Liv Lo comes across as an open book. Scroll through her social media feed, or read her op-eds on other digital platforms, and you’ll find heartfelt confessions about dealing with the grief of suffering a miscarriage and losing her brother.
So when I meet her for this interview face to face, I thought we’d be deep-diving straight into untangling the messy knots of grief, and talking about the highs and lows of motherhood.
When we meet on set, Liv is in the middle of getting her hair and makeup done for our photo shoot. She’s friendly and polite, but just a tad guarded. Perhaps the hustle and bustle of a studio isn’t the most conducive location for a heart-to-heart chat.
Throughout the conversation, I catch myself thinking: Who is Liv Lo, beyond the tag of former model, presenter, yoga instructor, and Mrs Henry Golding?
The truth is that the answer is never straightforward – Liv is all that, and much more. In the past four years, she’s moved to LA, suffered a miscarriage, lost her brother Sam, had a daughter, licensed a business, and started a new one. A new mother, a grieving sister, a businesswoman… a multi-faceted woman who is navigating life just like the rest of us.
Living the American Dream
Liv and Henry moved to Los Angeles after seven years in Singapore, an event that she calls a “growth accelerator moment”.
Moving to LA wasn’t easy, especially since the pandemic hit soon after. A big catalyst for this move was the fact that Liv’s brother had passed away unexpectedly in 2019. It made her realise that “life is short”. “[It felt like I] had better make the move. Moving to LA was a huge decision for me because I was leaving a seven-year career here [as a model, presenter and yoga instructor], and everything that I had built, including all my friends and my family in Asia. Plus, I had never lived in a Western country before, so it was a huge culture shock and a huge decision,” says Liv, who is half-Taiwanese, half-Italian. The multilinguist, who speaks Japanese, Mandarin and English, grew up in Taiwan with her mother and stepfather.
While the move was crucial for Henry’s acting career, it was also beneficial to Liv, as LA was a playground where she could discover the latest wellness trends and movements.
Having witnessed first-hand the grounding influence of yoga on her personal health and wellness, she was inspired to take a teacher training course, and eventually set up Fitsphere, a fitness provider that combined yoga with weights, in 2018. She eventually licensed the business to fitness app Neou in 2021.
Becoming a mumpreneur
For now, Liv is on her next chapter – she’s taken on the mantle of mumpreneur as the co-founder of Womom. A play on the words “woman” and “mom”, Womom is a wellness platform that’s focused on the well-being of mothers. Through this initiative, Liv hopes to build a supportive community of mums, where they feel safe and empowered to open up about less-discussed issues, such as post-partum blues, miscarriages, or even the pains of breastfeeding.
“As women, [we transition into] motherhood, and [that journey shapes] our wellness landscape. So, what does this new landscape look like, and how has it changed? It’s [crucial] to tap into and honour this transformation, because it’s a part of who you are,” Liv explains.
“It’s purely for mothers to be able to learn about their new body, to learn about connecting with other mothers, and to gain the knowledge of motherhood – it’s physical, spiritual and emotional.”
Like Fitsphere, Womom will also provide the tools for mothers on their journeys, by connecting them with experts, and showcasing different wellness techniques through video sessions. The goal of Womom is to provide women access to facilitators, mothers and other resources as they embark on their new journey.
Liv believes that this is just the first step, and hopes that through Womom, mothers can find the right tools to continue the work by themselves. “Science is catching up to spirituality, you know, so all the data is only going to come out later,” she says. “You just have to first want to do the self work, and then know to trust the process. And you will come out with whatever you need.”
She’s also including Sacred Breathwork programmes in the platform, a self-mastery tool that she recently discovered, and one that helped her “journey into the subconscious, and end up in a liminal space to meet my true self”.
For Liv, to be a good mother means being good to yourself – knowing yourself, your strengths, your shortcomings, and loving yourself regardless.
