We’ve seen Hong Kong’s wellness scene blossom in the last decade, and that’s in no small way due to the efforts of the wellness entrepreneurs breaking boundaries on the fitness frontier. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re paying tribute to the top women in wellness in Hong Kong. These leading ladies have been challenging conventions, pushing boundaries and encouraging others to follow suit, leaving a positive atmosphere in their wake. Take a look at our pick of Hong Kong’s finest female #fitspiration and the city’s top women in wellness.
It would be impossible to talk about Hong Kong’s top women in wellness and not mention Cathy Feliciano-Chon. For over two decades, Cathy has been revolutionising the wellness industry from the inside-out, with her pioneering marking and branding strategies in the luxury hotel spa industry. A board member and chair for the Global Wellness Summit known for her in-depth, data-driven industry insights, Cathy is one of the key players in Hong Kong’s wellness scene.
Dee Cheung: Co-founder, Float On and SUP Yoga HK
Canadian-born self-professed ‘wellness-preneur’ Dee set sail for Hong Kong in 2006, and has been making waves in the city’s wellness scene ever since. Having co-founded SUP Yoga in a bid to offer an alternative wellness activity, Dee’s pioneering attitude persisted, and she introduced the Float On sensory deprivation tanks to offer tranquil oasis pods to those looking for an escape.
If you need a little fitspiration in your life, Nike brand ambassador, fashion icon and running enthusiast Hilary Tsui should be on your Instagram follow list. She co-founded athleisure brand Liger, and her jet-setting adventures literally running around the globe (in ultra-fashionable kicks, of course) will inspire you to hit the running track.
Model, boxing coach, dancer, spin instructor… Angie Ng is a woman of many talents. The Malaysian-Chinese model started out studying law, but she’s since moved away from the courtrooms to the catwalks, starring in campaigns for Addidas, Roger Vivier and Vivienne Westwood.
Lindsay Jang: Co-founder, Missbish
Entrepreneurial spirit Lindsay lives and breathes an active lifestyle. The restaurateur and co-founder of Missbish has channelled her energy into designing athleisure wear for women who, like herself, look and feel confident, and are ready to put their best foot forward in a supportive online wellness community. In case she wasn’t busy enough with all that, the mum of two and fashion mogul is also a practising yoga teacher.
Peggy Chan: Founder, Grassroots Pantry
The Cordon-Bleu trained chef and eco-conscious activist Peggy Chan set up Grassroots Pantry to bring healthy, plant-based cuisine to the forefront of Hong Kong’s thriving dining scene. Seven years on from its opening and a newer, bigger venue in a more central location prove her mission has been accomplished in no small part making her one of Hong Kong’s most notable women in wellness.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Jen MacKay seems to have fitness in her bones. A personal trainer with Evolve PT, an IRIS regular, avid yogi and a Lululemon ambassador, Jen’s wellness habits are more than skin deep: she practices what she preaches with an attitude of gratitude that seeps into everything she does.
Heanney McCollum: Personal Trainer
Heanney left a career in marketing to focus on health and fitness full time, lifting it from a part-time passion to a full-time project. With nutrition and fitness education under her belt, Heaney forged a training programme, SCULPT w/H, inviting like-minded women to join her wellness journey, nourishing mind, body and soul.
Cristina McLauchlan: Founder, the Vibe Tribe
Cristina is an eco-warrior with serious heart. Her aim to bring environmentally focused brands to the fore has led to her work previously as Brand Manager for MANA! Fast Slow Food, and the establishment of The Vibe Tribe ethical PR, fostering positive partnerships from the wellness community and beyond, as well as Conscious Cinema, which offers screenings with the aim to raise awareness and stir public debate.
Coco Chan: Founder, Wellness Warriors HK
Working with big-named brands and high-profile clients, PR maven Coco took the industry by storm. Amid the frenzy, however, she never neglects a focus on wellness. With a strong interest in aromatherapy and meditation, she founded a community platform for people to connect through their personal practice, and continues to be one of Hong Kong’s leading women in wellness.
Utah Lee: Nike Master Trainer
Utah wears many hats – the mother, trainer and fashion designer lives and breathes a quintessentially urban lifestyle. A true woman on the move, the active enthusiast designs a range of fitness exercises for the Nike Training App, helping people achieve attainable goals and strive to be their best selves.
The founder of Sally Coco, Hong Kong’s first female-friendly sex shop, is on a mission to break the taboo of sex in Hong Kong. Vera Lui’s intimate lifestyle store isn’t just about having fun, but spreading awareness and education about sex. Partnered with Eaton Workshop, Vera has created a platform to break down barriers to talking about physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing associated with sex and created a space of sex-positivity for women in Hong Kong.
