Most Millenials would be familiar with the name Naomi Neo is or at least have heard of her. The 24-year-old influencer boasts 637,000 followers on Instagram and 451,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Neo recently bought a SGD600,000 Lamborghini Huracán which attracted both a positive and negative response from Singaporeans. The influencer is not as spendthrift as what people think. Since the age of 15, she has stopped receiving pocket money from her parents.
The mother of one told Mothership that it was not because of sensibility but because she was a rebel who wanted to control over her lifestyle.
“[…] Due to my shopaholic/rebellious nature and ambition to go to a lot of places/ do a lot of things, I started working and stopped taking pocket money from my parents at 15. Obviously not because I was being sensible, but rather it was my way of getting whatever I wanted without my parents controlling my spending hahaha.”
Neo’s parents taught her the importance of money in the sense of spending it wisely. She said that her parents could have afforded plenty of her ‘wants’ but they did not indulge her. She has been saving money since she started working and she saves more than she spends.
The plan to buy the car took a few years of planned savings. When asked by Mothership how much she earns, the influencer said that she earns an “estimated six-digit income a year”, and a “five-digit income a month derived from mainly sponsored content”.
She is a full-time influencer although some argue that the term ‘job’ and ‘influencer’ are at odds. Nevertheless, Neo makes a healthy income creating sponsored content for products and services. She also plans her own schedule and workload with the flexibility of the job.
Neo does not shy away from acknowledging the “special [privileges]” accorded to her at establishments, although that comes with its drawbacks as well.
“[…] Many brands often recognise me and provide me with better service/ treatment. Although I must say it’s not something I really enjoy because I personally feel it’s kinda sad to think that people are only nice to you because of who you are… Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely thankful for this privilege but I’d rather be at a place where I can feel completely at ease/ myself sometimes.”
Other than the material perks, Neo thinks that the pros of being an influencer is having an online voice and presence that can be used positively.
“One thing I’ve always loved is how I can use my platform to raise awareness on certain issues + support the underprivileged, it’s something I strongly believe other people with ‘a voice’ should be doing as well.”
The influencer and her family donated 100 bags of food and essentials to underprivileged households during the circuit breaker period but this piece of news was not as widely publicised as her Lamborghini purchase.
Several brands provided discounts when they found out that it was for a good cause. Although she has done many good deeds, Neo is not safe from netizens who are against influencers.
She said that some people do not think that being an influencer is an actual jobs, saying that influencers “only know how to take nice photos”. She defended influencers, saying that some ‘know-how’ is needed for personal branding, social media management and content production skills. This is especially compared to 10 years ago when the influencer market was not as saturated and competitive.
The use of social media was growing then and the quality of peer-created content was generally held to lower standards. Neo also spoke on the misconceptions where some think influencers are arrogant or full of themselves which she feels is not entirely true.
“There are just a lot of assumptions made based off what we see online most of the time. At the end of the day, I’m sure there are influencers who aren’t very nice/ are unethical, but not all of us are the same.”
These are some drawbacks of being an influencer, as experienced by Naomi:
- The stress of being in the public eye, as people are constantly watching her
- Having to consistently keep up a good image
- The downside of having no fixed working hours, which includes overworking, and replying clients or doing work on vacation.
On the last point, she revealed that the lack of maternity leave during her first pregnancy meant that she had to work as soon as she had any job scheduled, even if it fell within her confinement period.
For those who are aspiring to be an influencer, Neo has three tips: be yourself, be humble, and be genuine.
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