Hate her or love her, Wendy more famously known as Xiaxue is one of Singapore’s prolific bloggers. Readers of different demographics are drawn to her realism, honesty and spunky comments. She is unique in the way she looks, speaks and carries herself, it is safe to say that there is no like her who dares to say it all. That tenacity and candour have transformed what started out as a hobby into a career.
As you read her blogs or watch her YouTube channel ” Guide to Life” by clicknetwork.tv you can most definitely sense strong personal branding at work. It is a powerful and eclectic mix of a fun, quirky and powerful woman. It is not easy to forge and develop a business that is singular to who you are and what you do.
It requires incredible strength of intellect and will power to put oneself out in that scene. Being a blogger certainly means one has to possess a solid sense of awareness, assurance and a willingness to be adventuresome. Xiaxue has successfully achieved success with a substantial following both on YouTube and her blogging site. Today she is considered as one of the top influencers in Singapore.
We had a chat with Xiaxue to find out more about what has changed over the years since she has now become a seasoned blogger, a celebrity, a wife and the biggest role of all a mummy to an adorable toddler named Dash.
Can you tell me about your ideal reader at present? After nearly a decade of blogging, perhaps your readership base has shifted over the years?
The ideal reader is someone who understands a joke and doesn’t take offence easily. If he has a different opinion, then I hope that he can leave a nice, polite, and hopefully funny reply explaining why. Nowadays people always try to tell me what they want me to be like – nicer, more natural, more gracious etc. The ideal reader doesn’t strive to change me, he understands that I am the way I am and there are billions of people in the world, so find someone nice and gracious and read their blog instead of moulding me to that utopic form.
As a blogger with a large following, everything you do is under the watchful eye of your readers. As such you are often left vulnerable to backlash and criticisms, both online and in person. How have you handled it in the past and how has it changed now?
For the most part I actually enjoy having haters, they often motivate me to work harder so I feel a savage pleasure in making them realise how awesome my life is. In the past I would say I am more cavalier about backlash and criticisms, but nowadays I am more careful as I have a child to protect.
If you were not blogging as a career, what else would you have been doing?
I’m not too sure, I think maybe a newspaper reporter of some kind… or maybe I will help people edit their wedding photos? Maybe a makeup artist?
Who do you look to as a role model in life?
I like JK Rowling and Tina Fey.
What is the most challenging aspect of blogging?
When having your life so public is such an intrinsic part of your daily life, it is tough to handle everyone around you, as not everybody wants their privacy invaded by you.
We all experience moments of despair, what do you do to keep yourself motivated and driven when times are tough?
Well… I’m really not a motivated and driven person at all! But as I said, my haters motivate me.
People see the glamorous side of being a blogger, but they may not understand that every profession has its pitfalls, what would you say are yours?
It is a tough profession where there will always be younger, better, more interesting people trying to make it. It is easy to become obsolete so one needs to always keep things fresh for their followers.
What would you describe as your personal mantra for success?
I try to be honest to my readers!
Who is your ultimate style icon?
I don’t really have one!
As a woman, you wear many hats; daughter, wife, mother, business woman and blogger.
What advice do you have for women who want to become budding bloggers and/or entrepreneurs?
I think mothers often feel a lot of guilt if they devote any time to themselves that they feel should be given to their children. Not that moms should neglect their children but I would say find a balance that you are comfortable with and then give some focus to your career. For example, if you promise yourself 3 days a week spent on bringing your child out to different places, then spend the other 4 with no guilt crushing you on yourself and your goals.
As a mother, what are the challenges that you face being in the spotlight and how do you deal with that?
I guess I feel extra embarrassed if people see Dash having a temper tantrum in public, but I guess I try not to dwell on it too much.
Many people know Xiaxue, the no-nonsense blogger, but who is she really away from the public eye?
I think I’m pretty much the same as my internet persona. However, i may appear very fierce online but I’m not so confrontational in real life… I am terrified of people beating me up by punching my plastic nose!
What do you do when inspiration dries up?
Not much, I just hope it comes by soon.
What was that personal moment in your career that told you that you had made it?
I cannot put down a specific moment but Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (and his daughter) had a lunch with me after the recent elections to thank me for speaking up for him, so that was one of the moments… When a prominent minister knows I exist!
What has always, been a lifelong dream? If you have attained it, how did you get there and if you have yet to achieve it, how do you plan to manage it?
I’m afraid my bucket list items are pretty stupid… One of them was, for example, meeting Chris Evans. I was invited to interview him when he came to Singapore so I’m not sure what I did exactly to achieve it haha.
What does success look like to you?
Failures are the obstacles to our success journey, what are some of the failures you met throughout your life? How have you worked at overcoming them?
After a controversial blog post the second season of my TV show on mediacorp called Girls out loud was cancelled. I wouldn’t say it is an obstacle or failure per se as I didn’t really want to work with Mediacorp anymore, they are too stuffy and restrictive. This cancellation pissed off Gillian, the director at clicknetwork, who also directed Girls Out Loud. She wanted to work with me more so she decided, fuck it, we will do our own web series and shoot whatever we want. We don’t need approval from a tv station.
And so, like that, Guide to Life and to a certain degree clicknetwork was born. There are over 100 episodes of Guide to Life (leading to aforementioned interview with Chris Evans) and we are still shooting today. It is an essential part of my income. As for clicknetwork, it is now the top youtube channel in Singapore.
If there is one person whom you admire and you could interview who would that be?
He has passed on but definitely Mr Lee Kwan Yew.
How has your family been instrumental in your success?
They have always been very supportive, especially my mom. I was shocked when I told her I was really miserable in my day job and wanted to go into full-time blogging… and she said yeah ok do it.
Understand that this was in an era where nobody else earned a living from blogging! I thought she would ask me to not quit and that it’s normal to be miserable during work… But she was very supportive of my choice, which was a risk back then.
Most successful people have certain habits that make their success a reality. Like waking up early and working out at 5 am. Could you share with us two of yours?
Sorry to disappoint but I don’t have any, hahaha… Only thing that I’m hardworking about is trying to look better everyday.
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