Mongabong Talks About Her Career Choice
Mongchin Yeoh, better known by her Instagram handle @mongabong, is one of Singapore’s influencer darlings.
She understands the business of balancing her personal life and the public spotlight, a skill that every aspiring influencer needs to have. That, coupled with a bit of luck in timing, has made Mongchin the success story she is today.
How Mongchin got famous
Mongchin was studying accounting at SMU when she began freelance modelling for blogshops to make cash on the side. Occasionally, blogshop owners would give her some of the clothes she had modelled.
“Back then, Instagram [had] just started,” she explains. “Whenever I [wore] them out to school, I’d just take a photo, and tag them and thank them in some way.”
It was out of her “love for sharing” that led her to stumble upon the influencer formula of posting well-lit photos and curating your Instagram feed. But it worked out splendidly; she is now the owner of a small business—herself.
While she doesn’t call herself a workaholic over the course of the interview, it’s clear that she works almost all the time. Even when she is catching up with friends, she brings a laptop along to work, knowing they might run late; she does not have a second to spare.
Mongchin and her fiance Matthias
On her wedding and sponsorships
As an influencer, Mongchin is often approached by brands to create marketing content. As a result, her sponsored lifestyle might come into question when Singaporeans hate on influencers.
“I don’t [ask for sponsorships], so I just take it as it comes,” Mongchin says. She goes on to explain that free stuff comes with the barter of publicity. And the influencer lifestyle bears hidden costs, “like time, equipment, travelling, transport; all these logistical stuff, really take up a lot of money.”
For her wedding, she was very strict about the fact that the banquet would come out of her own pocket because she does not want to come across as trying to make money out of her special day. She expounds she has been disciplined in keeping her relationship out of the limelight as well.
“[For] many years I tried to exclude him [her fiance, Matthias] out of all these sponsored content,” she clarifies. But inevitably, for content that involves her other half such as Valentine’s Day, “you cannot expect me to ask another guy to be a model right?”
But since she models fashion often, Mongchin has no qualms taking sponsorships for her dress and shoes. “If they are my friends from my normal daily life already, and they are makeup artists or they are dressmakers and they want to make a dress for me, what’s wrong with it, you know?”
As for the flower arrangements, they will be partially sponsored. “Whatever they are sponsoring is just the labour cost; the bulk of the money is the [cost of the] flowers, I don’t want them to spend money out of their own pocket.”
Breaking down her sponsorship guidelines, she explains, “It has to be something that I’m willing to pay for even if I’m not sponsored. If I can’t afford $20,000 worth of flowers or a $50,000 dress, I won’t get that sponsored, even if I have the option to.”
How Mongchin stays positive
Being an influencer comes with its fair share of criticism, “[Most] people from the public think of us as being very attention-seeking?”
Even when pressed, she has nothing negative to say about her haters. A tip on staying positive despite mud being flung at you? “If you manage your expectations of other people, then you won’t feel disappointed at them.”
She learnt this skill while handling her less-than-ideal family relationships growing up, but as she matured, she learnt to communicate better and it helped to iron out misunderstandings between her family members.
Her fiance also provides her with the emotional support she needs.
“He is trustworthy,” Mongchin begins to choke up as she explains what she treasures most about him, “He is very focused on his career and wants the best for our family. He also does not get involved with me being in the limelight.”
“These are happy tears,” she elaborates, “I’m really very grateful.” Tears mess up her perfectly mascaraed eyes, as she exudes with gratitude, “I’m very blessed.”
Mongchin Has “The Best Job In The World”
“I have the best job in the world,” Mongchin declares. She understands that being able to curate her life as a full-time job is a privilege.
“One reason [I became an influencer] is because I want to be a mum. And I would be able to stay at home, you know, and still do my stuff without feeling guilty and things like that.”
She planned out her dream life 2 years ago—she hopes to buy a $4 million house to live in with her parents and have 3 kids to call her own. She is willing to show off her children on social media until they hit 5 years of age, or whenever they become aware of the limelight.
“I would just take a lot of photos and videos of them and post them up because at least if you post it on the internet, you kind of share this little bit of yourself. And especially for my followers who have seen me from a blogshop model to getting engaged, to being a mum, and everything.”
She understands making money from “influencing” means giving up a part of your privacy. And skilfully towing the line between her private and public life keeps fans intrigued about her life story.
Influencers exist because their curated feeds help us escape the grime of reality.
Some people choose to watch Disney movies of princesses with tiaras, while others prefer a svelte Singaporean lady with her own fairy-tale romance hashtag: #mattyinlovewithmong.
Cover image by Sebastian Tan
Photos courtesy of Mongchin Yeoh