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'Charles & Keith girl' Zoe Gabriel speaks out after being accused of pretending to be poor

By JUSTINE RUTH PUNZALAN Published Apr 22, 2023 3:00 pm

"Money is the topic that makes me uncomfortable to talk. That is because growing up, I didn't have a lot, our family didn't have a lot."

These were Zoe Gabriel's words after the Filipino TikToker was ridiculed in January for calling the P4,799 Charles & Keith tote bag her father gave her a "luxury." 

A lot of netizens were moved by the teenager's sentiment, making her video go viral and eventually prompting brands like Charles & Keith, AirAsia, and Soshi Mori, among others, to partner with Zoe as their endorser.

Fast forward to present, it's the same sentiment of Zoe's that other netizens are using against her to hamper her ongoing success.

@zohtaco @CHARLES & KEITH #charleskeith #imwithcharleskeith ♬ thenineteenseventyfive - push baby

Earlier this month, netizens have begun accusing the 17-year-old of pretending to be financially disadvantaged to gain sympathy and attention from the online community.

Some have also accused Zoe's father Donny, who The Straits Times reported to be working as a mechanical engineer, to be earning more than the average salary of individuals in the same profession.

One netizen wrote on Facebook, "Appears that the Charles and Keith Pinoy girl is not as poor as she makes herself out to be. Her dad probably earns more than most Singaporeans. How many of us can afford to homeschool our kids? Don’t be hoodwinked by her."

The post, which includes a screenshot of Donny's LinkedIn account, has been shared 2,000 times as of writing.

In true Zoe Gabriel fashion, the content creator and her dad released a video on TikTok to address the rumors that she has been untruthful about her family's financial status.

Donny said, "We thank you and like what we have said in our interviews, we are not rich, but we have enough for our needs. For everything else, we prepare for it, we work hard for it and we save up for it."

Zoe went on, saying that their family "definitely come such a long way" from where they were when they moved to Singapore in 2010, and that it's all because of her dad and mom's hard work. 

"We wouldn't be here without the both of them," Zoe added.

The video posted on April 16 also contains a written statement that says, "The truth has always been out from the beginning—there were never any 'dirty little secrets.' While we are offended, deeply hurt and affected from all these wrongful and false accusations, we choose to stay true to who we are. We choose to understand others and be kind. We choose to be peacemakers and void contention."

The family went on the thank all those who have been giving them support since the beginning of their journey. 

"Thank you for your love and support to Zoe especially in this difficult time," the statement continued. "We are grateful for you. Thank you."

@zohtaco

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♬ original sound - zoe 🦋