IT’S not unheard of for one to have multiple experiences in varying industries throughout their career. Just like Gan Jie Eau, also known as Happy Gan. With a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting, Gan landed her very first job as a womenswear assistant buyer at the retail conglomerate Parkson, before relocating to China for six months, and eventually working as a negotiator in the real estate industry.
Following those stints, the 31-year-old finally discovered her passion for hosting TV programmes when the opportunity presented itself. As a TV host for 8TV’s 8 E-News, Gan covers entertainment news from all around Asia ranging from celebrity gossip to the latest trends on TV, music and movies.
She candidly shares: “Is it weird to say that I love talking? I’ve always imagined myself being on TV, and 8TV has given me that chance, which I grabbed immediately.”
Share with us the years leading up to your current gig as a TV host.
“Shortly after graduating from college, I had my first job as a womenswear assistant buyer at Parkson and later relocated to China for six months as an assistant general manager at another company.
“After coming back, I joined the real estate industry as a negotiator, and that was a really challenging period of time for me. I had to put up with immense pressure from my peers, on top of other challenges, while trying to survive the industry when it was at its lowest.
“Looking back, I don’t know how I manage to pull through six months of not getting paid, but it took a turn for the better when I eventually worked my way up the ladder and became the best negotiator at the real estate firm I was working for.
“When I decided to call it quits, I saw a bulletin posted by 8TV about an audition for a TV host for their programme 8 E-News. I tried my luck and gave it a go, and got the job.”
Have you always been so charismatic speaking in front of a live audience? “I wouldn’t say so. Since hosting a TV show was something very different from what I was doing previously, so I do have a certain level of fear each time I present the news, which is being broadcasted live on TV.
“There’s no such thing as ‘being fearless’ because there really isn’t any room for mistakes to be made on live TV. Instead of conquering the fear, over the years, I’ve built up my courage and I find it best to just live with it.”
What do you find most interesting being a part of the broadcasting industry?
“As time changes, we as TV hosts need to change with time and figure out what the audience wants. It also helps in term of self-growth, asking questions like: ‘Who am I, and what are my qualities as a TV host that captured the attention of the viewers?’ It’s very interesting to reflect upon that from time to time, because I’ve realised that I’ve changed so much along this journey.”
You recently launched a wardrobe rental portal, Fascino. What drove you to start a fashion business?
“For a period of time, I was thinking how can I contribute to society and the people around me … That prompted me to start a wardrobe rental portal because I too, struggled to find new clothes to wear whenever I need to attend events, which if you really think about it, is such a waste of money.
“As someone who dislikes shopping but cares for the environment, I really think a rental platform is [better] for the environment, for others and for myself.
“The idea, however, isn’t entirely new. There were a few in Malaysia but they couldn’t sustain themselves in the long run, because in order to pull this off, we need to educate the audience.”
How do you see wardrobe rental services evolving?
“If you think every day is exciting [in terms of] fashion, then there’s absolutely nothing that can stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to worry about overdressing or underdressing, and most importantly spending money without guilt.
“I’d like to think Fascino is a platform for women to be able to live out loud, and make the right choices when purchasing clothing. I want to form a community of sisterhood to share inspirations, so that we can express our style to the fullest, while we learn more about ourselves together.”
Looking back on your journey and your many milestones, have you always envisioned this for yourself?
“To be frank, for the longest time I was mindlessly navigating through life, I was completely lost, but one thing I was sure of was that I see myself making a difference in people’s lives; I wanted to change someone’s life in one way or another.
“For some reason, I couldn’t envision a future of any kind for myself; I didn’t know what I was going to do, but when I hit 30, it was a huge turning point for me. I’ve become more ambitious, setting goals and imagining who I would be one day, as well as growing my very own brand.
“I strongly believe in the Law of Attraction, hence I tend to materialise my aspirations and thoughts by surrounding myself with good people and company.”