She's been through some really tough times only to grow even stronger in the face of adversity. Here, Maggy Wang gets real about insecurities, survival mode, and her long road to happiness.
Denim jacket: Tommy Hilfiger
"The past month was unreal," exclaims Maggy as we catch up on a cold, cosy rainy day for our cover shoot. As you might have seen on social media, she recently landed her dream gig, hosting South Korean megastar Park Seo-Joon during his promotional work trip to Malaysia. With the nation cheering her on, the dream was made that much sweeter. It overwhelms her to look back on that remarkable day: "Apart from being able to meet him, what's amazing is how I've been joking about it with my friends for a while. Never in my wildest dreams would I think it could happen so soon."

"I remember saying that if he ever comes to Malaysia, I want to be the host of the event. I also shared this two years ago with my good friend Natalie Chai, who is a Korean translator. She then added, 'What if you host and I translate?' A couple of years later, it happened!" she tells me in wonderment.

"Meeting him was great, but the build-up to that moment was even greater. Having so many people rooting for me for the job is indescribable. I was starstruck, of course, but I had a role to play as a host, and I take my job very seriously. I always make sure that I do a great job on stage," she adds, her eyes twinkling with excitement recalling that memorable day.

That particular hosting gig is just one of many thrilling projects that Maggy currently has on her full plate as her career blossoms. On the surface, it may seem like the self-assured host, entrepreneur, fitness creator, and former radio DJ has got it all together. However, the 31-year-old laughs at the absurdity of the notion. "It's fascinating to see how people perceive us. I'm a very anxious person, but because of my job, I am also very good at putting up a front," she muses.
Bucket hat, T-shirt, trousers and bomber jacket: all Tommy Hilfiger. Accessories: Maggy's own
Looking back
For nearly a decade, Maggy was widely known as a radio host with a full-time show called '10 to 4 with Maggy' on Fly FM. However, that wasn't the job that first got her into the entertainment industry. Over 12 years ago, she moved from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur. "At 19 years old, coming from a small town, the big city felt intimidating and was a bit of a cultural shock," she says. It was then that she was scouted for Miss Universe Malaysia 2012.

"I was walking around Sunway Pyramid and got recruited to participate in the pageant. It was their first year running a reality TV show, so I had to be in front of the camera quite a bit. I didn't win, but it gave me a taste of my career possibilities. I spoke to Andrea Fonseka, the pageant's National Director at the time, and told her, 'I don't want to waste this by just being contracted as a finalist. I'm sure there are more things that I can do.' She suggested doing radio so I could practise how I speak and take my time to hone my hosting skills. I got through the auditions, and that's how it worked out."

Wanting to broaden her horizons, Maggy then moved on to new opportunities, such as launching her own podcast, Head Over Heels, and co-founding boutique fitness studio Motion Lab. "I used to have this bio describing myself as an eager beaver because I always want to try new things. I'm very ambitious so I'm always down to try new stuff, which is why I dabbled in so many different areas of my career. I'm always looking for the next thing I can do or something I can be better at," she states.
Shirt dress and parka: both Tommy Hilfiger. Socks and loafers: Maggy's own
Surviving tough times
Looking back, Maggy's career journey was far from easy. There were many hurdles along the way, especially at the beginning when she was still establishing her footing and figuring what she really wanted to do.

"As you know, it's a very superficial industry. I was often rejected for how I looked—I was about 10 to 20kg heavier and didn't fit the standards. I was told that I should lose fat the easy way by liposuction or take whitening injections because my skin is not as fair as that of a typical Chinese girl. It sounds ridiculous now, right? Unfortunately, being judged based on my looks instead of my capabilities was a norm," she reveals.

"It was tough on me, especially when I was younger. I was just trying to make a mark in the world and was repeatedly told that I wouldn't be able to. I was trying so hard to look slim, slender, and tall. When I wasn't, I would beat myself up for it. At the same time, people around me weren't kind about it either."
Maggy continues with another instance where she was discriminated at work due to her gender.

"I was hired for a gig, and the brand manager—a middle-aged man—decided to tell me that he would be my co-host just an hour prior to the event starting. Then, he told me to remove my jacket to look sexier. Right before we went up on stage, he told me to pull down my dress because if I wanted to upskirt myself, he should be the only one to see it. I was appalled but voiceless. I was scared, but I couldn't say anything back because, technically, this was the guy hiring me for the job. While on stage, he took my face to his lips and kissed my cheeks. I felt completely helpless and disgusted afterwards. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is real, especially for young women in this industry, or any industry, really."

