Chatting With Supermom and Influencer Gladys Lo-Reynolds
Hong Kong/ Vibe/ Influencers

Supermom Gladys Lo-Reynolds on Her Eurasian Family, Marrying Young, and Content Creation

Supermom Gladys Reynolds on Her Eurasian Family Marrying Young and Content Creation header

Gladys Lo-Reynolds remembers where she was when she first discovered she was pregnant with her first child, Noah.

Nestled in the corners of the University of Hong Kong Main Library bathroom, Gladys, only 20 years old at the time, saw a positive pregnancy test in her hands. Studying for mid-term exams, she was in complete disbelief and unaware of the life changes that would come as a result.

She had only been dating her boyfriend, now-husband, Lawrence Reynolds for five months, before the surprise of her pregnancy came.

Five years later, married with two boys, Gladys holds her place as a 26-year-old leading creator online, recording her family and motherly life on her popular Instagram account,

The Beat Asia sat down with Gladys and her one-year-old son Finley on a Monday to speak about her maturation as a young adult, motherhood, being the maternal figure of a Eurasian figure, what it means to be Cantonese, and her life as a content creator.

Born in Hong Kong, Gladys was always conscious about her identity and placing as an internationalised Chinese girl, in the face of a Eurocentric media in Hong Kong and stereotypes that emphasised Chinese as boring.

She would recall in her youth that she would often be called a 鬼妹仔 (gwai2 mui1 jai2), gweilo girl, by local Hong Kongers who would not see her as equal.

Gladys’ parents are from Hong Kong, but she matured and grew in her identity as a young Hong Kong girl at boarding school, when she was shipped off to the U.K. at the age of 13 to study in an all-girls school. “I desperately wanted to fit in to the group of my Western peers,” Gladys said.

She had changed her accent to a posh British variant, the way she dressed and carried herself, in a bid to reject her “fresh off the boat Hong Kong girl” personality. “I was denying the Chinese part of myself, a part of which I celebrate now.”

Navigating the “Mean Girl’s world” of the boarding school environment was tough, Gladys said; throughout her five years study, she was eager to be the “one Asian girl who could speak like a white person in a white group of friends.”

After graduation from her British boarding school, Gladys found a place to study History of Art at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Originally not intending to return to Hong Kong, she found her entrance back into the city difficult, having completely transformed into someone who spent five years trying to be English.

Gladys quickly found herself mixing with a variety of cultured and mixed-race friends, a welcome sight to her time at the university. She stuck herself into the party and international student scene, admitting that she lost her sense of Chinese identity in the beginning of university. “I kept putting my Chinese side at bay because people allowed me to. I stayed in that [British] mould.”

“There was a lot of stigma that came with being [an international Chinese student at HKU]. We were told [that we] have it easier because we had money, studied abroad, and did not do the DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education university entrance exams).”

“I didn’t like my degree and [as a 19, 20-year-old] I was trying to [find] my way in the world of becoming an adult.” Gladys found herself partying a lot in the beginning of university, but also feeling lost with her future and direction.

Her university life saw a complete change when she matched with Laurence, now her British husband, then-casual boyfriend, on Tinder in 2015. Gladys never used dating apps to find a boyfriend nor had planned to find love. Her last relationship lasted three years from 15 to 18-years-old, with her parents expecting her to marry her very straight and career-orientated Hong Kong boyfriend.

“I never thought I would marry a white guy in a million years,” Gladys told The Beat Asia, speaking on the issue of dating outside her race. “I was taught [at a young age] that white men are not a reliable race to marry, to never marry a good-looking Western person who will cheat on you.”

“There is a stigma against expats [in Hong Kong] that we should not be clinging onto, not everyone fits into the box of the stereotype that society created for them.”

“Turns out,” Gladys said, “[Laurence] turned out to be the most amazing [person] who loves his family, he wants everything for his kids, and he was everything I was taught a white man would not be.”

However, when Gladys fell pregnant with Laurence and their first child, Noah, it “came at the worst time” and only five months into the couple dating. Just before Christmas in 2016, Gladys found she was pregnant in a library toilet on campus.

“Breaking the news to my parents was very hard, but Laurence wanted me to do it; I wanted to run away from the problem,” she said. Gladys explained that her father’s reaction to her pregnancy “was more pleasant than I thought,” but her mother had to come to terms with the situation, given she had not yet met Lawrence.

Gladys’ parents originally wanted the pair to get married to avoid Noah being born out of wedlock, whilst Laurence’s family wanted them to get to know each other first, rather than a “shotgun marriage that would end in flames.”

Picture by Website/The Reynolds Family Blog

The wedding took place in a municipal building in Hong Kong, with then-pregnant 20-year-old Gladys dressed in white and 24-year-old Laurence in black. Whilst Gladys does not regret getting married, she said there was a lot of fear involved in the marriage itself. “I cried the whole time on our wedding, it was a lot to pack in for a 20-year-old.”

“I had to be okay,” she said, “the world would freak out if I wasn’t okay.”

After marriage, Gladys fought hard to persevere, even when the world was disapproving to her young elopement. Friends dropped her and began to disapprove of her choice to raise Noah and marry Laurence; she strived to prove her family on her right choice.

“As I soon as I decided to get married, I believed everything was going to be magically okay, because we would be a happy family, and not just a sad pregnant 20-year-old. But getting married shouldn't change the reality that I'm just a girl trying to navigate this very difficult time.”

“I was glad Laurence was a constant pillar of my life. He never let anyone affect him, made me feel confident about myself, took me on my honeymoon, and made me understand that this is a happy miracle that we’re going to start a family.”

