Zoe Gabriel (born 2005) is a Singapore-based Filipino content creator most active on TikTok and Instagram. She was named an Ambassador for Charles & Keith’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign on 4 March 2023.
Early life & family
Zoe was born and raised in the Philippines as a child, but her family moved to Singapore in 2010. She is the eldest of 4 siblings and has a brother Ziv, 16, and two sisters, Zya and Zen, who are 7 and 3 respectively. Not much information is available about her parents, but her father, Donny, works as a mechanical engineer and her mother, Gretchen, is a homemaker.
According to an interview with The Straits Times, Zoe completed her primary education at Yishun Primary School. She was in Secondary 2 at Orchid Park Secondary School when she had to drop out as her parents could not afford the school fees. She is currently homeschooled, taking a self-study curriculum with an international school in the United States.
Content creator (2022 - Present)
Zoe started creating TikTok videos in February of 2022, her first video being one of her lip syncing to a popular fan made audio from Avatar: The Last Airbender. As of March 2023, she has amassed a total of 243.9K followers and 5 million likes.
Zoe is also active on Instagram, where she has 28.8K followers.
Being laughed at for calling Charles & Keith “luxury” (January 2023)
On 8 January 2023, Zoe posted a video to TikTok. In it, she and her father go down to a Charles & Keith outlet in Singapore to buy one of their tote bags. Zoe also calls the purchase “[her] first luxury bag” in the title captions. Some TikTok users, however, were quick to mock her and point out that Charles & Keith is “not considered” a luxury brand.
Later that same day, Zoe responded to one of these comments in a separate video. In this video, Zoe explains her humble background and talks about privilege. Both videos went viral, accumulating a total of around 30 million views as of March 2023.
Getting a personal invite to the Charles & Keith headquarters by the founders
After the TikTok incident, Charles & Keith invited Zoe and her father to have lunch with their founders Charles and Keith Wong on 11 January 2023, as well as tour their headquarters on 12 January 2023.
“Our hearts really went out to Zoe, but we were so impressed with (how gracefully) she handled the situation, displaying wisdom far beyond her years and values that resonated with us greatly. Our founders believe that our products should spark joy, empower fashion lovers and give them confidence, something we believe she presented so eloquently in her video and for which we are so grateful.”
The brand themselves have maintained a low profile during the incident, but they have mentioned that they gifted Zoe “with products and vouchers”. However, they declined to comment on potential sponsorships or collaborations.
Becoming a Charles & Keith ambassador (March 2023)
On 4 March 2023, Zoe was selected as an Ambassador for Charles & Keith’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign. In this campaign, Zoe and 22 other women promote the brand’s Alia purse in purple, a limited edition colour for this event, in partnership with the UN Women’s ‘Storytelling for Gender Equality’ programme.
CNN Philippines interview (2023)
Zoe appeared on CNN Philippines’ News Night segment for an interview on 13 January 2023. In it, she breaks down the incident and what she felt while going through it, as well as why she responded to some of the comments in the first place.
“I’m really excited when I receive things and I’m super grateful… It's just my way of showing appreciation to the giver, showing that I do enjoy the gift. I did not expect this to blow up, and I’m grateful for everyone who has shown their love and support thus far… I understand how hard it is, sometimes, to understand that we do have differing perspectives, but we try our best regardless.”
ABS-CBN News Channel interview (2023)
On 25 January 2023, Zoe appeared on ABS-CBN programme Headstart, where she shared what she learned following the “luxury bag” incident. Zoe also briefly talks about her family during the interview.
“Find joy in the journey… that’s what my parents always say and that’s what I’ve been trying to do and trying to remember as this whole thing continues to unfold.”
AirAsia Content Partnership on Mothership (2023) (2023)
In a Mothership article published on 18 March 2023, Zoe gained traction again for a series of TikTok videos on AirAsia's page. One of the three released TikTok videos garnered over 1.1M views on TikTok in just three days. In the comment section, there were many cheering Zoe on for her success and growth while some commenters criticized the airline for its wrong choice of ambassador. At the time of writing, neither Zoe nor AirAsia have revealed any content partnerships.
- zohtaco. TikTok. n.d. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- zoeaaleah. Instagram. n.d. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- Tan, Fiona. “S’pore teen, 17, shamed over Charles & Keith luxury bag is now modelling for brand”. Mothership.sg. March 4, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- Lim, Louisa. “Teen meets Charles & Keith founders after TikTok video on ‘luxury bag’ goes viral”. The Straits Times. January 12, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- Lim, Louisa. “‘Charles & Keith girl’ Zoe Gabriel on life before and after her new-found fame”. The Straits Times. March 9, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- zohtaco. “no caption”. TikTok. February 13, 2022. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- zohtaco. “thank you dad ”. TikTok. January 8, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- zohtaco. “Replying to @cressy i am so happy and grateful for you, that you can consider charles and keith not a luxury. also btw if you google it, lots of sources do classify them as a luxury brand. so.”. TikTok. January 8, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- zoeaaleah. ““women are like flowers: our time and needs to grow may not always align, but that is okay. we are like fields of poppy and lakes of lotus - diverse and bold in our differences, beautiful in our own ways. this international women’s day, let us celebrate with compassion. let us celebrate with equality through equity, the way flowers do.” link in bio to read & shop the edit. 🌷💜 #charleskeithcares #iwd2023 @charleskeithofficial”. Instagram. March 4, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- “International Women’s Day 2023”. Charles & Keith. n.d. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- CNN Philippines. “Tiktok teen na nag-post ng kanyang bag, na-bash | News Night”. YouTube. January 13, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- ANC 24/7. “Filipino TikToker shares learnings after backlash from 'luxury bag' post | ANC”. YouTube. January 25, 2023. Accessed on 9 March 2023.
- Min-Wei, Tan "After Charles & Keith modelling gig, S'pre teen, 17, now creating content with Airasia". Mothership. March 18, 2023. Accessed 19 March 2023
- flyairasia. "Dare to dream with @zoe 🦋". TikTok. March 18,2023. Accessed 19 March 2023.