I Am Her: Melinda Khor On Switching From Fighter Jets To Beauty Spas

From fixing planes to improving auras

Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.

Would you leave a stable career to chase your dreams? This is a dilemma that many of us face and can occur at any stage of life. But for Melinda Khor, it wasn’t just a hypothetical situation — it became her reality when she left her position as an aeronautical engineer in the Republic of Singapore Air Force to establish Sommar Beauty Spa, a beauty and wellness space in the heart of Singapore.

Sommar Beauty Spa founder Melinda Khor

Sommar Beauty Spa founder Melinda Khor.

Read on to know more about why she decided to switch careers, what beauty and wellness spaces have to offer to Singaporeans, and other fascinating facts about being a beauty entrepreneur.

Fill in the blank: I am a beauty entrepreneur, former Military Expert 1 (ME1) in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), and                         .

“Beauty and wellness enthusiast.”

Tell us more about your transition from working in the RSAF to establishing Sommar Beauty Spa. How does your previous job give you a unique perspective on the wellness industry?

“Regardless of the industry, many of us often need to pay more attention to our well-being as we are often too immersed in our daily work and trying to balance personal curriculum simultaneously. However, to achieve work-life balance, our well-being is of the utmost importance. Only when we prioritise ourselves, such as putting time aside for self-care, going for wellness treatments, and listening to our body’s needs, do we then have the energy and mental capacity to do the rest.

Melinda during a jet maintenance session

Melinda saw that people needed to schedule their self-care maintenance too.

This is the same philosophy that I applied to the scheduled maintenance of the planes I serviced in the RSAF. The planes are sent in for regular servicing to ensure that they can run seamlessly when required. Likewise, making time for wellness rituals is as important for Singaporeans to reset and thrive in our fast-paced environment.”

What was it like to leave one career for a new chapter in your life? 

“At first, leaving behind aeronautical engineering was extremely scary for me because it’s what I have been trained and passionate about since my secondary school years. As I started diving head first into beauty and wellness — as well as understanding how it can positively impact myself, my family, friends and many others — my mission in life shifted. I realised I am still serving and helping the community but just in a different way.”

What makes you feel the most passionate about your current role as a beauty entrepreneur? 

“It gives my partner and me the most satisfaction to see our customers regain or find confidence in their beauty, as well as their physical and mental well-being. This is what I’m most passionate about and what my mission for Sommar Beauty Spa has always been.”

Sommar Beauty Spa interior

Sommar Beauty Spa offers a space for people looking to improve their well-being through spa rituals.

Walk us through a regular day in your life. What are your morning rituals? How do you power through a workday? And finally, how do you decompress at the end of the day?

“Usually, our day starts around 6AM to 7AM for a hearty breakfast and then we go straight to the gym or Pilates classes. We find that starting the day with physical training helps us focus and kickstart our mental and physical ‘engine’. Since Sommar Beauty Spa follows an appointment-only schedule, we will arrange check-in sessions with all our specialists to prepare for every long-term customer’s areas of concern. We also work closely on pre-service consultations with our new customers.

At the end of the day, my partner and I would have dinner together, and catch up on new or old films and animes. That is how we usually unwind after a long day at work.”

What does ‘wellness’ mean to you? What are the wellness rituals you practise that you’d recommend to fellow women?

“To me, wellness would be prioritising the equilibrium of your output and input of physical and mental energy. The more we commit to the hustle and bustle of work and family, the more important it is for us to prioritise our physical and mental well-being and recovery. We need to slow down, recalibrate, and unwind since beauty and wellness go hand-in-hand.”

Melinda established Sommar Beauty Spa with her husband.

What are the top wellness concerns you see women in Singapore face today?

“We realised that many women in Singapore show signs of ageing quicker by neglecting their mental and physical well-being needs.

For Sommar Beauty Spa, our mission has always been to spread awareness of sustainable beauty and anti-ageing through holistic services because it’s essential for us to elevate the collective beauty and wellness space for women in Singapore.”

What’s your advice for women looking to switch careers?

“For me, it has always been about putting in my full effort into where my passion is. While a big switch in career will always be daunting for everyone, I would still encourage them to not be afraid to be a beginner again and have faith in their efforts.

Melinda Khor during her RSAF days

It wasn’t an easy transition but a fulfilling one in the end.

There is a quote by Japanese philosopher Miyamoto Musashi that always keeps me motivated when struggling at any new venture, be it a new sport or skill: ‘It may seem difficult at first, but all things are difficult at first.’”

What are your essentials in living out your ‘most beautiful life’? It can be anything from beauty, fashion, lifestyle, wellness, etc.

“Physical training, having good food with my loved ones, and always maintaining a healthy obsession for improvement in everything I do.”

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