The Banter: An Interview with Mongchin Yeoh, mentor for TheFaceShop’s #EcoBeautySquadSG
If it’s anyone who knows what it means to serve good face, it’s beauty influencer and social media darling Mongchin Yeoh. Best known by her handle @mongabong, Mongchin isn’t just a pretty face; she’s also an expert when it comes to marketing herself, capitalising on her knowledge in makeup and skincare to gain the 262,000 strong following she has on Instagram.
While the term influencer has often been tossed around more carelessly these days, in our interview with Mongchin, we got a sense that she’s the real deal, and knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to her brand and her identity. Which is precisely why Korean beauty brand TheFaceShop has taken her on as a mentor to young hopefuls looking to make it big with their #EcoBeautySquadSG campaign.
A nationwide competition on the hunt for a young personality embodying the brand’s ethos of real and natural beauty, aspiring talents will vie to be the face of the campaign, and win attractive prizes, including a 12-month supply of TheFaceShop products, a brand-new DSLR camera, and a full-day pampering session sponsored by TheFaceShop. Over the course of the competition, the shortlisted participants will be eliminated over three thematic workshops, ending with the final 10, who will then culminate in a full day final event where the winner will be decided.
As mentor and leader of each of the workshops, Mongchin is excited about her role, and shares with us her what she thinks would give contestants an edge in the competition. “While it may seem daunting to call yourself an influencer, I honestly believe that it’s just a convenient term, and that anyone can be an influencer if they want to,” she says. “Regardless of whether you have 1 thousand or one million followers, you’re still influencing a group of people to a degree. What sets them apart then, would be someone who dares to be themselves, simply because it’s not easy to put yourself out there, and just be confident in who you are, in your own skin.”
“For beauty brands, it’s so important to be yourself, and carve out a strong identity with your own personal experiences,” she adds. “For myself, I’ve always focused on sharing organic content I created for myself, to the extent that even when brands send me a professional product image, I’d still want to shoot something so it reflects my style, as well as always writing my own captions, because it has to represent myself and my brand.”
In her time as an influencer, Mongchin has had an increasingly illustrious career path, not only fielding her legion of followers, but even hosting her own television show, and gracing the cover of magazines such as ELLE and Her World. Always beautiful, she shares a little secret: the importance of good skincare. “I’m a proponent of both skincare and makeup, because the two go hand in hand,” she says. “Think about how you need a good canvas to paint your face properly; that’s why you need a good routine. I have sensitive skin, so I’ve taken extra care to always remove all my makeup at the end of the day, no matter how tired I am, and always put on sunscreen when heading out. I never scrimp when it comes to skincare, and I can tell you, I prize TheFaceShop’s Dr Belmeur Advanced Cica Hydro Cream for getting the job done.”
Mongchin doesn’t shy away from the fact that while it may look glamorous on the outside, the path towards her success hasn’t always been an easy one, being essentially a ground-up business, where the product is herself. “As with every job, nobody ever sees what goes on behind-the-scenes, especially considering how we’re compelled to share only the happier, more luxurious moments of our lives,” Mongchin explains. “I won’t say my job is tougher than others, but there are days where we have hours of shoots, and a ten minute YouTube video I put up might take an entire week to shoot and edit.”
“My own journey was really one of trial-and-error, and continually testing the water to find out what was working and what wasn’t,” she adds. “My work today was born out of passion, where I was buying my own products in the beginning and sharing them not to earn money, but because I genuinely wanted to share them and rave about why I believed in them. That’s why with this mentorship programme, I’m really happy these participants straight up learn what are the skills they need, and prepare them for becoming a content creator right off the bat.”
With regards to her last few months under lockdown during the circuit breaker period, Mongchin has been humbled by the experience, in a way, forcing her to go back to basics and adapt to the restrictions. “There’s a lot of change we’ve all had to go through, but maybe it’s a good thing that we’ve had to re-learn and remind ourselves the importance of adaptation,” she says. “Everything is done remotely, and without my usual team, I was filming at home, and shooting at home with no studio lights, and just a camera and tripod set-up. I was quite surprised by how I managed to navigate the process, and it was quite refreshing for me to have to figure out for myself the best time to shoot, how to let in the light, and how best to use the limited resources afforded to me.”
Above all, Mongchin has remained humble about where she is in life, and emphasises the importance of teachability throughout one’s life. “I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point in life where I know everything, and there is always a learning opportunity, as long as you’re open to it and willing to receive constructive feedback,” she says. “I’m well aware that I’m a beauty influencer first, and even if there’s a ‘hot topic’ that’s trending, I’ll only comment on it if I feel it’s relevant to my brand, and if I’m knowledgeable enough about the topic to talk about it. If not, I won’t use my position as someone with a following to loosely comment for the sake of it.”
“Even today, I’m still dedicating time towards learning,” she concludes. “I’m super into Korean beauty, and I love K-drama, so I thought it would be awesome if I could speak the language as well, and committed to taking lessons every Sunday, despite it being one of the few times I get time to myself. Never stop learning, and improve on things you’re not good at. If you think you’ve learnt all you possibly can, then that really is the end for you. It’s so important to stay grounded and teachable like that, and I think that’s something participants of #EcoBeautySquadSG should definitely be open to when they sign up.”
Follow Mongchin on Instagram @mongabong
To take part in the #EcoBeautySquad Campaign, users have to:
1. Upload a photo or video of themselves on Instagram
2. In the post caption or video, share with THEFACESHOP their name, age, and one interesting thing about themselves
3. Follow THEFACESHOP page @thefaceshop_sg
4. Tag @thefaceshop_sg and hashtag #EcoBeautySquadSG
5. Fill up THEFACESHOP Google form here
*The competition is open to all Singapore citizens and residents aged 18 years and above. All entries will be judged on creativity and originality, engagement level and how well it complements the brand values and image of THEFACESHOP. Successful applicants will be sent a direct message on Instagram.
Competition deadline: 16th August 2020.