NADIA Rahmat’s already seated and waiting for us, a picture of calm with headphones casually placed on the table. The east-sider’s dressed in her comfy best–a white crop top proclaiming ‘Fries Before Guys’ (from @styleraiders), black leggings and high tops complete with ’breakfast’ socks adorned with eggs and bacon.

At only 24, the UniSIM undergrad is well-spoken, mature beyond her years and loves zipping around keeping busy (they call me Energiser Bunny, she says). She’s currently juggling her job as an event coordinator at Kilo, freelance modelling for indie clothing labels and “secretly studying for a Bachelor of Comms degree” . What propelled her to fame though, is her appearance on Marc by Marc Jacobs SS15 billboards this year. Her Instagram followers soared from 1,000-plus to 10.6k after the campaign. She still feels weirded out seeing the images: “It felt like someone Photoshopped me in.” 

Almost on cue, several girls seated nearby at Penny University’s dining room titter to each other excitedly when they recognise Nadia. We can’t help but wonder aloud how much this rising local starlet sees her new-found fame. “It’s ironic for me. I keep a balance. I post but I’m not too engrossed. I’m both online and present in person,”  she muses. Doing a psychology module in university helped too: “It’s all about presenting the self you want others to see. I post things that are interesting but not too far from my character. You got to be careful not to let it get to your head; don’t lose your people skills like a friend of mine did” ¦ keep Instagram at arm’s length.” 

Our coffees and brunch platters arrive and we turn our attention (as foodies would!) to the food.

“[Before a stint at Toby’s Estate], I used to hate coffee and I’d never drink it,”  the part-time final year student reveals, sipping on her 7oz. “Latte is my go-to coffee. I’m very particular about the shot, how long they pull it–it’s the aftertaste when you swallow the whole thing. It needs to fill your mouth. No bitterness, allrounded; not too milky, not too strong. That’s me: when I meet someone and make a lasting impression but don’t come on too strong else they’ll be like, ’OMG this person is a handful’.” 

In between mouthfuls of breakfast and carefully preserving the integrity of her poached yolks, Nadia waxes philosophical: “I’d like to be able to eat anything and not gain weight. It helps that I have high metabolism, but I do gain weight. Some people say, ’Oh, I wanna eat that but it’s so fatty’. And I’m like, are you craving it? Then eat it! If you keep holding off your cravings, it’s not fun anymore. As much as you want to watch what you eat and stuff, you only have one life.” 

And keepin’ it real is what Nadia does, instinctively. She naturally gravitates towards the indie labels, for the community. “It’s always important to stay grounded” ¦ I appreciate varied and quirky styles.”  She’s also focused on house and techno music, especially after she joined Super 0 (@super0sg). “I’ve been going to Europe lately because that genre grew up there and it’s really different, the experiences and how people approach the music and the community. It feels like it’s a family, a close-knit family. That’s why I’m really interested in it right now.” 

What we ordered

Nadia had: English breakfast with poached eggs ($16) & espresso with milk 7oz ($5.50)–the eggs were “perfectly runny” 

June had: Turkish eggs ($8.60) & espresso with milk 7oz ($5.50)–though the portion was smaller than expected, the overall yoghurt and egg combination was delish

Meredith had: Penny’s French toast ($11.90) & Thai iced milk tea ($6.50)–” not bad” 