By The Mentoring Circle
Starting off in the blogshop modelling scene as a university undergraduate, Mongchin Yeoh, otherwise known by her social media moniker ‘Mongabong’, carved a niche for herself on Instagram through her love for lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel.
With over 200,000 followers on Instagram, the 25-year-old also made her television debut as the host for a travel show named “Who Runs the World with Mongchin”, which aired in places including Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macao, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives and Palau.
In the latest edition of our “Road to Becoming” series, the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Accountancy alumna sat down with us back in campus to share her journey as a Social Media Influencer.
On life as an SMU Accountancy undergraduate
SMU has changed so much since I graduated in 2016! Nonetheless, it always feels special to be back at somewhere so familiar. Unfortunately, school was quite tough and stressful for me but I would say whatever I studied as an Accountancy undergraduate has little relevance to what I am currently doing. However, what I picked up most were the soft skills and confidence, which gave me an edge in this competitive industry. Through the intensive curriculum of presentations and various career workshops, I have also learned how to portray myself professionally and be driven towards achieving my goals.
Apart from that, SMU also opened my eyes to the reality of the world out there. After so many years of education, I think this is the time where we really prepare ourselves to step into society. In contrast, everything was very cushioned back in secondary school and even in junior college. There was no real pressure to find an internship or a job. However, these just came straight at me in SMU. Over my four years, I was also very blessed to try out two internships within the banking and finance sector, while also travelling to Grenoble for exchange with my sweetheart Matthias! These experiences have definitely shaped how I run my business today.
On finding her calling as a social media influencer
I was already blogging on the sideline when I was studying in SMU. When I was in Year 1, I did not even think about doing this full-time. It was never one of my options. To be honest, not many influencers did this as a full-time career back then. However, it was in my fourth year that social media really picked up as a whole across Singapore. People starting shifting from traditional media to social media, and that was where all the companies’ budget moved to as well. This was also the period when I realised that it was actually pretty stable and I could potentially earn more from this than a regular office job. After which, I gave myself one semester to try it full-time and the rest is history!
On her journey with “Who Runs the World with Mongchin”
They were looking for someone who had a social media presence to front a Television show. Additionally, to make the series more appealing, they were, of course, looking for someone who was not very sporty to cast in a very sporty show. I was shortlisted, went for casting, and received the offer in the end. It was really tiring (I had to run a marathon!) yet fulfilling at the same time. We filmed for more than 15 hours a day over a span of six months—it was almost like filming a reality show!
I saw this as an avenue to let my followers and readers know a different side of me. Although I am in front of screens most of the time, this particular experience allowed me to be even more confident in front of a TV crew, witness how everything works behind the scenes, and of course getting fitter in the entire process.
On a typical day
I do not really have a fixed plan for everything—every single day is big question mark. Our industry is so new and I have yet to see a life cycle of a predecessor. For example, there is a standard structure and hierarchy in a corporate job, but that is totally non-existent in this industry. If you told someone five years ago that an influencer could be an ambassador for a brand, or a TV host, they would never believe it. But overall, my motto is to always work hard and add value to my viewers. It is more of sharing my life experiences and tutorials, rather than it just being about taking selfies.
On mentorship and role models
My Badminton coaches in Tanjong Katong Girls’ School (TKGS) are one of my closest mentors. They have exposed me to different aspects of life, other than merely imparting techniques to improve my skills as a badminton player. They instilled a certain discipline in me, shaped my attitude towards overcoming struggles, being resilient, and also pursuing a passion for something.
I guess there are people whom I look up to and draw inspirations from, but I will not say that I aspire to follow the same path as them. Everyone is very different in this industry and all of us have a unique presence. A few YouTubers whom I really admire are Jenn Im from ClothesEncounters and Chriselle Lim from The Chriselle Factor. I actually saw them grow their brand from humble beginnings to having a few million subscribers today! In the local scene, I look up to Andrea Chong (@dreachong).
On finding a personal brand
I really believe in being myself and adding my own style to everything. I went through the conventional education route and always kept things real on my feed. When everything first started, it was all about how I managed balancing multiple commitments. Right now, I believe in showcasing items that are actually realistic and attainable by others.
On the future of the industry
I honestly feel that there is an overload of content and the industry is overly saturated. That being said, it is also a “Chicken and Egg” problem. When more people are following these influencers, there will be more influencers joining the scene, and then more brands will want to engage these influencers. This will cause even more individuals to start becoming influencers themselves! Eventually, I believe there will be a clean up of things and a different platform might surface—one where it is not just about the amount of followers. Additionally, whilst YouTube has so much untapped potential here in Singapore, I still believe Instagram will remain the most popular form of social media in the near future.
One of the main challenges for me is to constantly be creative in terms of the content on my Instagram feed. That being said, knowing how to switch off from my work is equally challenging as well—excessive usage of these social media platforms can easily lead to burn out. Therefore, starting last year, I told myself that I will cut down my engagements on weekends, be it events or meetings. Most of my time will be dedicated solely to my family, friends and of course my husband. I have also hired two staffs who are assisting me in our co-working space at WeWork, and that has made things much easier for me too!
Follow Mongchin’s Journey:
Website | Instagram | Youtube | Facebook
This article was originally published on The Mentoring Circle and has been republished with permission.
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