5 beauty TikTok stars on life as a social media sensation
Five TikTok creators on their beauty philosophies and life after going viral
by Letty Seah /
August 3, 2022
While Tik Tok started out as that “weird dancing app” that seemed kind of cringe, amid the pandemic, millions turned to the app amidst months of lockdown as a form of entertainment, and even solace. From cooking tips to true crime, there was a corner of the internet for every sort of user, but one of the fastest growing areas of the platform was beauty.
Here we speak to five Singaporean TikTok creators on their beauty philosophies, what inspired them to get on the app, and life as a viral sensation.
5 beauty TikTok stars on life as a social media sensation
1. Kelly Tan, @kelkeltan (166.7K)
Triggered by a cheating partner and the end of the relationship, full-time creator Kelly took to Tiktok to unveil her impressive physical and mental glow up. “I was very upset (post-break-up) and I really wanted to better myself. I wanted to lose weight, stop being so co-dependent, and pursue the things that I always wanted. So, I started documenting my life and fitness journey,” she says. “These videos are very personal and close to my heart. The transformation journey got me thinking about how I can leverage social media to encourage others.”
The 25-year-old, who has been posting makeup videos on platforms like Youtube since 2017, says that it’s her honesty that sets her content apart.
“Some influencers will claim that they really like certain products, when in reality they don’t use them at all. I only recommend things that I like to my followers, even if it’s not paid.”
For aspiring creators, Kelly offers up this advice: “It all comes down to consistency. In the past, I used to post Youtube videos whenever I felt like it, but that’s not how social media works.
Out of sight, out of mind. At the same time, trust the process, believe that what you put out will bring value (to your followers).”
For Indonesia-born Francesca, Tiktok is a family affair. Not only does the 33-year-old review beauty products and share tips, her videos often feature her adorable three-year-old daughter Eve.
Francesca’s first memory of beauty was constantly feeling like she could not fit in, in a time that prized conventional Eurocentric beauty ideals. “Growing up in the ‘90s, there was a lot of pressure to get surgery. You grew up being told things like ‘Don’t worry, once you’re old enough, we’ll fix your eyes’. I fought a lot not to get surgery,” she says.
So the stay-at-home mum diverted her attention to practising and creating monolid-friendly makeup techniques “just to show that it’s okay to have monolids”.
She quickly realised the versatility of monolids. “There are lots of fun things that girls with monolids can do that those without can’t. You just have to experiment with different makeup techniques,” she says.
Francesca cut her teeth as a blogger and content creator on Youtube, but turned to Tiktok more recently
According to her, if someone decides not to get the surgery because of her content, she considers it a win for her platform.
Her biggest beauty tip? “Anything can be an editorial look, if you wear it with enough confidence.
Qilah’s page is the perfect blend of beauty and comedy. Whether she’s showing off her outfit with singer Irene Cara’s hit song Fame playing in the background, recreating Faye’s (of hit TV series Euphoria) juicy pout, or responding to an unhinged Tiktok, Qilah’s reliably enjoyable videos are truly worth watching.
The 23-year-old mass communications polytechnic graduate and freelance actress’ continued success (she just signed with a modelling agency) shows us the value of being true to oneself on social media. “When I think of Tiktok, I would think of thirst traps. But I eventually realised that there is quality content, like comedy videos and skits. I felt like I could do that as well,” she says.
She offers some words of wisdom for Tiktok users: “I’ll (continue) to create content for people who look like me. You can wear whatever you want to wear, regardless of your body shape or size. And you just have to embrace it and be confident, because people are going to talk (no matter what you do). It’s just a matter of whether you take it in or believe them.”
Embracing the features we were born with can be a journey for some – one that India-born Melvin is familiar with. Growing up, Melvin, who is of Chinese-Indian parentage “stayed away from (his culture) because I was always teased and looked down on for being Indian and for being Desi.”
These days, the 23-year-old Walt Disney Company editor is comfortable in his own skin, but he knows many others don’t feel the same. He hopes to be that person that other people of colour can look up to with his expert short-form storytelling skills and flair for makeup. “I really like embracing my culture and showing the beauty of it,” he adds.
With each video he uploads, he wants to honour his heritage. “Indians love to celebrate. We literally have 1,000 festivals, huge ones. I’ve been doing creative looks based on these themes like Diwali and Holi. And because I grew up with Hinduism, I’ve also experimented with deity looks.”
Didi, also known as Badgaldidi, never expected to blow up on Tiktok. It happened purely by accident – a pleasant consequence of her sharing her love for music, bold makeup and fast cuts on social media. The 22-year-old, who works and performs at a beach club, started her Tiktok page in 2019 and quickly solidified her status as a central figure on #BeautyTok.
In just three years, she amassed a strong following of over 78.6k followers and garnered over 1.8 million views of her videos. But what her legions of followers might not know is that she cultivated her success from a hospital ward, where she spent six months recovering from tuberculosis.
“That was the perfect time for me to do whatever I wanted, because I had six months in a room with nothing to do. I spent my days doing new makeup looks,” she shares.
Didi’s aesthetic is not for the faint of heart: blue lipstick and pink eyeshadow in one video and Harley Quinn makeup in another. Her followers come to her page for the makeup tips, but stay for her confident, no-holdsbarred disposition.
“I was one of the first few (on social media) doing ‘insane’ things. I’ve been doing experimental looks since I was 16, and I was so obsessed with Halloween makeup. As I grew older, it got me thinking, ‘Why do I always have to wait for Halloween?’ And apparently everyone loved it. You just need the confidence to pull it off and everything will be fine,” she reveals.