Founder of Twenty3, Sherlyn Tan Spills On Her Inspiring Fitness Journey!

The #girlboss of local fashion label, Twenty3, tells us about her transition into the world of fitness and her motivation to keep moving.

Photography: @sherlyn_fitness


FEMALE: When and how did you begin your journey into fitness?

SHERLYN: “Back in February 2015, I found myself at the lowest point in my life, physically and mentally. I was hospitalised with dengue for a week and also had been living with depression. A month post-recovery, I was introduced to the gym by my boyfriend. Initially, I was intimidated by the new environment but was determined to regain my health and get stronger. Eventually, I began doing Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workout. And the rest is history!”


F: What are some of the challenges you faced when starting out your MOVE by Twenty3 label? And how did you overcome them?

S: “Creating the right composition of fabric. It took us many months and hundreds of failed samples until the durability, comfort and functionality were up to our standards. We wanted to ensure our leggings passed the ‘squat test’ (so that it’s not see-through) and fits like second skin, while our sports bras were designed to provide high support for intense workouts, but also were stretchable enough to take off easily after a sweat session. We tested the prototypes in the washer and dryer several times too to ensure the shape and colour doesn’t run.”


F: Your fitness motto is…

S: “Break your limits. It is also Move by Twenty3’s motto, and one that I continuously remind myself and others of because we are capable of so much more than we think.”

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F: How does your job shape your opinion when it comes to exercising?

S: “My schedule can be really packed and unpredictable. However, I always try to squeeze in a workout, even if it’s just a short one. If I’m really pressed for time, I incorporate simple movements into my day, such as doing lunges in the meeting room or taking the stairs instead of the lift.”


F: What do you love most about your job?

S: “Being able to constantly challenge myself while learning new things, since running Twenty3 exposes me to all business aspects of a fashion company.”


F: We love how you always keep it real on your Instagram profile! What are your thoughts on the issue of body image? And how do you deal with negative comments on and off social media?

S: “What you see on IG may not always be real (as I always try to show my followers) cos photos can easily be edited and your body can look very different by changing the pose or the direction of light. There will always be negative voices out there. I no longer get affected by them but I know people who do. .What others say is not important: That’s why having a healthy mind is equally important as living a healthy life. We all want to look good, but we have to do it for ourselves, not others.”

#sherbloat The above picture was taken 1 minutes after one another. The one in the left was me sucking in, posing, flexing, and tucking my tummy into my high waisted pants while the right hand side picture shows me with my bloated tummy. I was really bloated cz I couldn’t poo for many days. Working in retail connect me almost directly with most people’s insecurities. I have people who tried on clothes and coming out feeling absolutely sad because they’ve gained weight which is pretty normal especially at this weather. I also seen people who would tell me that no they can’t wear this and that because they don’t have the body. I mean, I agree to a certain extend cz we normally always buy clothes that makes us feel confident. BUT, we also, at the same time, subconsciously removed lots of possibilities just because we weren’t confident with our body. I spoke to a few of my customers this past week, I really wish that they could build their self confidence. A lot of the times is what we think in our mind. I used to not dare to wear shorts, no jeans, cz I always think that I have elephant legs and I always get teased that throughout my entire life until suddenly the whole world is going for bigger glutes and suddenly my thighs becoming mainstream, and now everyone started building bigger glutes. It’s tiring isn’t it? Chasing all these perfection while forgetting how beautiful you actually look? Like if you ask me now, I would say that I’m very satisfied with how I look now even when I’m bloated as f*ck. cz it’s almost NOT a priority already. What’s most important is how I FEEL about my body and how I get the f*ck out of my bed every single morning to work out! That’s the determination, focus and priority that I want! I’m not ashamed of it. Yes, I gained weight, I put on a few pounds and inches, but I’ve never felt as confident as ever. You CAN feel confident if you forgo the “perfection” but working on your self esteem instead. And instead of feeling shit about yourself, let’s work on it! Get motivated to MOVE! Again, don’t sacrifice a healthy life for a healthy mind.Ever since I discover this happy world, my life really changed a lot! & it’s your turn NOW!!!

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What’s next for you? Any exciting ventures in the works?

S: “Currently, I’m focusing on Twenty3’s expansion into Australia. It’s our first big step into the international scene, plus I’ve always wanted Twenty3 to be about supporting and showcasing the creativity of our local talents to the world. I’m also hoping to see a continuous growth of the brand in Malaysia and expanding to more countries in the future.”


Taken from print. Text by Joanna Pinto.

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