A lot can be said about influencers. While some people think it’s just about posing with beautiful clothes and posting beautiful photos of places and food, the other side of the camera tells a different story. These social media butterflies are current tastemakers and trendsetters. And for some, these influencers are life inspirations to their followers. Close to a million followers on Instagram, Laureen Uy is one of the top local influencers. Jet-setting to and fro the most beautiful cities around the world, wearing the most on-trend outfits, and generally living a double-tap worthy life, Laureen has made a name for herself in the industry and with good reason. This influencer knows that her job goes beyond what people see on her blog and Instagram. It’s being a positive part of someone’s life.
Cameras and smart phones down, Laureen is the condo dweller you would want to be neighbors with. She’s friendly, welcoming, and you won’t even feel like she’s Insta-famous. She welcomes guests into her apartment, and makes sure they feel right at home. The large-cut unit in the heart of Makati is extremely opulent with a mix of dark tones with metallic accents and eclectic collectibles.
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From Heels to Sneakers
Being the youngest of the Uy siblings, Laureen was the last one to move out of their parents house. She was 21 when she first got this condo and she styled it just like her fashion sense at the time. “It was all bright colors, neon, pink, orange, stripes, prints and patterns everywhere. I had that phase when I was into colors so much and I wanted that to translate into my interiors,” she points out. “When I was in college, I would always wear bright outfits and heels and people would joke na rumarampa ako everyday,” she laughs.
Now a year shy from hitting the 30-mark, Laureen is in the middle of evolving her style. She is now in love with the comfort of wearing sneakers and the relaxed vibe of neutral colored outfits. “As I grew older, I realized that that wasn’t my style anymore. Everything changes, everyone changes. Personality, style, everything. Before renovating, I was going through a phase where I was wearing sneakers more than heels, I was learning to love neutral colors more than colorful pieces.”
It was November or December when she woke up and realized that the place was too bright for her. Come 2018, Laureen had the renovation done, after all, #NewYearNewMe. She was guided by her cousin and interior decorator Elle Uy, who also helped Laureen dress up the unit in its bright-colored phase.
A Coming of Age
“To be honest, for my first apartment, it was all about the look,” the influencer admits. Function, versatility, and usefulness weren’t top of her priority list. However, in this renovation, she was more firm on what she needed and wanted. She considered everything from the type of cement finish on the walls, the paint color in her office, and the wallpaper in her bedroom. “I was more hands-on now. I noticed all the tiny details and I would tell the contractors to fix something if it was off,” she adds.
Welcome to the Dark Side
Comparing it to her old unit with a dominantly white wall-base with bright pops of color though the furniture and accessories, the new look is more chic, sleek, and mature. “I changed it according to my personality and style now, and surprisingly I like it more now than before,” the influencer adds. From its extremely femme and shabby chic predecessor, the renovation resulted into one of the chicest, eclectic condos to grace the Manila skyline.
“I was leaning towards the more industrial look but of course when you hear the world industrial, it’s so manly. It usually fits a guy, and you instantly think it’s for a bachelor’s pad,” Laureen shares. However, she didn’t want to go for a man-cave look. She wanted to strike a balance between something masculine and sophisticated. She shares that in order to keep that chic and feminine touch, she mixed tropical and luxe pieces in the unit’s already masculine base. “I have more plants now and I have more gold pieces just to balance out the manliness.”
A Day In the Life
“I’m barely in town. I’m always traveling for work. But when I do find the time to stay in town, I try to spend my entire morning at my place,” she points out. Laureen starts her day by heading to the gym, then answering emails in her office or reading a book at home.
In case she hits a creative block, she hints that taking short walks around her neighborhood works wonders in re-fuelling her creativity. “You need to put your laptop down, then rewind and unwind. Read a book, take a walk, let your imagination flow again,” she tips.
In the afternoon, she collaborates with a new brand or attends events that thousands will be watching on her Instagram stories. After everything is done, she heads home and catches up with her latest Netflix binge.
When she has the time, she loves entertaining and having friends over for a chill night of board games. Her buffet table even has USB sockets so guests can charge their phones with ease.
On Styling Her on Place Vs. Styling Herself
When asked about the difference of styling her unit from creating her daily #ootds, Laureen shares that it wasn’t so difficult. “I feel like it’s in me already, I know what I want. When I see an item, be it clothing or decor, I automatically lean towards that. When you’re shopping for yourself, you automatically know what piece you want,” she explains.
While her closet is decked with the latest in high fashion, her apartment is accessorized with hand-me-down furniture from her siblings. “I want a mix of designer and affordable pieces, but everything has a meaning.” She visits stores like Curio Cavern and Jonathan Adler, and even shops in Dapitan Arcade, a local flea market of home decor in Manila. “I always haggle for a cheaper price,” she laughs. A curation of high end brands and market deals, Laureen’s condo is a beautiful display of things that make her happy.
On Hate Comments and Likers
While her apartment is a beautiful extension of this charming, beautiful and bubbly influencer’s personality, she once got an email that she’s ugly and that she should jump off of her apartment. “Most of the time, I’ve learned that you really have to let go,” Laureen says firmly. Hateful emails she has received include comments bashing her appearance or her family. “One said that I’m lucky I’m rich so my sister and I can dress up in nice clothes, if not my sister and I would look like horses. I don’t mind if you bash me, I can take it but don’t include my family,” she shares. However, Laureen knew from the very start that this was going to be part of the job and she doesn’t let it stop her from achieving her goals. “Don’t expect to have a lot of followers and not have haters,” she points out. “I’ve learned to accept haters already.”
However, despite the occasional hater, Laureen has a supportive and loving following. “I still get kilig when people message or come up to me and tell me they’ve been following me ever since. It’s not just about telling people what makeup to use, or what clothes to wear, or where to travel. Laureen isn’t just a blogger. To her followers, she’s a friend who gives advice on how to live life to the fullest. “Having influence and touching people’s lives is a wonderful journey.”
The Path Unchosen and the Untold Future
When asked what she would be doing if she wasn’t a blogger, Laureen answers without a doubt, “I want to be part of a creative agency.” Taking Integrated Marketing Communications in the University of Asia and the Pacific, she says she has always been interested in ads and their role in the world. “As cliche as it sounds, you don’t really work a day in your life if you like what you’re doing. It’s about loving your job, being content, being inspired every single day, and that’s what will drive you.”
Photography by Kieran Punay of STUDIO 100