It’s becoming more important for women to “have it all” in this digital age. When it comes to having a successful career, the present trend demands that we wear many hats. For Vera Mao, her brand of business calls for content development, social media savvy, marketing, styling, and an eye for fashion and photography, just to name a few things she deals with every day. Juggling so many things is no small feat, and Vera shares with us just how she does it all.
What does success mean to you?
I think success to me is being able to create things out of nothing, and to achieve things that make me happy.
What are your thoughts about the idea of destiny?
I feel that destiny is something that we can take control of (I actually don’t really believe in destiny). I think that what we achieve in life is entirely through our mindset, perspective and the things that we put into action as a result of our thoughts. Even if we happen to be disadvantaged through circumstances, we can still create opportunities for ourselves, especially since it is so much easier to get in touch with people now as compared to before. We can contact CEOs and people who are in power to give opportunities, so there’s really no reason to say that we are bound by our circumstances.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I was 19, I didn’t have any contacts in the fashion industry, despite being very passionate and wanting to get myself involved in it. So I decided to set up my own blog – I had to teach myself HTML and blogging, hosting my own domain, photography, editing and marketing (of my blog). My parents are very traditional, so they were very opposed to me setting up a blog and attending events, as they thought it was a complete waste of time. It was December of 2010 when I finally set-up my blog, and fashion or style blogging wasn’t a thing yet in Singapore. Companies did not believe in the need for influencer marketing or social media, so there really weren’t many ways I could monetise my blog. My project was born purely out of passion, and because of that, my parents and I fought a lot, but I still hung on to what I believed in.
When did you get your first big break?
I think I didn’t get my big break yet! (hahaha) But I would consider my invitation to Singapore Fashion Week (then Audi Fashion Festival) to be my first big break. I got the invite about 6 months after launching my blog and I remember freaking out and screaming when I saw the email invite!
"I think as long as you believe in yourself and you’re persistent, you’d be able to eventually achieve what you set out to do. You are your own limit."
Who are your fashion icons and where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love Alexa Chung for her personal style – it’s a mix of tomboy and French style, and sometimes she throws in some eclectic pieces which showcase her personality. I draw my inspiration from various sources; mostly magazines, street style websites, Instagram, and photographers.
How do you feel you've taken your destiny into your own hands and managed to become the person you are now?
I would make myself network at events and pass people my name card, tell them what I do, and act really confident about it. So in order to do that, I went to quite a few events alone, because that really forced me to talk to strangers. That was how I grew my network of contacts within the fashion industry. Some of the people I spoke to were really well to do or well-known personalities within fashion, but I discovered that in reality, a lot of them are really humble and generous people and there’s no need to feel inferior.
How do you balance work and your personal life?
I think it’s important to keep working hours to specific periods of time during the day, and then have the rest of the time for your personal activities. This creates a really clear separation between work and play.
If you could sum up your journey that got you to this point in three words, what would they be?
Always an uphill battle, but I’m glad that I’m stubborn.
Do you have any regrets or things you wish you’d done differently?
I think I should have focused my efforts more on one certain channel – either my blog or Instagram first and grown it very big, instead of spreading myself too thin and trying to do everything at once but not really having a clear focus.
For more stories on inspiring women and what drives them to #changedestiny, watch the video below.