09 Jan Joanne Mai Nguyen
Posted at 19:56h
Hi Joanne. I miss living in the Bay Area. You guys have the best food ever! Were you born and raised in San Francisco? When it comes to Christmas shopping, do you start shopping in advance or are you last minute shopper?
Hi Linda. I want to start off by saying thank you for reaching out to me! I was actually born and raised in the suburbs north of Chicago, but came to Northern California for school. To be honest, I don’t really do any Christmas shopping, but when I do buy gifts for other people, I like to give myself time to pick something that would be meaningful/useful for the other person. This usually happens in the form of me wandering around and if I stumble upon something that reminds of the person, I’ll get it.
Soon 2017 is almost over, and it will be 2018. As you look back to 2017, can you share one of your favorite memories. And what are you looking forward to 2018?
Hm that’s a hard one. I would 2017 has been a big year for me when it comes to taking action in various creative projects. My biggest project and accomplishment this year would probably have to be my fashion lookbook. I’ve thought about creating one before, but didn’t seriously considering it until toward the end of this year because I was so busy with school to figure out the logistics that goes into launching a fashion lookbook/blog. I’m glad I decided to take on a lighter academic courseload to turn my vision into a reality. Besides working with my fashion lookbook, I hope to work on other artistic projects in 2018, mainly musical projects since I recently bought a microphone. Stay up-to-date with all of my projects on my Instagram (@joannemainguyen)!
I am jealous you went to Korea this year! My goal was to save money to go to Winter Olympic 2018 in Korea, but failed to save enough money ( Haha. Saving money is hard ). How was your trip in Korea?
This was actually my second time in Korea and I was there this time around interning at a news media startup focused on creating original content related to the Korean entertainment industry for English-speaking audiences around the world. I got to do some fun stuff like vlogging my adventures to different places that appear in Korean dramas. I freaked out when I went to Bok Chicken, the fried chicken restaurant owned by Kim Bok Joo’s father. Even though the restaurant in real life doesn’t sell fried chicken and goes by a different name, it felt so surreal to be in the space where my favorite drama was filmed, especially because since I could see their autographs hanging on the wall.
Besides work, I had a lot of fun hanging out with sister and -friends, shopping, stuffing my face with cheap and delicious food, doing photo shoots, and exploring the historical and modern side of Korea. I got to check off a few things of my bucket list including wearing a hanbok, taking a class at 1Million Dance Studio, going to a musical starring a member from VIXX (my favorite idol group), and going to various concerts. As someone who loves music and is a huge fan of Korean R&B, getting to see artists like Dean, DPR Live, and Jay Park live and in such close proximity to where I’m standing was really a dream come true. You can read more about my Korean trip at my blog www.somethingfortheseoul.wordpress.com!
How did your sister inspire you to start a blog?
I would consider my sister as a mentor and role model that has always given me the courage, love, and support to pursue my creative endeavors. When she still had her own fashion blog back in the day, I was featured in some posts and that was the first time I ever did any modeling. While she always encouraged me to try out modeling or start my own fashion blog, I thought she was just joking. Over the years, she’s been with me every step of the way when it comes to gaining more clarity of my dreams and running after those opportunities or creating those opportunities for myself. She has taught me what it means to be courageous in going after what you want and that one’s journey is never linear. Without her loving nagging and comforting and inspirational presence, I definitely wouldn’t be who I am today–an artist, a creator, a dreamer.
Through this journey, what have you learned about self- confidence?
Self-confidence is something I’ve been working on my whole life and I believe it’s a never-ending process where I constantly have to battle my insecurities as I am faced with new situations and obstacles. Through my fashion lookbook, I have been able to experiment with different styles and become way more comfortable with posing even when I’m surrounded by strangers. I’ve definitely an ongoing journey where with every baby step I take and succeed, I become more courageous to take bigger steps. I’m cultivating self-love and gaining this inner strength that allows me to channel my creative energy and thoughts unabashedly and genuinely in all that I do, especially my artistic work.
What is your all time favorite Christmas song and one Christmas song you cannot stand anymore?
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Christmas music. I think it’s partially because I was in choir/a cappella so I get tired of Christmas songs because I had to do a lot of caroling and also because I rather to be listening to my own music. There are so many songs out there that channel the wintery vibes even if it’s not explicitly about Christmas. As I mentioned before, I am huge fan of Korean R&B so some of my fave artists like Dean, G.Soul, and Crush have recently released songs that speak more to the feelings on the warmth and loneliness one can feel during the chilly winter season.
The song I currently have on repeat is “instagram” by Dean which highlights how problem of constantly checking Instagram and the loneliness and jealousy that consumes you when you start comparing your life to these curated images of other people’s seemingly perfect life. One of my favorite lines when translated it “These days, knowing more makes you more miserable.”
The wistful sound of the song only amplifies the nostalgia for the olden days when life was much simpler without social media, when there was no FOMO and the pressure to maintain an image and always be in-the-know. I really identify with this song and although I admit I sometimes do get caught up in the “ocean of squares” (a reference to Instagram in Dean’s song), I strive for my social media presence to be a genuine form of self expression and representation.