The real Andrea Chong behind @dreachong
Andrea Chong tells us more about her life as a social media influencer.
She is known for her aesthetic Instagram feed and down-to-earth persona.
After starting out as a Clicknetwork host in 2013, the social media influencer has moved on to collaborating with fashion and lifestyle brands, including the likes of Superga (both of her sneaker collaborations with the Italian footwear brand sold out islandwide), and car brand Kia.
Andrea Chong, also known as Drea Chong, gives us the inside scoop on how she balances her life as a social media influencer, a boss, and a daughter.
Our first encounter
The first time we met Andrea in her office near Tai Seng, we were greeted warmly with a loud “Hello!”.
Her office almost did not feel like one. It was cosy with mellow music – it was a playlist for her wedding in March, she quipped – playing softly in the background. The sweet scent of her burning candle wafted through the office doors.
What we did not expect about Andrea was her easy-going nature.
Shortly before the interview, Andrea was busy packing her luggage for her Japan trip, organised by Kyushu Tourism. While she was preparing her outfits, she casually asked her staff for their opinions before making more trips to her bathroom to switch to another.
As Andrea showed off a bucket hat she found in her walk-in closet, her colleague, 22-year-old Stephanie Low, commented it would match her outfit for the flower garden tour in Kyushu.
Her day promptly begun at 10.30am with a meeting with her website designers. Although candid around her colleagues, Andrea turned calm and composed during the meeting, providing ample inputs.
“Normally, I’ll come to office about 8.30am to 9am. If there are events, then I’ll go for that. If not, I’ll be in the office doing production work or having meetings,” shared Andrea.
Working as a mentor
We started noticing another side of Andrea that might be unknown to most of her 309,000 Instagram followers. She seemed comfortable portraying herself as a mentor with her young team of full-timers and interns, often encouraging them to share their honest opinions and ideas.
“Even if you’re an intern, you’re actually communicating with our suppliers. I always stress that they can say no to something. I think that’s very important,” added Andrea, while showing us samples of her upcoming DC Edit tote bags.
The social media personality attributes this open working relationship to her childhood ambition of being a teacher: “I have a passion for teaching and I enjoy it. If I was not an influencer, teaching will be a career option for sure.
“I even taught my team photography and videography. Everything you see in the studio and online is self-taught,” added Andrea proudly.
Before leaving her office for Tangs Orchard – she has a lunch meeting at The Providore and a beauty event at Christian Louboutin – Andrea was busy ironing her casual checkered blue suit in her walk-in closet.
After trying on her freshly ironed clothes, she stood in front of a full-length mirror, asking her colleagues for their final opinions.
As we continued our interview in our Grab ride to Orchard – a first for Andrea – we asked her what she would love to do if she was not busy working.
“I will be doing some house work, spending time cooking, then going for pottery classes,” said Andrea, who started going for said classes recently.
Even on holidays, her ideal getaway involves nothing adventurous: “Bangkok, massage, and shopping. That’s it. I don’t mind doing nothing because I already travel for work!”
Andrea added she prioritises family time during the weekends: “On weekends, I would sleep in until 9am and then get breakfast with my dad.
“Family is very important. My fiancé and my dad are very important to me. You just have to make time. There’s no excuses you can give for family.”
Giving back to the community
Aside from spending time with her loved ones, Andrea has a soft spot for giving back to the community.
In 2018, Andrea and her team worked on a mentorship programme with NTUC Income OrangeAid, teaching basic photography, videography and editing skills to secondary and tertiary students.
In the same year, Andrea distributed school supplies and shoes to the local children in Siem Reap, Cambodia, under the Operation Hope Foundation initiative.
Andrea’s giving nature does not end there. She also strongly believes that one should be equipped with as many skills as possible.
“The reason why people stagnate and don’t succeed is because they are not improving or learning new things. We should be constantly innovating, learning and adapting.”
With the upcoming launch of her revamped website, DC Edit, she hopes to conduct free skills-building workshops for her readers.
Andrea shared: “I hope for my community of readers to learn the basics of coding and photography, so that they can learn new things and gain new interests.”
Getting a glimpse of Andrea’s dream team
Later at the Christian Louboutin Beauty event, Andrea was introduced to a range of lipsticks. She was quick to pose for the camera as her colleague, 23-year-old Chen Shi Lin, captured her in action.
While we had to part ways with Andrea shortly after the event, the influencer was just halfway through her day. She still had to go for a hair appointment and return to her office to continue packing before flying to Kyushu in the evening.
After spending six hours with Andrea, I gained a newfound appreciation in the way Andrea runs her platforms. Andrea may be the main face of @dreachong, but it was inspiring to witness how much she values working closely with her small team.
Perhaps it does take a village to grow a social media star like Andrea.