Here’s the thing about being an “it girl”: “it” giveth, “it” taketh away. There’s a reason the title is often associated with a reign—it has a beginning, a peak, and an end that’s almost as certain as a scandal and the obligatory “Where is She Now?” article a decade later. Such is not the case for the case with equal parts tenacity, finesse, and that thing called “it.”Now a wife,
mother, and successful businesswoman at 32, her evolution continues as she settles into a life she’s so masterfully designed. “This year made me realize that anything can happen. So it’s important that you must be flexible to adapt,” she says. Despite constantly being under public scrutiny, it’s quite rare, if not never, do we see Belle performing the unglamorous task of adapting, but thankfully she’s left a trail of receipts.
Her two business ventures, Ride Revolution and FRNK Milk Bar, which she both co-owns and had to manage remotely during the lockdown period, have had to make a few pivots. “For Ride Revolution we decided early to sell and rent out our bikes since we were not sure when the pandemic would end, and whether or not people would want to be in a studio. Fortunately, our team was able to act fast and we built an on-demand website where our riders can take spin classes at the time they want or join a live class,” she adds,
“For FRNK, we opened up mid ECQ as an essential service and turned the upstairs of our commissary, what used to be our head office, into a dormitory where the skeleton workforce we had would sleep for months to ensure safety. Our staff were great and understood that we needed to operate to survive.”
Over the years, Belle has become quite the influencer especially in the area of fitness. After all, you can’t start an indoor cycling business without being active yourself. It’s unsurprising then physical and mental health—hers and her family’s—became and remain her main priorities. In fact, Belle has been very vocal about having social
media anxiety, and has always made it a point to express how toxic social media behaviors can affect mental health. “If there are any other causes out there that are close to my heart, I make sure to lend my voice.” And she does. Through it all she upholds class and sass, and tops it off with her trademark self-effacing sense of humor.
MOTHERHOOD BECOMES HER
It was like a light was switched on when Belle became a wife to her husband Adrien Semblat and a mom to her son, Baltie. Even as an outsider looking in through whatever window to her life she decides to post that day, you could tell that she has truly come into her own after being a mom. “[During the lockdown] my son was home 24/7 so I needed to think of creative ways to keep him busy, so
I became his preschool teacher with an art and science activity prepared daily,” she shares. This was while she was taking online classes and filling her schedule with meetings. “I got stuck in Hong Kong and lived off my leggings for four months!” she jokes. “Stress-free? No. I was pretty stressed out during the first few months, but I guess remembering that I was safe helped me.”
Even in motherhood, she’s an achiever. Who makes an animated book to explain COVID-19 to their kid? She did that, extending her influence beyond business to benefit other mothers who are looking for ways to educate their kids on such a burdensome subject in a friendly way. We have her degree in Early Childhood Education to thank for that. Still, even with all her extra effort, Belle shares that some of the most precious experiences she’s had this year include the simplest things, such as taking her son to the beach, hiking, and going to the park.
“Seeing him happy in the outdoors makes me happy,” she says. “I get now why my mom is obsessed with me! [Laughs] Motherhood’s biggest lesson for me so far is that our children are not extensions of ourselves—they are their own being and our job is to merely guide them.”
WHERE TO NEXT?
Belle has traveling on her mind as we enter the holidays. “Who doesn’t miss traveling? I recently came back to HK from Manila and had to wait eight hours at the airport for my negative results so I have a feeling traveling for the year to come might be difficult—but I do dream of going to the French Alps with my family this Christmas,” she shares. “I also look forward to my sister Ava’s and Jess’ weddings next year in Europe.”
As for her next power move as a bonafide girl boss? Another business venture: she recently launched her own clothing line called Recess, available on zalora.com and ourrecess.com.
Belle shares the details of her new baby’s first collection: “We have two main fabrications as part of Collection 1. There’s ‘Do Everything,’ a super soft, cottony, breathable fabric that seamlessly transitions from lounge to activewear, and ‘Personal Best,’ a lightweight, medium compression, sweat-wicking fabric for more active uses. Both fabrications are a blend of nylon and spandex. Our offering includes bra tops, leggings, a jacket, a tee, and a tank in a cotton blend fabric.” For Recess, Belle strives for inclusivity, “Not just in our campaign but also with our products,” she says.
“We are going with body-neutral sizing, we have an extra plus-size range, are also petite-friendly, and have pieces for pregnant women as a small start. We are a fully woman-owned
and woman-led brand that empowers all movement even when you just want to lie on the couch.” It appears giving birth to a new venture the third time around comes with a certain level of comfort, confidence, and a self-awareness that leads to better things overall. “I think my best and worst trait as a businesswoman is being ambitious. I always want to be the best. Sometimes it’s too much,” our “it girl”-turned-multi-hyphenate shares.
Yet even as she seems to power her days as a businesswoman effortlessly, being a mom and wife are still the biggest and most important roles she’s ever filled. “For now I’m most thankful for my family’s health. I always repeat what my mom told me, ‘The secret to happiness is being grateful for what you have.”