Who are you currently crushing aka your WCE?
I crush hard on Rihanna because she has created an empire while being unapologetically herself. Everyone knows she is a badass, but do they recognize her entrepreneurialism? She seamlessly enters all kinds of ventures without the public batting an eye. Who else could be the connective tissue across Puma, Dior, and Manalo? She launched Fenty Beauty, which has challenged the makeup industry by prioritizing the needs of women of color. She’s an unstoppable businesswoman, but the real reason I crush is because her bold IDGAF personality rings true throughout her projects. She commands the directions of her ventures, not the other way around. I want my spirit to be as indomitable as hers.
Who would you Freaky Friday with and why?
Trump. So much to do. I would record public apologies for disparaging remarks he’s made about women, immigrants, and transgender people. I would then restore faith in the press, confess to past lies, and express strict intolerance for white supremacists. Maybe afterwards I would reform the tax bill to tax the rich, invest in clean energy, commit to a stronger relationship with China…or maybe I would just impeach myself…many thoughts.
What's the most Chicago thing about you?
It’s hard to my parts of my character to certain places since I’m a cultural mutt. I was born in Boston, grew up in Taipei, finished high school in Omaha, attended the University of Michigan, worked in Chicago for three years, then moved to Hong Kong in 2016. Looking back, I believe Chicago taught me baseline decency—to show hospitality to strangers, to be patient while getting to know others, and to share warm friendships during those cold winters. Chicago has kept me kind.
You have the chance to meet one of your idols and ask them one question; who would it be and what would you ask?
I would ask Michelle Kwan if I could write her biography.
What are you up to now? Shamelessly plug yourself!
During the day I work in project management for a hospitality company. Outside of work, I’m building spill_stories, a community platform I launched on Instagram in January 2018 to write and share stories for young women of color. I started my project to expose the unfiltered truths of culture clash, love, rejection, and other experiences to make women like me feel less alone.
The convergence of my gender, age, and heritage has resulted in struggles that have shaped my character over time. I know what it feels like to be an outsider, as someone who could never fully assimilate into the East or West. As a working woman in my mid-20s today, I know the delicate dance I must perform to be both liked and respected at work. For the most part, I assumed I had to find my own way because there were no paths to follow. Few professional role models existed; most famous working women were white and over 40 years old. Few movies existed with young non-white women as lead roles.
After my first two jobs in Chicago, I moved to Hong Kong, where I experienced a new level of isolation that compelled me to speak up about my struggles. Outside of my professional success, I felt lost. Language barriers made me feel misunderstood. Hierarchical work cultures exhausted me. The city’s transience yielded me few quality friendships. My dating life consisted of painful, short-lived relationships spawned from dating apps.
I ached for real connection and began spilling my heart out on my personal Instagram in 2017 about heartbreak and challenges of living abroad as an Asian American. To my surprise, other minority women who also work in large cities reached out to express similar sentiments of alienation. I grew conviction that social media needed more honest stories to offer women like me a sense of community. I wanted to inject rawness into a curated landscape of brunch and outfit pictures. On the first day of 2018, I launched @spill_stories, a platform for writers to share stories that speak to the hearts of young women of color.
Check it out. Follow @spill_stories! I am also looking for other women who want to write and share their stories. If you’re interested in writing with me, DM me on @spill_stories.
What is your favorite website or blog?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I will be working in Hong Kong, nurturing a community of young women writers, and building @spill_stories.
What is your favorite movie or book right now?
Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris.
What is your favorite color?
A deep, rich, pure purple. Think hex code #2E0854.
Outside of your current career or passion, what would you spend the rest of your life doing?
I would be writing fulltime.