By Joie Goh

Who needs sibling rivalry when you’ve got friendly competition? This International Women’s Day, we celebrate four pairs of barre-raising sisters.

From top: Sook Yee, Khai Tuck and Sook Wai

Lee Sook Yee, 31, and Lee Sook Wai, 24

The inseparable Lee sisters took their first-ever WeBarre class together (“It was Ming’s Fundamentals class!”) and have since been a regular fixture at the studios (occasionally with their brother, Khai Tuck!). Sook Wai, a self-described “stay-at-home daughter”, had been looking out for something active to do, and came across WeBarre. Coincidentally and independently, Sook Yee, a scientist, had been hearing rave reviews about WeBarre workout from her intern at the time!

“Mei Mei (Sook Wai) and I were already quite close but going for classes together (5 to 6 days a week) made us even closer,” says Sook Yee. “Even though I’m older, I’ve learnt some life skills from her through our long MRT rides to and back from classes.”

“I discovered my sister is freakishly strong despite her small stature,” adds Sook Wai.

“Sook Wai is also freakishly strong and always going for the heavier weights before I do!” Sook Yee continues. “We have never been people who were very fit or into working out and I’m very proud of us for sticking with our workout regimes for as long as we have.”

From left: Jiying and Teyi

Teyi Guo, 37, and Jiying Guo, 30

The Guo sisters, who both work in marketing, started coming to WeBarre together when Teyi first came across the studio on social media in 2016. “The idea of sweating it out with dance moves to music was intriguing as both of us did dance in school,” says Jiying. “We took on the trial class and never stopped since!”

“We were so committed that even when I was pregnant with my second child, we will time our classes (same studio, concurrent classes eg pre natal and signature) so that we can leave together,” adds Teyi. “Working out together has definitely brought us closer because we sweat and smell bad together!”

Jokes aside, the Guo sisters continue to inspire each other at the barre. Jiying credits seeing her momma-of-two sister getting stronger as motivation to push herself harder, while Teyi reports feeling like a proud elder sis when Jiying graduated to using 1kg weights in class.

“Spending time together more regularly by going for classes allows us to experience these constants that we tend to forget when we are busy surviving the rat race,” says Jiying. And to that, Teyi quips: “Stronger together!”

From left: Rebecca and Jessica

Jessica Chen, 36, and Rebecca Chen, 28

Rebecca, a procurement manager, first started coming to WeBarre in May last year as she found the concept interesting. After class, however, she discovered that it was “really tough and ached for three days afterwards”. Jessica, a regulatory affairs manager, didn’t believe her. “So I booked her and our mum in for a Fundamentals class when WeBarre Dhoby Ghaut opened,” says Rebecca. “I was waiting for her after class with my told-you-so face!”

Rebecca also signed her sister and her up for a class pack after that, buying Jessica’s first class pack so she would have company in class. It was a chance for the Chen sisters to see each other daily even though they live separately. Since then, they have discovered different facets of their relationship.

“We are secretly competitive, competing with each other at how many WeBarre classes (I think we are at the 220-mark) we clocked since we started,” says Jessica with a laugh. “Also, we are starting to have a telepathic connection as we tend to unknowingly turn up in identical gym attire – same brand, style and color!”

“We also like challenges, like completing back to back classes or taking another class right after HIIT,” adds Rebecca. “Previously, we never worked out much together. The more we work out together, the more we push other. Our squat jumps are getting more in sync as we push each other to take on another rep!”

From left: Steffi, Elisa (instructor) and Melissa

Melissa Hie, 34, and Steffi Hie, 31

Melissa started coming to WeBarre first, and jokingly claims that Steffi,  being the younger sister, “always wanted to copy the older sister” so she came and joined too after a few months. “I find that class is of course a lot more fun with Steffi around, and adds more to the routine especially since we’ve been going since practically the beginning of WeBarre,” she says.

Having always been very close sisters (“We’ve been flatmates since college!”), the advent of working life and different schedules meant less time together. Thus, going to classes together gives Melissa, a product designer, and Steffi, an e-commerce business operations VP, an opportunity to spend quality time.

Working out together also revealed their differing class preferences, as well as motivating them to exercise more. “Steffi is one hell of a cardio monster!” says Melissa. “So I kinda hate it when we go to HIIT together and she is in the same station as me because she judges me if I take a break. She is also a lot more fit and determined than me. She can work out every day so I feel a bit guilty if I skip a day of barre. I guess that’s why I started going more often since she joined!”

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