A Food Therapeutic Chef and founder of Dandy’s Organic Cafe, Vivi Cheung believes food is medicine and her natural, organic recipes definitely make us feel better. Her philosophy of food for pleasure and health feeds into everything she does, so her food is both functionally nutritious and delicious. Her wellness food brand, Vilife, is a ‘superfood factory’, helping Hong Kong eat without the chemicals with a range of gluten-free and therapeutic health food products.
Model, Yoga instructor, meditation teacher and holistic health coach Natalie Soderstrom moved to Hong Kong from Sweden seeking to shake up her lifestyle. She shares her own lessons from her holistic journey, which took her through juice cleanses and restrictive dieting as well as her YTT-400 in Vinyasa, Yin-Yang, Yin and Mindful Meditation, with her clients, giving them a holistic toolkit to make meaningful changes to their own wellness routines.
Formerly a Hollywood publicist, Corie Chu turned to alternative therapies to help cope with her own stress and through an encounter with a spiritual teacher, found a healthier lifestyle and a new career. She specialises in intuitive energy healing, is a 9th generation Reiki Master and a certified numerology teacher. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2012, she’s become one of Hong Kong’s foremost healers.
Heather Thomas Shalabi: Founder, Flex Studios
Having developed a regiment of strength and discipline through over a decade of classical ballet training, Heather extended her fitness focus after moving to Hong Kong and developing an interest in Pilates. Since co-founding Flex Studios in 2005, she has offered a range of private and group classes at the studios’ two centres for clients of all fitness levels.
Lahra Tatriele: Co-founder, Fivelements
Lahra’s background in marketing and advertising left her perfectly positioned to create a unique approach to Fivelements, a wellness facility and healing spa with locations in both Bali and Hong Kong she co-founded with her husband, Chicco. Adopting an eco-conscious approach, Lahra is focused on creating positive lasting and sustainable changes.
Naturopathic doctor Benita Perch is one of the Managing Directors and senior partners at IMI, Hong Kong’s leading integrated medicine institute. As vice president for the Integrative Association of Naturopaths in Hong Kong, she has her finger on the pulse of alternative therapies in Hong Kong and uses everything from modern diagnostics to herbal medicine to give her patients a holistic and bespoke treatment.
Resham Daswani: Founder, Spiral Spaces
Growing up amid Hong Kong’s international community, Resham’s passion for travel brought her to Taiwan where she discovered a love of tea. Bridging her passions, Resham created Spiral Spaces, a social platform for mindful practice which offers tea meditation sessions to those looking to turn over a new leaf.
Martha Collard: Founder, Red Doors Studio
Counsellor and mentor Martha has a long-standing interest in the personal development and growth of others. Having pursued studies in yoga training, sound healing and gong meditation, among others, she adopts a holistic approach to wellness and healing, and utilises this at Red Doors Studio – a safe space offering multiple healing practices to treat the ailments of modern society.
Dr. Winnie Mui: Director, Medi Spa
Dr Winnie is a seasoned aesthetician. Through her work at Medi Spa, an anti-aging and beauty centre back in 2007, she offers a range of services using state of the art treatments from around the world, all with the aim to help clients radiate the beauty they feel within.
A hairstylist by trade, Andrea Clark estimates she’s cut and coloured more than 26,000 heads of hair over her 30 years in the industry. With a desire to take hair health to the next level, Andrea retrained as a trichologist (the medical study of the scalp and hair), and is now The Mandarin Salon’s resident trichologist, offering one-to-one consults for those worried about hair issues or already experiencing them.
The benefits of meditation are now widely known and researched-backed, but Mira Christanto had no idea just how beneficial the practice would be when she took it up over a decade ago. Working in the high-pressure environment of the finance sector, Mira sought out meditation retreats during her holiday time to find a way to alleviate stress, and has now created Enhale, a meditative escape in the centre of Hong Kong.
Belinda Koo: Founder, XYZ
It was after a health scare and a family history of heart problems that Belinda Koo started to look for ways to work cardio into her everyday life in a fun, exciting way: that’s how XYZ, Hong Kong’s first dedicated spin gym, was born. Rethinking the standard gym, XYZ is full of energy and has garnered a cult following among spin-enthusiasts.
Nichola Salmond is more than just your average GP. Renowned in Hong Kong as one of the best doctors for hormonal imbalances and dermatology concerns, Nichola began her medical career in Glasgow University, Scotland, and has since spent three decades in continuous education obtaining additional training in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, psychiatry, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, dermatology, and advanced family planning. Incorporating Chinese medicinal knowledge into her outlook, Nichola’s western medicine-based practices take on a more holistic nature and it’s this integrated approach that has made her a favourite in the medical community.
