Chevonne Cheng is a social media influencer. She enjoys what she does and loves the excitement of living in other people’s shoes as she creates meaningful content for brands and people.
What’s your story?
On LinkedIn, I’m an editor/marketer. On Instagram, I’m an influencer with a ‘lowkey famous dog.’ On Facebook, I’m a girl who writes viral articles. But, I’m mostly just a person who wishes to create meaningful content.
At 16, I was signed by media agency Gushcloud. Then, I spent 3 years in PR and Marcoms for Michelin-star Les Amis Group.
At 23, I joined The Smart Local and kickstarted ZULA.sg in late 2017 for Gen Y Singaporean girls to share their insights in an inclusive community. We now reach over 300k Singaporean viewers per month organically.
What excites you most about your industry?
I get to live in different people’s shoes. I get to paint ordinary moments into a story, to understand a person through their own thought process rather than by my own assumption.
Through language, I can help people translate an idea into something more tangible, packaged in a way for easily distracted millennials to understand. And in turn, help someone else connect with like-minded people.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Chinese-Burmese-Peranakan-Kadazan, born and bred in Singapore. I was exposed to multiple Asian cultures because of my family’s history.
My mum was a Malaysian who flew to Canada to study, where she met my Singaporean dad. My dad was a martial artist who was part of the Buddhist Association, and often travelled to Nepal and Tibet. Through him, I learnt about spirituality.
My maternal grandpa was in Malaysia’s special unit to hunt terrorists, where he met my grandmother. My paternal grandpa was an accountant in China who fled to Singapore during the war.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, for the accessibility, environment (no natural disasters), safety, spending power, melting pot of cultures and government grants. The competition here will also make you less complacent.
Sure, we’re a tiny island with high rental costs, but because it’s tiny, it’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond.
Also, you won’t have to worry about simple tasks such as finding a reliable print company to mount a poster onto a foam board, unlike in less advanced cities.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is impermanent. Your mind is an illusion.” This advice gives me courage to get over bad experiences and do what I love, because ultimately, life is temporary, along with our fears.
Who inspires you?
Everyone, because every person I meet knows something I don’t. That includes ex bosses, colleagues, my family, my interviewees and the janitor down the hall.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Google taps into your DNA. Or that you need a 7-pass wipe to remove data before you sell your computer/phone.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have been kinder to my parents, and have had more faith in myself. To treasure the present moment, with present people, for things will never be the same within a year.
To be less of a ‘jack of all trades’ and more of a ‘master’ of a few. To explain less and do more, and let go of a fight if the cost of a battle isn’t worth the price.
How do you unwind?
I surround myself with film, art, animals and my loved ones. I aquascape, meditate, spend way too long choosing rocks at the aquarium, hit the gym, take on workshops and listen to ASMR. My latest hobby is now doing fitness videos on Youtube.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan. For its serenity, nature, culture, food, zen, people and of course, the weather.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Tuesdays with Morrie. Because you shouldn’t try to sell happiness if you can’t find your own.
Shameless plug for your business:
Would you give up your corporate job to dig plane feces? This Singaporean girl did: https://zula.sg/singaporean-girl-fixes-planes/ And she might’ve been your McDonald’s delivery rider too.
How can people connect with you?
Instagram: @chevonnecheng (I don’t use Twitter)
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.