Pardesi Interviews: Ann Lopez
Ann Lopez is a Singaporean influencer, digital media student and entrepreneur. She founded and runs Khara, a company which makes and sells fine jewellery. Her instagram feed is filled with stunning photos celebrating her Indian heritage and her passion for social issues infiltrates some of her commentaries.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
Born and raised in Singapore and having been exposed to various cultures around the world at a tender age, I grew to relish in the beauty of diversity. The intertwined experiences from working overseas, cultural roots, and my ever so burning-with-curiosity nature makes me driven to adapt in a world that's constantly changing. I am passionate about digital media and the communications landscape, and therefore I'm currently pursuing my undergraduate studies at a university in Singapore. During the day, I'm a full-time university student and I'm an entrepreneur, model and digital creator. I've always loved social work and have been volunteering with various communities since 7 years old. So much of the woman I am today ties to my family, the choices they make, and how they have lived their lives.
What is it like navigating the influencer world as a woman of colour?
It's been an eye-opener because there are so few women of colour personalities in Singapore. To me, actions speak louder than words, regardless of skin, age or gender. Everything starts with you. It’s important to find your purpose and pursuit in life, as well as forging a support system when the going gets tough. Taking the leap, building my own voice and living life purposefully holds dear to me which is why I use my platform to create spaces for change. My grandparents and mother have instilled in me that humility is above all luxury and fame that the world can offer. That has been my foundation and philosophy when it came to working as a model, influencer and as an entrepreneur!
What inspired you to start a jewellery business?
I am inquisitive by nature and have always been fond of stretching my mind with new experiences. My spirit's playful nature has always been accessorizing too. Having been exposed to various cultures, I wanted to bring a fusion of East and West back to life, and something I could call my own.
A key part of your feed is raising awareness for social issues in Singapore, and Khara is donating 20% of all profits to Singapore Migrant Friends - what made you choose this specific cause?
My feed is a curation of the things I love and which mean something of significance to me. I wouldn't say that advocating for social issues is a key part of my feed but I enjoy sharing a slice of pressing socials which matter. In the context of Singapore, the rise in COVID-19 cases was due to lack of national testing at early stages. As a result, there was a spark increase in cases amongst the migrant workers in Singapore. I wanted Khara to give back to the unsung heros, who have built my nation above and beyond.
What do you think is the most pressing social issue currently which needs to be addressed?
A well-rounded education. Our world changes too fast. One second it's there, the next minute it's a distant memory (banked in our phones, for the most of us). Education is the pillar of any nation, it provides us with perspective, builds opinions and helps us gain the knowledge and skill sets to better ourselves in the world we live in. However, with the rise of inflation globally, the access to public education, student debt crisis, college drop-outs takes center-stage when it comes to career limitations and rising costs of public education for my generation. Education is a life-long journey. The importance of traditional education is getting lost amidst the strong influence of the internet world on today’s generation. Many younger generations have belittled the importance of acquiring formal education.
If you could go back and tell your 12 year old self something, what would it be?
Be tender with vulnerability, and let it unfold where it needs to. Celebrate your failures the most because life will continuously throw you the same hardships in 101 ways until you successfully learn how to overcome mastering it.
What are your ambitions and goals for the future?
There are so many things I'd love to explore once I graduate. From digital marketing to consumer behaviour to international marketing, I aspire to make meaningful impacts in my career and continue using my platform this way. As Toni Morisson quotes, “I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.'”
You can find Ann Lopez here