O N N O W
I N T E R V I E W
S E R I E S # 5
published by Naz Kisnisci
18 January. 2021
WITH JESSICA WANG
1. Hi Jessica, nice to meet you. Could you briefly present yourself to PAP’s subscribers?
I’m a digital influencer, entrepreneur, and a mother of two little girls, Hazel & Capri. I’m currently based in New York and my passion lies in sharing unique fashion, styling and tech/editing videos on my digital platforms. I consider myself incredibly blessed and fortunate for everything I have achieved in the past few years, including my incredible community on Instagram and Tiktok, now of over 6 million followers combined (and growing).
2. When did fashion make its entrance in your life and what does it mean to you?
I’ve always loved fashion even as a kid. For as long as I can remember, I always saw fashion as a means of self-expression and appreciated how it can instantly perk up your mood, confidence, and attitude about everything. Growing up, I’d play with bold pairings and silhouettes - and remember feeling completely on top of the world in them.
3. As I was reading about your career, I learnt that you quit your job in the financial world to become a blogger then develop into a digital influencer. What pushed you to pursue this career at a time when it wasn’t as mainstream as it is today?
I’ve always thought that finance was my thing, but aft
er I got hired by Morgan Stanley fresh out of college, I was in for a rude awakening. I knew something had to change, and the only thing I could think of was starting a fashion blog. It began as a hobby - and mostly a distraction from my day job, which I enjoyed. I never fathomed that it’d evolve to be what it is today, but knew I had to take that leap of faith once the income from blogging started to catch up with my corporate job.
4. You’ve been in the fashion industry for some time now. You started off as a blogger, which allowed you to work your creative side but also to make a name for yourself. Furthermore, you had the opportunity to collaborate with very important brands. What were the challenges in integrating the fashion industry as an outsider?
Without any fashion background or a single connection in the industry, I knew I had to hustle hard. The biggest challenges were probably building and finding my own connections from the ground up, finding people who believed in me enough to support me along the way, and being a minority in an industry that traditionally lacks diversity. Persistence and determination are key!
5. From the beginning, you’ve been working with big companies, such as Bulgari or YSL. What are your criteria’s when it comes to collaborating with brands?
I can’t stress how important it is to stay true to your own aesthetic as an influencer. The brands you collaborate with can make or break your reputation - and they also dictate future collaborations that come through the pipeline. I’ve always only chosen brands I love, have worn previously and frequently wear as I want my audience to trust that I am being genuine with my content.
6. You are a very loved digital influencer on both Instagram and TikTok. How do you adapt yourself and your content to stay relevant on all your online platforms? Where do you find the inspiration for your posts and projects?
I love pop culture, film, fashion and tech, so I’m constantly paying attention to what’s happening in those markets. I’ll write my ideas down as they pop in my mind and will also make notes of new trends or content ideas that I can adapt - or rework in a fresh way. I find that not planning my content too far ahead in advance is what allows me to stay relevant and spontaneous, while allowing me to have full creative-control of the process, and be happy with the result.
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7. How quarantine and the current state of the world have affected the way you work? What are the challenges in keeping up an online career while not being able to travel and assist fashion events?
I was in the middle of fashion week when the pandemic started and definitely felt a sense of panic at first. The beginning stages were the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar, however, as weeks passed, I learned to appreciate the extra time I had and knew I needed to utilise this added time to get as creative as possible. I joined TikTok during the lockdown and experimented more with video content which became a game changer. I thoroughly enjoy the Tik Tok video content process, as although it can be time consuming, it mixes my love for fashion and editing with transitions and unique ways of creating and portraying a story across. While I miss being able to travel and attend fashion events, I think brands have done an excellent job transitioning them to the digital realm - and I strongly feel that this will make future events that much more exciting once things go back to normal.
8. With 4,8M followers on TikTok, it’s safe to say that you are comfortable with the app’s mechanism. By sharing videos, following challenges and creating new ones, influencers get to showcase a new, more approachable side of their personality to their community. Has Tiktok helped you to grow closer to your followers?
Being on video naturally forces you to show a way more authentic side of yourself. For myself, that translated into a lot of casual content, conversational talking, and quick tips on Tiktok - and people loved them. Interactive, short and relatable content is a great way to send a message across in a personable and adaptive way. Because my followers see a more relatable side of me on a regular basis now, it’s fostered a closer relationship
9. Most of the TikTok fanbase is mainly GenZ. Was adapting your content to this
new audience challenging? What have you learnt?
