By Chin Chin Obcena
It’s like living in an aquarium, being a blogger—my heart and my soul, all of me peeking through a transparent wall, with eyes leering at me from all around (69,000++ eyes, as of press time, to be exact). That’s been my life for the past two years. How did I become a blogger? As a kid, I’d pretend walking down an imaginary runway inside my bedroom. Like Cher Horowitz in the classic chick flck Clueless, I’d spend hours in search of the perfect outfit, makeup, and hairstyle for my “model” self. I’ve always looked out for trends that suit me. I was my own guinea pig, trying to make myself look better from day to day. That’s basically how I came up with the blog name The Primp Queen when I put it out in 2014.
Social Media Love
Like anybody my age, I fell in love with social media. Many people turned to it as a place of refuge and recluse, but I simply used it as storage for photos. Most were of myself in my #ootds, which I published on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. It didn’t take a lot of time before sponsorships and collaborations started coming in through the comments. Though clueless, my whistling Dixie self didn’t let the lack of knowledge hinder me from taking the opportunities that came. I did my research on the brands contacting me. (Research is always key! Whatever it is, Google it.) Soon enough, I decided to put my e-mail address in my bios to make communication more formal. The first ever sponsorship offer I received was from a shoe brand. I was surprised, thinking it was just a prank. I gave in, though, knowing there was nothing to lose if I replied. Not knowing what to do with the shoes the brand gave me, I grabbed a cup of coffee and fired up my laptop to research more about blogging—and that was it.
Becoming An Influencer
Making it in social media is tricky. Ask any millennial, it starts with an obsession to gain likes and followers. This narcissistic mentality consumed me alive at first, until I decided to just focus more on my content. Who you are, what you want, and what you do—these are the factors brands look for in us.
Yes, it isn’t just about being a blogger anymore. While content is important in maintaining your “brand,” so is the number of likes and followers. Whereas a blogger writes about her thoughts, experiences, reviews, and the like on a site, an influencer uses her social media accounts to garner above-average impact. I had 3,000 followers on Instagram when I first landed a paid campaign with a brand. I realized that blogging isn’t a piece of cake, but being passionate about it made it fulfiling. My purpose is to be relatable and relevant; thus, my blog being quite personal. No press release or anything other than my story will ever leave a mark on people, I’d always think. I prioritize my readers more than anything—they’re the reason why I put up a blog in the first place. My mission is to inspire them with my fashion and lifestyle. As much as possible, I’d also interact with my followers through comments or direct messages. I even plan ways to thank them—from #coffeewithchin to giveaways—to somehow give the love back.
Not an easy life
Haters will make you doubt yourself, yes. Not a lot of people believed in me in the beginning, but I took it as a challenge. I could’ve focused on school alone, but, thankfully, I’m stubborn. I know opportunities aren’t always there, so I had to choose for myself. Juggling two different things at the same time can become such a struggle, though living life in extremes pays off! I still make it to class after attending events, burning the midnight oil to keep my grades in check. My planner is my best friend—I sleep with it at night, I take it with me every day wherever I go. Do I feel accomplished? Of course! One of the reasons why I don’t feel exhausted is I reward myself for all the work I do. I pig out, I shop, and I party with my friends. At an interview, I was asked, “As a blogger, is having a squad important?” I paused, thought of my BFFs, giggled, and answered, “Yes. We learn and grow together. With them, work doesn’t feel like work.”
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Banner photograph from Chin Chin Obcena's Instagram. Original article from Chalk's Aug-Sept 2016 issue. Photo by Gykie Peñaloza.