Meet Malaysia's first female Snapchat Lens creator, Yong Nurain

09 Mar 2022 12:10pm
Yong Nurain works as an administrative assistant at a local clinic but in her spare time, she creates Augmented Reality (AR) Lenses on Snapchat.
Yong Nurain works as an administrative assistant at a local clinic but in her spare time, she creates Augmented Reality (AR) Lenses on Snapchat.

From a young age, Yong Nurain had always been fascinated by computers.

Driven by the need to understand how computers work and what they can do, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at UiTM when she came of age.

"I chose to major in Multimedia Computing because I’m a huge fan of anime and I loved the idea of learning to create magic at my fingertips – from animation design, game development, poster creation, to audio and video creation in various digital production sectors," she told Sinar Daily.

At 25 years old, she now works at a local clinic as an administrative assistant to pay the bills.

However, this has not deterred her from indulging in her true passion.

On Snapchat, an instant messaging app, she designs and creates Augmented Reality (AR) Lenses under the pseudonym Yuzine Suzu.

She also leads Lens creation workshops in her spare time to share her love of AR and knowledge with others.

To Yong, cultivating the next generation of Lens creators are just as important as enjoying that passion herself.

Related Articles:

It all started when she worked at a local AR agency, ExAR, that specialises in creating Snapchat Lenses for brands.

"Funnily enough, my exposure to AR didn’t come from my studies – which focused a lot more on VR applications.

"I discovered more about the world of AR and came to learn about Snapchat’s Lens Studio – a free app that makes it possible for anyone to build AR for Snapchat," she shared.

Although women are vastly underrepresented in computing in most parts of the world, Yong said that she never saw it that way, mainly because at her university, two-thirds of her classmates were women.

In today’s digital age, she added, learning about computers is considered general knowledge, it’s increasingly becoming a common skill that we should all be equipped with.

While her major required her to learn a lot of technical skills, it didn’t pose as a barrier for because there were a lot of resources available for her to refer to online.

However, she mentioned that she was glad to have played a part in breaking the bias and demonstrating that Computer Science should no longer be a male-dominated major.

After concluding her studies as well as her internship, she embarked on a journey to showcase her work, now used by millions of Snapchatters across the globe.

Now, she actively collaborates with other creators in making new Lenses when she's not competing to win in Lens-creating competitions.

"I was really excited when I received word from the Lens Studio team that I was to be an official Lens Creator with Snapchat," she said.

Speaking about the process of creating Lenses, she shared that it is easier than most people would assume - numerous templates are available in Snapchat's Lens Studio to be used.

"Anyone with a good idea can easily learn how to make their own Lenses.

"The biggest challenge, however, about the entire process is actually the beginning, when you need to search for inspiration and come up with creative ideas before bringing them to life," she shared.

In conjunction with this year's International Women's Day, Yong created "The Beauty Equal" lens, which incorporates several elements that best represent womanhood.

Yong developed a Lens especially for International Women's Day called
Yong developed a Lens especially for International Women's Day called "The Beauty Equal", which incorporates several elements that best represent womanhood

The lens features feminine symbols such as flowers to convey the beauty and purity of women, whereas the scars and thorn crown signifies the strength, perseverance, and hardships that women deal with on a daily basis.

"Generally, the Lens creation process would start with a concept or idea where I would take down notes and develop a storyboard to better visualize it," she explained.

Whenever Yong stumbles upon artist's block, she explained that she would get feedback from other Lens Creators or Snapchat's team members to enhance the concept of the Lens she is working on.

Her favourite would be the Merdeka Lens she made, called the Roar of Freedom.

"When you use the Lens, it makes you feel as if you are transported to a historical realm, and you are able to see a gallery with images and information on our Independence day with an audio track of Tunku Abdul Rahman shouting “Merdeka” 7 times," she stated before adding that the Lens' aim was to make users proud to be Malaysian.

Asked what advice she had for women out there who are interested in jumping into male-dominated fields or roles, Yong said that passion is all that matters.

"Take your time to learn and do not be afraid to make mistakes as that is a part of learning new things. Always remember to embrace your passion and your interest – everything else is secondary," she said.

More Like This