I wouldn’t say that it was challenging per se because the beauty of using a new platform is being able to experiment with content ideas, then adapting to what works. The challenging part was investing the time and energy it takes to create truly unique content. Most of my organic content is shot, edited and posted the same day; however, in-depth style or transition videos can take up to 8 hours to shoot, and require additional time to
edit and finalize. If there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s that patience is key and that hard work pays off.
10. You are known as a fashion online influencer on Instagram, but over on Tiktok you show how tech savvy you are. How do you always stay up to date on the subject? Do you visit specific websites and/or explore the features of your device on your own?
I’m basically on my phone all day every day given the nature of my job and I’m all about efficiency so I have always loved finding new tricks that save time or produce cool effects. I’ve shared them with my family in the past but they weren’t all that impressed. I was stoked when my followers loved it because it gave me a place to share those interests additional to my fashion and beauty content sharing side. It truly was a passion project come to life!
11. How, in your opinion, has the fashion scene evolved with the arrival of the digital age?
For sure! I can give so many examples, but I think it’s clear that technology is used in all parts of the fashion process. From brands showcasing runway shows digitally, to virtual reality, direct shop-to-buy through multimedia platforms, e-commerce, the creation and manufacturing of garments and social media. The options are endless! Specifically from an influencer perspective, social media is constantly evolving as a key marketing tool, now
so more than ever.
12. More brands are incorporating AI and digital creations in their fashion DNA. We’ve seen A.I. influencers doing a partnership with brands. What is your view on this phenomenon?
It’s definitely a strange phenomenon to me. As a consumer, my concern would be that AI influencers can be made to say anything about one brand forever as opposed to human influencers who have a real and actual opinion about multiple brands - based on real world experience and wear. As an influencer, I’m sure there’s a cost factor involved too, which then creates more competition in the playing field. However, I’m open to evolution, innovation, and I think it will be interesting to see how AI technology unfolds and fits
within the marketplace.
13. As you may know, ONNOW is a platform that focuses on showcasing young and innovative talents. What brands would you recommend to our readers? Do you have a favorite amongst the brands you’ve discovered through ONNOW?
I have been very grateful in my career to work with some incredible brands I have always aspired to work alongside, whilst also being able to use my platform to showcase up and coming brands who are true to my aesthetic and I genuinely love wearing. A few favourites at the moment would be Ader Error, Khaite and Peter Do.
14. The fashion industry is changing to be more responsible for human rights and
the environment. What is, in your opinion, the future of fashion?
I believe with the rise of social media, one of the benefits is allowing consumers to become more aware of fashion practices within certain brands, and in-turn for these brands to be held responsible by their consumers. Although there is still more work to do, thankfully the fashion industry is becoming a more progressive field, and I am excited to see the good that it does in the world. In general, I think we will continue to see a surge in sustainable initiatives whether it’s finding ways to recycle fabrics, buying better and reducing waste, or even seeing greater representation across race, gender, class and so much more.
15. You are a Chinese-American representative in the fashion sphere, proud to spread awareness on diversity and inclusivity. A big part of your community is Asian-American and supports you as well as your work. What message and values would you like to send through your content to your followers?
I’m definitely proud to be a Chinese-American influencer that represents the Asian community within the US. Aside from the glamour and fun fashion content, I hope my content encourages others to feel comfortable in their own skin and use their voice to be a champion for diversity, inclusivity and equality. I also hope they see how important it is to be kind and to give back because every contribution makes a difference no matter how big or small.
16. Lastly, do you have any advice for the PAP’s & ONNOW’s readers that may want to integrate the fashion world?
For anyone wanting to integrate into the fashion world, my biggest advice is to be patient. Things don’t turn up over night. Oftentimes, you have to stay dedicated to the craft and work silently for a long time - whether it’s writing, photography, styling or social media. Things always tend to happen when you least expect, so work hard and be consistent. The key is perseverance and determination, and staying true to your own genuine aesthetic, beliefs and content format to have your own unique selling point.
Fashion by Jennifer Behr, Alberta Ferretti, Kalmanovich, Roger Vivier, Polene Hat, Stella McCartney, Haiki Boots, Maison Kitsune, Maison Michel, PatBo, Paris Texas and The Frankie Shop