From The Straits Times    |

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.

Apart from running digital publication Zyrup, which he co-founded, Joel Lim (@limxjoel) is an “info-encer” passionate about helping young people better understand trending issues. Here are some things to know about the 28-year-old.

He used to work at influencer marketing agency Gushcloud International
“I was there for two years. I did an internship at the company during my first year of uni and maintained a positive relationship with them, and when I’d graduated they were like, ‘We’re starting a new team. Would you like to work with us?'”

Zyrup started as a school project but is on its way to becoming a “boutique media house”
Zyrup started in 2016 as a pop culture magazine. It was only after resigning from my job at Gushcloud in June this year that I decided to focus more on it. Legally, Zyrup is one month old and we just got the keys to our office.”

It’s a “creative collective”
“We started as people who wanted to write, make videos, take photos and whatnot. Now that we’re taking it more seriously and have the network we have, we’re like, ‘OK, we want to do shows like I have a question‘ and collaborate with people with a bit more influence in society to talk about issues that matter.”

He also runs Now Academy, which hosts annual youth “unconferences” (participant-driven meetings)
“Now Academy is under Gushcloud, but when I left the company, I wanted to continue being a part of it because I believe it brings a lot of value to young people, which is where my heart lies. Last year, we had people like Nas Daily and Nathan Hartono speak at the event, but they were like older brothers giving advice and it wasn’t like a typical conference. We also got Simu Liu, the guy who plays Shang-Chi, to speak over Zoom.”

His IG content went viral when he analysed the 2020 General Elections campaign videos
“Politics is often very polarised – opinions usually come from a place of aggression, but I focused on what was happening in a fun way. People were like, ‘You made politics more palatable.’ I think my following grew by 12,000 in one week.”

He is serious about helping young people plan for their futures
“After an ’unconference’, two girls told me, ‘We only came because we wanted to meet Narelle Kheng in person, but we ended up attending every single event. We’re now serious about planning for our future careers.’ That’s exactly what I said while pitching to the National Youth Council: I told them if we work together, young people are going to be like, ‘I’m going to be serious about my career’, so to actually hear them say it, I was like, ‘Woah!’

He’s also passionate about mental health
“When I was 17, one of my best friends told me she was cutting herself. I didn’t know exactly what to say or what resources to turn to – no one taught me. Now that I’m an adult with experiences, I can say, ‘Damn, we need better support in school, because – what if I’d given the wrong advice?’”

scose blazer, and polyester and viscose trousers, Asos. Cotton T-shirt, H&M. Necklace and shoes, Joel’s own

Don’t call him an influencer
“I used to work with influencers and know what goes into the making of their content, like content planning and shoots. I don’t do all that. Plus, a lot of influencers wouldn’t discuss the things I talk about because it’s just not brand-friendly.”

But “info-encer” is OK
“Social media has always been a space where I dump my thoughts, and once, after doing a public service announcement, one of my followers DM-ed me to say, ‘You’re what we’d call an info-encer.’ I was like, ‘You know what, that works.’

He’s designing his own card game
“Players will be playing to win an election and the game will be called Ruling Party. I’m not a massive fan of card games but I don’t know why but my brain went, ‘I think you need to create a card game’ and within 20 minutes, I had the whole concept in my head. I made the first prototype but writing on cards of different colours, and although it needed a few tweaks, the concept actually worked. I got a few friends to test it out and everyone who has tried it has said that they had a great experience and would play it again.”

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.