Confessions of a former ugly duckling.

As the third of four children, the first two Eurasian, and the last looking more like our Peranakan side of the family, I was what no family member would call a beauty. Indeed, the common refrain among my mother’s Peranakan family was that I looked like my father’s youngest sister and mother, both small-eyed and flat-nosed, if like most Chinese, very fair. With Chinese notions of beauty having always been about big-eyes and sharp noses, even my father’s family considered me rather dour-looking.

Estella as a baby.

Me as a baby with my mother.

Thus, no one expected me to look quite like I do now. As you can see, with time, my Peranakan genes, unknown to me until I was twenty-nine, would out itself. My eyes, while never as large as any of my siblings, somehow grew or opened up to take in the heightened bridge of my nose. My face elongated when I was six and by the time I was twelve, I looked like a childlike version of what I am today.

Estella aged 3.

Me as a 3 year old.

Estella aged 6.

Me as a 6 year old with my father and brother.

Estella aged 12.

Me aged 12.

The point of this whole story I suppose is to say that one can’t really tell how a child will grow up looking. Certainly, having no expectation that I would ever be good-looking, even though I should point out that my mother is, allowed me to concentrate on developing other aspects of my person. It sure beats having everyone fuss over your looks as a child only to outgrow them as an adult.

Estella aged 21.

Me aged 21, at my graduation from university.