Influencer hopefuls seek to spread positivity using social media
Gain City's I Can Be An Influencer contest will see 11 finalists vie for role as full-time professional influencer
Losing her left leg did not stop Ms Rosalina Oktavia from walking a runway.
The 28-year-old ambassador for the Models of Diversity charity not only got to strut her stuff as part of the Singapore Fashion Runway initiative in 2017, she is now setting her sights on becoming a full-time professional influencer by joining Gain City's I Can Be An Influencer 2019 contest.
The search for Singapore's first next-generation influencer started in August and garnered more than 1,600 entries, with a total of 27 semi-finalists and four wild-card contestants in the running for the title.
The competition unearthed aspiring content creators from all walks of life, each with their own story on how social media played an important part to create positive changes in them and hope for others.
The finals will be held at Gain City Megastore @ Sungei Kadut on Nov 10 at 2pm, with 15 finalists taking their content creation skills to the next level by creatively marketing selected Gain City products live.
The winner will be awarded a three-year endorsement contract worth $100,000 by Gain City and a cash prize.
Hoping to use this larger social media platform to change the way beauty and disability are perceived and break stigmas and stereotypes, Ms Oktavia told The New Paper: "People usually think that those with prosthetic legs are very shy and prefer to stay at home, but I want to change that mindset.
"I want people to look at me like a normal person and know that we can still be very fashionable and outgoing even with our disability."
But this current optimism did not come easy for the former midwife, who found out thather leg had to be amputated in 2015 to save her life after complications from a surgery to correct a torn tendon caused by a motorbike accident in 2009.
Revealing that she felt extremely stressed and useless after the amputation, she said she refused to talk to or see anyone for a month.
She said: "But the wake-up call came when my father told me he was very sad to see me behave like this and he wished he could give his leg to me."
She picked herself up, determined to survive and thrive, no matter how difficult the path was going to be.
Now a Singapore permanent resident, Ms Oktavia - a clinic assistant who used to be a part-time cashier at Gain City - said it was her ex-husband who created an Instagram account for her, kick-starting her modelling career.
She said: "He loves taking photographs, so when I started posting more, many people realised I was quite different as I was wearing a prosthetic leg.
"They approached me for collaborations and I realised this could be a platform for me to spread awareness.
"I want people to know that models don't have to be perfect and beauty is not about how you look, it is how confident you are as a person."
Another I Can Be An Influencer hopeful with a cause is Mr Glenn Cheow, a 20-year-old polytechnic student.
He was involved in many scuffles during his secondary school days, but his life changed after a fight that took place when he was 16.
The punches landed him in hospital, and he received a caning after a Teachers' Day celebration as punishment, which subsequently brought him to his senses.
Mr Cheow told TNP: "When I saw my friends leaving the school so happily while I got caned, I realised that those people I was hanging out with were not my real friends.
"And that was not the life I should be having, which was why I wanted to turn over a new leaf."
Social media was a friendly refuge for him and a healthy, non-violent outlet to express himself, regain focus and exert influence, said Mr Cheow.
"After that incident, I came across two (US) YouTubers - Roman Atwood and Alex Wassabi - who were spreading very positive messages via their little gestures and word usages.
"Since then, I wanted to also play a part in spreading positivity in other people's lives."