Tricia Yap: MMA Athlete and Co-Founder, Warrior Academy
True strength comes from within, and nobody knows this better than Tricia. The Australian-born athlete found her true calling in Hong Kong dedicates her time to prove to women that fitness can be achieved by anyone with the right motivation and positive attitude.
Rachel Moon: Accountability Coach, and Founder, Don’t Resist
Striving to make a change in Hong Kong’s fitness industry, Rachel Moon brought her vast performing, teaching and managerial experience from the world of entertainment and lead the team that built XYZ, Asia’s leading spin studio. She has now gone on to create her own wellness platform, Don’t Resist, which focuses on movement, nourishment and accountability built on the belief that resistance is often what holds us back. Helping clients build the life that they want, the Don’t Resist platform breaks down the walls of resistance to achieving those goals.
If you need a little inspiration to follow your dreams, Ramona Pascual’s story is sure to give you some motivation. She gave up her secure corporate job to pursue a career in professional MMA fighting, and hasn’t looked back since. She was the first woman to headline an MMA fight in Hong Kong, and spoke in 2018 at TEDx Wanchai on how she deals with the highs and lows of competition wins and serious injury.
Cara McIlroy & Melanie Barnish: Founders, Genie Juicery
Born and raised in Australia, Cara and Melanie relocated to Hong Kong where they made their passion for juicing a thriving franchise. Both certified health coaches from the School of Integrative Nutrition, the two entrepreneurs launched Hong Kong’s first retail juicery at IFC mall in 2011, changing the landscape of the city’s health food scene. Now selling juices, smoothies, dairy-free milks, and cold brew coffee, they extended their menu to include raw foods last year.
Pervin Clasper: Co-Founder, Shakti Healing Circle
The co-founder of Shakti Helaing Circle is one of Hong Kong’s top energy healers. Pervin combines her Masters in Psychology and PgD in Psychotherapy with alternative healing therapies like Reiki, Emotional Freedom Techniques, and Magnified Healing to offer clients an intuitive healing session.
See also: Hong Kong’s Top Men in Wellness
The singer, actress and radio host is a healthy living advocate and lives life at full speed whether she’s snowboarding in Niseko or working with local Hong Kong initiatives to make the city healthier. As a yoga instructor for adults and children, Kiki Lam works with Active School HK and Fitmind, making her personal brand of wellness all about sharing good vibes in the community.
Ifat Hindes: Founder, Project Wellness
Born in Israel and raised in the Caribbean and Hong Kong, Ifat’s international upbringing influenced her passion for food, travel, and all things wellness. She brought the first gluten-free bakery to Hong Kong and has since supplied many of the city’s healthy living restaurants with reliable gluten-free goods. She now offers a range of classes, seminars and workshops through Project Wellness.
Sofie Jacobs: Midwife and Founder Urban Hatch
Midwife Sofie Jacobs created Urban Hatch, a comprehensive online birth and preparation course for expectant mothers or new mothers, and their partners, to feel nurtured and supported from bump, to birth and beyond. Her mission is to help people thrive (not just survive) throughout the pregnancy period and beyond. She has also created a community called The Urban Hatch Family which offers online and real-life meetups for those living away from home.
Shoshana Weinberg: Director, Four Seasons Spa
New York-native Shoshana spent her early adulthood travelling through Southeast Asia on a journey of discovery. On her travels, she uncovered a wealth of knowledge of herbal remedies and healing practices. This awakened a passion for healing and Ayurveda, and led to a career in helping others. Now director of Four Seasons Spa, Shoshana is one of Hong Kong’s top women in the luxury wellness sector, and recently introduced the new Masters of Wellness series, bringing unique healing experiences to the guests.
Rinat Perlman: Teacher, Pure Yoga
After taking her first yoga class at Pure, Rinat’s passion for the practice grew, and she has been teaching at the Centrium centre ever since gaining her teaching qualifications. Practising what she preaches, Rinat’s teaching includes a range of yoga and meditation techniques.
Nikita Rachamdani: Founder, Kita Yoga
Nikita left behind a career in finance, realising the life of a desk jockey was not for her. Rather than relegating her fitness regime to the early hours of the morning and late into the evening, Nikita looked for a way to integrate this into her daily routine. Relocating to her hometown of Hong Kong, she opened Kita Yoga, offering students a physically dynamic and engaging practice.
