Tell us a little bit about your self-love journey
Sure! I’ve always had this really bad relationship with my body image. For a large part of my teenage years, I really struggled with body image issues. I’m also East Asian, and it’s a bit taboo to be larger or plus size in my culture, which factored into how I perceived myself. When I started college, I was working full time to support myself, and I went through these really tough years where I didn't have the best eating habits and there was this period of time where I wasn't taking care of my body at all. I had also been diagnosed with PCOS which contributed a lot to my weight gain and the feelings behind it. But now I'm in this phase at 23 years old where I'm looking back and realizing that it really doesn't matter if I can categorize myself as skinny or not. For me, there is no category. I’m learning to love my body through every single phase of my life and balance really is respecting my body no matter where I am along that journey. Starting my evening skincare routine for example has made a huge difference in my mindset. I’ve learned that health is holistic and it’s not just about the numbers on a scale but also about my mental health.
What does being bold mean to you?
I think being bold is a combination of, you know, having courage and being outspoken and not hiding, but also part of it is just being yourself. I think that anyone can be bold in any way that feels authentic to them. It sounds cliché but it’s so true. I was an introvert when I was younger, so for me being bold in my teenage years meant learning how to speak up for myself. I think there are little moments of being bold that ultimately make a big difference. You learn to be unafraid and to be true to who you are and how you feel.
Can you share a story about a time that you took a bold step?
Yes. So I currently work full time, but on the side I love to pursue creative hobbies: my first job in high school was as a freelance photographer. It was always my dream to shoot New York fashion week but I had always been fearful that it wouldn't work out. As I got older, my mindset changed and I realized that I have to just go for it - like people always say, closed mouths don't get fed.
One of the official shows was actually being held at a building I pass every day on my commute. After seeing folks setting up for the show a few times, I went up to someone working there and I just struck up a conversation with them. I mentioned that I was a photographer and would love to shoot for the show. After showing them my work, they were able to get me a connection to shoot the show! That experience taught me to not let how I feel about my insecurities, whether it's about my body, or whether it's about my talent, stop me from going after things. Part of being bold is recognizing that you are enough. Stop honing in on those insecurities and just go for it.