Vietnamese/Chinese American designer and director based in Los Angeles by way of Honolulu. Her areas of focus consist of design, branding, and content development. She took some time to share with us her work and what Support means to her.
As a BIPOC creative, what does “support” mean to you?
Support to me means active listening with meaningful action. It means showing up for each other and continuing to share our experiences.
Who has supported you and why was it meaningful?
My friends. Through and through, they’ve always been there for me. It’s so meaningful because there were many moments throughout my life I doubted myself, not realizing a big part of that was due to the lasting trauma from blatant racism and microaggressions. I am beyond grateful to have the people I have in my life who understand where I am coming from.
What is a big challenge being a BIPOC creative in your industry?
I would say the biggest challenge, and one that many BIPOC creatives experience is being heard. There are Asian stereotypes and microaggressions that I am constantly met with, especially being in a leadership role in an industry that is predominantly white and male.
Any words of advice or encouragement to BIPOC creatives just starting out?
Never let anyone dim your light. Don’t worry about comparing yourself because only you have your perspective and ideas. Make space for yourself because no one else will.
Why is DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) important to you and your industry?
DEI is extremely important to me and to the creative industry. With the area of the industry I work in, we do a lot of storytelling for brands. Oftentimes these are stories that come from cultures or demographics that are not our own. I believe that stories need to be accurately told. These experiences need to be discussed by the people who live them. If you’re going to tell a BIPOC story, then BIPOC people need to tell it. They need to be more than just an attendee in a meeting to “show diversity.”
Why is BIPOC representation meaningful to you?
When you see and hear from people who look like you, you feel seen and heard. It makes me feel less alone, gives me a sense of community and it is incredibly inspiring to see what BIPOC has accomplished and continues to accomplish. It pushes me to try my best every day.
What is your cultural heritage and how has it influenced your work?
I am a first-generation Vietnamese/Chinese American. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. I am so grateful growing up in Honolulu exposed me to many APAC cultures. However, I’ve always felt a sense of “otherness” as the only place I would experience Vietnamese culture was at home. I felt I had to bury my own story to belong. This has made me feel so guilty as an adult and only recently have I begun to explore my heritage. I realize now I’ve always been influenced by stories that my mom would tell me growing up. These were mostly centered around finding balance and figuring out your direction in life. While not overt, it’s clear to me now that aspects of my culture and upbringing have always been present in my work. I never want to feel embarrassed for who I am ever again.