Charlotte Tsuei: Founder, Caelum Greene
Charlotte was born in Taiwan, and raised in Hong Kong and the United States. Her previous experience working for fashion and retail brands helped provide the expertise necessary to return to Hong Kong in 2012 and open the city’s first wellness and lifestyle concept store, Caelum Greene, encouraging people to shop consciously and mindfully.
Cora Lee: Yoga Teacher, Pure Yoga
Cora was first introduced to yoga as a remedial practice for the back pain she experienced during pregnancy but found profound and lasting benefits beyond this. She teaches grounded, empowering yoga to students of Pure Yoga, and aims to encourage others to follow her on her own wellness journey and beyond.
Sonalie Figueiras: Co-founder and Editor in Chief, Green Queen
Sonalie scoured the city, travelling near and far in search of an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle and homeware products. This proved to be no easy task. Rather than keeping these well-kept secrets to herself, she decided to share the gift of green with the city, and set up an online guide for all things green in Hong Kong.
Hulda Thorey & Kristun Lind: Co-founders, Annerley Midwives
Two women, one cause. Proper care during pregnancy is an invaluable service, and something sister-in-laws Hulda and Kristun know all too well. They established Annerley as a private clinic to provide a tailored approach to medical care, helping patients through their pregnancy journey every step of the way. While Kristun has relocated to Iceland, Hulda remains the Director of Annerley.
Jane Gottschalk: Founder, Perfect Moments & Jax Coco
Mother of five and serial entrepreneur Jane has forayed into several wellness ventures, the first of which, coconut-based drinks Jax Coco, has taken the world by storm. She recently established Perfect Moments, a fashion brand specialising ski and sportswear, helping men and women look and feel great while they head for the hills.
A self-described ‘wellness nut’, Lia Wong has a passion for all things wellbeing. A former professional ballroom dancer, paralegal, entrepreneur and digital brand strategist, Lia turned wellness into a full-time career with a Masters in Food Studies and Nutrition, along with a Kinesiologist certificate. Now a wellbeing consultant, Lia uses kinesiology along with a myriad of alternative therapies like aromatherapy, sound healing and chakra balancing to give her clients a holistic healing experience.
Nealy Fischer: Founder, The Flexible Chef
Inspired by her mother’s home cooking, Nealy sought to recreate cherished recipes and share the benefits of healthy eating with a wider audience. She shares tips on fitness, yoga, health and wellbeing through her website, The Flexible Chef, offering practical advice on healthy living and wellness to readers.
Sarah Fung: Founder and Publisher, Liv Magazine
As the former Managing Editor of Hong Kong Magazine, Sarah took her knowledge of all things fashion, health and wellness and set about establishing a platform to share this. Liv Magazine was born in 2015, offering readers free content available at a range of wellness venues across Hong Kong.
May Nogoy: Founder, The Garden Gathering
Constantly curious and continually evolving, May Ngoy is an active member of Hong Kong’s wellness community with roles in seminars, workshops and charitable initiatives across the city. Teaching yoga over two decades, May is now the Wellness Curator for Fivelements Habitat and founded The Garden Gathering, Hong Kong’s first wellness skillshare and festival for women.
The former editor-in-chief of AsiaSpa magazine, a certified yoga instructor and co-founder of the AsiaSpa Awards, Catharine Nicol is one of the top wellness journalists in the region. She has written widely on spas, wellness and health for Billionaire, Travel+Leisure and YogaLife, to name a few, and regularly covers her latest wellness adventures as one of Compare Retreats’ wellness experts.
Rosemary Vandenbroucke: Yoga Instructor and Founder, Daybreaker
Rosemary is the definition of a triple threat: the model, actress and singer has achieved huge success in her career, which began aged just 14. Having discovered a passion for yoga in her adult life, Rosemary been practising and teaching, and has since brought the Daybreaker concept to Hong Kong – a party for early risers ready to swap solitary gym sessions for an active dance party. Sounds like a call for celebration to us.
Olive Lee: Founder, FeloSOPHIE
In celebration of the inspirational women in the wellness world and beyond, Olive Lee set up the recently launched FeloSOPHIE. Short for female philosophy, this empowerment platform serves to celebrate diversity and to help like-minded women network, connect and share their experiences and more.
The founder of REVĪVŌ Wellness Resorts, Laurie Mias has always lived her life with wellness at the forefront. The founder of Mr Green Juice, Laurie began worked briefly in spa management and branding with The Pavilions before the opportunity to create a wellness resort from the ground up.
This article was first published as “34 Women Leading Hong Kong’s Wellness Revolution” on March 7th 2018, and was updated in March 2019. Written by Amanda Sheppard with additional reporting by Rebecca Cairns.