Opposites attract, so they say. But we’ve never fully grasped the truth of that statement until we met Mediacorp artiste Sheila Sim and her good friend, Nora Shereen Lim. If you follow Sim on Instagram, you’d find that Lim is a familiar face. Naturally, because she frequently pops up in Sim’s feed and never without the hashtag #sheilaandfriends.
Eighteen years have passed since they first met in their teens, as fresh-faced models who were signed to the same agency. But what happened was not what one would imagine. Sim says, “We really didn’t like each other. We were with the same modelling agency, so I guess there was kind of this competitive thing.”
She adds of their initial disdain for each other, “We are so different! I’m very loud and in-your-face, so she thinks that I’m very rude all the time… On the other hand, she’s really reserved, and I would feel that she’s being so pretentious.”
Still, some things in life just can’t be explained with logic. Or perhaps, such are the complexities of female friendship. Despite their mutual dislike, they learnt to see the beauty behind their differing characters. Sim and Lim are like two jigsaw pieces — shaped differently yet, side by side, they click together perfectly.
Lim, who is now a brand manager in the beauty industry and a happily married mother of one, explains how their friendship came to be: “Regardless of what we thought about each other, we were always cordial. I liked that she was ‘genuine’ — which is not something you can say about many people from the [fashion] industry — and she felt the same about me.
“It was when she moved to Hong Kong (for modelling work) later that we became much closer…suddenly, I realised that I actually missed her.”
“I’d go to her when I need advice, or a listening ear. Sheila doesn’t sugarcoat things — sometimes it’s hard to hear [what she says] but it’s exactly what I need.” — Nora Lim
Sim elaborates, matter-of-factly, “It’s really strange…but somehow our friendship just lasted through all the changes in life. I guess, underneath the dislike, we found some quality that we liked in each other. Also, it’s fate lah, some people are just meant to hang around in your life. I can’t put a finger on what it is.”
“Well, Sheila is a good friend because she’s the kind who nags at you for not meeting up. Sometimes, you really need someone like that to keep any sort of relationship going. She’ll leave like five missed calls on my mobile phone if I’m a little late in replying to her message,” says Lim, while laughing.
Adds Sim, “We are also both very loyal and protective friends. A lot of friends may be loyal to each other, but they may not be fiercely protective of each other. I am known to be very, very fiercely protective, to the point that it gets on people’s nerves. You cannot insult my friends in front of me.
“If Nora happens to be in an argument with someone, it never matters whether she is right or wrong because she will always be right in my opinion. And I know that she will think the same of me. The truth doesn’t matter.” — Sheila Sim
These days, while they meet up as frequently as they can manage to, it’s hard to find the time to properly hang out together, what with Sim’s busy filming schedule and Lim having to juggle work and caring for her baby girl, to whom Sim is godmother. And now that Sim herself is also married, she can’t wait to have her own kid so as to fulfil her dream of seeing their children play together.
While everyone else was kept in the dark for the most part of Sim’s whirlwind romance with Deon Woo, her husband and secret boyfriend back when they were dating, Lim was of course among the few in her inner circle who was “updated every step of the way”.
“He is everything I want for Sheila. Everyone thought the ideal guy for her had to be someone from the industry she’s in and be as glamorous as she is. Deon is not that, but so much better. He’s very genuine, and it was a very quick courtship because…with Deon, you can see everything ahead.
“Before him, Sheila always fell in love with the ‘nonsense’ guys, and when she met him, I was like ‘finally’!” exclaims Lim. At that moment, we felt that it may just be possible that Lim understands her pal far better than Sim knew herself.
For more Lifestyle, head here. Or check out Ask E. Jean: How Do I Get Rid of a Needy Friend? or 10 Things That Can Happen To Your Body When You Give Up Dairy.
Photography Aik Chen Styling Daryl Alexius Yeo Outfits Maje Jewellery Tiffany & Co.