Hey my name is Vy, people think I love fitness but really I just do it to eat mac and cheese for every meal. I’m born and bred from the south east suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. By day, I’m the Product Development manager for the French womenswear apparel brand Camaieu. Outside of my 9-6, I can be found at 6am sweaty on the field at one of the 17 FitFam locations, or volunteering my time with Girl Gone International or Chi Fan for Charity.
I’ve been living and loving Shanghai for an amazing 5 years. I packed my bags in 2012 and travelled solo for the first time for 3 months through the US and Canada. When the savings ran dry, I landed in Hong Kong where my sister was living and entered back into the workforce, working for a German fashion company. A year later, through a previous work contact, I was offered a position with a company in Shanghai. I had never been to mainland China, so it was a tough decision to make; as it turned out it, Shanghai was where the grass was greener.
I had never done a burpee before I met James Scott (now owner of MTHD Fitness) and his fit friends at Luwan Stadium in the Summer of 2015. I recall my friend Giulia and I thinking we had no business being on the field with these buff athletes. But, the people of TPG (The People’s Gym – as they called themselves then) were friendly and inviting, so we persisted. For the next 4 months, the trainers kept us moving and created the workout variety, whilst I became the People’s welcome wagon ensuring all newcomers felt prepared and comfortable. To know this diverse group of 6am faces kept me motivated and engaged and they became my tribe, my people, my family.
The Winter Warriors were a small handful of hardcores who persisted and continued when TPG took a break over winter. When TPG didn’t return, we evolved into FitFam and kept each other active and accountable through winter. We're dedicated volunteers who believe fitness should be available for all, no matter where you are, or who you are. That's the FitFam ethos. Last year, we added in family oriented workouts for parents and young ones, and diversified by adding in running, boxing, yoga and well being workouts. FitFam has also spread to Malaysia and France. We contribute our personalities, skills and energy without asking for anything in return, and I don’t think one person would argue they don’t get back more than what they put into it... and to me that is the definition of community.
I love the chaos of Shanghai. I’m one of six kids, Mama is one of 12 and Papa one of 11. You can imagine every family gathering is hectic and noisy; which is maybe why this city feels like home. My least favorite thing is Shanghai's transient nature, one day you're having brunch with someone, then the next you're bidding someone else farewell. We all come here for different reasons, whether it be for lifestyle, career or love, and we unexpectedly find so many genuinely good open people amongst Shanghai’s eclectic community, it’s really rewarding and those bonds are like no other.
My favorite all-rounder spot to eat is Commune Social for so many reasons, their Iberico cheese, ham, quail egg truffle toastie and their Iberico Pork and foie-gras burger are a couple of them as well as being a great spot for groups, dates, brunch or even just a drink. I love sitting and watching the chef work their magic in the open kitchen. My favorite Bund spots are Chop Chop Club for their Char-grilled Octopus and Mercato for their 4 cheese and Truffle pizza with fresh farm egg and I love their industrial chic interior and the relaxed feel. Have an espresso martini or glass of bubbles at The Cannery to celebrate TGIF and you must have their Mac and Cheese and add bacon.
For weekend brunches, Egg’s avocado toast with perfectly poached eggs and great caffeine options. My go-tos for quick bites and no fuss food are Homeslice's Spicy Sausage Pizza and Spread the Bagel's Parmesan Bagel with the Scallion spread.
Other than that I like to surround myself with the superwomen in my life, we exchange books, share yogurt making and fitness tips, go to comedy shows, plan our next adventures or foodie dates together. There’s also an abundance of events in Shanghai, when I get a chance I enjoy attending and supporting other community events. I adore my job and enjoy my life in Shanghai, but I don't know where my journey will take me, we all change and adapt with time.
At least for now and definitely a while Shanghai remains my soul mate.
Read more about FitFam and check out more action shots of Vy right here.