"Different people have different perceptions of luxury."
This is one of the things that Singapore-based Filipina teenager Zoe Gabriel learned after her TikTok video in which she described a Charles and Keith tote bag as a luxury item went viral. The bag costs S$80.
On Wednesday morning, Gabriel spoke on ANC's "Headstart" and said that despite the negative online reactions she received from an innocent post, she tried to maintain a positive mindset by focusing on the good things in her life.
“The way that I ground myself is I try to spend as much time with my family as possible and focus on all the good things that I have instead of all the negative comments that have been appearing,” she said.
Gabriel said she grew up not having a lot, and pointed out that the perception of luxury can vary depending on one's financial situation.
“We weren’t well off. Eighty dollars was a really big value to me so that’s, at first, why I considered it a luxury bag. But as this whole situation started to progress and I reflected and looked back, I also learned that luxury does mean different things to other people,” she said.
“One of the things that I learned from other people is that luxury can also mean privilege – something that you’re privileged to have.”
After everything that happened, Gabriel said she has learned to appreciate the journey and find happiness in it.
“That’s what my parents always say. So, that’s what I’m trying to do and remember as this whole thing continues to unfold,” she said.
When asked what her message is to the online community after the incident, she said: “As much as possible, strive to be kind because ultimately you’re still gonna be talking to real people on the internet. You just can’t see them but they still have real feelings. We should just be careful and be kind.”
After going viral with her “luxury bag” clip on TikTok, Gabriel had the chance to visit the headquarters of brand Charles and Keith. She met Keith, one of the founders of the brand and they had lunch and a lot of fun.
Currently, she and her family are in the Philippines for a vacation.