Having spent considerable time doing bouts of heavy lifting on our handsomeness Guydes, we fine gentlemen at Seriously Man figured it’s a matter of time it took a toll on our bulging journalistic muscles. That’s why we have these monthly interviews: we offload it to our beautiful 5-Minute luminaries to illuminate you on how to look even better.

Speaking of journalistic muscles, it is incredibly coincidental that our guest this month is a journalist who also kicks arse as a boxing coach (she once socked a guy at a bar for shooting off racist remarks). What Victoria Cheng had envisioned to be a brief stint in Singapore turned out to be a decade long residence that saw her become one of the city’s premiere food critic, an F&B consultant, a TV presenter, a self-professed ‘best Thanksgiving cook’ (actually, we believe her)… as long as you have something that’d set a foodie’s soul on fire, there’s a good chance you’d cross paths with her.

But hey, because she wears so many hats, it’d stand to reason she also has plenty of crispy gold food for thought on your handsomeness.

What’s Victoria all about?

True to my beginnings, I’m all about good food, gastronomic adventures, and fine writing (about dining). I’m all about learning in general: skills, facts, experiences. I’m constantly curious. And hungry – did I mention food?

Where did you originally hail from? 

I was born and raised in New York and my parents are from Hong Kong and Bangkok. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in both of those cities as well, so it’s got a place in my heritage and heart. I’ve been in Singapore for a decade now, and I consider it home.

What’s the story behind the Chubby Ninja moniker?

My online food stuff started with Gastronommy. Over time, I started sharing about other things I love, starting with martial arts (20+ years of Taekwondo).

A close friend would would call me little ninja, because I’d be kicking, rolling, flipping around like a kid whenever there was an open area. So that, and given my voracious appetite… you get, The Chubby Ninja. I’m not a very svelte sort of girl, and I’ll just own it.

You’re many things – a journalist, foodie, fitness enthusiast, host, digital nomad… what’s still your first love?

Perhaps journalism. Ultimately, I am passionate about communicating ideas and information that is important, interesting, or inspiring to me. If I had to define a life mission, it’s to learn truths and share them.

For example, there’s a lot of stuff in the media and internet on health that aren’t well-researched. It’s a lot of marketing jargon and fad dieting.  Witnessing friends and family soak up that garbage, “because [they] read it on the internet” just kills me. I’m working on a Masters in Nutrition, so I can hopefully bring a credible voice to the table.

As for the rest of my passions, they’re all just hobbies! I think it’s funny how social media gives your hobbying a title. In addition to fitness, sports, travel, I also love gaming, musicals, cartoons, and horse riding. I wonder how that’ll play out over the years if I decide to post about it.

Judging by your recent Men’s Health couples’ fitness shoot, it seems one of the ways to your heart is through fitness. But let’s talk about getting to your heart through style and grooming. What kind of men’s style would get your full attention?

Actually, the way to my heart is a guy who loves to eat! Besides sheer quantity, he’s not picky and always curious about what he’s eating.

As for style and grooming: I’m big on hair. On men, I’ll notice a dark, lush, clean, well styled mane over abs (if you take a second look at the Men’s Health couples shoot, you may notice the former now, ha!).

Style-wise, I like a clean structured look. Crispy clean, which can be tough in Singapore’s humidity, so certain fabrics tend to wilt and sag. I like a guy who doesn’t try to overcompensate, and that applies heavily to style too; guys look best when they’re not trying too hard; I’m a big fan of effortless cool. And preferably, his pants aren’t tighter than mine – ya’ll know those skinny jeans are NOT effortless to put on. I’m not the pretty-pretty kind myself, so I while I truly admire men who put tons of effort into their style, it’s not something I’m drawn to.

It’s also true that a well tailored suit, jacket, and pants look good on everyone. My style preference for suits are big-collared shirts, peaked semi-wide lapels, and windsor-knotted ties. It’s a strong yet sophisticated look that emphasizes the shoulders, I love it. Are you thinking Harvey Specter? Yeah, me too.

Any grooming pet peeves to air?

One, smell! The worst for me is smell – take a shower, use deodorant if you need to, and don’t drown yourself in cologne.

Two, bad dental hygiene. Three, facial hair; if you don’t got it, stop trying to grow out those sparse whiskers. It emphasizes your lack thereof, instead of your intended “I have facial hair!” It looks unkempt and sloppy.

You spend a great deal of your time at the gym and fitness studios. What’s the most ‘WTF’ thing you’ve seen a guy wear in there?

I mean, wear whatever you want that’s gym-appropriate, but I try really hard not to cringe when I see those low dippin’ singlets that are way too loose, and your nips are sticking out the sides. Is that a style?

A friend of mine was telling me about a guy who was wearing shorts so tight and tiny, that his penis peeked out the bottom while deadlifting. The story cracked me up, but no thanks.

Any style/grooming move guys can appropriate from the ladies to upgrade their looks quick?

Invest in that one good haircut once in a while. For the bald guys though, I suppose it’s one less thing to think about 🙂

Complete the sentence: A man is at his sexiest when he is…

…always appreciating things. Gracious guys are the best guys.

Victoria Cheng aka The Chubby Ninja is one follow button away at @victoriacheng.