The Jade Of All Trades
One of Asia’s biggest club DJs and multi-hyphenated influencer, Ms Jade Rasif (Arts and Social Sciences ’18) proves that a woman can, in fact, do it all.
WHO SHE IS
One of Singapore’s most famous club DJs, Ms Jade Rasif (Arts and Social Sciences ’18) is also an actress, model, and talk-show host. Having been in the public eye since 2013, she is also a popular social media influencer, with over 360,000 followers on Instagram currently.
For many, local DJ, model, and actress Ms Jade Rasif needs no introduction. The 26-year-old’s career in the limelight began when she came in second in the New Paper New Face pageant in 2013. Ms Rasif, who today is an NUS Psychology graduate, quickly rose to fame as Singapore’s highest-paid DJ, amassing more than 360,000 followers on her Instagram account. She also appeared on Mediacorp Channel 5’s longest-running drama series Tanglin, where she played Sheila Oh for three seasons. The mother of a two-year-old son, Ms Rasif has also been actively giving back to the community since the start of the Circuit Breaker period in April.
How did you end up becoming one of the most successful DJs in Singapore?
I got into DJ-ing during my first year at NUS. My ex-boyfriend, then a DJ, got me interested. It wasn’t a passion, but rather a way to pay for my university fees. In the beginning, I was playing up to seven hours for $120 at most. I think luck played a huge role in my success. I also had people who helped me along the way, whom I appreciate greatly.
What does being on the podium feel like?
I love the feeling of performing; I get such a rush. My favourite moment was performing at the Djakarta Warehouse Project — South East Asia’s biggest festival for the last 10 years. The organisers typically invite prominent DJs, including Martin Garrix and Calvin Harris. Being a regional DJ, I was assigned a really early time slot on a small side-stage. But I was so touched that many Singaporeans flew to Indonesia for the festival to watch my set. When I looked into the audience, I saw pockets of people who had brought Singapore flags to wave at me. The support and love I get from Singaporeans really warms my heart. I also enjoy the travelling that comes with the job. I’ve been blessed with trips to the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Hungary, and Italy. I love meeting people and witnessing the nightlife in cities all around the world.
While in NUS, I took Business electives, and learnt how to diversify my portfolio...Now with the pandemic stopping clubs from opening, I’m thanking my lucky stars and my ability to adapt to different circumstances.
What has been your biggest challenge in juggling the responsibilities of being a mother, DJ, actor, and model?
Being a mother has its unique challenges. Just two weeks after giving birth, I was in Kuala Lumpur playing a show. I had to pump breastmilk every four hours and get the hotel staff to help me store it in the freezer. A gig scored is not something you can simply cancel or postpone. In the six years I’ve DJ-ed, I’ve only ever cancelled once. I’ve endured bad cramps while boarding a plane, passing through immigration, conducting sound checks, fulfilling extra promotional work, getting through hair and makeup, and giving my 100 per cent to the show. I can’t say that my experience is any harder than someone else’s job or life, though. We all have our challenges.
How have you been spending your time these days, since clubs are currently closed due to the pandemic?
I still pick songs when I’m in the car, if that counts! On a serious note, however, I’ve been blessed. While in NUS, I took Business electives, and learnt how to diversify my portfolio. So aside from DJ-ing, I tried to generate income through blogging, acting, and hosting. People used to criticise me for it, accusing me of not being a “real DJ” because I was doing all these other things. Now with the pandemic stopping clubs from opening, I’m thanking my lucky stars and my ability to adapt to different circumstances.
What made you want to volunteer with the Singapore Healthcare Corps, and how has the experience been? Would you encourage others to play their part?
I’m happy to serve and be of use. I enjoy the work a lot and feel so proud of my job and country every day. In the events/clubbing scene, things are planned weeks, if not months, in advance. But for healthcare workers on the frontline, entirely new departments and teams can be up and running within days. People can be mobilised in the morning and get ready to work by night. I was eager to get out of the house and do something during the Circuit Breaker. It was by chance that an opportunity to volunteer with the Singapore Healthcare Corps came along. Plus, it seemed like they were short-handed at the time. I would neither encourage nor discourage people when it comes to volunteering. Honestly, you are already doing your part by just observing infection control directives.
In the midst of your successful career, you also decided to go back to NUS to complete your degree — why?
Completing my degree made my mother happy. Initially, I was driven by passion; I wanted to become a psychologist after seeing my sister suffer from childhood depression. However, the more I delved into the subject, the more I realised I could not cope with the emotional demands. I felt myself inching towards an existential crisis, and I decided not to take any more Psychology modules. But now I have so much respect for people who go into counselling.
How would you describe your NUS years?
On top of studying, I was working 12 hours a day, and had very little sleep. I lost a lot of weight; it is not a lifestyle I’d recommend. I don’t regret the work I put in then, but I’m happy things have slowed down for me. I also met some great friends and stayed at Eusoff Hall for a semester, which was incredibly exciting because I wasn’t allowed to have sleepovers as a child.
I also loved that we have the best food of any university campus. Sin Kee Chicken Rice at the Faculty of Law is in the Michelin Guide! The Starbucks at University Town is good for lattes and a deep-dish beef pie, and Waa Cow! has great sous vide beef bowls. A milk tea outlet on campus would’ve made the NUS foodie experience complete! But it wasn’t all good; I recall how parts of the campus would get flooded during the monsoon seasons.
What is your advice to young people wanting to pursue a less ‘mainstream’ career path, as you have done?
I’m not qualified to give advice, but from my own experience, a career in media and the arts, while exciting, is not the most stable. If you crave security, this may not be the best path for you. Write down your long-term goals, be aware of your appetite for risk, do research on the industries you want to enter before career planning — and do it early!