This year’s Her World Good Men campaign shines the spotlight on 12 men—each of them influential leaders in their respective fields with the social media followings to prove it.

Aiken Chia (@aikenchia) is best known for being the host of popular Youtube TV series Food King. Here are some things to know about the 32-year-old.

He was the winner of the 987TV Star competition and a finalist of The 5 Search
“Somebody said to me, ‘Hey, you’re quite funny when you make announcements. Why don’t you try hosting a show?’ So I auditioned for gigs and booked my first show in 2 weeks. It was a kids’ show. After that, I looked out for different ways to break into the industry and started joining these competitions.”

Food King is a company in itself and he co-owns it
“I am a partner. I joined specifically to start a food show because it’s always been a dream of mine. I went to ACS for my primary school education and all the rich boys were always eating at nice places, so starting the show was kind of like making up for what I missed out on in my childhood.”

He practises intermittent fasting when he’s not filming
“We shoot once a week, every week. But when I’m not filming, I practise intermittent fasting to let my body rest. I don’t usually eat lunch, and usually have just one meal a day when I’m not filming.”

His rough childhood made him fall into bad company
“My mum is a single parent and we were always struggling to make ends meet. And when I was 14, I’d sneak into clubs, get into fights and do juvenile delinquent things. I had a police case and was supposed to go to the boy’s home. My life only changed when I found a community at church because it was the family and anchor I needed.”

But it also helped him learn to tap into his strengths
“My circumstances forced me into a place where I needed to maximise my strengths—I realised that I needed to make more than $10 an hour to get by and that’s how I got into hosting. Plus, I found out that I’m a people person, and that people find me entertaining, so I just anchored on that.”

He now mentors other people to help them through “similar situations”
“I spend time with them and am their point of encouragement and guidance. It’s something I always wanted to do—I received so much support from my community when I was growing up so I now want to pay it forward.”

He takes actionable steps for charity
“My mum and I have been supporting the kids at a children’s home in Kathmandu, Nepal, since 2013 and we went over for a visit in 2017. It’s not just sending money—they’ve become family to us. For this year, I’ll be working with a private chef to make and sell food to raise extra funds.”

Cotton and hemp jacket, Levi’s. Cotton jeans, Timberland. Cotton T-shirt, watch and shoes, Aiken’s own

He’s in no rush to get into a relationship
“Life is very short. There’s a lot that I want to do, but a relationship requires a lot of sacrifice and compromise. Whether I have somebody or not, I feel like I can build a fulfilling life with a community. Plus, intimacy is not necessarily physical—it can just be when you know somebody and they know you. I’ve never felt like I have an intense lack such that I needed to get attached ASAP.”

So don’t bother sliding into his DMs
“I’ve gotten quite a few DMs but I don’t ever respond to them simply because I think the online space is quite dangerous right now and I want to be careful. Plus, I’m a bit more conservative and traditional. There are also wingmen who are very passionate about wanting to introduce me to their single friends. I respect their effort and am friendly, but I don’t think I’ve replied in a way that I’m like, ‘For sure.'”

His tattoo from the poem As the Ruin Falls, by C. S. Lewis, is homage to his experiences
“It says, ‘For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains. You give me are more precious than all other gains.’ It’s homage to the things I went through growing up—they were very, very painful and I wouldn’t wish on anybody else. However, these pains gave me gains such as maturity, compassion and a depth to life.”

Photography: Veronica Tay
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Lauren Alexa
Hair and grooming: Angel Gwee, using Nudestix & Davines; Zoel Tee, using Estee Lauder & Kevin. Murphy

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Her World.