This time last year, we embarked on a sort of The-Alchemist-esque journey with our friends at Matter. Together, we created a #WoWWoman series entitled #JourneyToMe. It was the perfect alchemy. Matter makes “pants to see the world in”. WoW tells stories of inspiring individuals. We wanted to have meaningful and intimate conversations with women about their unique path of self-discovery, acceptance, and the power and freedom to be fearlessly, unapologetically who they are. We had such a blast getting goose bumps from these ladies — and because you loved it so much! — we’ve decided an encore was in order.
Ignore the naysayers, focus on what you love and what makes you happy.
So here we are, one year later, presenting you part deux of #JourneyToMe, featuring four more WoW Women over the next few weeks, starting with Andrea Chong (perhaps more affectionately known as @DreaChong) — blogger, content creator, and a self-professed “old-fashioned” millennial.
One gloomy afternoon last week, the 24-year-old girlboss hootfooted her way from a meeting to our shoot location — a gorgeous apartment with a view on the 58th floor of the Marina Bay Suites. She arrived, solo, in a kimono-inspired maxi dress, make-up and hair game already strong and ready to get to work.
“What’s our first look?” she asks with purpose.
Before we could show her to the privacy of the master bedroom, Andrea was already disrobing like a ninja and suiting up in Gucci. By the way, the girl volunteered to iron the fuchsia pantsuit to perfection seeing that it was looking a tad tired from being cooped up in a bag all morning — 💯 for professionalism. (“Someone said to me the other day that he didn’t think pretty girls could iron their own clothes, I was so offended!” she protests. The steam iron in her hand hisses as if in agreement.)
With this millennial, there was no fuss, no posse, no airs, just a refreshing gusto to create something awesome together for the next hour. And something awesome we did create (hello, scroll to the end to watch our debut video! 🎉)
It is so easy and tempting to judge a person by her Instagram, perhaps even more so if her
In our interview, Andrea debunks a few misconceptions about her and her work, recalls her career trajectory from YouTube channel host and blogshop model to a successful social media It-girl (she counts Victoria Beckham and the Original #Girlboss Sophia Amoruso as interviewees); proves working hard is the best way to shut haters up; and ponders what it means to stay true to herself when at least 264,000 pairs of eyes are watching.
I ENJOY BEING A SOCIAL HERMIT — QUIET, ALONE TIME IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME.
For the benefit of those who don’t already know you, can you give us the crashest of crash course about you and tell us who Andrea Chong is in four words?
Andrea Chong: Determined, passionate, family-oriented, and nature-loving.
What do you think surprises people the most about you?
AC: That I enjoy being a social hermit — quiet, alone time is very important to me.
What was your childhood dream?
AC: I had so many aspirations! One moment I wanted to be a doctor, the next a dentist, I
also wanted to be an architect and a teacher… the list goes on. I ended up reading English Literature (at Nanyang Technological University).
What was your first job ever?
AC: My parents used to be in the fashion and accessories business, so they had these racks set up at department stores, and I’d always help them out as a sales promoter and cashier during the school holidays.
So how did your blogging career begin?
AC: Being a blogger as a career never really crossed my mind. I started out as a host for
That F Word on clicknetwork.tv (when I was still in school), and the producer of the show encouraged me to set up an Instagram and Twitter account so that I can better engage with the viewers of my show. I started talking about fashion, and the blog kind of just grew from there.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
AC: Getting to be creative.
What would you say has been the most challenging part about building your personal brand?
AC: Staying true to my brand identity in
I have faced a lot of people who didn’t believe in me and what I could achieve when I was starting out, and I took pride in working hard and proving them wrong.
the midst of social media commercialisation.
Can you offer a tip or two about building a strong personal brand?
AC: Talk about things that inspire you and things that you personally love!
If you weren’t a social-media influencer today, what do you think you would be doing now?
AC: Probably a teacher. I really enjoyed being a tutor.
What do you want to be in 10 years?
AC: I definitely want to try something new — I may be blogging, I may not, but I definitely want to be a better person and businesswoman in 10 years!
In your opinion, what does it mean to be fearlessly, unapologetically you?
AC: It means knowing and being honest about who you are, what you stand for, and saying “no” to things that go against that no matter what people might say about you.
Being in the spotlight, is it easy/hard for you to be authentic?
AC: A little bit — even if you put in your best effort to be 100 percent authentic, I think sometimes people will still either choose to not take you as seriously or have their own judgement about you.
Well, at the end of the day, it’s your own opinion of yourself that matters the most, right? So, tell me, what do you love about you?
AC: I love that I’m a huge family person.
And what would you like to improve on?
AC: I would definitely like to be more… sociable. I’m quite a social hermit if you know me!
Can you describe a time in your life when you needed to find or re-discover yourself?
AC: Pretty much every day. Especially when I experience a creative block or anxiety about producing good quality content.
I know my job description is pretty unorthodox (haha!), maybe that’s where I might get misunderstood.
Do you feel misunderstood as a millennial?
AC: Not really, no. I would like to think I’m a rather old-fashioned girl at heart, especially when it comes to my work ethic. I know my job description is pretty unorthodox (haha!), maybe that’s where I might get misunderstood.
Do you ever doubt yourself?
AC: I think self-doubt happens to everyone, but I take that as a good thing really — it helps you to stay competitive and ahead of the game, and keeps you in check I suppose. I can’t say I’ve experienced anything particularly challenging in my life (yet), but I have faced a lot of people who didn’t believe in me and what I could achieve when I was starting out, and I took pride in working hard and proving them wrong.
What are some of the most important life lessons you’ve learned so far?
AC: Ignore the naysayers, focus on what you love and what makes you happy. I cannot emphasise that enough.
What do you do when you need a quick boost of confidence?
AC: I talk to my boyfriend. He really helps to put things into perspective for me, and his words mean so much to me. I also like to have a to-do list prepped every morning so I know what’s in store for the day — it keeps me motivated because I’ll be like, “OK, I am going to accomplish all of them!” (haha). I like to keep busy and organised.
Who or what inspires you?
AC: Definitely people I respect — people who are good with people, and people who have drive and creative passion.
What, in your opinion, is a #WoWWoman? Can you name yours?
AC: A #WoWWoman is someone who is determined and motivated; she respects people, loves life, and values her family and relationships. I look up to Rachel Lim (founder of Love, Bonito) and Savina Chai who’s behind Eight Slate.
You’ve got a great sense of style, obviously. Who are your style icons?
AC: Gotta love Olivia Palermo and Julie Sariñara!
What’s your go-to outfit?
AC: Slouchy white T-shirt, high-waist denim shorts and white sneakers. Always!
What do you feel naked without?
AC: Moisturiser and sunscreen. I’m using Philosophy’s Take A Deep Breath Moisturiser, and Calvin Chan’s sunscreen.
What’s your best advice for girls and women out there who want to be their own boss?
AC: Know your industry and know your brand!
What to you are the three most important qualities to possess for success?
AC: Determination, being hardworking, and positivity.
How can a girl feel empowered?
AC: Surround yourself with people that make you feel and want to be better. I am nothing without my best friends, my team and family.
PLAYING FAVOURITES WITH ANDREA CHONG
Pantsuit and sunglasses, Gucci. Dress and boots, Tory Burch
Photography & Art Direction: Karman Tse // Video: Carissa Huang // Assistant: Kristie Teo // Special thanks: Hazel Kim
P.S. Have you entered our #JourneyToMe-themed draw? We’re giving away up to S$800 worth of awesome prizes including a spa treatment for two at Auriga Spa. Enter HERE.