Blogger Jo Phua over the years has gained international recognition, travelling the world and meeting new faces; Jo’s modest and lovely personality has captured the hearts of not only her readers but also industry professionals. A student studying a degree in Commerce at the University of Sydney while working full time as well as, of course, running her blog “Bam It’s Joanne”; Jo has quite the busy schedule. In 2012, Jo founded FABSOC, a university fashion society which has since spread its wings domestically and is soon to be found in eight universities across Australia. At such a young age, she has already travelled most of the world, utilising her passion for digital marketing and styling in an almost daily routine.
I recently met up with Jo to discuss a little about her blog and to get her thoughts on what’s going on in social media.
1.How’d you get started blogging and what inspired you?
I literally started posting photos on my blog because you know when people started blogging like “today I had KFC for lunch” I did that, but I wasn’t just focusing on fashion. I realised my outfit posts got more attention and I started narrowing it down into a fashion blog. Now I’m doing the opposite, trying to broaden my profile a little more, post beauty and travel.
2.What’s behind the name “Bam it’s Joanne”?
It’s so lame. My main reason was because it rhymed and it was catchy. Back then I never would have thought of making money out of it, for example. I didn’t realise people would notice it, it was kind of my own thing. But now even some of my friends call me “Bam”.
3. What are the most fulfilling aspects about fashion blogging for you?Probably meeting readers, meeting people I would have never met otherwise.
4. Despite your hectic schedule, how do you manage to run your blog, go to uni and balance work?
I honestly don’t think I’m sleeping enough, haha. I go home, I work on my blog and freelance stuff, and the same during my lunch break. I think it’s about self-control. If you go on your Instagram for three hours, which could have been time spent putting out a blog post or something like that. I’m not like a machine or anything though, I’m still struggling like everyone else. But it’s fun, I enjoy being busy and enjoy the challenging aspect of juggling everything. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you don’t feel like you’re working.
5. When did you realise your blog was becoming bigger than you expected?
I think it’s when I had to respond to my emails a lot more. At the end of the day, when I started making friends through the blog, and brands approach you. Thinking “I can’t believe this brand approached me”, “Are they looking for the wrong Jo?”, “Am I actually here?”, “Why are they paying me?” I guess that’s when it happens. I don’t see it as my blog is blowing up, more like someone is just appreciating your world.
6. Despite your hectic schedule, how do you look so put together?
I wish my answer was like one of those people who plan outfits but I’m not organised at all. I wake up and dress in whatever I feel like. I have to wake up early and wear whatever suits the weather because I get really cold. I’m not one of those people who can go to uni exams in sweatpants, I think when I’m put together I feel more confident.
7. What was your mindset behind starting FABSOC?
I started it in Sydney Uni, they were all in FMAA [commerce society]. They were all like “Jo you should join” and I love societies but I wasn’t interested at all. I was thinking “What do I like?”, but why isn’t there a fashion society? I mean there’s a beer appreciation society, a chocolate society… people love fashion and all my friends I hang out with like fashion. I sent a text to all my friends asking if they were interested, thinking no one would reply and within ten minutes I had everyone replying “Why didn’t we think of this?” If it wasn’t for my friend’s support, then I wouldn’t have done any of this.
8. Recently there’s been a lot of uproar about how social media isn’t real, what are your thoughts on this and do you think your blog plays any role this?
I’ve had this discussion so many times with my friends, because we’re all bloggers and we all do realise that half of it isn’t real. We make fun of ourselves all the time like every time we order food for example, we would like stop and take photos for like 20 minutes trying to get the best angle and we’d laugh at ourselves. That’s how you know you’re at a blogger lunch, your food is cold by the time you eat it. We don’t take it really seriously, I think when you start to take it seriously that’s when it fucks with your head. You’re like “shit”, you’re so absorbed by it. If you treat it as a fun thing it’s alright. I completely agree with Essena, because of her I was off of Instagram for a week. Even right now, I’m slowing Instagram down. I feel like it does screw up your thoughts, the numbers of followers matter to you so much. When you’re at 10k you want 20k and when you’re at 20k you want a million. I completely agree with that, especially when brands come up to you and go “we will sponsor you once you hit 15k” and you ask yourself why you’re defined by a number. There are people out there who buy followers, why do you feel the need to do that? I feel that bloggers, myself included, are so insecure about this. Why do you need outside validation? I feel like that’s what’s happening in the blogosphere and I don’t want to be sucked into that anymore. Now I feel like I’m doing it because it’s what makes me happy. I’d rather do something useful, like with styling someone comes in, you dress them up. You give them confidence and they leave generally grateful saying “Jo, you changed my life”. You give them a fresh perspective, and it’s not just clothes, it goes down to their heart. I like that so much more than blogging so I get free clothes.
I’m excited to see what the ambitious Jo has in stall next!