As a DJ and model, Kim Lee is also touted as the 'Asian Kim Kardashian'. But we feel that title boxes her in from being an original. In an exclusive with Esquire Singapore, Lee lets us into the other facets of her life—weird fan encounters; comedy; being a homebody; DJing—and you'll realise that there's more to her than meets the eye. At least, more to her as the 'Asian Kim Kardashian'.
ESQ: You've appeared in several of Tan Jian Hao's YouTube episodes? How did the collaboration start?
Kim Lee: Well, Jian Hao reached out to me on Instagram and since I come to Singapore often I was like why not? I think our videos are relatable.
ESQ: Do you think you're funny?
Kim Lee: I read some of the comments at times and some people think I’m funny or a good actress but to me, I’m just having fun and I play the crazy girlfriend quite well. Haha.
ESQ: When you are in Singapore, where do you go? What do you eat?
Kim Lee: I go to Hai Di Lao Hotpot! OMG, I love Chinese hot pot so much I can probably eat that every day. You can also find me at Orchard Road at the Bape store or any of the designer stores.
ESQ: Can looking the way you do be a hindrance?
Kim Lee: Yes, absolutely. Just because you’re good-looking, it could be hard in relationships. People think you probably have many girlfriends or boyfriends when really, you’re home by yourself eating popcorn. They automatically don’t trust you. Also, if you’re a female working in a male-dominated industry, that could be hard too as they don’t take you seriously and think, “oh, you have this opportunity ‘cause you’re pretty”. That’s true to a certain degree. I think it helps, for sure, but after that, you gotta really show you got what it takes and the talent, especially in the DJ world.
ESQ: What is something that people will find surprising about you?
Kim Lee: I have two sides about me. My image is this party girl and people seem to think I’m stuck up judging from the photos but I have another side to me that just loves being home with no makeup and family is important to me.
ESQ: You once DJed with Katrina Nova as the duo, KIMKAT; what happened with that?
Kim Lee: Well, unfortunately, we had a big falling out. We grew apart have different visions and I’ve now been solo for 3 years. It’s been great cause that was the plan I’ve had for awhile. It was time for something new and different and I’m now producing music and doing my own thing. It actually made me hustle even harder cause I’m like damn okay I’m on my own I better succeed.
ESQ: Can you reveal a weird fan interaction?
Kim Lee: Yes, a fan showed up to my show and gave me jewellery and pearls but it was all fake. Later, I saw him at a show of mine in Chicago and he ran up to me and gave me flowers and a love letter with a drawing of me and him kissing. And he ran away after that.
ESQ: What happened after that?
Kim Lee: He actually started messaging all my friends who I follow and started threatening them and eventually he disappeared
ESQ: Oh my God. Well, is that the hardest thing about being a DJ?
Kim Lee: It's actually Definitely the travelling. I travel overseas a lot so there are times when I would fly for over 20-something hours and would have to rush to my hotel to get ready for my show while being jetlagged. Also, I'd have days where I’m not feeling too good but I still need to maintain an energy [to perform]. But I’m able to switch that switch on and off.
ESQ: And what about your modelling?
Kim Lee: I really don’t consider myself a model even though I’ve shot for many magazines. It’s more of a hobby for me.
ESQ: What are you watching right now?
Kim Lee: I’m constantly watching a lot of motivational videos on YouTube and a lot of TED Talks.
ESQ: You're in a relationship with Keith Ape, how did the two of you meet? Is there a collaboration brewing between the two of you or do you want to keep love and work separated?
Kim Lee: We met through mutual friends. We keep things private. He’s a private person and so am I. Yeah, that’s gonna happen in the future but meanwhile, I’m collaborating with my friend Lil Debbie on our new project called “GRLZ” we have tons of music coming.
ESQ: If you weren’t in this line of work, what would you have done?
Kim Lee: Definitely running my own business. I have this take charge mentally and love sales and marketing. The older I get, the more confident and interested I am in it.
ESQ: Whom do you want to collaborate with?
Kim Lee: I would love to collaborate with MIA, Tommy Genesis, Xxxtentacion, Swae Lee and there are couple more but that’s just off the top of my head that I can think of.
ESQ: What do you have in the pipeline?
Kim Lee: New music this July! We got releases with few major labels.