For the second instalment of our Girl Power Sunday series, we have Dee Alimin! Beginning from simple flatlays, this powerhouse has now progressed to becoming a model and content creator. Some of you may even know her from Blimey's YouTube series, 3&more S4. Read on to learn about one surprising trait beyond her cool demeanor!
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got started as an influencer/Content Creator?
Hi, I’m Dee and I’ve been a content creator for 5 years and counting!
Tbh, I didn’t intend to become a content creator. I started out by posting flatlays and sharing makeup reviews for fun because I was just interested in makeup. I was a student at that time, so obviously, I was excited to get free stuff, haha!
But then COVID hit in 2020, and I started using TikTok as an outlet to reach out and socialise. It was then I realised that I could actually build something out of this passion of mine.
How do you stay motivated and come up with fresh ideas for your content?
Content creation is a creative process, but even then, it needs to have a template. What works for me is to know my niche and my voice. Two content creators can be in the beauty scene and talk about the same product, but it’s their personality and style that distinguishes them, i.e., some creators prefer curated and polished content, while others may prefer a raw and unedited style. I’m giving a broad example here, but I hope you get the idea.
When you identify your voice, fresh ideas are easier to come by because you already know how to put your spin on it. As content creators, we do most of our research through social media. So while we may get inspired by others, it’s our personal brand that sets us apart from them. For me, the excitement I feel when I get struck by a new idea will be enough to get me out of bed and get my phone.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing content creators today, and how do you overcome them?
Burnout is definitely something that needs to be talked about within the community. As a creator, we want to keep generating content consistently, and our audience understandably has that expectation too. But with how fast trends come and go, I do feel overwhelmed, like I can’t keep up.
I’m left feeling inadequate or that I’m not good enough, especially since content creation is viewed as a relatively easy job. And while it’s not rocket science, there is a lot that goes behind a picture or video. From storyboarding, filming, editing, multiple drafts and maintaining content relevancy, it can be a lot, and it’s usually a one-man show. Not to mention that most creators also manage administrative work like emails and negotiations.
So if there are any creators out there that are facing burnout, what you feel is valid. While you love what you do, it’s still work and effort at the end of the day. It’s okay to feel burned out because while it’s not the hardest job in the world, you’ve done a lot, and you deserve a break when you need it.
What are your future goals and aspirations as an influencer?
Tbh, my goal has been what it was since I started posting makeup reviews in my early days. I just hope to create a safe space for like-minded people to come together and geek out about our interests. Hopefully, I will get to expand beyond just TikTok and Instagram. I would love to have my own podcast someday.
When I’m older and more experienced, I do want to build my own KOL agency. As someone who started out as an independent freelancer, I admit that the influencer industry can be tricky to navigate as a business. When I become an “industry veteran”, I hope to contribute to the community by making it an even more inclusive and welcoming space for newcomers.
Can you share with us some of your favourite collaborations or partnerships you’ve done as an influencer/Content Creator?
Ahh, this is hard. HAHA! I consider myself very lucky because I’ve never had a particularly bad experience before.
If I had to pick, though, one of my favourite collaborations was with Innisfree. I did a shoot for Innisfree under a marketing agency that had them as their client. They were genuinely some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. The entirety of the shoot was so collaborative, and everyone just had ideas flying around. I genuinely felt like I was working on a fun project with friends. That was how chill it was.
Other brands that deserve notable mentions would be Machino and ZALORA. I’m still very honoured that Machino invited my best friends and me to model for their launch. It was meaningful to me to share that experience with them and the people I’m close with. ZALORA has one of the best marketing teams I’ve ever worked with; they’re always respectful in negotiations and have a lot of trust in their creators, which I appreciate.
Was there a point where you almost gave up but didn’t; what kept you going?
Yeah, and it was quite recent, actually. I was never a full-time content creator up until this year. I started out when I was a student, so my studies were my priority at that time. When I graduated, I went into the corporate world and did marketing.
I didn’t do content creation full-time because I was too scared. It’s an unstable income source, and growing up, I didn’t think that was a risk I could afford. You never know when you’re going to just... not get jobs anymore. It can happen, and I was scared of that. So with that fear, I turned to a 9 to 5 career and kept deprioritising content creation as a side hustle.
For a while, it was fine. I had a great team at my day job, and I loved the work I did. But the toll of juggling two separate jobs crept up on me. I give 100% in everything I do, and I was unable to do that while I juggled two jobs. I had to miss events or turn down campaigns that would have been very beneficial for me as a creator, and each time I did that, I felt more demotivated inside.
Not gonna lie, 2022 was a tough year for me. I lost a lot of purpose and kept trying to tell myself that if other people could do both, so could I. It took me almost two years to come to a few realisations; I was burnt out, I could do two jobs, but I would have no time for a social life or fun, and I had come to hate both jobs I had. Simply put, I was unfulfilled, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life.
I know this is going to sound cheesy, but it was when I took a trip to Bali that I was able to refocus my perspective on my life. I realised that I would be a fool to not even try to give content creation my all; this has been the one thing that kept me motivated through every phase of my life. It’s my passion, and I love it. It only stopped becoming enjoyable when all I had time for was work instead of my own content as well. It’s one of the biggest risks I ever took, but I left my day job and decided to give this a shot.
I know I’m lucky to be in a position where I can afford to take this leap. It’s been 4 months since, and I don’t regret my decision. I feel so excited to do what I do, and while the burnout still happens, I have this assurance in me that I will be able to overcome it. I’ve done it once, and I’ll do it again.
How do you engage with your followers and build a loyal community around your brand?
For me, I just keep it as authentic as possible. Like attracts like and I believe that when you put yourself out there, people who share similar values or interests will gravitate towards you. Being a content creator gave me the confidence to be unapologetically myself, and that’s what I aim to put out in every posting I do.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as an influencer?
Post. That. Draft. The first step to being an influencer is to just start posting. Whatever shyness and reservation you have is normal, and everyone’s been there at one point. But bestie, the only way to overcome that fear is to just start posting. Trust me, that shyness will fade very quickly over time. When you connect with people who relate with you, putting yourself out there can be encouraging and inspiring for another.
Also, you don’t need expensive equipment to get started. A good phone camera and sunlight work great. Basically, just get out there and start posting.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and do it again?
I wished I had kicked off my imposter syndrome much earlier on. When I first started out, I really thought that the numbers were everything, and I let that define me as a creator. I constantly felt like I lucked out when I got to work with certain brands instead of acknowledging my own talent and hard work.
I’ve definitely come a long way since then, but when I look back, I wish I could have told 20-year-old Dee to start respecting herself and her work as she does for others.
If your life was a movie, which character would play you and why?
Donna Paulsen from Suits. I’m a go-getter and loyal to a fault, which is something I related to Donna when I watched the show.
But if there’s a way to get Anya Taylor Joy to play me, I would say yes in a heartbeat. Some people say I look like her. She’s absolutely gorgeous, so I won’t object to that, haha!
What is something about yourself that your followers might not know, but that you would like to share with them?
I’m actually very easy to amuse. I will laugh at everything because I find even the lamest of puns funny. So if you see me, just say something funny, and I’ll most likely crack up.
What is the best quote that you live by?
Make happiness a priority and be gentle with yourself in the process.