#GirlNextDoor: Oh Zooey Gets Real On Education Vs Skills

While there are quite a few things we already know about TV host Zooey Teo — like the fact that she loves to experiment with cool hair colours, is totally rocking her fashion game with bold styles and has cute little furry friends (seriously, you need to see her 4 adorable cats and 2 rabbits!) — there’s obviously a ton of stuff that we don’t know about the 26-year-old multihyphenate.

In addition to being a radio announcer and emcee, the Sabahan born social media maven also leads a healthy lifestyle by playing and organising tournaments for flag football with the Malaysia American Football Association. No wonder she has such a fit body! “I’m also focusing on growing flag football into a bigger sport,” she says. “It is a great community and we have plenty of activities happening this year.”

Speaking of her plans for 2019, Zooey revealed that she aims to love herself even more. “I was emotionally struggling in 2018 but this year is all about finding balance in my life. And of course focusing on my career! Hopefully to get more hosting gigs.”

On Social Media

Obviously, for Zooey, life may seem pretty easy as she has deals popping left and right. She is currently working for a new show on RTM, along with an emcee role for a new radio station called Rakita 107.9. So how did it all began?

“[I realised that I can make money through social media] a couple of years ago when brands started to approach me for campaigns.” She continued, “I like to believe I was one of the first TV hosts to have crazy coloured hair on TV. But I think what solidified my career is my personality – I’m bubbly, energetic and talkative”.

But of course, what is life without any challenges? “Ironically enough, competing with social media influencers [would be one of the biggest issues I’m facing in the industry]. We’re moving into the digital world so people are slowly losing interest in traditional media – print, TV & radio. My challenge is staying relevant to the current trends and making sure I’m memorable.”

So I ask the next logical question: Are there any specific skills that you need to master to become a social media influencer?

“I think no specific skill. The great thing about social media is that it is diversified community, so it all depends on your brand. I would say hone your current craft – be it make up, fitness, business or whatever – make sure you’re credible and make connections. It does help (for me) to learn a bit about photo and video editing”.

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On Fashion & Beauty

As a person who slays in her Instagram posts all the time, the fashion enthusiast described her personal style as, “Ever-changing. But most importantly, comfortable. I love anything that looks out of place or “ugly” because to me it is unique.”

I was surprised to find that her opinion when it comes to fashion brands is basically the same as mine. “Brand doesn’t matter to me. You can still look good in a RM10 thrift outfit as much as a RM1,000 branded outfit. For me, it’s all about your confidence and what makes you feel great about yourself.”

Since fashion and beauty goes hand in hand, I did some digging on the beauty secrets that she swear by. “Tea tree oil is great for combating pimples! Also, when your hair is damp, use Argan Oil before you dry your hair. It will act as a protective layer against the heat. Other than that, set a reminder on your phone to clean your brushes at least once a week”.

More journalistic inquiry: Name one unpopular opinion that you think people should talk about.

“I really don’t have an unpopular opinion. Maybe just mind your own business. With social media, everyone has an opinion and sometimes those opinions are just… ridiculous. Practice the motto of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”.

She continued by explaining what her thoughts are on education vs. skills.

“Maybe getting a degree isn’t a ticket to success. I feel having skills are important too. Don’t get me wrong, education is very important but do note, education comes in many forms too. If you don’t excel in books, you can switch to learn more hands on things like carpentry or sewing or mechanics. Everyone learns at a different pace and understand things differently. So never give up on achieving success!”

Word, Zooey.

With that, Zooey ended the interview with an empowering quote by RuPaul (because let’s face it, who doesn’t love the Drag Race host?). “I just wanna say never give up on yourself even if the world has. It tough growing up but it’s also fun and exciting. Save money and travel because travelling is how you learn about the world. Practice self-love. Like RuPaul would say: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” and never stop learning. The world is beautiful, so are you :)”

To know more about the bubbly style star, simply make your way to her official Instagram account!