What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
Achieving self awareness. A couple of years ago, I realized I was buying into some narratives that were holding me back. Narratives like believing I had to succeed to be valuable, or believing that I wasn’t good enough until I proved myself to the world in some way. I still struggle with those: but at least now I know they’re no longer a part of me.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about you?
That I am always a work in progress, and that everyone is trying really hard on the inside! That’s something I wish more people knew about me, but also knew about each other.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
It’s not about the gold star, or the 100%, or the 5 on the AP test. Jump through all the hoops you need to jump through to get to where you want to, but after that, screw the rules and do what makes you happy.
What does “Overachiever” (the word, not the magazine) mean to you?
That you’re a little bit extra! It’s both an endearing term, and also one that I hold some judgement towards: a lot of people think of “overachievers” as being or doing too much, and for a while I wondered if that was true. But overachieving means that we see what needs to be done, and we do it, and we do it extra.
How do you unwind?
As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking about my business: sometimes unconsciously. I try to have a very structured workday, so it’s easier to switch off at home.
Describe yourself in three words
Whimsical, cerebral, and free-spirit.
How do you stay motivated?
I try to remember why I started what I’m doing now.
What is your go-to coffee order?
An oat milk latte.
What do you consider the biggest problem facing Asian women today to be?
We inherit a lot of expectations. There is a set idea of what an Asian-American woman should be, and we are told to be good, to be quiet, to be a doctor, to be a lawyer: and I think it’s important to say, I don’t have to do that. I can be and do whatever I want.
Mona Zhang is the CEO and Founder of Bra Theory. Her career path has been perfect in its windiness: from a major in English Literature from Princeton University, to founding the Collegiate Starleague, to software engineering, and finally to bra engineering. Oh, and a brief but illustrious interlude in card counting. She now lives in New York with her fiance and in her free time, plays in a rock band called “black.py” (Black Python).
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.