With an Instagram following of over 48k and ever-so aesthetically pleasing self-portraits, Aaron Lin may come across as your archetype fashion and lifestyle influencer. However, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Undergirded by his zeal for all things creative and backed with a psychology and marketing degree, the multifaceted artist forayed into the realm of advertising after his graduation before co-founding HeadQuartors, where he helms the business aspect of the creative house. His penchant for art also saw him taking the reins in photography projects alongside his co-partner Jayden. 

Despite the abounding workload — extrinsic and intrinsic to his day job — his tenacity and positive disposition emboldened him to preserve through and rise to the occasion unceasingly. Taking some time off his busy schedule, Aaron shares with us his thoughts about the local art scene as well as his inspiration and career trajectory. 

How have you been the past couple of months?

I had recently assumed a new role at HeadQuartors, and it has been really fulfilling. As the managing director, there is a lot to be done; I must make sure that the business is thriving. Despite the arduousness, I believe that this promotion is an opportunity for me to expand my horizons. 

Is your Instagram handle (@aaronlin_monroe) an homage to Marilyn Monroe?

Haha yes! Before going for mole removing treatments, I had a visible mole on my face. People would often mock me, and it made me extremely self-conscious. But I guess, over time, I began embracing these features and stopped treatment. Perhaps I could start a fad, and my mole could be my version of the famous beauty mark. 

Let’s talk more about your work. Has the pandemic intercepted any of your plans or projects?

In the beginning, yes. We had to cancel several overseas shoots due to the circuit breaker. One of which involved travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics; I was bummed. However, the silver lining is that the two-month break made me rethink and redevelop our business strategy. As a result, we secured new clients. 

As a creative in Singapore, what are your thoughts about our local art and media scene?

I believe there’s room for us to be more playful, edgy and experimental. 

Have you always wanted to be a creative?

Painting, graphic design and photography have always sparked my interest since young. Despite having great enthusiasm for the arts, my dad has always wanted me to steer towards the sciences. On the contrary, my mom has always supported my decisions. She’s the reason for the person I am today.

What piqued your interest in this field?

I chanced upon a fashion blog called KateLovesMe before I entered university. The insights and visuals in the blog and other magazines opened my eyes to the world of fashion and photography; I had no idea these mediums of art could give someone a new persona and character. Since then, I was inspired to get into the industry.

You pursued a psychology degree. What propelled you to make the switch?

I pursued a double major in Psychology and Marketing. Despite not pursuing a career in the former, I still managed to utilise the knowledge I picked up. Not only has it helped me to deal better with creatives (who are often highly-strung), but it has also enabled me with the skills to sell ideas in a bolder, fresher way. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers or creatives?

Stay practical and grounded. It’s not always going to be about shooting famous people and getting recognised instantly. It’s about being persistent and planning out your vision.

You are one of the co-founders for the creative house HeadQuartors. Can you share with us more about the company?

HeadQuartors is an ecosystem of creative production and content marketing. My business partner, Jayden, and I came from advertising agencies; we have a strong background in this field, which work in our favour as founders. 

You mentioned you handle the business aspect of the HeadQuartors. Can you share with us more about what you do?

Besides executing and conceptualising shoots, I focus heavily on building relationships and expanding our clientele. In the interim, I find ways to diversify our business. 

What projects do you enjoy working on? And can you share with us one of your favourites?

I love most of our commercial projects at HeadQuartors. We’re pretty fortunate as our clients allow us to inject our creativity into the projects. 

I love experimenting with hair and makeup, fashion styling and photography with my models directly. One of my favourites is the shoot I did during Chinese New Year with Hanwei (from Basic Model). It caused quite the stir and made fashion statements around COVID-19 CNY restrictions.

How would you describe your photography style?

I am pretty bipolar in terms of personal taste. Like my fashion sense, I like bold shapes and exuberant prints, and at the same time, minimalistic designs speak to me. I guess it really depends on the concept and mood of the day. 

Where do you look for inspiration?

I trawl through Instagram a lot. I save the photos that inspire me for future references and pick up techniques from photographers alike. 

Aside from work, we see that you’ve done a couple of modelling jobs and represented several brands on your Instagram profile. Would you also consider yourself an influencer? And what do you think of the term “influencer”?

What is an influencer? This is a question I ask myself all the time, and I know it is definitely not just about looking pretty in a selfie with a sponsored product. Personally, an influencer is someone who doesn’t follow trends but starts them. It’s always going to be a work in progress when it comes to developing your brand and finding your unique voice. 

Lastly, what is one thing that nobody knows about you?

Well, I have aichmophobia – the fear of sharp objects. I get super uncomfortable when people point things like pens or knives at me. So I would appreciate it if you don’t do that around me!

Credits

Photography: Jayden @jaydenation
Hair & Makeup: Benji @benjioo
Behind-the-scene: Becca @beccabeczten
Outfits: Moncler, Rimowa and Gentlemonster
Header Image: Kenneth Choong @scheeeep
Thumbnail: Becca @beccabeczten

written by.
Amos Chin
Fashion and beauty aficionado by day; idiosyncratic (i think) Spotify Playlist Curator by night. Knows a thing or two about tattoos.

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