A Quick Q&A with Ingrid Chua-Go
By: Jessica Michault
It was that age-old question, “do I buy a Louis Vuitton bag or a couch for my house” that was the impetus for influencer, Ingrid Chau-Go to launch her blog “The Bag Hag Diaries” back in 2005. Now her site is the place to go to discover all the latest news in luxury handbags and read Chua-Go’s straight forward reviews on each new bag to hit the market.
Since the launch of her blog, Chau-Go has also branched out to write for brands like Ermenegildo Zegna and fashion e-commerce sites such as Luisa Via Roma and Harrods of London. Her fashion articles have also appeared on The Huffington Post, the South China Morning Post and she has a column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Here she tells us all about her big break, why she would love to have dinner with Marshall McLuhan and how her parents inspire
Q: How did you first get interested in fashion?
A: I think my interest in fashion came much later than most people within our industry. I was in my freshman year of college in California, fresh from my move from Asia, that I began spending a considerable amount of time reading fashion magazines while seated comfortably on the floor of Safeway (our local supermarket). I first laid eyes on a Chanel classic flap bag then, on the ad pages of Vogue and Bazaar. And knew I loved that bag and wanted it. And so I saved my college money– chose to stay home than spend time with friends having meals in food joints or watching movies on weekends!
Q: What made you finally decide to launch out your own and create your brand and blog?
A: There was really no plan. I just wanted to write. Before I had left my career to focus on family, I was the managing editor of the top weddings magazine (then) in the Philippines and prior to that, was producing news for the Fox News Channel Asia affiliate in Hong Kong. I began the blog thinking I could finally write in the manner I speak, and not have to be edited for it. And at that time, I was obsessing about a Louis Vuitton Neo Denim Speedy with croc handles. I loved the bag but was so torn between spending my money on that bag, or on a new couch. So I began writing about that obsession. Manila was at the time, still not as fashion forward as it is today, and it was still unheard of to buy a “runway” bag as our LV boutique only carried commercial versions. I finally decided on the bag and had asked the head of LV Philippines to secure that bag for me. It was not easy too, because of the preferential allocations given to countries like Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore over the Philippines. But you know the power of positive thinking? Yep, it worked for me haha. I began writing more about bags shortly thereafter, but even before the blog began, I had already been a bag lover. Thanks to the bag that started it all for me, that Chanel classic flap bag. Purchased at I.Magnin one windy night in San Francisco, minutes before the department store closed for the day!
Q: What was your big break?
A: I remember that year. I was about to turn 35 years old in a few months and I said to a small group of friends, “Something exciting it going to happen when I turn 35.” Of course I knew nothing about this then. I just felt that there were things that were about to happen in my life. And then I got that email from Luisaviaroma.com (LVR), inviting me to fly to Florence for their 10th anniversary and their first ever Firenze4ever event that featured bloggers. I was quite surprised actually, because I never knew who was reading my blog. I was never conscious of my writing style on the blog and suddenly felt so mortified that someone might have been doing grammar and spell- checks on my posts and was probably laughing so hard at how horribly I had strung my sentences! Anyway, so I went to Florence and attended the event, and celebrated my 35th birthday there! Shortly after, LVR chose me to represent them to the shows in Paris. They had begun working on written content for the site, and asked me to cover shows and write up about them. I was perhaps the only person there in that group of bloggers who wasn’t really a “style” blogger. I was more interested in writing than showing what I wore– besides, I tried the life of a style blogger– changing into different outfits a day to get photographed. I didn’t last for more than 1 hour.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My parents my family. The one thing I believe that I have held onto ever since I began in this industry, is how I was determined to separate my private life from my social media persona. Certain values have been ingrained in me by my parents and I cannot thank them enough for it. My father was 14 years old when he moved from China to the Philippines. He had not known the English alphabet then and had to learn all that from scratch at that age. And he persevered and was so dedicated to his studies that he managed to graduate with honors in Chemical Engineering in the top university in the Philippines. To this day, I still am amazed at how he was able to achieve that.
Q: Who living or dead would you love to be able to have dinner with?
A: I’d honestly have wanted to have a meal with professor Marshall McLuhan, the man who had coined “global village” and who had then somehow predicted the birth of the internet age. I’d love to know what he thinks of all this now, the evolution of the internet and social media. He might be turning in his grave now, at how this medium has turned everyone into reality stars. Wouldn’t that be most interesting?
Q: What is your favorite trip?
A: Hard to say. But I think all the trips I have taken with my family are my favorite. No matter where we go, as long as I am with all of them, I know I’ll have a fantastic and memorable time.
Q: When are you happiest?
A: I am happiest when I am around my children, when I am around people that I am comfortable with, when I know I won’t be judged for my stupid antics and actions!
Q: What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?
A: Wow, there are quite a number of them. Apart from challenges in my personal relationship (in marriage– which I don’t really talk about openly because I have to protect my kids), I am also currently trying to find a good balance between running a business (I’ve been running an accessories boutique with my best friend for 8 years now– it’s called Accessory Lab), finding time to write again for the blog and also for the paper (I have a column on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but haven’t written in over 6 months), and also taking on a new project as executive producer of a new 30- minute food and travel show for Fox Networks Group/ Star World. Oh and let’s not forget I have to make time for my family!!!
Q: What is your secret talent?
A: I loooove to cook! I don’t know if you’d call that talent because I have not yet made a career out of it, but I do love cooking!
Q: What is your motto or the best piece of advice you ever got?
A: Stay humble. Always.
Q: What emoji do you use the most?
A: The emoji of laughter to the point of tears.
Q: What was the latest instagram account you decided to follow?
A: @gem_hunt‘s. I also love jewellery. Apart from the usual bags, shoes, and travel. Oh boy all these interests are expensive. Oh if only one needs not work to live a life of luxury.