Before, Gladys said that she felt lost. After her marriage and the birth of her first son, Noah, she remembers feeling blessed that she was able to start a family so young and enjoy it. “Laurence turned my life around and gave me a purpose to work hard.”

After Noah was born, Gladys and Laurence worked hard and fought for their first born. Whilst Laurence was studying for his PGCE qualification, Gladys was writing her dissertation thesis.

“My work ethic [writing my dissertation] came from giving it all for this child and doing everything I can to give this baby a good life. Laurence and I did everything we could to reject that we were raising this child in a broken home with no prospects.”

Following graduation, Gladys began a job marketing for a start-up in Hong Kong, whilst also recovering from the physical effects of childbirth, and taking care of a new-born. Quickly, she became overwhelmed trying to be a “supermom;” mentally, launching herself into the workforce as a new mother took a toll on her.

The birth of Noah both shaped her view of womanhood and her identity as a Chinese woman and a mother. After Noah started kindergarten and grew mature with age, Gladys actively began speaking Cantonese and tapping into his Chinese heritage to make Noah proud of his mixed-race Hong Kong-English identity. “We try our best to make him be proud of who he is.”

“[In Hong Kong, we are] taught that mixed-race children are genetically the most perfect, clever, and beautiful. But there are a lot of difficulties raising [mixed-race children] as I see through my children. It is a lot more than the shiny cover you see.”

Gladys began proactively telling people she is from Hong Kong when asked, and spoke Cantonese as much as possible. Her entrance into motherhood was also rocked by identity issues of being the most physically fit and bouncing back to her previous shape and body.

“When I gave birth to Noah, I wanted to bounce back. I dieted like crazy and restricted myself to be perfect. My body did not look like I had a baby, but mentally it took a lot of strain. I wanted to reject what people said in that I am a failure because you got pregnant when you were 20. In doing so, I became very unwell, and it took a lot of healing.”

At a time when Gladys felt mentally and physically hurt from childbirth, that is when she planned to take her Instagram account from a delicate picture diary of her life as a mother of one, to a content creator speaking on topics that she cared about: motherhood, changing bodies, body image, and Chinese identity.

When she began uploading short videos of herself in 2019, along with features of Laurence and Noah, and later second son, Finley, she began to realise people were seeking to relate to something that is real, as opposed to the faked reality of Instagram influencing.

“The reality is that most mothers are not getting enough sleep and do not go to the gym six days a week. People are okay with seeing a mother who is not trying to be perfect, and I came to realise that I was okay to not chase that façade anymore.”

Whilst Gladys does not typically call herself an influencer, she prefers the title content creator, her passion. “I just happen to love my family and I love content creating. I combined both and that is what you see on Instagram and YouTube.”

When she began curating content about her Eurasian family, her struggles as a young mother, and her journey with raising Noah, her aim was to show people the success of starting a family at a young age. “I started sharing my life and family journey because I wanted to say, ‘suck it’ to everyone who said I would fail.”

She began posting body-positive videos to drive home the message to her younger female audience on her Instagram that “we don’t all have this perfect body.” There was a growing demand to see her Laurence, Noah, and Finley too in videos about her mixed-race family and the struggles and positives that came with it.

“I went through a lot of identity crises, and as a young girl it was not easy. It was a lot of heartbreak, a lot of tears, and a lot of rejection. Making content about this helps to make others not feel bad about themselves.”

In 2021, Gladys began to produce more content to actively try to help more young girls who are going through a young pregnancy or marriage or those looking to start a young family. In 2022, she continues to document the journey that her multi-raced family endure.

"People wanted to know and relate to the journey that we were heading as a young Eurasian family in Hong Kong and the third-culture identity that we had. I simply wanted to share my journey, and if you can relate and learn something, I am happy if I can inspire you to make good choices for yourself and be happy.”

Her push to produce video content coincided with the birth of her second son, Finley, in late 2019 at 25.

With the birth of Finley, Gladys said she finally “came to understand who I am as a person. Previously, I had a lot of identity thrown at me and I [was] always susceptible to other people’s impressions, to now where I think I am confident to say I am all these things – a mother, a woman, content creator – and not at all what this mould would say.”

Following her second birth and the explosive growth of her Instagram account, Gladys feels comfortable with the direction she is heading. In October 2021, with the advice of influencer friends and Finley’s godmother, YouTubers Torres Pit and Georgia Gordon, she began her YouTube channel in a bid to reach her maximum potential.

On her YouTube channel, she posts zany, longer-form videos about her adventures with Finley and Noah around Hong Kong, conversations to her audience about Hong Kong culture in Cantonese, and chats with Laurence about their marriage, dating history, and relationship future.

“[Torres and Georgia] pushed me to try this one and give it a real effort to make it a career [on Instagram and YouTube] that I can support my dream of content creating.” Her YouTube channel, to Gladys, is a yet another way to embrace her imperfection of navigating the world as a mother in a Eurasian family and explore the ups and downs of life.

As a mother and content creator, growth is important. As Gladys transformed her Instagram to an online journal of the trials and tribulations of her young and mixed family in 2020 and 2021, this year represents another chapter in starting conversations about Eurasian identity and Chinese womanhood.

“I am proud of this journey after 26 years of transformation. It has been a roller coaster. I’ve been through so many identity shifts; I feel like a shapeshifter in a way. This is where I’ve landed.”

Subscribe to The Beat's newsletter to receive compelling, curated content straight to your inbox! You can also create an account with us for free to start bookmarking articles for later reading.

This Week's Events In Hong Kong View more

Sign up to receive updates on what's going on in the city. Don't miss out on exciting events, news, and more. Sign up today!

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice
Thank you for subscribing! Click here if you were not redirected.