9 months of an inflated belly, hours of excruciating labour pain and a lifetime of love and patience, we don’t need an excuse to show our appreciation to our mothers, albeit it’s always nice to shower your mum extra love and attention on Mother’s Day. We are delighted to be able to get an interview with the Hiranand’s — Shirley, Rina, Raje and Riva. Speaking from Hong Kong and Sydney, the group opens up about their relationship, life’s ups and down and how they remained so close.
Tell us about a bit about you and your children Shirley!
I grew up in Manila with my two brothers and my sister and moved to Hong Kong when I got married. My five kids were raised in Hong Kong and I started my career in luxury PR event management after they all went to school. Ravi works in journalism, Rina and Rajé work in advertising, Riva works in events and Roni works in venture capitalism. All of them live in Hong Kong except for Raje who lives in Sydney. No matter where they go and what they achieve, I always make sure they know they’ve got to make time for mom!
My eldest son Ravi is my first child who I gave birth to at the age of 24. After Ravi, I had 5 children and sadly I lost one after Ravi. I didn’t feel prepared for any of my kids until I had my last child Roni, who was born 12 years after Ravi.
When were the others born and how was the experience?
Every birth was different! My eldest Ravi was 20 days overdue and the biggest baby inside the incubator! 3 years later Rina was born during a storm, her birth was stressful, but like Ravi she arrived in the evening, which could explain why they’re both night owls. Raje was my only child born in the afternoon and 3 years after rina. I had Riva 4 years later and she was born in LA (or Beverly Hills as she likes to point out) and finally Roni was a fast one who I had 2 years after Riva.
We have seen how fabulous Shirley is! What was your very first memory of your mum? What was the first outfit you remember?
Rina: A lot of my first memories of my mom involve watching her get ready for events. She has an amazing walk-in closet with a light-up mirror, and I would always hang around when she was getting ready to watch the magic happen! When she was out, I’d try on her shoes… I fondly remember a pair of Prada mules which I always hoped to inherit, but sadly my feet were too big! I also loved watching her prep her skin for bed and I’d talk to her when she was removing her make-up at night: thanks to her, I never go to sleep without removing my makeup!
Raje: I remember going on a lot of daytime adventures with my mom and I was very attached to her. I couldn’t go on Summer Camps or stay at friend’s houses without crying because I always felt like I was missing my mom – being in her presence was just awesome and I felt empty whenever I was away from her. When we’d go out together, I remember my mom carrying designer bags – one being a tanned Cartier Panther side pack. I remember my mom’s bags being so heavy and I felt like when I was older, I’d have a heavy designer bag just like my cool mom.
Riva: My mom never blended into a crowd – she always stood out. Aside from her style (she used to have these awesome Moschino pants with a Monopoly print), she doesn’t care what people think – even when it’s her kids. When we were younger, my little brother and I used to ask my mom to dress like the other moms. But when I got older, I truly appreciated her sense of style, her ability to rock a really bold print or edgy design. My mom has this knack of finding something so distinct you know it’s from the brand, but it’s not overtly branded or covered in monograms and that’s always inspired me to wear louder prints and accessorize.
Shirley, who is most similar to you and who out of the kids are more alike?
I’d say all kids have inherited something about me that makes them unique – it can be surreal to see five variations of yourself!
From a young age, I really taught Ravi to be curious like I was as a child. He was born in the 80s so he gravitated towards tech and that really helped satisfy his curiosity – he’s almost like a walking encyclopaedia.
I had Rina after my miscarriage. She was my first girl and I’d say she looks like me the most. When I had her, I couldn’t wait to do all the girly stuff with her and I just loved dressing her up. She definitely takes her style after me, she’s much more elegant than the rest but she’s also taken after my confidence and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Raje being my middle child, is more practical out of all of them but is a little more spiritual like me. Her and I spend time on walks together and love to explore hidden places in Hong Kong, or when we travel as we did together in Tokyo and Paris.
Riva inherited my love for books. She is a big book worm like I was as a child, and she has a great flair for writing. Like Rina, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she’s the most giving out of all of them, as she’s involved in many charities.
Roni inherited my ability to network. We call him the PR in the family. He can have a conversation with anyone and make a meaningful connection with them. Roni and I also have similar tastes in food and TV shows.
Girls, who was the most rebellious as a teenager / young adult? What did you all get up to that got you into trouble?
Raje: My instant reaction is Riva (the youngest girl) because she was into punk rock and loved to talk back, but all younger siblings feel like they’re more rebellious than you are. So I actually think we rebelled in our own ways at different stages of our lives!
Us girls used to LOVE dressing up and I’d remember when my mom would buy a new outfit, we’d sneak it out from her room and try it on. There was a tiger-striped Dolce & Gabbana dress that I really loved and thought I’d look like a combination of Posh Spice-Scary Spice, but I really didn’t. I was bigger than my mom so I stretched her dresses! But I was lucky to have sisters who are always very complimentary of my terrible outfit choices!
Riva: There’s quite a big age gap between my sisters and me, so when I was old enough to go out with them I was thrilled. My mom was definitely a lot less thrilled when we were going out clubbing and we definitely got in trouble on many occasions for coming home too late, even in our early 20s! As sisters we’re pretty low-key when it comes to dressing up and to this day we need our mom’s help to put together a look for big events or weddings – the three of us have gotten busted our whole lives when we’re lazing around watching TV or playing video games instead of getting ready!
Shirley, how did you cope whilst they were in their teens, were you worried about them much?
I was worried about them all the time and it doesn’t stop! I think it was worse when they all went to Uni overseas, I’d call them all the time.
What are your relationships like now and what are your best moments?
Rina: We were all raised to be very close, and we had my mom’s relationship with her siblings as a model to look up to. We have a shared language of looks and single words – we can literally know what each other means just by a quirk of their eyebrows! We are a family of VERY strong personalities: expect to be bombarded by MULTIPLE overlapping conversations if you come over for dinner. I just got married this year and as much as I used to groan when people used to gush about it being the best day of their lives, it was so special for me to have my mom and sisters around me. One of my favourite moments was just before the ceremony – I got them all hand-block printed robes from India, and true to form we were all running around and yelling at each other!
Raje: I’m super grateful to have strong relationships with my siblings and mom. We are a tight family and we stick up for each other. But what unites us is our love for our Grandfather and our mom!
Riva: What I love about our family is that we’re close as a unit, but we also have individual bonds and shared moments with our siblings too. When we all lived in the same house we’d head out for late-night McDonald’s runs while playing video games. When we’re all in the same country, we always have to head to Yardbird for dinner – it’s tradition. Roni and I are the closest in age so we hung out more as kids, but my sisters are my rocks – they ground me, encourage me and inspire me.
Girls, how do you perceive your mum now that you are an adult?
Rina: I have more and more respect for my mom – I don’t know how she managed to raise five kids before there were iPads you could distract them with. I think she has the most unique sense of style – wherever we are, she can always pick out a gem that no one would have noticed from the racks.
Raje: She’s still cool and she still carries heavy bags! I don’t have any kids but I see all my friends with kids and think how the hell did my mom do it five times?! Honestly, she is a warrior and every day my respect for her increases tenfold.
Riva: I wish I appreciated her style more and got dibs on some of her amazing 90s outfits and accessories! My mom has always been a major influence for me, and I’ve always admired her sense of self and purpose.