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27 Questions: Karen Yeung, YouTuber and content creator

Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same duration of a casual speed date. This week, we speak to Karen Yeung, Hong Kong YouTuber and content creator.

With over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube and 519k followers on Instagram, those who grew up in the 2000s and 2010s will be familiar with Karen Yeung. A lifestyle and beauty YouTuber and content creator who shot to superstardom a decade ago, Hong Kong-born Yeung essentially navigated her youth and matured into a young adult in the spotlight.

Like many others of her generation, Yeung joined social media as a creative outlet, not expecting to make a career out of it — this was before being a creator or a KOL was the norm, after all. But she was talented and excelled at what she did, and fast forward a few years, she received an offer to join Michelle Phan’s studio, ipsy, as a full-time content creator. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead.

27 Questions: Karen Yeung

Name: Karen Yeung
Age: 32
Neighbourhood: Kwun Tong, Kowloon / Orange County, California
Occupation: YouTuber and content creator

1. What is your life motto?

Don’t ask, don’t get!

2. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?

There are plenty of amazing restaurants and food stalls in Hong Kong, it’s difficult to just pick one. Yardbird is always in our culinary rotation. Sushi Wadatsumi in K11 Musea is also a wonderful experience. 

3. Who is your role model?

I don’t think I have one per se, but I really appreciate Stephen Curry. His work ethic, his humble perspective and how he raises his family. Watching him play basketball actually got me through some tough times with my miscarriage. Seeing him win the NBA championship again is amazing!

4. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

Right now I’m focused on pulling together a coastal Mediterranean / mixed worlds interior atmosphere, so my chairs, my paintings, my old vintage HK ads and my candles are a big part of my home experience.

5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl definitely. If I’m binging my favourite TV show, I can stay up until 4am or 5am! 

6. Which phone app do you think more people should know about?

Meitu or Snow for photo editing. The Pattern if you’re interested in horoscopes and how they affect relationships. 

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Suan La Fen or Lao You Fen — I love my spicy noodles! 

8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?

The ham sup lo (perverted men) on the MTR! Let me wear my outfits in peace! 

9. What is your greatest fear?

Heights — the glass-floor tram on the way to The Big Buddha is absolutely terrifying. 

10. When did you last ride the Star Ferry? What were you doing/where did you go?

Probably around three months ago — whenever we’re nearby the Star Ferry, we make it a point to ride on it. It’s a historic part of HK culture and we need to appreciate it while it’s still here!

11. What is one movie everyone should see?

Little Miss Sunshine — it’s a gentle story of personal triumph and the meaning of family. 

12. What is your typical Sunday like?

I like to take my daughter Dove out to a mall and walk around. Sunday is usually when a lot of parents are out with their kids as well, so it’s nice to see Dove interacting with other children. 

13. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

The first time I saw my daughter’s face after delivery. 

14. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

My home in Orange Country, California. As much as I’m a city girl, I’m also a suburban girl. Orange County has perfected the art of the suburb. 

15. What makes someone a real Hongkonger?

An unwavering belief in yourself, an appreciation for our unique Hong Kong culture and the grit to persevere through any obstacles. Hongkongers are tough by nature.

16. What is your unique party trick?

Like many other Asian kids, I can play the piano quite well. It’s not something I’ve shared with my followers that much, but it’s been a big part of my life.

17. Do you have any favourite tattoos or special birthmarks? What is it?

Currently, my favourite tattoo says “Love Dove” in the classic American-style heart. My daughter’s name is Dove and I absolutely needed a tattoo for her. 

18. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? which do you wear the most often?

Too many to count, to be honest. My Bottega Veneta Flash clogs/sandals are getting a lot of wear recently.

19. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would pay off my home in Orange County, buy a house for my grandparents in the US, invest in rental properties and tuck away some savings for my daughter. 

20. What was the best gift you ever received?

My daughter Dove! 

21. When did you feel that you ‘made it’?

I personally don’t feel like I’ve “made it” yet. Some pretty surreal moments for me have been modelling for Vogue Italia and sitting with Maison Martin Margiela for Paris Fashion Week. My husband’s favourite memory of me “making it” is when a follower that was working at a bubble tea shop gave us free drinks.

22. What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice: go for it. I was working a corporate sales job at Yelp (it’s like the US version of OpenRice) before I went into content creation full-time. My manager fully encouraged me to “go for it” and I’ve never looked back since. 

The worst career advice is to just follow what other successful people have done, without taking the time to get to know yourself and what you really want. Living out someone else’s dream isn’t what life is about. It’s about living out your dream! 

23. What energises you about your work?

The opportunity to bridge the gap between commercial aesthetics and artistic expression. I love being creative and pushing myself to deliver high-quality, unique works. 

24. If you could do it all over again, what is one thing you would do differently?

I would’ve started a lot sooner! I knew that YouTube and Instagram were going to be important for mass entertainment — I just never foresaw them being this ingrained into our daily lives.

25. Start your life again at age 15 with all the knowledge you have now, or fast forward 10 years?

Start my life again at 15. After watching the movie Click with Adam Sandler, I don’t want to fast-forward any moments of my life. Life is about the experience and not just the destination. 

26. What’s your favourite tradition?

Eating noodles at midnight. It has to be Nissin Sesame Oil flavour with the little boy on the front of the packaging.

27. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why?

Childbirth. I’ve never delivered a baby before and it’s just a surreal experience to have another human being come out of you.

(Lead and featured images courtesy of Karen Yeung and Leo Thom)

Charmaine Ng
Charmaine enjoys eating steamed broccoli and knocking back cups of spearmint tea, all in the name of health. Covering art, beauty and music :)
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