Asian-Australian fashion, food and travel blogger, Tara Milk Tea, shares her story of how she got started in the world of social photography and how her heritage has influenced her style. Tara is 1 of 10 young Aussies talking to us via SBS 2 Facebook live video this month for #SBSUncensored.
4 Jul 2016 - 4:05 PM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2016 - 10:44 AM

Tara Milk Tea is a new breed of Australian blogger; sharing her own delicately assembled food fancies, travel dreams and flat-lay fashion photography purely via Instagram to an audience of 335,000 followers. 

From humble, haphazard beginnings to now working with some of Australia's most well-known travel industry brands, Tara Milk Tea sat down with us to explain how her bi-cultural background and collaborative projects with people from all walks of life, inform her fresh outlook on fashion, food, and what it means to be a young Australian. 

Tara makes up one of ten young social influencers set to go-live on SBS 2 Facebook this month as part of SBS Uncensored: a project where young Australians can talk openly about what issues matter to them.  

Catch her live @ 6pm on Tuesday, July 5 on SBS 2.

  

On how she got started...

Tara says:

When I first started Instagram there was quite a big fashion thing that was developing... and I just became really interested in that. I first started posting random stuff; trying to develop my photography skills in general, and then fashion became a hobby and then after that came travel and food.  And now I try to do as much of it as possible: fashion, food and travel all in one!

In 2010 I got my first camera - a digital camera – and it was mine! And I started taking photos of just things like - a flower – or just really basic things. Probably the first photo I took was of something like an eye; something really obscure. 

Then in 2013, I got a design internship at a small fashion label and they got me to run their social media. I think at the time my personal account had just under 1000 followers, and they were like ‘oh you know how to use social media, you can run our account!’ and so I did that for six months. And it sort of made me more aware of what I was posting. I started caring more and curating more.

If I look back to 2013 at the sort of things I was posting, I’m like, ‘what was I thinking!’ but it sort of became a learning curve from there.

 

 

On having a mixed background...

Tara says:

My mum is Singaporean and my dad is Australian. We celebrate all the holidays, like Chinese New Year, Easter, Christmas, Australia Day.  And honestly, I think I really did grow up experiencing the best of both cultures living in Sydney. 

I feel like I am Australian and that I really identify with Australia culture but at the same time, I think I get a lot of Asian influence because my mum was the main one to raise my sister and I until I was like 11 years old because my dad used to be a ship captain. So he would be away for 3 months at a time...

It’s really funny sometimes when I meet other half-Asians they have a really strong Australian influence… and I think mine leans a bit more toward the Asian side because of my mum. I have a lot of traditional characteristics that come from her. 

It’s interesting to think about it because it’s just so normal to me. I do have a Caucasian boyfriend and sometimes I have certain ideas about things that are generally more ‘conservative Asian’ and he’ll be like – ‘that’s really weird’ and I’ll be like, ‘that’s my mum in me talking’. 

 

 

And I do have a quite a large Asian following on Instagram – like Australian Asians. I went to school in [Sydney's] Ryde and it was very multicultural. I think that’s really affected me and my style, too.

I guess my content does cater to my Asian fan base. I do really like cute Asian things and when I post about them, I think that attracts them [my fans]. 

But I don’t pay attention to just one audience, I try to be as diverse as possible… like I try not to always do food, even though I love doing food, and it is my most popular content.

Food is the one thing that everyone has in common.

 

 

On making friends through Instagram...

Tara says:

My friend hosts a picnic called, ‘The sweetest picnic’ – she does this every few months where she’ll get new and upcoming bakers or established Instagram bakers to contribute stuff and then invite food bloggers and photographers she knows to come along to help promote the bakers – it’s a really cool concept – every time we go we all get a sugar rush.  

Sometimes I’ll have met someone on Instagram and we’ll just go and shoot together, like landscapes or depending on what they’re good at – I like to work with all kinds of people. And then sometimes I just go to events in general that are organized by brands and companies to promote products or restaurants or – every time it’s different.

Instagram itself also really promotes ‘InstaMeets’ where they have an annual worldwide InstaMeets where they say on this day, 'everyone get together and meet your Instagram community' and that inspires tourism boards or brands to get involved. I’ve been to one in Dubai and the turn-out can be 100+ people.

I have another friend called Dennis, who or organises ‘Sydney night InstaMeets’ which is a niche event in photography, where everyone comes along and does a walk around, set up spots to focus on night photography – and meeting other people who are interested in all of that.

It’s really interesting to go to some of them even though I am not specifically part of that field, but just to meet people from different areas!

I have honestly just liked someone’s photos a few times and then gone to a city and said, ‘let’s meet up’ - you just make friends really easily. 

 

 

Tara makes up one of ten young social influencers set to go-live on SBS 2 Facebook this month as part of SBS Uncensored: a project where young Australians can talk openly about what issues matter to them.  

Tara was live @ 6pm on Tuesday, July 5 on SBS 2. Catch up on her livestream here:

 

Find out when to tune in
SBS Uncensored: 10 young Aussies coming to you LIVE on SBS 2 Facebook
SBS Uncensored brings to you ten young Aussies from around the country to talk on what matters to them when it comes to making a better Australia. LIVE on SBS 2 Facebook this month; get in on #SBSUncensored.