My first magazine cover! I’m so grateful to the 8 DAYS team for letting me grace their cover for this week’s issue. Growing up, I would always wait for Thursday to come by so I could get my hands on the latest copy of 8 DAYS – I was so into our local dramas back then and I could not wait to read that week’s worth of episode synopses. It is so surreal to get to front the magazine after 19 years of reading the magazine! Initially 8 DAYS Editor Jasmine Teo reached out to me to ask for glamping tips and suggestions – moments later she asked if I’d be willing to front their travel issue. I was like “HELL YES?!”
If you haven’t read the story, it’s available online here. Scroll down for some behind-the-scenes shots we took that day!
The Glam Team always up for selfies and boomerangs!
In Red Valentino set, Tent set-up by Glamping Society
I can always trust Dex with my hair – so glad he’s part of this shoot with me!
What they meant by the “insect repellant” bit on the cover.
Picnic time in Tory Burch Dress.
Outtakes – in Red Valentino set.
The cover shoot took place at East Coast Park a month ago, and the theme was all about traveling, hence the tent set up and bohemian-styled outfits!
Post-shoot I sat down with Jasmine at a Toast Box in 1 KM (because I really needed a drink, and I’m perpetually craving Teh Ping Siu Dai), and we chit-chatted for almost an hour and a half! Whew! I felt like I told her everything there was to my blogging life, and if I didn’t need to pick Imran up from work, we’d be talking for another hour or two.
We talked about my blogging career (how it has changed then and now), my travel quirks and preferences, my relationship with Imran, and how my parents view this whole social media game. I share some parts of the interview below, you can read the full version here.
8 DAYS: You started out blogging six years ago as a hobby. Now, it’s not only your full-time job, but you’re also helming an entire team. How are you with the backend aspect of the business?
ANDREA CHONG: I’m still learning a lot of things, and I will defer to the judgment of my sales team, or my boyfriend [who’s a lawyer]. They’re older than me and have [the corporate] experience that I don’t have. I’ve always had a very creative role — I just shoot, edit and blog. But now that I’m managing a bigger team, it’s more about business strategy, finances, sales, budgets. I miss being creative in a way — I enjoy shoots and the editing process ’cos it’s a way for me to destress.
What are some not-so-’grammable essentials that you take with you?
I always pack my bolster. Yes, a full-sized bolster. I’m always away from home and [having it with me] feels like home. I have scoliosis and a bolster helps to balance the spine. It takes up half of one side of the suitcase. I also bring medicine. My dad loves packing my medicine ziplock bag for me. There are medicines for everything, like laxatives. When I’m overseas, my digestive system is not great. I think everyone’s like that — can poop everything in Singapore, but cannot poop overseas. So laxatives are very important. (Laughs)
By now, you should have a packing routine.
I still need three to four hours to pack. I need a new outfit for each location and I have to coordinate shoes, bags and accessories. I want to pack strategically so I don’t over-pack. So I’ll match two or three tops to one pair of jeans, or make sure a coat goes with two or three outfits. I keep shoes to three or four pairs max. Planning is time-consuming, but like my JC PE teacher always said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” (Guffaws) It’s the only thing I got out of JC. That shall be the mantra in the office. I should print it on a sign. [To assistant] All of you better read it before you come into the office! (Laughs)
Your travel posts are mostly work trips. Is it a conscious decision to post less about your personal life? Do you feel that some influencers focus so much on the business aspect that it starts to lose…
…The personal touch? Actually I also feel that way. We do a lot of shoots and campaigns, and sometimes I think if I should share more personal stuff. I don’t mind it, but it’s just that my personal life is very boring. I don’t party, I don’t drink, I hardly have time to meet my friends. So my personal life is pretty much me at the office or at shoots, and it’s very hard to grab personal content. I want to talk about my boyfriend but he wants to be more private, so I don’t post about him all the time. I think my personal life is very boring leh! My dad has been asking me not to work so hard and to go home more often. They understand that I put in a lot of time into work and see the value in this. In fact, my dad is encouraging me to go clubbing. I don’t drink or club, and I sleep by 1am. My friends don’t want to go out with me because I get tired and grumpy by 12am, which is when the party gets started.
On a scale of one to 10, how good of an Instagram boyfriend is [Imran]?
(Pauses) I think I’d trust someone else with it, that’s why I hired staff. (Laughs) He didn’t wanna help me. If I’m travelling with [just] him, I have to make sure that all the boxes have been checked — has he gymmed? Has he eaten? Has he had enough to eat? — before I’ll ask him to help me take a photo. Then after 10 photos, he’d say that’s enough. But you know, sometimes 10 photos is not enough! I’d tell him, “Help a girl out! This is something I need to shoot!” I’ve told him I don’t want to go to chio places for holiday with him anymore. It’s a waste of money ’cos I can’t take any photos! (Laughs) So I think our next holiday is in Kuala Lumpur. So on a scale of one to 10, he’d be a four. Some part of me wishes that he takes photos for me, but I also wanna respect his privacy and his career. For me, his career is very important so we will do whatever it takes for his career to be on the right track. He’s a lawyer so he already works really long hours. I don’t want to be a b**** and ask him to help me take photos before he starts work. He’s so tired that sometimes I have to drive to work ’cos he just needs to shut his eyes in the car. And weekends are for him to recuperate, so I think the last thing he wants is to take photos for me.
Your dad is very different though.
He lurveees being the blogger’s dad! (Laughs) He loves the attention! If someone random follows him, he’ll go to their account and give them ‘likes’ in return. He’s such a dad! We have a calendar at work that we fill every day — what we’re doing or what we need to post — and my dad asked me to loop him in. I’m like, “No! I need to have a bit of privacy!” He’s on every platform that I’m on — Instagram, Facebook, my blog. Sometimes he comes into my room and shoves the iPad in my face and asks why I haven’t updated the blog, or why an image is out of alignment, or why isn’t the website more mobile-friendly. So when I recently invited him on a [work] trip to Zhangjiajie in China, he was so excited. Two weeks later, he asked me, “Must your assistant go?” I’m like, “Oei, I’m going for work, okay! You think go for fun is it?”
If you’ve read the article, let me know what you think! <3