I can’t speak or understand Hindi, much like many American children of Indian immigrants. I garble my way through popular Bollywood songs and I watch my movies with subtitles, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating Indian cinema.
I feel that we live in a world today, where we can hold more than one title and pursue more than one passion, which is often hard to achieve while working a 9-5 job. I wanted to create a career for myself where I can feel fulfilled and be given the freedom to pursue my passion in creative consulting, producing and storytelling. That way, I can help more brands share their stories with more people around the world. And of course, I love making my own schedule.
Have you ever personally encountered racism?
Unfortunately, I have encountered racism multiple times throughout my life, especially when I was younger. I used to be the only Asian kid at my school and it was very difficult for me to fit in. However, I learned to stand up for myself and became more outspoken when it comes to discrimination. I don’t want to give those who discriminate against me for my race the power to put me down. Instead, I want to try to educate them about my culture. I truly think education and awareness is the key towards combating racism.
What motivates you?
I treat my flaws and shortcomings as obstacles for me to overcome, allowing me to surpass the person I was yesterday. This never ending goal of self improvement always motivates me to constantly reach places or learn things that I never would have imagined before.
What are some of your day-to-day duties?
As an independent contractor, my day to day truly varies, but there are certainly some activities that I would do on a almost daily basis. This includes finding a coffee shop to do my work, responding back to emails, meeting with my clients and attending events.
What advice would you give to young women looking to start their own businesses?
Conduct lots of research – this will help you navigate around some common pitfalls and avoid some unnecessary mistakes. Be ready to network and be a good listener – taking in feedback is crucial for starting any type of business. Most importantly, go for it and start today!
How do you stay in touch with your heritage?
I used to be very shy when it comes to opening up about my heritage because I wasn’t comfortable about my identity, due to my experiences of being bullied for being Asian. As I grew older, I began to realize how unique and special it is to be a part of a community rich with culture and traditions. These days, I stay in touch with my heritage by spreading cultural awareness and educating people about my heritage through various topics such as my favorite traditional Chinese dishes to holidays like lunar new year. I try to practice traditions from my heritage and to utilize my Chinese skills as often as I can.
What is something not a lot of people know about you?
I am a big nerd when it comes to science and astrology. I can spend hours binging on books about these two subjects.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you do?
I would definitely aim to become a scientist or to join the FBI.
What is your go-to coffee order?
Oat Milk Latte all day!
What do you think the biggest problem facing Asian women is today?
Two issues that I think many Asian women face today are representation and equality, especially in the beauty and fashion industry. Growing up, I rarely see people like myself being featured on magazines, ads or any form of media – I wasn’t able to relate to any of the models that were being featured. Brands are now becoming more mindful about representation but I feel that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Equality is another issue that is heartbreaking to see. It’s crazy that we still have to fight for equal pay and opportunities in this day and age.
What are you most excited about for 2019?
More than ever, I want to use my platform to push for change and to continue sharing my culture with others. I want to become more vocal and take action toward things that I believe in. Being an Asian American in my industry can be very tough and brutal at times, but I want to fight for a future that is inclusive and fair so the next generation of kids can grow up knowing that there’s a special place for everyone on this planet.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!
We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.