WITH a legion of social media followers – currently 281,000 on her Instagram account @ms_kuan – Christinna Kuan is always serving us killer outfits-of-the-day (OOTDs) that have us swooning. Her travel diaries showcasing her jet-setting lifestyle from Finland and Georgia to South Korea and Taiwan, and everywhere else in between, have sparked our inner desire to travel.
Kuan also founded her very own clothing line, Christinna.K, in February this year and has even set up a physical store in Penang. Her distinctive personal style can be seen in her brand; feminine, chic yet strong, and sophisticated just herself.
She shares: “It took years before I chanced upon the opportunity to have my own fashion label, eventually I took the leap of faith that could set on a whole new venture.”
As recognised as she is as an influencer, the 22-year-old is also a talented singer. Her collaboration with Malaysian singer-songwriter NYK on a song cover of Aladdin’s theme song A Whole New World even caught the attention of US actor Will Smith, who plays the Genie in Disney’s recent live-action remake.
What does it mean to be an influencer?
“For starters, I think an influencer is a lot of things.
“An influencer definitely has the power to influence a lot of people, since the amount of outreach definitely knows no boundaries. An influencer also needs to know his or her part in making positive changes in this world, by fully utilising social media platforms to spread information and positive vibes.”
What makes an influencer?
“I think that anybody can be an influencer. The number of followers isn’t really a benchmark to define who ‘an influencer’ truly is.
“As long as you play a central role in influencing a certain demographic then you’re an influencer, just like how my parents have influenced me all this while.”
At what point did you realise you’d made it as an influencer?
“I think a lot of times, people might forget that there’s no ‘industry’ to begin with. However, as time passed, the growth of my followers and engagement from brands are definitely showing positive signs that I have ‘made it’ in this industry.
“On the contrary, I do think that this is an ever-growing industry that requires you to always learn, maintain and evolve, so never be complacent of your current status, no matter how much you’ve achieved.”
What do you wish to see in terms of change when it comes to influencer marketing?
“I hope that influencers could be more sincere when marketing the products, including providing genuine opinions so that the masses won’t be misled.
“On the other hand, I also hope that influencers will get the amount of pay we deserve as well. Far more than often, the creativity and effort we put in marketing products for brands is under-appreciated. I wish that brands acknowledge our effort more, and as for influencers? Never settle for something less than you deserve.”
What would you do differently if you were just starting in the industry now?
“Seeing how competitive this industry has become, I would definitely try to be a better version of myself and create more creative content.
“I will also be more courageous to experiment with new styles. Definitely step out of my comfort zone to experiment with different possibilities.”
How did your music collaboration with NYK start?
“I met him around three years ago in Singapore, and ever since we’ve always kept in contact even before he fully pursued his singing career. After watching Aladdin at the cinema on the first day it was released, I fell completely head-over-heels for the theme song A Whole New World.
“I contacted NYK and we decided to work together to produce a song cover. I was super excited for our first ever collaboration.”
What does a typical day in your week look like?
“A typical day in my week includes lots of meetings and planning with my team, dealing with clients, having photo shoots and attending events.
“I also spend the majority of my time managing my boutique Christinna.K and concept store UFCO in Penang as well. When I’m not working, I love to spend as much time with my family as I can.”