CHAN PHEI YONG, popularly known as Phei Yong to his legions of fans, has become one of the most sought after influencers in the local Chinese entertainment industry.
His phenomenal success is backed by more than half a million followers on Instagram and YouTube, and his presence in projects with brands such as Bell & Ross and the movie Men in Black: International.
For Chan, it was a rapid rise to fame after winning MY FM’s Be My Star competition in 2015, which also led to a gig with the station.
The 27 year old admits that even he is sometimes surprised by his own success.
“Initially, a lot of people assumed that I was not going to win. Considering my (level of) proficiency in Mandarin at the time, I thought the other contestants had a better chance.”
In an exclusive interview with theSun, the Kelantan native shared his journey thus far and his plans for the near future.
How has it been working with Bell & Ross?
It has been a great honour. When I first heard the news, I thought it was a joke because I always assumed the brand exclusively works with older public figures, those in their 30s or 40s.
What aspect of a brand makes you want to work with them?
I think the most important thing would be that I have to genuinely like the brand. If you look through my platforms, you would see that the brands that I work with are the ones that I have been using.
The other factor would be my relationship with the brand’s management.
But the most important thing would be to see if my fans can relate to the brand. If they are not able to, I do not see the purpose of the collaboration.
What was it like seeing yourself in Men in Black?
I was honoured to be a part of it. In fact, it is one of my best achievements. There is a funny story to how it happened.
I was busy with a shoot and kept getting a call from an unknown number. Initially, I did not pick up but the person was persistent. Finally, I answered and the person (from Sony Pictures) introduced himself.
He told me that they wanted to send me to Bali to interview three international celebrities. I assumed it was a prank call. So, I played along but we spoke for more than 10 minutes.
Later, I spoke with my sister, who is my manager. She told me it was real!
What struggles do you face as a public figure?
For me, the only struggle is constantly having to maintain my public appearance. Before I got famous, I would wear very casual and laid back attire when I go out.
Still, it is a small price to pay as I enjoy being in the public eye.
How do you manage to stand out in such a competitive industry?
I focus on my work as there is no need to constantly compare yourself with your “competitors”. Unlike traditional media, there is enough space for creatives these days to grow and do what they love. And I am also a strong believer in the saying “content is king”. No matter what happens, your content has to have substance. Hence, I always ensure that the content I put out is good.
What are your goals for 2021?
For now, I have plans for a variety show. The one coming up has two parts and both will be shot in May. I am also building my own clothing brand.
I have been wanting to do this for two years now. Since I work to promote other brands, why not come up with my own?
And I believe this is the right time to do it.