People made fun of her on TikTok for calling a $60 Charles & Keith purse a 'luxury' item. Then the brand's founders got in touch.
A TikToker named Zoe Gabriel was mocked in January for calling a $60 purse her "first luxury bag."
After the backlash, the brand's founders offered her lunch and a modeling gig.
Gabriel also collaborated with the budget airline AirAsia in a series of promotional TikToks.
A Singapore-based teenager who viewers mocked online for calling a $60 bag as a "luxury" item has managed to leverage her online fame into at least one brand partnership.
In January, 17-year-old Zoe Gabriel shared a TikTok captioned "thank you dad." In the video, Gabriel — who goes by @zohtaco and has 250,000 followers on the platform — unboxes a black-leather tote bag from Charles & Keith. The Singaporean brand is known for its inexpensive shoes, bags, and accessories. The brand has 600 stores globally.
thank you dad
♬ Glitch - Just audios
Users flocked to the comments to mock Gabriel for describing the bag, which costs around 80 Singapore dollars, or about $60, as a luxury item. The video went viral, accruing over 22.7 million views and 2.3 million likes as of March 20.
@zohtaco Replying to @cressy ♬ original sound - zoe 🦋
In a tearful response video to a now-deleted comment that read "who's gonna tell her?" followed by a laughing emoji, Gabriel defended her choice of the term "luxury."
"To you, an $80 bag may not be a luxury. For me and my family, it is a lot, and I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money," Gabriel said in her video, which has garnered over 7.7 million views and over half a million likes as of March 20.
Some people rose to Gabriel's defense and consoled her in the video's comments. "You have a good and caring dad," read a comment with almost 30,000 likes.
Some also tagged the Charles & Keith TikTok account, asking the brand to "do something."
The brand's founders, the brothers Charles and Keith Wong, invited Gabriel to have lunch with them and tour the company's headquarters. They also gifted her more bags and vouchers, according to Singaporean outlet The Straits Times. Gabriel shared a photo on Instagram of herself and her dad outside the company's headquarters, writing of the experience, "it was so fun, everybody was so nice and accommodating."
And it didn't stop there.
On March 4, the brand shared a picture of Gabriel modeling one of its bags on its Instagram account and wrote that she is now a community ambassador for Charles & Keith.
The teen has also since featured in a series of promotional TikTok videos with AirAsia, a Malaysian budget airline, though it's unclear if the partnership was a direct result of the online backlash Gabriel received.
On March 18, AirAsia posted a video to its official TikTok page. In it, Gabriel dances to PinkPantheress and Ice Spice's "Boy's a Liar Pt. 2" while donning an AirAsia flight-attendant uniform. The video has accrued more than 1 million views as of March 20.
@flyairasia Dare to dream with @zoe 🦋 ♬ original sound - smokinaftereat
The next day, Gabriel posted a TikTok of herself on a flight to Kuala Lumpur, courtesy of AirAsia. In the video, she samples various hot meals and meets the pilots.
Gabriel, AirAsia, and representatives for Charles & Keith did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
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