can supersede her only child, Jordan.

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then we follow whatever schedule she has for the day, such as play dates, mandarin lessons or just reading and doing arts and crafts. Then we organise dinner and sit down for dinner before she is showered and then we read a book together before I put her to bed. It is after she’s in bed that I head either to the gym or the tennis court.” Her busy routine does not stop there, after the gym; she will head towards bijou to ensure things are running smoothly there. Isn’t it obvious? Looking at Debbie’s tight-schedule, Jordan always comes first before any other thing. Spending time with Jordan, is the utmost impor tant thing and the happiest moment for Debbie. She believes that children see things differently — simple and outright — perhaps it’s because innocence and sincerity always exist in a child’s heart. “I love chatting with Jordan, we have a great time just hanging out and chatting. We chat about everything and it is so much fun and extremely enlightening to see the world through Jordan’s eyes. Kids see things as they really are and say how they really feel, ” she said. Well, I couldn’t help, but to agree with her on this one. I believe that most of you, will see how direct and outspoken your children actually are, whenever they are giving their opinions, and just about anything.

Active, outgoing and confident are the three words that I would use to describe the charming Jordan. During the photo-shooting session, she managed to bring forth so many professional poses, without any hesitation or shyness — well, it’s not too much if I said she actually enjoyed posing like a supermodel, and she did, just check out the photos! It’s true that you can see a child’s happiness through her eyes and her behaviour. The way she clings on her mum, the broad-smile of hers, the way she carries herself with confidence — all these are the evidence of Debbie’s hard work for ensuring a proper upbringing of Jordan, into a fine lady one day.

Dreams Come True …
“I never thought I would be doing what I am doing now, but I’m so lucky to be doing what I love …” said Debbie. She first started out as a fitness instructor who had been accepting freelance jobs from various fitness studios. Lucky enough for her that she has had a very supportive father-in-law, to the extent of providing her with a loan to start-up her own fitness centre, Fit For 2. To show her gratitude towards his generosity, she has made sure that the businesses of her centre a successful one, and keep growing, so that she could repay her father-in-law with the profits she’s making. Debbie now focuses in pre-natal and post-natal exercises (of course, she’s teaching in her own fitness centre).

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Not only that, currently, she is one of the owners of a new restaurant in Mont Kiara, namely bijou, apart from the other two owners — her husband and her father-in-law. She oversees the daily business in bijou. (Oh, please allow me to slot in some information about bijou, as I feel guilty not to share, since I personally tasted and knew how delicious they are!) Most of the food there, be it specialties or not, are made up of natural source of ingredients; the grains used for baking the bread, the fresh fish fillet, the salad and dressings, and so on. Debbie said that she dislikes processed foods and anything with preservatives. Thus, she came up with these ideas of turning all the dishes in the menu into healthy meals that are made up of natural ingredients. Junk food is out of the menu when it comes to Jordan’s meals time. Everything that she eats is home-cooked (or from bijou), well balanced meals made of ingredients from natural sources. (Sorry for the little detour, do check out the bijou’s review in Parenthood’s February issue!). Lucky as it might seem to you, but the truth is, Debbie had put a lot of effort into running the fitness centre as well as the restaurant. True, she has had a very supportive husband and father-inlaw, yet, without Debbie’s perseverance

“Priorities have not changed since Jordan was born. She is my number one priority...”

No kidding — Jordan certainly poses like a supermodel!

and wits, the businesses would never have turned out as flourishing as they are today. “I have one goal in life and that is to be happy and to live each day as if it was my last. Dream of whatever it is that you want, but also MAKE those dreams a reality. Always be open to new ideas and suggestions too — you never know where it may take you,” said Debbie, “as long as I am happy and enjoying every minute of the journey, then my goal has been a c h i e v e d . L I V E , E N J O Y, APPRECIATE, BE HAPPY!” PH

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