Jamie Chua, Singaporean YouTube influencer, is one of the original crazy rich Asians, and owner of more than 200 Hermès Birkin bags
- The content that remains the most popular on Jamie Chua’s YouTube channel is about her luxury fashion buys – the more outlandish and expensive the better
- The mother-of-two, who has rarely deviated from her weekly uploading schedule since 2019, says she struggles with self-doubt and uncertainty about her work
Jamie Chua, a mainstay of Singapore’s influencer scene, is a highly strung woman. The 46-year-old confesses to being stressed out by “a lot of things” – like when she had to spend S$30,000 (US$22,600) to replace a limited-edition Cartier earring that she had lost and spent “four days” crying over.
“I am completely high strung,” she says. “That’s why I have a lot of self-care routines – every time I sit in the garden, I burn sage to cleanse the air.”
The wardrobe’s pièce de résistance is a floor-to-ceiling display shelf housing more than 200 Hermès bags, said to be one of the world’s largest collections. It is less of a wardrobe and more of a museum of luxury goods.
Since then, Chua’s content has evolved to include travel vlogs and beauty tutorials, but the content that remains the most popular on Chua’s channel is almost always about her luxury fashion buys – the more outlandish and expensive the better.
“I actually enjoy doing normal things,” she admits. “I can’t be perpetually at a shopping [centre]. That makes me seem empty and a bit vacuous – and I don’t want to seem like that kind of person. I want to be seen as a real person, someone who’s more relatable and human, because that’s what I am, honestly.”
She had thought of making an extensive vlog of her green pursuits, but was dissuaded by her long-time partner, Terence Koh. Jokingly, Chua says: “Terence keeps telling me, ‘Oh please, nobody wants to watch you garden – they just wanna watch you go out and buy new handbags!’”
In October, Chua uploaded a vlog showing off her jewellery collection – it was in this video that she told the story of her lost Cartier earring. Internet users roundly criticised her for what seemed to be a first world problem – one that came off as especially tasteless during a worldwide pandemic.
Chua took the criticism in her stride. “It’s true – I do agree with their comments,” she says. “There are a lot more real problems than losing a Cartier earring. I’m not going to say, ‘You’re jealous because that’s my only problem’. No, I think they were right to say all that about me.”
Still, Chua understands that her usual life of opulence and designer goods might come off as boorish during a time of economic uncertainty, which is why she’s making an effort to “hold on to the normal stuff”.
Producing content, no matter how frivolous it might be, is never easy. Chua has a team to help her edit her videos, but she largely handles filming herself. It is also a point of pride for the mother-of-two that she has almost never deviated from her weekly uploading schedule since 2019.
Despite the glamorous world that Chua has created for herself on her YouTube channel, she doesn’t gloss over the ugly realities behind content creation. Chua says that since she began building her social media presence in 2013, there “was not one day where [she] did not put on make-up and do a piece of content”.
“In lockdown, I was doing so many TikTok videos I swear it took over my life,” she says. “I did not take an off day for years – not until 2020.”
Eventually, her family – recognising she was wearing herself thin – staged an intervention, forcing her to take at least every Sunday off.
“Sometimes, I wake up not feeling the greatest,” she admits. “But you need to gather yourself. Start putting on your skincare – it always works for me. With just one brush of foundation I feel like I’m alive again. After I put on my foundation, I know that life is good.”