READ: How Zoe Gabriel handled her viral ‘luxury bag’ post

Published January 19, 2023, 4:35 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Get to know the lady who challenged our perception about luxury

Who could have thought that a single post from a teenage girl would have the power to challenge our perception about luxury brands and make us evaluate our views on our respective privileges and lifestyles?

This is what happened when TikTok user Zoe posted a video of a bag she got from Charles and Keith and referred to it as a luxury brand bag. This post has gone viral gathering 20 million views as of writing as it divided the netizens about the real definition of luxury. 

Some social media users had mocked Zoe for calling her bag a luxury, while others defended her for appreciating the gift she got from her dad—telling that we all have different status in life and have different definitions of luxury. But with all these being said and have been picked up as news in different parts of the globe, one question is left hanging, who Zoe really is? 

In an interview with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the Manila born but Singapore raised Zoe Gabriel allowed us to see her behind the lenses of social media. 


@CHARLES & KEITH #charleskeith #imwithcharleskeith 🌻✨ to everyone who has shown their support and endless kindness, this is for you. you have made things happen for me i never thought possible, taught me lessons i will never forget, and have given me so many valuable memories. i would not be here if it weren’t for you, and for the millionth time and counting, i give you all my love, thanks, and well wishes; i am forever grateful and indebted to you all. happy 108k! ❤️🥹

♬ thenineteenseventyfive – push baby

Seventeen year-old Zoe is the eldest among the four children of her parents. She has one brother and two younger sisters. When she was five, her family moved to Singapore where her dad is working as a mechanical engineer. Since then, Zoe who’s battling the everyday challenges of dealing with scoliosis, has been home-schooled. 

“We’ve been living in Singapore for 13 years now,” she says. “That Charles and Keith bag is my first dalaga bag. A gift from my dad.”

Zoe, whose intention is to show how grateful she is for the gift she had received from her dad, was shaken when her post went viral. “My friends were messaging me, asking me if I’m okay,” she says.

This question made sense with all the negative opinions and posts netizens were saying about her post. Young Zoe openly admitted that she was hurt with all the scrutinies she got from people she didn’t even know. 


Replying to @cressy i am so happy and grateful for you, that you can consider charles and keith not a luxury. also btw if you google it, lots of sources do classify them as a luxury brand. so.

♬ original sound – zoe 🦋 – zoe 🦋

“I was very upset with those negative comments,” she says. “This is an unforgettable experience that really bothered me.” 

To end that cycle, the senior high school student decided to hide those comments and focus on the good side and good energy radiating from people who are rooting for her—one of them is the Charles and Keith management itself. 

Zoe and her dad were invited to have a tour in the brand’s headquarters in Singapore, and it was just then recently announced that she’s now an official member of the brand’s family. 

With just one simple post, Zoe’s life has changed in a way she never anticipated and seems like the odds are still in her favor with her growing social media followers and partnerships coming in from various brands. Despite that, she’s looking forward to a brighter future of becoming a writer. “I want to take up Creating Writing as my undergraduate course in college,” she says. 

With this degree in mind, she’s hoping to make it to various top universities in different parts of the globe and one of these is in the University of the Philippines. 

When asked about the things she’d learned from this experience. She left a meaningful answer. 

“Choose to be happy. Is it not the material things that will give you joy,” she says. “It is important to be grateful for what you have, accept who you are, and don’t be embarrassed about being real.”