“There’s nothing interesting about me!” That's what Margie Van Elten Blommaert said when we first got in touch with her.
There’s a candidness in Margie's manner as we chat about a range of topics—from her diverse career choices (think: former model, talent booker who placed actors in TV series like Xena: Warrior Princess and homecare nurse) and equally diverse family heritage, to the Instagram account she uses to document her myriad “food-scapades”, to her serious passion for fashion, and her signature grey locks.
Her love for food and travel is also the main reason why she embarks on food-centric holidays with her businessman husband, Joe. “The both of us are huge foodies and go on these getaways we call food safaris, because we are mostly eating, doing lunch and dinner tasting menus at different restaurants in a country,” says Margie, who is of Dutch, Indonesian and Chinese descent. The couple’s first ever meeting was also around yummy edibles. “We met at my first birthday party and Joe stole my cake.”
These “food safari” trips have seen them traversing Australia (where Margie grew up), Japan and even Singapore, where they have been based for the past two years after Joe's company posted him here following nearly a decade in Texas, USA. “We brought some friends from Texas around Singapore and had them taste the classics—from nasi lemak to char kway teow to chilli crab at Jumbo Seafood. They loved everything, except for durian. They smelled it and didn’t dare taste it. I had some without them anyway!” She’s not a fan of desserts though. “People don’t really know this about me, but I don’t have a sweet tooth. I prefer to end a meal with cheese and wine.”
Quite often, Margie also makes time to indulge in fashion when abroad. With her equally stylish older sister, she's a fixture at Paris Fashion Week. “Frieda and I share this crazy love for fashion. She’s also my style guru, who helps me put outfits together. She has a very original sense of style, which is very funky and edgy.”
Leather and bold colours à la Louis Vuitton (she's a top client), Dior and Hermès, are must-haves. Her penchant for “practical edgy” was heavily shaped by her decision to return to her natural roots (literally) four years ago. “I couldn’t imagine spending hours in a salon anymore, so I decided to embrace my grey hair. I went really short—with a pixie cut—to get rid of all the dyed parts of my hair. I haven’t looked back since.”
Here, we find out a little about what makes Margie tick.
Every day, I’m kept busy with… life. Very often, I get up in the morning and think there’s nothing happening that day, but something almost always comes up eventually. It could be family, friends or events to attend.
I start my day with… a cup of coffee and cuddles with Maui, my Pomeranian-Pekingese dog.
My proudest accomplishment is… finding Mr Right. Joe is the son of my mother’s best friend, so we’ve known each other for most of our lives, but it took us a long time to see each other in a romantic light. We didn’t start dating until nearly a decade ago and got married about two years later.
My most treasured possession is… an anklet Joe gave me on our wedding day and it’s the one thing I never take off. He also wears one.
My favourite city is… Tokyo, because I love Japanese food and the food there is always so fresh.
A place I want to visit is… India. I really enjoy Indian food, but haven’t had the chance to explore its home ground yet.
My favourite journey is… the food safari I took with my husband for our honeymoon. We ate our way through Michelin-starred restaurants and other great dining spots in Brussels and Bruges in Belgium. Our most memorable meal was a raw langoustine dish that landed me in the restaurant’s kitchen, where I learned how the chef made it.
The qualities I appreciate in others are… honesty and selflessness.
In 10 years… whatever I’m doing or wherever I am, I’m going to be happy.
(Related: What's In Melissa Peh's Wardrobe?)