When it comes to fashion in the digital era, Bryanboy and Susie Bubble are the OG - they were some of the first fashion bloggers to be internationally recognised.
We sat down with the two mega influencers – Bryan Gray Yambao, known as Bryanboy (@bryanboycom), who is now based in Sweden with his husband and their dog Bettina Buffé; and Susanna Lau, known also as Susie Bubble or Susie Lau, who lives in London with her baby Nico to whom she has dedicated her life to.
Here, the two pair talk about their views on the concept of followers and real life. Not just appearances, but the true bonds they share.
LO: You both have a very interesting background. How do your cultural origins influence your work?
Bryanboy (BB): My parents taught me how important it is to work hard and never take anything for granted. Unlike many other fashion industry's professionals, I do not have a significant family behind me, I am completely on my own.
Susie Bubble (SB): I am very proud of my Chinese origins. Even if it doesn't play a decisive role in my professional pursuit, it does mean a lot when it comes to diversity and arts. Especially when I travel back to Hong Kong (where Susie's family is from), I admire those designers who express their cultural roots through their works.
Are there any people that you consider as close as a real family?
BB: There are many people that I consider my family, my closest fellow and friends are Susie Lau, Tina Leung, Declan Chan and Veronika Heilbrunner. The idea that it is impossible to make friends in the fashion world is one of the myths of our times. There are always a lot of fantastic people out there.
SB: I would say that the people in my 'fashion family' are Bryan (Bryanboy), Tina Leung, Phil Oh (Mr. Street Peeper from Vogue) and Tommy Ton; we have been growing and building our career path together in this industry.
Has your family changed the balance between private life and professional life?
BB: For me, I am very lucky to have a very loving and considerate partner who allows me to do whatever I want and I don't need to compromise between career and private life. We have been together for about ten years and he has always been with me from the time when I was still living in the Philippines and we love our life in Sweden now.
SB: I would say that now I put my daughter Nico's priorities ahead of anything. I want to give her as much attention and companionship as I can. This is also the reason why I prefer not to hire a babysitter.
What do you think about the idea of posting pictures of children on social networks? Is it an issue you are concerned about?
BB: Every parent knows what is best for their children and for themselves. However, if I have children of my own, I think a cute photo would be enough from time to time. I wouldn't focus on them for my social media content. As a father, I would respect my children's right to privacy.
SB: I pay attention to the frequency of Nico's appearance in my social content, or sometimes I upload it as Instagram Stories – which are just temporary. I do not think those photos are a big deal, although I am aware of the possibility of fading out from the internet someday in the future.
What do you think of the policy regarding LGBT families? Are famous people more fortunate than "ordinary" people who face many difficulties every day to be themselves?
BB: Thanks to the Obama administration, same-sex marriages in the United States became legal in 2015. It was time for it to happen, as several European countries had already taken steps to regularize civil unions twenty years ago.
I firmly believe in equality and I think that everyone has the right to create a family, whether through adoption or surrogate motherhood. It is sad to see politics and religion exploit these principles to divide people. LGBT rights are clearly under threat, especially if we think of the political tendencies that now prevail in the world and the rise of right-wing populism, nationalism and conservative parties.
SB: I know many families who believe in a better world. For me, 'different' or non-traditional families fall into the LGBT category. I do not believe that famous people have an advantage over ordinary people, because fortunately, now certain situations are considered normal in many societies.
Bryan, do you ever think of becoming a father and building a family with your husband and your "daughter" Bettina Buffé?
*Bettina Buffé is the baby Swedish Min Pin dog that belongs to the couple.
BB: Absolutely yes. Families are formed either by nature or because they choose to take care of someone. I dream of having a baby one day (my husband would like a boy), but the costs of surrogacy are prohibitive. I would like to have millions of euros, hidden under the mattress. And then there is the option to adopt. There are so many children in the world who need a loving family. I have always looked to adoptive parents as modern heroes.
Photos by Jessica Sidenros @soderbergagentur