From blogging to YouTube videos
GETAWAY: Actress and host May Phua on holiday in Bali with her sons Ix Shang, 11, and Keyan, seven. PHOTO: MAY PHUA'S INSTAGRAM
YouTube Channel: May Phua
For almost 20 years, she played numerous roles on TV, but actress-host May Phua is happy to give audiences a peek into her real life.
"I had been blogging for a while, but I found it quite one-sided. People now have no time to read, but when you upload a video of yourself, you feel very real to them," the 40-year-old mum of two said.
"There were times when some people mistook me as a bad person, because I had played some bad characters. But through my website and videos, I can share who I am and people can respond to me."
While she is now primarily focused on raising her family, Phua still takes on occasional acting and hosting gigs, and will appear in upcoming drama The Revenge Queen alongside fellow actress Jesseca Liu.
Phua's website, which she has been running for two years, focuses on her three interests - family, fashion and beauty, and travel.
She started uploading YouTube videos last year, some of which feature her two sons Ix Shang, 11, and Keyan, seven.
Phua's husband, who works in sales, is mostly absent from her videos.
"I can't afford to pay him," Phua joked. "He will only appear as a daddy (on camera) if he has no choice."
A recent series of episodes, uploaded earlier this month, showed Phua and her sons on a family holiday in Bali. Phua shared tips on how to involve children in learning about their vacation destinations, as well as practical advice on how to get taxis in Bali.
"I had already done the research for the trip, so I wanted to share them with other parents."
Phua also plans to upload another video on her family's visit to the Kupu-Kupu Foundation, which helps children with disabilities in Bali.
"It was a very educational visit for the boys and for me as well," she said. "I learned it's good to expose children to underprivileged kids at a young age."
Phua said that over time, her boys have become comfortable on camera.
"In earlier videos, they were shy, but they have now learned to express themselves better. In fact, they have become quite opinionated and will give me more ideas on what they think the videos should be like, which is more of a challenge," she added.
The former MediaCorp artist manages her website and YouTube channel with the help of her own media company Celevi. Each episode is typically shot with a four-person crew.
Phua declined to reveal how much she has invested in her website and videos, but said with a laugh that it was "a lot".
Having sponsors would be a bonus, she said, but she does not intend to turn her site into a business and will concentrate on producing meaningful content for now.
Phua is delighted that other local celebs have been setting up their own family-focused websites.
"We're media industry people, so it's in our blood. We should get together and do a collaboration... that would be fun," she said.