(Not) Shy and (Wildly) Curious- Noorindah Iskandar

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We crossed path with Rin at a fashion event in support of breast cancer survivors not too long time ago. The event organizer approached us to borrow one of our dresses, she said a very special lady will walk in it and this lady speaks and writes about sex a lot. We are so intrigued instantly. On the day of the show we managed to have a quick chat with Rin and were instantly smitten by her. Like most people, we have a certain preconception about people who speaks candidly about sex. And that preconception shattered instantly when met her. She is relatable, approachable and very good in listening. Even though we just met her that day, we felt that we could talk to her about anything. 

We just knew that we wanted to feature her here. 

Rin in Binary Style Orange Thieves Scardigan styled as toga top.

Can you tell us about your self?
My name is Noorindah Iskandar but you can call me Rin. I’m the founder and writer behind Shy & Curious , an online platform that explores sex and love without the fear of having to hide your Google search history. I’m also the marketing manager at Blitzwerks, which runs and Pink Lifestyle. I like to refer myself as a sex toy sommelier as I’ve a very fun and meaningful job of breaking taboos and helping people explore self-love and intimacy!

What motivated you to start 'Shy and Curious'? 
The catalyst behind Shy & Curious was the relationship I had with my mother and her experience with breast cancer. We’d a very unusual relationship in that we were close enough to share and joke about sex and dating but she kept her breast cancer a secret from all of us until 4 days before she passed. When I questioned her why, she admitted she felt shame around her body and that it was a taboo for her so she didn’t want to burden anyone else.

It took some soul-searching after her passing to figure out what’s next in life for me but I knew I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone when dealing with difficult topics. So initially the idea behind Shy & Curious was to hold sharing circles for strangers to gather in real life but the pandemic happened and all events were a no-go. I didn’t want her first death anniversary to pass without honoring her legacy so I thought about the next best thing I could do. I love to write and have always been fascinated with sex and love so that’s how the blog was born!

It started off as an educational space but I found that people resonated more with my personal stories of dealing with the big emotions and healing. So now, through honest conversations with a tinge of humour, Shy & Curious aims to demystify taboo topics and unlearn shame & guilt around sexual wellness, relationships and self-love for the shy yet curious at heart.

Rin in Binary Style Orchids and Butterflies Scardigan and Velvet Corsette

We have heard a lot about slogan 'Women supporting Women', how do we actually practice it beyond lip service?
I love this question! I think it’s quite poignant as I’ve been in situations where a scarcity mindset and competitiveness can give rise to ugly behavior amongst women.

So I’m going to look at the question from a different angle - before we practice supporting other women, let’s take a deep look at ourselves and see how we can be there for ourselves first. Like the saying goes, if you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on the people who didn’t cut you.

It’s easy to support our friends and loved ones but trickier when it comes to peers that you feel are more successful than you. It can be a challenge to not let our emotions take over and spiral into jealousy, pettiness or self-loathing

If you feel threatened by another’s actions, use it as an opportunity to dive deeper and ask yourself what is the root of it that you need to self-soothe. My therapist shared this amazing gem with me “feelings are not instructions, they are data”. Whenever I feel upset about a person’s reaction, I ask myself what is the true reason that I am feeling disempowered. It’s not the easiest thing to do on days where you just want to rant and rave but it has been the most insightful and healthy way for me to understand what needs healing and support in myself so I can show up for others when I can!

What signifies a great style to you?
The older I get, the more that I recognize great style comes from having a strong sense of self.
I appreciate it when someone puts thought into their outfits and looks cohesive. That doesn’t just include knowing what proportions and colours work for you but it’s wearing outfits that make you smile, feel comfortable and say “Yup, this is me!”

Rin in upcycled statement piece made of men's tie from Binary Style past project (not for sale)

If you have foreign visitors where in Singapore would you take them?
I’ve a soft spot for Bugis so my usual itinerary is starting out with lunch at either Zamzam or Hajah Maimunah at Kampung Glam just because Indian-Muslim and Malay cuisine is new to them! Also personally it’s my comfort food and I like the low-key relaxed vibe. Then a stroll around the neighborhood where they can look at the kebayas and batik at Ratianah Tahir and custom perfumes at Sifr. Then we can always have a teh halia at the corner store at Bussorah St. If they’re into books and stationery, we can walk over to Bras Basah and browse around. My weekends as a child were spent there browsing through second hand books and art supplies so it’s a place that’s dear to me. Even the National Library next door is a great place to just chill and take a respite from the heat! Finally for dinner and drinks, my favourite restaurant Ginett at Hotel G!

Rin in Binary Style Maryanne Dress in Tin Hill print
If you could go back in time and have a chat with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Hi baby, your happy ending may be wildly different from the one you originally imagined and that’s ok, it doesn’t mean that you have failed. I can’t tell you what to watch out for because then you won’t grow through the pain to be even more fulfilled and at peace than you would ever know. You will learn the lessons and when to let go when you’re ready. Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you’re lonely. People will come and go in your life when they’re meant to be. Their memories and meaning aren’t defined by the length they stay.
In fact, you’re going to have so much fun and truly learn the meaning of love and compassion! You’ve got this - be kind to yourself. Hug Mummy more, she’s not the enemy - you’re pretty much the same person. Thank you for always trying your best, I love you so much and you should know that.

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