jianhao tan Debbie soon
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Some may say that intertwining professional and personal life is a recipe for disaster, but for influencer couple JianHao Tan and Debbie Soon, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

For those who aren’t in the know, JianHao started as a YouTuber and is now the CEO of his own media and entertainment company, Titan Digital Media, which has jointly achieved over 7 million subscribers on YouTube.

His wife, Debbie, is a talent managed by the media company, and the duo often work together on various YouTube web series.

JianHao first met Debbie at a pet shop, where Debbie worked as a pet groomer. Love-stricken, JianHao kept bringing his Pomeranian back to the store so that he could see her again. The couple eventually started dating in 2015, and by 2019, they officially tied the knot.

Debbie, who initially had little to no experience, was roped into the media scene by JianHao shortly after they started dating. Today, apart from being an influencer, she runs her jewellery shop, The Starry Co., which sells diamond simulant jewellery pieces.

With their hands busy with their businesses while also working together under Titan Digital Media, how do they navigate working together professionally while maintaining a healthy personal relationship?

“He calls me Debbie on set but darling at home”

As entrepreneurs who have built their own enterprises, they mutually respect and trust each other to make their own decisions while supporting each other in the ways they can. “We try not to stick our noses into each other’s business too much,” JianHao added.

Titan Academy
Image Credit: Titan Digital Media

When collaborating on Titan Digital Media’s projects, their working relationship is grounded in several guiding principles, including a commitment to professionalism and shared understanding. For instance, Debbie coyly shared that JianHao calls her by her name on set, but when they go home, he calls her “darling”. 

While the duo have clashed before on working styles — Debbie tends to “go with the flow” while JianHao is more of a perfectionist — these principles have allowed them to navigate their differences effectively.

JianHao tries to aim for perfection in everything he does, so on set, he likes to analyse everything and plan ahead. During filming, he does many takes to ensure we get the perfect shot. 

But for me, I like to go with the flow, so sometimes I don’t really understand why he overthinks a lot until I see the end result. Over time I’ve learned to just trust the process.

– Debbie Soon

They work together as a “tag team”

Being influencers while managing their own businesses can be demanding, and Debbie struggles with not being able to “spend more time” with JianHao and Starley. “I always feel like [the time I have spent with them] is never enough,” she expressed.

To prioritise family time, the couple share their responsibilities and work strategically as a “tag team”, so that their time is spent on what make matters. While Debbie typically handles Starley’s school drop-offs and pickups, JianHao readily steps in when she needs to attend a shoot or tend to her business commitments.

Over the years, JianHao and Debbie’s relationship has drastically evolved, especially since having Starley. “I’ve realised that it’s not just about the two of us anymore,” he shared.

With their attention divided between work and parenting responsibilities, they spend less time with each other. However, JianHao emphasises that there “isn’t anything” that JianHao would trade for the family he has — not even for more achievements or success.

For JianHao and Debbie, the small moments matter the most. “Being able to watch my daughter perform in her school’s concert makes me feel prouder and happier than any of my accomplishments,” JianHao shared.

That said, the couple still tries to make time for each other and go on dates. But it’s not exactly easy for JianHao, as he sometimes struggles to switch off from work whenever he gets home.

The feeling of lying in your bed thinking what you can do better, or how to bring the company to another level, that’s something that’s difficult to separate.

In addition to that, I do a lot of creative work in the night, such as script writing, video editing and conceptualising, so this takes away precious time that we could be Netflix and chilling. But we always try to make time for each other to go on dates, or just stay where we lie in bed and do almost nothing. 

– JianHao Tan

Putting the camera down and living in the moment

Whenever I watch both JianHao and Debbie’s videos, I often wonder if they get to live in the moment. Do they focus so much on recording moments to upload content onto social media that they forget to experience them?

But JianHao doesn’t share this perspective, at least not at this career stage.

JianHao Tan Debbie Soon Starley
JianHao Tan, Debbie Soon and their daughter, Starley Tan at Disneyland, Hong Kong/ Image Credit: JianHao Tan via Instagram

Reminiscing on his “younger days” shooting travel vlogs, JianHao always yearned for the day when he “earned enough money” not to have to work during his vacations. “That day eventually did come, but then I found myself thinking, if only I had my camera,” he confesses.

While this might sound peculiar to some, especially those who tend to shy away from cameras like myself, none of JianHao’s family or friends look back on the couple’s videos and wish they had put down their cameras and lived in the moment instead.

It is a blessing that we can create memories and relive it by watching them. I think this [blessing] has become even more apparent when I get to see Starley watching our travel videos and reminiscing the experiences we’ve shared as a family.

It also makes it even more special that we can get to share these special moments with our audiences.

– JianHao Tan
JianHao Tan Debbie Soon Starley
JianHao Tan, Debbie Soon and their daughter, Starley Tan/ Image Credit: JianHao Tan via Instagram

That said, embracing downtime is also crucial for maintaining their well-being. Although the couple found it hard to strike a balance between their personal life and the demands of social media initially, they’ve learned to navigate this challenge and set boundaries over time.

With age comes precision in our craft. These days when we vlog, we know exactly when whip out the camera and when to put it down to [capture the right moments].

So it’s not like we have a camera on us 24/7. The important thing is to know how to integrate content and leisure together. 

– JianHao Tan

“I’ve been under the spotlight for the past 10 years”

Titan Academy Meet and Greet December 2023
A photo from Titan Academy’s meet and greet event in December 2023/ Image Credit: JianHao Tan via Instagram

But even when the couple isn’t creating content, they still find themselves under the spotlight — fans often approach them for photos whenever they head out, and it’s something the couple has learned to live with.

“Being under the spotlight is something I’ve been used to for the past 10 years, and Debbie has also experienced it since the day she met me,” JianHao shared.

Although it can be difficult at times to cope with the amount of public attention they receive, JianHao and Debbie do not view it negatively.

We always remind ourselves that it’s a privilege. Sure, sometimes as an introvert I am not always in the mood for socialising, but I can never imagine calling it a challenge when sometimes wants to come up and say hi or take a photo. I could never. 

– JianHao Tan
JianHao Tan Debbie Soon Starley
JianHao Tan, Debbie Soon and their daughter, Starley Tan/ Image Credit: JianHao Tan via Instagram

In JianHao’s opinion, the only challenging aspect is dealing with inaccurate representations of the couple by the media.

“When I find articles or something written about me without knowing the full story, that really irks me,” the 29-year-old laments. We live in an age where headlines grab people’s attention.”

Elevating their careers while growing as individuals, partners and mentors

Reflecting on their journey so far, both as a couple and professionally, JianHao expressed that “everything is moving and evolving very quickly”.

There’s so much happening in and around us which makes life interesting, so even when it isn’t on an upward trajectory, there are times where we face challenges together as we try to make the best of these moments together.

– JianHao Tan

Looking forward, JianHao and Debbie hope to elevate their businesses, while continuing to learn and better themselves as individuals, parents and mentors.

“If you told me we could achieve this 10 years ago, I would truly think it’s a dream,” said JianHao. “I aim to bring greater success to the people who have believed in me since the beginning — the friends, the team and the partners.”

Featured Image Credit: JianHao Tan via Instagram

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)