#PowerSquad: Melissa Celestine Koh

On using social media to make a difference in people’s lives

A former private banker, Koh made a life-changing decision in 2014 to become a fashion and travel blogger. Some 182,000 Instagram followers later, she’s very happy with her new profession. Personal connections with her followers invigorate her, and reinforce that she’s making a difference in people’s lives.

How much time do you devote to social media?  

Almost all my time. I find it very difficult to separate what I do out of work with what I do at work. It is my day job, and I love what I do so much that it’s constantly on my mind. I’m always brainstorming ideas for my campaigns and thinking about what more I can do for myself, my brand and for those around me. I guess I’m not cognisant of the exact amount of time I spend working because I’m really passionate about what I do, and most of the time, I find myself losing track of time. 

How does it feel to have the number of followers you do? 

Numbers actually do not mean much to me. I have 182,000 followers on Instagram and it’s scary knowing that that many people are actually following my life and life story. I am very encouraged and humbled by it but even more so, I feel like it is my responsibility to stay true to myself and be a good role model.  

When it comes to reaching out to your followers, what do you feel most proud or satisfied about?

I am most satisfied when I know that the impact I have on someone is real and genuine. When people who follow me connect with me personally and share with me how I’ve impacted or inspired them, it always makes me feel like there’s so much worth in what I do and that every difference (no matter how small) I make in someone’s life is extremely meaningful. It’s very nice to know that I can actually make someone’s day by just giving that person a hug or taking a picture with that person, should he/she bump into me IRL.

I recently planned a mission trip to the Philippines for my followers, working with a non-profit organisation, Gawad Kalinga. It’s definitely something I hope to do more of in the near future. 

What’s the best and worst thing about leveraging on social media the way you do?

I’m given the platform to express myself freely and push my own creative boundaries. Can’t think of anything bad. Hehe!

How challenging do things get?

Time is always a constraint. I feel like I have to juggle between various tasks from photoshoots to meetings to editing and writing. There’s so much more I wish to do but there’s never enough time. Especially when I’m in between travels, I find myself struggling with the backlog and pressing deadlines. 

What are some things you’ve learnt about yourself in the process?

I’ve started to live in the present because sometimes everything that I’m experiencing feels like nothing less than a dream. I often get so caught up in the work that I actually forget to take a step back and realise how amazing life actually is. But lately, I’ve made it a point to cherish every moment. I’ve learnt that appreciation is so important because it leads to contentment.

Another thing I’ve realised is that I should never benchmark myself against someone because we are all different individuals. Instead, I’ve learnt to embrace my individuality and be true to myself. Authenticity is extremely key for success as an influencer. 

Photo: Kelvin Chia

For more Living stories, head here. Or check out #5MinutesWith... Nathan Hartono and Girl We Love: Angela Lee.

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