As if a following numbering millions across various social media channels was not enough, fashion influencer Chriselle Lim sealed her icon status when toy company Mattel created two Barbies styled by her. If you’re one of her 1.4 million followers on Instagram, you will know that she was in town last month to reacquaint herself with audiences in Asia. The region is an important market for Los Angeles-based Chriselle, with Singapore comprising her biggest social media following after that of the United States.
I am speaking to Chriselle as she’s having make-up applied for the Her World photoshoot. It’s a chance to speak to one of the world’s leading fashion influencers up close, bare faced, simply dressed, unedited and devoid of the usual glamorous trappings of her work. Not that I don’t have a sense of who she is. Prior to our meeting, I binged on Chriselle’s TikTok videos, for research, but more so because she is eminently entertaining.
The 37-year-old lip syncs, reveals behind-the-scenes shenanigans, models designer goods, and dishes out girl-power nuggets with sass and chutzpah that cut through the thick fog of any Covid-induced ennui. It’s little wonder that she blew up on Tiktok during the pandemic and currently has 2.8 million fans, easily double that of most of her influencer peers.
It’s an indication of Chriselle’s confidence and years in the industry – she is one of the pioneers in fashion blogging, having started her website in 2011 – that she can afford to let down the glitz gauze to be silly on a platform aimed at teenagers, and break out of the straitjacket of perfection that permeates fashion images on Instagram. So while she was reminded of her early days when she recently watched content creators taking photos for hours at a “very Instagrammy” cafe in Kuala Lumpur, she notes that “it’s not the life I want to live anymore”.
Her photography style now is shoot and go, or whatever that feels organic and raw. She believes she is creating content in a healthier way. “That’s what the audience wants from me now,” she says. “It’s not super posed, not super perfect, it’s more about my real life, what I am doing every day. It’s been very nice.”