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The New Paper
Feb 19, 2019
When Chailee Son, a then-unknown from South Korea, moved to Vancouver, Canada, on a working holiday visa in 2014, she started using Instagram to share her selfies and travel adventures with her loved ones back home.
Before she knew it, her natural beauty, hot bikini bod and sexy beach-hopping snaps were making a splash on the social networking platform.
She has more than 858,000 Instagram followers, a feat she also credits to the "good lighting" at the beaches.
The 31-year-old lifestyle influencer told The New Paper last month at the launch of local skincare brand DR's Secret pop-up store at multi-label destination NomadX at Plaza Singapura: "It started when I uploaded mirror selfies on Instagram with popular hashtags like #asiangirl and #ootd, then some famous accounts started sharing my posts, giving me more social media exposure."
She had studied advanced materials engineering at Kyungsung University in Busan, South Korea as she needed a degree to become a flight attendant.
She said: "Career-wise, becoming an influencer has been a huge change from what I set out to be. But no regrets, as I love what I do now."
Son may showcase a picture-perfect image to the public, but she is not without her insecurities. She faced her fair share of them growing up, including facial acne and being unsatisfied with certain facial features and parts of her body, but she keeps negativity at bay by filling her mind with positive thoughts.
The Korea-based social media sensation also shared how her perceived beauty has been a double-edged sword.
"I feel more confident through the positive comments from other users on my Instagram pictures, but when I read mean comments, it makes me sad. Like most girls, I feel the pressure to look good, but more so because of my reputation," Son said.
To maintain her looks and figure, she stressed the importance of devoting time and energy to fitness and beauty care.
She trains at the gym with a personal trainer for an hour twice a week.
She said: "I try to focus on my legs, glutes, upper body, and to fix my rounded shoulders. I have to eat carefully; when I crave snacks, I have fruit instead. Luckily, I get to eat my mum's cooking often, and she makes really healthy dishes like fat-free beef, salads and chicken breast. I also eat more protein instead of carbohydrates, as well as fruits."
Son's complexion and hair also look fresh and healthy despite being in the sun for an hour every day.
She used to struggle with acne spots and scars due to hormonal changes from birth control, and admits to having very dry skin, which is often exposed to harsh natural elements.
Despite that, Son stays skin-confident by religiously using cleanser, toner, moisturiser and sunscreen, as well as DR's Secret's spot serum, which is available at the DR's Secret store (55 Market Street #07-01).
She also insists that haircare cannot be ignored, and swears by Ouai Hair Oil.
Son appreciates some popular K-beauty trends like "glass skin" but is not a fan of gradient lips, and she is more at home with Western trends.
After all, she boasts a tanned complexion and loves being by the sea.
"I think darker skin suits me more. I embrace different beauty ideals and make-up styles."
View more photos of Chailee in the gallery.