Having gone through those horrible experiences herself, Maggy now vows to be the voice she never had: "No one ever told me that I should focus on perfecting my skills or say that it's okay to not listen to them. So now, I want to be that voice for someone else."
Battling inner demons
Maggy's maturity is born from a traumatic experience during her teenage years, which she openly shares with me. "There was a time in my life when I was left with nothing. The one person who was supposed to care for me left us to be fed to the wolves. I was still in school and had a sister to take care of. Left with debts and only RM200 in my bank account, I had school to finish with no money for it. At that point, I felt like I couldn't go on anymore. I didn't know who to ask for help from or what help to ask for. It seemed like, no matter where I went, I wouldn't be able to get the help that I needed. Thank goodness I survived it, but because of that, I am constantly in survival mode."

Working through trauma is no walk in the park, and Maggy reveals how she knew it was time for professional help. "Sometimes, I could be unreasonably stubborn without knowing why. I was also breaking down a lot for no reason. I realised I needed to see a therapist because it got to the point beyond the help my friends or family could give me. Without my therapist and her devices, I wouldn't be the version I am today. She tells me what it is, as it is. Sometimes it hurts and pierces through my heart, but it is something that I need for further growth."
Sweater, shirt (worn inside), skirt and sneakers: all Tommy Hilfiger. Necklace: Maggy's own
On the 'Lucky Girl' Syndrome
Her sessions spent in therapy turned out to be a time of revelation and transformation, which is why the Maggy we see now is relentless and confident in her abilities. "These days, I'm all about manifesting, which is funny because the whole idea wasn't very big to me before. That's only because I have been doing it way before manifesting was a 'thing'," she declares.

"If there was something I really wanted, I've always had that visualisation in my head that I'm already there. Before I had my own radio show, that was something I feel I manifested as well. I remember writing it down on sticky notes, and it eventually came true. It's more than just wishing, and it's not magic, for sure. It takes a lot of work and aligning your mindset towards what you want. For instance, I never denied the idea of meeting Park Seo-Joon, and that attitude brought me here. Self-talk is very important."
Knit poncho and jeans: both Tommy Hilfiger. Bracelet: Maggy's own
Being fearless
On the subject of career goals and life achievements, Maggy shares that finally being able to afford her own home has been a huge triumph. "As I said earlier, I had nothing left at one point. So being able to rise back from one of the hardest times of my life makes me feel very proud."

Today, the host feels comfortable in her own skin, and it's evident in the raw and relatable content she puts out into the world. "I don't want to exactly say that my intention is to leave an impact because that seems like such a big word. However, I hope to share stories that will be able to help people get out of feeling like they're not good enough because I was once there. I want people to feel like my story or whatever I share can fill their cup in some ways."

When it comes to her own source of inspiration, Maggy brings up the great, Oscar-nominated Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh. "She's amazing. She's also from Ipoh and fun fact: we actually went to the same high school. Watching someone from the same small town make it big in the world is uplifting. In one of her recent speeches, she said that she felt like she had already met her expiry date at some point in her career. Yet, she is still breaking boundaries again and again, showing us young girls and women that there's so much more we can do," she says.
Looking ahead
If there's one piece of advice she'd like to impart to her younger self, fans and followers of her career, it's this: "Don't wait until you're ready. Because if you do wait, you'll be waiting for the rest of your life. Most of the time, I'm not ready when I do something new, but I jump right into it and learn along the way."

Finding her most authentic self is clearly something the digital creator has given a lot of thought to. "It's not something that I was born with or felt comfortable owning," she says of her poise and confidence. "What you see today is a result of my experiences—from all the days when I had no self-esteem. It takes practice and is not something you can embody right away. I feel like I can comfortably wear my confidence now, but having said that, there are still days where I'm not able to, and I just have to be okay with it. I'm only human," she wisely shares.

Ultimately, what's next for Maggy is to continue improving her craft and doing better in what she's already done so far. "Because I feel I'm already doing a lot. Maybe, eventually, I can be on the Oscars red carpet? That can be my new manifestation! I want to go beyond the land of Malaysia and hopefully bring my craft and skills around the world. Being a host is very different from being a singer or actor. It's not perceived as important, and I'm trying to redefine that and make people understand what we can do and the kind of difference we can make."
Denim jacket: Tommy Hilfiger
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Sarah Hani Jamil
CREATIVE DIRECTION & layout design / Sarah Tai
Videography / DENNIS KHO