Instagram darlings: Eight-month-old star

Instagram darlings: Eight-month-old star
Ms Stephanie Er uploads photos of her baby daughter Ara Chi on Instagram as a photo diary of her childhood.
PHOTO: Stephanie Er

Ara Chi is barely eight months old, but she is already a mini Instagram star. Her 18,600 fans keep coming back to her account, titled araburr, for the whimsical photo feed, featuring more than 90 posts of Ara in adorable costumes and imaginative scenarios.

From snoozing while dressed like sushi to floating in space as an astronaut, most of the pictures were taken without the baby leaving the comfort of her bed.

Her stay-at-home mother, Ms Stephanie Er, did this as a fun way to pass the time during her 28 days of post-delivery confinement. "I knew I wanted to document her life through photographs but I didn't know what form it would take till after I had her."

Though Ms Er, 31, an avid photographer, has more than 34,800 followers on her own two-year-old lifestyle and fashion-focused Instagram account, pooburr, she wanted her daughter's account to be separate.

"Ara's photos are pure and geared towards simplicity and spreading positivity," she says. "Her account is meant to be a photo diary of her childhood."

And though her project was just a fun way for friends and family to watch Ara grow, international websites from countries such as Brazil, Vietnam and Spain took notice and reposted her pictures - resulting in hundreds of new followers every day.

Her partner, private banker Andy Chi, 30, even had a colleague call from Thailand to ask whether Ara was in fact his daughter.

Ms Er uploads one or two pictures a week, which she puts together using household items such as blankets, ribbons and cut-up pieces of cardboard and felt.

She says her creativity is inspired by the mundane - an interesting pattern or a line from a nursery rhyme - and once she has an idea, she is fixated on putting it together.

"I don't buy special props for the photos. I use stuff around the house so I can put it together quickly and easily," she says.

But she admits that since starting her daughter's account, she is always on the lookout for cute outfits, often shopping on sites such as Etsy for unique clothes and baby costumes.

Ara's Instagram fame has seen brands come a- knocking but Ms Er turns them all down. "The account is my outlet for creativity and is meant to spread happiness. It's not something I'm doing to get free swag," she says.

And true to her commitment to keep things fun and positive, she says she is happy to close the account the day her daughter tells her to.

"She's completely oblivious to everything now, but if she tells me one day that she's not having fun anymore, I'd be the first to shut it down.

"At the end of the day, it's my daughter's life. Her happiness is the most important thing."


This article was first published on June 21, 2015.
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