Just like how you’re told to put the oxygen mask on yourself on the plane before anyone else, the ethos for Womom is about helping women come to terms with their new identity as mothers, without losing the essence of all the other hats they wear.
“I believe that being forever post-partum not only affects your own health, but also lays the foundation for your child’s well-being,” she says. “It’s not just about taking care of yourself before conception; it extends to how we [nurture ourselves] during pregnancy and beyond – physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
Simultaneously, Liv believes that it’s high time we move on from the narrative that “women can do anything” to “women don’t have to do everything”. And this is something she’s eager to teach her daughter as well. Essentially, she shares, we need to stop expecting women to have it all together, but instead, focus on what’s important without losing sight of their own needs.
Being an open book
She was inspired by her own journey as a mother, which she says, has been another real “growth accelerator”. She gave birth to Lyla in 2021, and is now pregnant with her second baby. She’s nervous, she says, and it’s refreshing to hear a woman say that openly to the media.
“I’m scared of breaking down again,” she says. I ask whether she suffered from post-partum depression. “No, but I definitely cried. Not for prolonged periods, but you know, post-partum depression doesn’t always happen immediately. It can happen at any phase. So I am scared of breaking down; it’s something I’m always looking out for. I have to figure out new ways to make sure I can take care of myself, still work and still be there for my family. With Henry’s schedule, he’s away for months at times, so that means I have to pick up his duties. It’s constantly shifting, so I am making sure that I stay on top of all that.”
I personally can’t remember the last time someone told me they were scared of becoming a mother, but it’s demonstrative of Liv’s personal brand that she’s spent the past few years building.
While she’s been vulnerable about her struggles on social media, I get the sense that she’s holding back when I try to probe more about these issues, such as overcoming grief from losing her brother: She’s adept at answering my questions without really answering, telling me instead that her brothers’ friends wanted to find a resolution, and that she poured herself into her breathwork and her daughter Lyla. She reveals, endearingly, that Lyla’s middle name is Samantha, named after her brother Sam.
It seems like she understands that in her role as a public figure, her openness can inspire others to speak their truth, but she’s also built solid walls to protect her sacred private life.
“The moment you vocalise your thoughts, you realise that others resonate with you. It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone in your experiences. Motherhood, in particular, can be a lonely and isolating journey if you keep your feelings bottled up inside. However, when you muster the courage to share and express your struggles, a sense of relief washes over you. It becomes an act of bravery, leading you to discover a supportive community of like-minded individuals. It’s in this vulnerability that true strength resides,” she says.
She adds: “I’ve been broken many times, but [it’s important] to have the tools and the people around you to support you.”
Henry has been a main source of support – in fact, we meet when she’s in Singapore for four days while Henry is taking care of Lyla. “He’s a great dad. He’s very, very present, and very tapped into how he feels and, in turn, how Lyla feels. You become very symbiotic when you’re with a child,” she says.
Looking inside out
As I mull over our conversation a few days later, I think about my initial question about who Liv Lo is. If I ever felt like she was reticent and withholding her answers, I can’t help but empathise: Anyone who’s gone through grief knows that it’s a painful, never-ending process. “Grief’s a crafty little f*****. It sneaks up on you,” says Harrison Ford’s character in the TV show Shrinking, and it’s true for anyone who’s been broken before. And putting oneself out there, on such a public stage where your every move is being judged, must be daunting.
We all deserve and need our sacred space, and Liv has managed to handle the spotlight – regardless of everything that life has thrown at her – with the same attitude that she’s managed everything else in her life: “I’ve learnt to embrace the flow and remain open to whatever comes my way. I’ve honed in on being able to put my mind, body, and heart into any challenge that presents itself. I am unafraid of asking questions; I go with whatever is happening at the moment; and I am prepared to transition or change direction at a moment’s notice.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Wee Khim, assisted by Ivan Teo
CREATIVE DIRECTION Windy Aulia
ART DIRECTION Ray Ticsay
HAIR Ken Hong/Evolve
MAKEUP Dollei Seah