"I'm so excited to be here. It's my first trip to Malaysia and we've had so much good food already," Chriselle enthuses. "I have to come back!" We're on location for our shoot, in partnership with Club 21 Malaysia, at Chocha Foodstore, previously the Mah Lian hotel that's right smack in the heart of KL. Breakfast consists of rice porridge from a popular coffee shop around the corner, egg tarts fresh out of the oven and steaming hot char siew baos, alongside mugs of teh tarik and kopi O. Having flown in from Seoul where she was on holiday with family, Chriselle is in town on a quick trip, her itinerary packed with events including an afternoon tea session with Club 21 Malaysia and a meet-and-greet with her Malaysian fans but we managed to steal a couple of hours from her busy schedule for this exclusive shoot and interview.
I initially started with fashion but it has evolved to so much more beyond that. The evolution was quite natural for me because when I first started I was single and just graduated college. Now that I am a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, I feel like my content naturally evolved beyond fashion and style. From beauty to home and now motherhood, these are things that are all a big part of my life.
How has the blogging scene changed since you started?
When I first started blogging there were only a handful of us and I merely did it out of passion, without knowing there were bigger opportunities. Monetisation was never really a thing either, but obviously the industry has grown since, and there are far bigger opportunities for everyone now. Also, there are many different ways to engage and follow your favourite celebrities and/or bloggers with platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Blogging and social media have become more of a two-way conversation with fans and followers since we are able to interact with them more directly.
Prior to starting your blog, you were a fashion stylist. Can you tell us what that transition was like?
Before I discovered blogging and YouTube, I was a stylist and the fashion editor for a local luxury magazine in Beverly Hills. The transition was quite smooth because I was able to talk about all the tips and tricks I learnt as a stylist. The hard part was actually learning how to create content around these topics, and also learning all the technical elements such as how to edit a video. I quickly learned how to edit videos and use a DSLR camera, and from there I just ran with it!
With over 2 million followers across your social media channels, how do you keep your content fresh and exciting?
I wear many different hats; as a mother, wife, blogger, and entrepreneur, and I find that every day is a different challenge—I'm constantly inspired by life happenings and the daily grind. That said a lot of my content ideas and inspiration comes from just putting myself out there, whether it's being really honest about my motherhood journey, to different beauty tips I've leart from different countries, to traveling the world and immersing myself and learning about a new culture. After doing this for many years now, I realised that it's important to constantly seek and learn new things as that is a way to keep your content, and your mind fresh.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is for the most part feminine, but I always add a masculine edge to it. I never want to look too girly or too masculine so it's a fine balance of having a bit of both. Although I like to keep things relatively clean and classic, I also have fun with current trends and don't take things too seriously.
What was it that first got you interested in fashion?
My mom had an obsession with making matching clothes for me and my sister when we were little girls. I would watch her by her sewing machine all night, researching from different magazines. I was intrigued by her obsession and started to gain interest when I was about 10 years old. She would take me to the fabric store with her and I would help her pick out patterns and fabrics.
If you could throw a dinner party for fashion people—dead or alive, who would be sitting at your table?
Audrey Hepburn, Bianca Jagger, Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, and Malala Yousafzai.
All time favourite fashion designers?
Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs.
Fashion accessory that you never leave home without?
Sunglasses! During the work week and when I'm with my daughter, Chloe, I rarely wear makeup so sunglasses are a must for me! And of course a nice statement purse.
How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
15 to 30 minutes. I've mastered the art of getting ready quick since having a baby. It's all about efficiency and planning your outfit the night before.
You have amazing skin—what's your secret?
Besides fashion, skin is another obsession of mine. I spend 15-20 minutes every night just to prep my skin. I never ever sleep with my makeup on, and I always double cleanse. My pores get clogged very easily so it's important that I completely remove all makeup by double cleansing. I use a lot of oils in the evening as it keeps my skin hydrated and supple during the night and I'm able to wake up with dewy, glowy skin. Since I travel quite a bit, I also take care of my skin in flight. I will literally mist my face every hour, add tons of oils, wear a sleeping mask, and drink tons of water - I always jokingly say that I turn the plane into my spa. Also, I use the steam room at the gym post workout.
What're some of your make-up must-haves?
Sulwhasoo cushion compact, Glossier Boy Brow brow pomade, Laneige two-tone lipstick and Sisley mascara.
A beauty product you always have with you?
Any kind of face oil. My current favorite is the rose oil from Sisley and Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate.
How has having Chloe changed the way you live your life?
I've learnt to live in the present more. There was a time where social media ruled my life, but now that I have Chloe, I have to physically and mentally turn off. I'll take a few snaps here and there, but I put my phone away for the most part when I'm with her. I've learnt how to mentally shut off from work to really focus on my family - there is no better feeling than being able to spend quality time with them. I've also learnt to let go of some things, like not to worry too much about Chloe when I'm at work; when I'm at work I'm there 100%, and when I'm at home I'm 100%. I've learnt the importance of being present wherever you are and making the most of it.
I've learnt the importance of being present wherever you are and making the most of it. - Chriselle Lim
I'm constantly inspired by women who manage to juggle a successful career, family, and everything in between—and look good doing it. What is your secret to keeping it together?
Thank you! The key thing is knowing exactly what works for you and sticking to it. Of course I love playing dress up and trying out new styles and trends but when I'm busy juggling my business, family, and everything else, I usually stick with what I know works. For the most part I have the same natural makeup routine that I do every day, and I usually like to plan my outfits the night before.
What's your definition of success?
Feeling fulfilled as a human being - staying healthy and constantly improving myself by learning new things as a mother and wife, knowing that I'm giving my all to my daughter and family; and as an entrepreneur, being able to grow with my team and achieve certain goals together.
Who inspires you?
My mother. She gave up everything and sacrificed her whole life to give me and my sister everything that we needed. She fought her way out of heart disease - she is a warrior. My father for his constant desire to learn and grow. Till this day he is always working and motivated by challenges. He is fearless and probably the hardest working person I know.
What keeps you going?
First and foremost, my family. They are the reason I continue to work and thrive. I want to be able to provide Chloe the best life I can. And of course, my followers keep my going, especially the ones that have been following me from the start. It gives me so much joy to provide a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to my followers, knowing that they can better themselves and their lives!
If you weren't a blogger-YouTuber, what would you be?
I would probably still be styling, or be a creative director for a fashion or beauty brand.
Three things you can't live without?
Black coffee, ice cream, and my Gucci slides.
Album you last downloaded?
Rihanna's album, Anti.
Next on your travel bucket list?
Lake Como, Italy with my husband, Allen, and Chloe.
What advice would you give upcoming bloggers?
Find your authentic voice. Know your purpose and why you are blogging. There's a story behind every person and behind every photo...Tell those stories! Storytelling is the name of the game.
Photography: Chuan Looi/Yipieyaya
Styling: Cai Mei Khoo
Hair: Bibian Leong/Hair Menu Wigs
Makeup: Caryn Thum and Agnes Ho/Diva Production
Styling assistants: Jasmine Leong and Yi Suen Chong
Photography assistants: Keven Chan and Chee Wei
Location: Chocha Foodstore, 156 Jalan Petaling, KL
All clothes and accessories available at Club 21 Multilabel, Pavilion KL