Roy Fong And Jessica Nasr Find Freedom In The New BMW Z4 Roadster
What does freedom mean to you? Jessica Nasr and Roy Fong are defining the word on their own terms when it comes to their personal lives as well as careers within their family businesses, as they zip around town in BMW’s all-new Z4 roadster.
There is no design that is too ambitious for Mouawad. Founded in Lebanon in 1890, the storied jewellery house is still owned and run by the founding family, and each generation of leaders pass on their legacy, expertise and craftsmanship to the next. Today, fifth-generation scion Jessica Nasr is steering the brand’s wheels of publicity through marketing and communications, working alongside her father Jean Nasr, who helms the jeweller’s operations in Singapore. Not one to rest on her laurels, Jessica—who recently got married in Bali—represents the modern‑day Mouawad woman: a symbol of creativity, with her out‑of-the-box thought process, and a personification of beauty from within.
Your father Jean has been an influential figure in both your personal and professional lives. What has he taught you about true beauty and what it means to be beautiful?
Jessica Nasr (JN) One of the first things he taught me was how beauty should come from within. I know it sounds really clichéd, but I now understand the true meaning of inner beauty. It’s confidence, self‑respect and the ability to be happy and contented with what you have. Life is a journey and as much as you can, you should always see the beauty in everything. True beauty is also being the person you will be proud of.
What is it about the all-new BMW Z4 that appeals to you?
JN I like the Z4 for its easy convertible function. For a young couple, having this option for a two-seater car makes it a fun ride to drive around town. Its interior features, such as the touchscreen and wireless mobile phone charging mat, also make the Z4 more attractive to a younger, more tech-savvy audience like myself.
No challenge is too great for the Z4, which is all about unfolding its limits. Can you share a time when you reached beyond your limits to achieve a goal?
JN My then-boyfriend and now-husband Ian and I went trekking in the Andes Mountains in 2016 for four nights. On the first day of the hike, I was ready to throw in the towel. The trek was physically draining, but what shook me was the mental endurance required. Before that night, I’d never experienced a panic attack but suddenly, I was overcome with a crippling fear of the dark and wilderness that surrounded us. I was insistent that we had to call for a helicopter evacuation as I couldn’t continue with the trek and there was no way I could get back into the claustrophobic tent we had set up. But Ian somehow, miraculously, managed to calm me down and get me to fall asleep in the tent. The next day, he encouraged me to push myself and continue on with the trek. We actually finished it and I ended up enjoying myself! The experience really taught me that whenever I think I’ve reached my limit, I can still push on for much further.
(Related: That Crazy Piece Of Mouawad Jewellery In Crazy Rich Asians)
The Z4 also signals a new step ahead for BMW. Similarly, you have just started a new chapter in your life—marriage. Are there any lessons from your single life that you will be bringing forward?
JN I’ve always been an independent and ambitious person, and I am very blessed that Ian encourages me to continue exploring my freedom and creativity. I also believe in having a positive attitude, and making people around me smile is my life motto, so I hope to continue doing so in this new chapter and for the rest of my life.
What does freedom mean to you?
JN A state of mind. You are only as free as you choose to see yourself. Setting and achieving goals provide me with the motivation to aspire for a better life. But it’s also a balance of being contented with what I have.
Roy Fong went from being an architect to a role in the real estate development industry, and now co-owner of a fitness franchise.
When he was at DP Architects, one of Singapore’s largest architectural practices, he became familiar with venturing into uncharted territories, challenging himself to think differently and finding simple yet creatively unique solutions. He has taken this expertise in rationalising the feasibility of real estate development opportunities and project management into his current role, where he manages the property development arm of Jean Yip Holdings, the family business of his wife Cheryl Wee.
In January, Roy and Cheryl brought the US fitness centre franchise 9Round to Singapore to help others push their own limits through sport and exercise. The couple has since secured eight more new locations in Singapore following the launch of the flagship centre in East Coast.
What does freedom mean to you?
Roy Fong (RF) Knowing who I am, my mission, values and goals. Because to me, being lost is stifling.
What lessons did you learn with the change in career paths?
RF During my transition from an architect to my current position in Jean Yip Holdings, I found myself questioning my role. As my former role at DP Architects was specialised and straightforward—to ensure the projects stay on course in terms of timeline and desired outcome—the end result was already set early in the project. In business, however, things are a lot more fluid. Since joining Jean Yip, I’ve had to learn to be more adaptable in my mindset and let go of the idea of role specifics. A key part of the job is understanding people, partners and investors in order to negotiate a suitable win‑win collaboration.
(Related: "Instagram, For Me, Isn’t About Likes" Says Cheryl Wee)
From a trained architect’s point of view, what do you admire about the form and function of the all-new BMW Z4?
RF The new Z4 seems more revolutionary than evolutionary. I like that the latest design is more aggressive than its predecessor from 2016, especially at the front end, yet it still manages to exude elegance. Balance is also key to any aesthetic. The front half of the previous Z4 felt overstretched, so I like how the newer version is more balanced in proportion. I really liked the hard top of the older design, but even with a fully‑electric soft-top roof, I find that the car’s new overall design language is very coherent, sleek and modern.
The Z4 achieves that feeling of freedom with an exceptional measure of dynamism and agility. How do you provide that feeling of freedom and empowerment with 9Round?
RF 9Round specialises in a 30-minute circuit kickboxing routine and one of its main features is that there are no class schedules, so you never have to worry about being late. Our members love this flexibility and the freedom it gives them. Although we only have nine stations, the workout at each changes every day with different combinations of exercises. So our members will never do the same workout routine twice.
The third-generation BMW Z4
For BMW, freedom is more than just a feeling. It’s a strong undercurrent that drives innovation at the German marque, and inspires it to continuously inject a dynamism into its new releases. With the third-generation Z4, BMW has engineered that very concept of freedom with panache.
After a three-year hiatus, the two-seater, two-door model recently made quite a comeback with a sportier, lightweight design and sharpened performance. It also comes in three variants: Z4 sDrive20i Sport, Z4 sDrive30i M Sport and Z4 M40i.
Illustrating the marque’s idea of freedom best is the car’s new fully-electric soft-top, which opens and closes in just 10sec, and does so with a refined elegance while you are driving up to a speed of 50km/h. And it’s a charmer that embodies qualities you would look for in a thought leader: open and dynamic, with uncompromised values to drive it to success.
BMW Z4 sDrive20i Sport
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology
- Max Power: 197hp at 4,500 to 6,500rpm
- Max Torque: 320Nm at 1,450 to 4,200rpm
- Acceleration: 0 to 100km/h in 6.6sec
- Top Speed: 240km/h
- Fuel Consumption: 6.5L/100km
- Price (including COE): From $281,888
- Agent: Performance Motors, 303 Alexandra Road, tel: 6319 0100
- Photography Gan
- Art Direction Matilda Au
- Content Direction Chong Seow Wei
- Producer Daphne Chen-Cordeiro
- Videography Nicola Ng and Jufri Husne
- Hair Fiona Bennett using IGK
- Make-Up Fiona Bennett using Lancôme
- Location Twinco