Rennie Fensham

Where were you born?  Pretoria, South Africa.  I grew up in the beautiful Kruger National Park.

Where else have you lived?  All over South Africa — Johannesburg is a great city but I’ve always loved Cape Town the most.  I’ve also lived in New York and Los Angeles, and now fabulous Hong Kong!

How long have you been in Hong Kong?  I arrived in 2004 with my husband for his work.  We were here for two-and-a-half years and then he wanted to return to South Africa and being a dutiful wife (!), I followed him back.  I was always very sad to leave Hong Kong —  and so you can imagine, I was over the moon with excitement when we ended up back here just a year later!  Ten years on, we’re still here and are now permanent residents.

Which part of Hong Kong do you live in?  I split my time between high-rise North Point and sleepy Sai Kung.  It’s yin and yang and I love it.

Children and ages?  My son Nichail is 29 and lives in South Africa.  And my daughter Yentl is 30 and lives in Hong Kong.  She works as a hair stylist and make-up artist, and really shares my passion for the industry — she’s living proof that it’s in the DNA!  She has her own salon in Sai Kung and also works alongside me at Hollywood Hair.  I’m so proud of both of their achievements.

Rennie and her daughter Yentl

Are you working in Hong Kong and what do you do?  Yes!  I’m a hair and make-up artist, an educator, and the owner of Hollywood Hair.  We are based within Glow Salon and Spa on Queen’s Road Central.

What work did you do in your past lives?  Many years ago, I was an accountant for a fashion company — this is where I think my life-long love affair with fashion began.  I’ve also been a professional modeling and acting coach, a model scout, a fashion stylist, a photographer, a choreographer, a hair and make-up stylist for the Miss Universe and Miss World competitions and an event planner.  I’ve been lucky in my career to have worked on lots of hair, make-up and styling projects in the media — I still love the smell of a print magazine!  To be honest, I don’t see any of this as “work” — to me, it’s living my passion.

What brought you to Hong Kong and why have you stayed?
  My husband’s work brought me here, but as someone who struggles to sit still for long, I felt that I’d accomplished just about everything that I could in my industry while living in South Africa.  When the opportunity to move to Hong Kong came knocking for a second time, it felt like someone was trying to tell me something, and so who am I to ignore them?  My home country will always be there, but being in Hong Kong drives and challenges me every day.

What time of day do you check Hong Kong Moms?  I’m a bit of a night owl so, I often browse when I should probably be asleep!  I pop in and out, or follow up when someone has tagged me to see if I can help with a hair or make-up issue.  I try to “stay in my lane” and only get involved if it’s specifically something to do with my industry.  There are so many moms in the group with amazing knowledge and input to share that I always find myself learning something.

What is the best thing you have learned from Hong Kong Moms?  That it’s a powerful network that can make or break a business.  I’ve had both good and bad experiences, but happily the good has always trumped the bad.  The group has definitely helped me to grow my business in Hong Kong.  It’s a rich fountain of information, freely given, and I love that generosity.

What is your favorite Hong Kong Moms post?  I still get a real thrill whenever I am recommended (sorry if that sounds vain, but I’m only human!).  I also take huge pleasure in seeing my friends, clients and colleagues thriving in their own endeavors, whether that’s a business, charity work or even just everyday life.  I love some of the humor that comes through on these posts!

What is your biggest Hong Kong fave?  There are so many.  But if I have to choose just one, it’s the excellent care you receive at the public hospitals here for just HK$100. Incredible!

And frustration?  Never being able to find a cab when I really need to get to work and back!  And don’t even get me started on the eye-poking umbrellas, or people walking so slowly when they’re chatting on their phones!

What is your craziest Hong Kong experience?  When traveling on a tram with a broken knee, a woman shoved me, knocking me over — of course, I fell on the injured knee and was in agony.  She wasn’t at all apologetic so, I’m afraid I lost my temper and yelled at her.  NOT my finest hour, I admit.

Does anyone ever recognize you or your name from Hong Kong Moms?  Yes!  My purple hair, tattoos, and big personality tend to make me stand out a bit!  I am very lucky that people know my name, and I appreciate it very much.

Rennie’s unique tattoos

Tell us about your interesting tattoos.  My left arm is very special to me.  At the top of my tattoo are the rings of my scissors.  They are my life and have been with me through the good times and the bad.  Each ring symbolizes a part of me — the left side is my soul and the right side is my heart.  My heart and my soul is my job and my passion – helping women reach their full potential, to see their true beauty, both inside and out.  The pocket watch is surrounded by red colored roses.  They represent family members that I’ve lost through my life, including my mother, father, brother and my beautiful twins — Phillipa, who lived for one month, and my precious unnamed boy who was stillborn.  The scissors are flanked by a list of names, written in my own handwriting, of the people who I consider very special in my life.

What kind of friendships have you made through Hong Kong Moms?  Ones that I’ll cherish forever.  The ladies that I have met here are some of the most phenomenal woman I’ve met in my life.  They juggle being moms, wives, are often business owners, and they manage to do it in a foreign country away from their support network — all the while staying true to themselves.  It’s so inspiring.  I’ve met women who are both super-successful and extremely compassionate and always appreciate their eagerness to share that knowledge and success with a fellow Hong Kong Mom!

Which Hong Kong Mom would you like you to see featured next? Asa Wilkins, Ruth Benny and Sophie Nette.



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