In case you didn't know, Denise Keller has been busy.
The former MTV Asia VJ has done a lot since leaving her role at the famed television network. With a production house, KellerMedia, and e-commerce site under her belt, Keller's also an entrepreneur.
Beyond the realm of business, Keller is also a yoga instructor, sustainability advocate, and emcee.
To top it all off, the multi-hyphenate will be adding the role of a mother to her roster. In November 2021, Keller revealed that she is expecting a child with her husband, Robert Gaxiola, 51. This will be the 39-year-old's first child.
Yahoo Life SEA recently caught up with Keller to find out what she's been up to since revealing her pregnancy, and find out more about how she's planning on becoming a strict parental figure.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! How has the journey been so far?
Denise Keller: Thank you so much! My pregnancy journey has been so transformative for me. Everything about pregnancy fascinates me, and I love this journey so much.
What was your husband's reaction when you found out about your pregnancy?
My husband was overjoyed! We were both ready for the next chapter in our lives, and we couldn't be happier.
Having grown up with both Asian and European influences in your childhood, do you think you'll be a strict parental figure?
Haha. That's a very good question. I've had the privilege of having an amazing balance between both cultures. My mother, being Singaporean Chinese and a teacher, instilled discipline and order in the house.
My late German father was very relaxed about stuff and loved to travel and experience new things. Being a Eurasian, I would like to expose our child to as many cultures and life experiences as much as possible. My husband is equally worldly, so we both agree with laying down some foundations and roots with fluidity.
What was something you learned about your pregnancy journey that you wish someone had told you?
I wished somebody had told me about the extreme heartburn I would experience! There are days when I feel like I've had a car battery for breakfast. There are the good days with all pregnancy symptoms, and then there are the bad ones.
Motherhood is an exciting time for me. I feel so blessed to be a first-time mother, and I cherish every step of the journey.Denise Keller
On Instagram, we've seen that you've been incorporating loads of healthy habits into your lifestyle. So we're curious to know, what's your daily routine like?
I don't really plan and overthink 'healthy habits.' My lifestyle is very granola for most people, but having worked in stressful documentary productions for the last ten years, you tend to make better choices after those late nights and crazy deadlines.
My daily routine starts with my pets (they're our wake-up call for breakfast), a healthy start to the day (juice, muesli and yoghurt), some morning exercise like a walk in the park, yoga, pilates or swimming. In the afternoon, I crack on work at home (emails, shoots and voiceovers). By evening, it's planning dinner, throwing in the laundry, walking the dog, and finishing some emails. I try to sleep on time (10pm is the latest) because I'm a morning person and love to get things done when my brain is fresh.
You started Keller Media before the COVID outbreak; what was it like having to pivot when the pandemic happened?
I think everyone had to adjust and work around this crazy time. I was fortunate to have finished three international productions, and we banked them in before lockdown. Of course, we were able to work remotely on post-production and at home, but we had to be mindful of our client's weekly changes. Travel had stopped, so we, too, had to pause a little. We managed to work on several local productions as well. I'm all about flexibility and adaptability.
You also started your lifestyle brand, UV Space Shield. How did the inspiration for that come about?
The UV Space Shield is such a passion project of mine. Having spent so many years in front of the camera in the blazing hot sun, I've done some fair share of damage to my skin. Sunblock could only do so much, and most of the time, I had make-up on, so reapplying sunblock was a hassle.
I always wanted to have something easy over my face, like a shield. I had observed many artists having assistance carrying UV umbrellas for in-between takes. But what if you didn't have that luxury and needed to be very mobile? I was producing my own stuff and being in front of the camera, so I needed something that did the job for me.
Are you looking to expand the business and include other products?
We tested the market during COVID, and it was a huge sellout! We were amazed! We even had bulk orders from overseas skin centres. So we are definitely expanding this range and going to include other products.
Since leaving MTV, you've embarked on so many other ventures. What motivates you to keep going and jump into different types of ventures?
I've had some of the most outstanding teachers and managers throughout my life. I give thanks to these people in my life; without having such a strong foundation, I wouldn't be as tenacious and adventurous. But the truth is, deep down inside, I've always wanted to explore the world and conquer most of my deepest fears. I look back now and think how awesome my journey has been.
You've spoken before about how yoga has helped you deal with feelings of anxiety and shyness over time. Could you share a bit more about that and what you do when these feelings arise now?
Yoga is very personal to me. It certainly wasn't trending when I started. I found a class in a community centre because somebody had recommended it to me after injuring myself in gymnastics. I was 13 and had no idea what meditation and yogic breath was. But the community I found was so inviting and loving, I continued, and it became part of my daily practice. In my youth, yoga was a safe space after school and where I could let go of my angst.
My yoga practice is primarily meditation-based, especially now in my pregnancy journey. We all face little moments of worry and anxiety, and sometimes bringing it back to a space where you can connect with your breath is all you really need.
With your experience, do you have any advice for people struggling with trying to handle everything at once?
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I tell myself to shut down the noise in my head, find a quiet place and do a five to ten-minute meditation. You can use amazing apps as well to guide you. I love Headspace or Calm. Focus on your breathing and then relook at the whole picture again.
You don't always have to achieve everything in a day; sometimes, less is more and better for your mental health. And there's always tomorrow, to start fresh.
What's next for Denise Keller?
Motherhood is an exciting time for me. I feel so blessed to be a first-time mother, and I cherish every step of the journey. I'll still be working here and there on little projects, but my focus is now on my family.