Please introduce yourself.
Hi my name is Ann, I am a passionate creative who blogs Style + Life at HeyLiao!
I work as a freelance designer (creative direction, photography, illustration, branding, graphic design and social strategy). Mostly in the field of fashion but clients vary. I also teach Design and English here in Taipei, Taiwan and I’m the project manager for Happy Drummers motion graphics design studio.
I grew up in various parts of the world: Born in Taipei Taiwan, but raised in Johannesburg South Africa, North Carolina U.S.A, Leiden The Netherlands, Seoul South Korea, and Melbourne Australia. I also did an exchange semester to Mainz Germany in 2012. I am an explorer by nature and plan to do many trips in the future. If I’m not abroad, I’m exploring my homeland Taiwan.
How would you describe your style?
My style is constantly changing, but I guess I would say comfort and effortlessness is key to my outfits. I love to combine high end with low end, colours on some days and blacks on another (I’m mostly quite colourful though haha love them funky patterns). I adore street style, bohemian romantic fabrics, chic and masculine looks, bits and bobs of different styles (never be tied down I say!). I’m quite emotionally sensitive, so the mood of the day plays a vital role in my clothing choices. For example, in gloomy weather I want to wear something funkier, some zest and good energy for a dull day. I hardly ever shop at branded places unless I really want it in my collection, though I also never really have to shop there since my family have so much from their younger days, which they don’t put to good use (sad for them lucky for me!). Classic vintage pieces from Valentino, Chanel, and Versace to name a few as well as indie labels from their various travels and adventures, I’m lucky I get to inherit them!
Tell us all about your blog.
“HeyLiao!” Is a personal blog/social portfolio dedicated to my creative projects related to (Fashion, Lifestyle and travel/culture), as well as sharing my personal traveling adventures and look posts!
My projects include “The Shoe Profile” a street fashion blog, which I started back in Melbourne Australia. Humans of Taipei (name is inspired by Humans Of New York) and Taipei City Guides (dedicated to sharing good places with people the HeyLiao! Way.)
HeyLiao! Also acts as a platform where I share creative talents with the web. I also collaborate with artists/photographers on certain posts on the blog. So far mostly on my look posts!
How did you get started with this blog?
I started out as a beauty YouTuber/blogger back in 2009 (Bwe the Promoter). After finding out about the cruel animal testing practices in my beauty products I decided to commit to sharing only cruelty free beauty related content.
I then searched for another platform to share my fashion, Life, travel content, which was removed from my newly turned cruelty free beauty blog.
How have you managed to keep up your creativity with your blog?
I’ve never really had “trouble” coming up with content, to satisfy myself at least. I’ve always been quite busy brained and entrepreneurial. I finally have a platform to pour my ideas onto. I hope other people find the blog interesting too, after all you write a blog not only to express yourself but to connect with like minded individuals. It adds to the excitement knowing that people are reading/browsing it. I hope to keep it upbeat even when it comes to more “serious” content.
What are some of the perks of writing a fashion blog? What are the negative things?
The perks, sharing your outfit online to have actual comments and likes! It’s like having a “girls” night 24/7 haha it’s such a fun community who share similar interests and passions. Making new friends and connecting with people! That’s a huge perk within itself. The negative would be the pressure, follower numbers and lack of interaction. I often have to remind myself that it’s about the journey not the destination 😉
Any advice for new bloggers?
Be authentic, honest, and most importantly kind. Find your own unique voice and styling for your blog, so when people visit or pass by they know who you are or get a sense of who you are. Work and collaborate with kind talented people. Kind first! Build a good community who lift you up. Don’t feel like it’s a competition, it will only stress you out. Right now, it’s about collaborations; work with talented genuine good people, you can’t go wrong!
Where do you see the future of your blog going? Or even blogging in general?
I hope, I keep growing continuously and creatively. I’m just going to keep producing things! Whoever comes along will just keep seeing the new updates! Right now I’m living in Taipei, so I’m influenced by Taipei life and it’s people. When I travel again or move somewhere new, I will be influenced by the new environment. I hope HeyLiao! becomes a platform people can learn something from and enjoy reading.
Describe your look! (What you’re wearing today)
I’m wearing a dark emerald green coat- vintage, paired with my backpack and black ballet flats. Makeup – kept things natural and minimal. Since I knew I was meeting you guys today at VVG in Huashan, I wanted to be presentable. The atmosphere at Huashan is very “Wen Chuan” artistic, rustic, and vintage. My outfit is quite tailored but still comfortable, I get quite nervous getting interviewed (haha) so I have to wear something comfy, high heels I would surely trip and make a fool of myself (not good!).
Who inspires you? Who are your style icons?
I have to say my mother. The lady who can make anything look good at any age. It’s her confidence; she’s authentic and completely real with her style and self. She never follows trends, yet always looks the most timeless and gorgeous. I love magazine editorials too; I read a lot of Frankie and Yen mag from Australia, Vogue, and Glamour are great as well! I love the creativity in the spreads. Lookbook.nu is a great place for visual inspiration as well as a few blogs I follow. “Shine by Three,” “Zanita,” “Tula Vintage,” “The Blonde Salad” (apart from the fur, not a fur fan here), and “Kayture.” I follow many blogs!
How has growing up in many different countries impacted you and the way you think?
Growing up in various parts of the world has taught me to not judge quickly, to give people the benefit of the doubt. Have empathy for others. I went through many types of situations in my childhood both good and bad that impacted me. They played a vital role in my upbrining. Cultural diversity was one of the biggest eye openers. Having lived in South Africa till I was 10 then moving to the States, it was the first “cultural shock,” English is my first language, yet the slangs were so different, and then I moved to Holland, Taiwan, and Seoul. I attended both international and local schools throughout my teen years. Participated in MUN. Moved to Melbourne then did an exchange to Germany. Finally made the move back to Taipei.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe in human connection. We are more similar than we think, this world is so mixed, it is multicultural. I try not to generalize, think more as a global citizen, the world is our home. We need to respect each other and this place we call home. Thanks to the Internet we have more power as a “normal citizen” than we think.
No matter where you are situated in the world you can find someone to connect to as long as there is Internet. There are good and bad people everywhere, it’s not about the race, cultural background or religion. Always remember that!
Instead of asking “how are we different” ask “how are we similar?” This will open many doors to you while traveling! Promise x
Photography & Interview by IFBK