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Keeping up with Keller

Singaporean model, TV host and certified yoga instructor Denise Keller was recently in Kuching, Sarawak for some yoga. She got down on the mat at a local mall here before heading to Cove 55 in Santubong the next day to do some poses amidst lush greens, cool sea breeze and relaxing sounds of waves crashing on to shore. BorneoTalk sat down for a chat with Ms. Keller right after yoga at Cove 55:

BT: You never intended to become a yoga instructor. How do you feel about that now?

DK: The universe has a way of sending you innocuous messages, you know? And you just arrive to it, and you’re like, “alright I’ll wing it, I’ll go with it and see where it takes me”. I think when you start labelling things too much, it becomes a goal-centric idea, whereas when you fall into it, you’re like “okay”, it’s easier to ease into it. So yea, by sheer accident really. I love yoga as a practitioner but never thought that I would be teaching it, let alone teaching in this amazing beautiful country and travelling for this kind of work.

BT: There are many styles of yoga. Which one’s your favourite?

DK: I teach more of a Vinyasa flow. But I have severe reverence towards Hatha, which is foundational yoga. I also love Yin. Those are my three favourites.

BT: What would you come back to Sarawak for?

DK: I would definitely want to come back and see the Rainforest World Music Festival. I remember when I first joined MTV, I was so excited to go to the festival back then. The energy, the synergy, the people, the music, the culture… It was so diverse. It was jaw dropping. I’ve never seen anything like that and I’m like, “Yeah, this is better than Glastonbury!” I’d like to see how it has evolved. Rainforest World Music Festival was the first time I came to Kuching.

BT: In all of your travels, what was the weirdest food you’ve had?

DK: The sago grub. Oh my God. I don’t mind when it’s stir-fried. It’s okay; it goes down with beer very well. But when the guy was like, “hey, it’s much fresher and it’s juicier when you eat it live.” And I’m like, “No…!” But yea it was juicy… like any other bug (laughs).

BT: Would you rather talk about yoga, travelling or discuss music?

DK: I think it all kind of comes together in a way. It’s weird. Music is my passion. It’s the rhythm of my heart. Travel is like the seeker in me. And yoga is the peace. It’s the connectiveness that I have with the environment, with myself, with the people I meet. So it’s like a 3-in-1 milkshake, you know? I have them all part of my life – I still continue to travel, listen to and play music.

BT: So what’s in your playlist at the moment? DK: Weirdly enough, I don’t know why, but I’ve been falling back into Maroon 5. I know it’s a band that I always featured on MTV, but somehow the lyrics are getting better… they’re going back to the guitar riffs. So some Maroon 5, a little bit of Cardi B, a little bit of Dre…

BT: Finally, a shoutout to your fans.

DK: I wouldn’t be here without my fans. I know it sounds really cliché, but it really is a celebration of life. I have such an amazing connection with them now with social media. Back in the old days when we did the MTV Most Wanted, we got snail mail and faxes. Remember those good old days waiting for that one request, and then they made this ornate request, which is like “oh my goodness, that took a month to make and another month to send over to Singapore”. But now I can finally connect with them, and they’re like, “I grew up with you and you’ll always be in my heart cause you were my VJ, and I’m like, “I feel old, but okay I’ll take it.” (laughs).

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