Interview with Shiwei
Girls are often stereotyped as fragile and passive, and expected to be demure and sweet in their appearance. However, in an interview with Quek Shiwei, the editorial consultant of Kallos Magazine, she shares that femininity is not a matter of weakness or strength, but about embracing who you are created to be, and living it out boldly. Her heart goes out to the current generation of youths, in which she attests to the importance of raising up a generation of Godly women.
What is Kallos Magazine?
Kallos Magazine is a bi-monthly Christian magazine that is created by girls for girls. We touch on issues that many girls grapple with on a daily basis: beauty, calling, health, insecurities, and even relationships. Kallos seeks to be a relevant voice for this generation, and our vision behind it is to raise a generation of girls who are set apart, living lifestyles of grace, and fulfilling their God-given destinies.
So how did Kallos start in the first place?
In 2012, during a sleepover with a group of girls (aged 15-17) whom I was doing a Bible study with, they shared with one another their dream of starting a Christian magazine for girls. Originally, they thought of just printing 2–3 copies for themselves. As we discussed more and roped in other team members, they were challenged to dream bigger and our first issue had 2000 copies in print!
We were greatly inspired by Brio magazine, which was a Christian teen magazine for girls published in the US by Focus on the Family. Our aim was to create a platform where articles are angled to be of relevance to the Asian context and culture. Our first published issue was in January 2014, and it was such a celebratory moment after months of figuring out how to get licenses, funding, printings, distribution sites, and so on.
More than being a publication, Kallos Magazine seems to be a girls’ ministry. Why is investing the current generation of girls so important to you?
It is very important to me because we are not simply sowing seeds into the current generation, but into the generations to come. These youths will grow up to be future girlfriends, wives, or mothers; future leaders in the business, political, or education sectors. Beyond that, these wives will go on to impact future husbands, urging men to rise up in their masculinity and in assuming headship of the house. It all starts in their foundational years as a youth — the moulding and shaping of their character is the most critical at their teenage years because it is when they begin to think and perceive the world on their own. Women are dangerous, either for good or bad. There’s a reason why “hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn!” Girls who are guided well can be dangerous to Satan and used mightily for God.
Is there a woman who has greatly influenced your life?
I’ve never met, heard, or seen this woman; she doesn’t even know I exist. Her name is Susie, the editor of Brio mag. When I was growing up, so many of my values and convictions were formed through this magazine. Her hard work shaped my worldview from a godly perspective, including how I viewed boys, dating, dressing, and many more! I would definitely like to meet her one day.
While growing up, what were some challenges that you faced as a youth?
Growing up, I struggled with loneliness one particular year in secondary school as I couldn’t fit in. There were times when I wished someone would just call me and tell me that I’m not pathetic. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I did have female leaders in church who were a listening ear for me.
I also struggled with much anxiety during my school days. I couldn’t see beyond the stress of school, exams and grades. I would have terrible migraines and couldn’t function properly on some days. I had a real blessing in church one day when an older lady offered to pray for me; she also bought me a Christian book on anxiety the next week. That was my breakthrough to find peace of mind.
What does a woman of God look like to you?
Many teenage girls do not recognise their true identities of being daughters of the King, or what we like to call: “an Army of Princess Warriors.” There is a beautiful picture of wisdom personified in the Proverbs 31 woman — she is not all about being “girly” or “sweet.” She is someone who fears the Lord, helps the poor, puts her hands to work, cares for her loved ones, and lives a life that is of beauty, strength, and dignity. That is what Kallos seeks to guide girls towards: that they will recognise their true identities, dare to stand up for truth, and live lives worthy of God’s calling.
Have there been any testimonies of Kallos’ impact on this generation?
The testimonies that have come in over the past year have really blessed our hearts. There was a girl who had written a blog post about her struggle with pornography and how she knew she needed to confess it to someone and be held accountable. Yet, she felt too much shame and guilt that she could not come face-to-face with it. And as God would have it, she decided to pick up a copy of Kallos Magazine one day, which had an advice column addressing pornography, and she confessed to her mum that day. That has helped her on the journey to freedom.
Seeing lives transformed through the work God is doing through Kallos amazes us, and because of that, we are even more excited for our upcoming Kallos Conference!
Could you tell me more about this conference?
Kallos Conference is a gathering of our readers, teenage girls, and older women to hear God’s perspective on issues they face, how to be set apart, and what living out their God-given destiny looks like.
It has always been our dream to have such a conference right from the start of Kallos. In fact, seven years ago, while I was at a women’s conference in London, we were challenged to share our God-given dream with our neighbour. I remember telling a stranger, “It’ll be wonderful to have such a conference in Singapore.” So I’m really excited to see this conference come to pass and to be able to finally meet face-to-face with our readers and get to know them personally.
When is the conference happening and what is it about?
It’s happening on 21 and 22 December this year and the theme is “Daughters, Arise!” It is our desire to raise a generation of girls who are bold and courageous in contending for their destinies. We have invited amazing women of God to share their lives at the conference, such as Jennifer Heng, Alarice Thio, and Jean Tan; and have planned a range of workshops that addresses topics like purity, identity, and our God-given destiny.
There will be a Kallos Fair comprising of pop-up booths by retailers who are making a difference and we will end off the conference with a concert by Alarice and Jean. We really believe that something powerful will happen when like-minded sisters gather together. We are expecting God’s power and grace to be revealed as we gather under His name!