Interview with Sophie Kanno

Sophie Kanno (AKA Asian Soph) is an activist who works specifically to uplift the mixed community. She is one of the people in charge of @mixedpresent, an instagram account that shares the faces and stories of mixed people. As well as creating and running @mixed_made, a great place to find more of Kanno’s work and other resources to educate yourself on the mixed diaspora. You can also follow her on her personal instagram page @asian_soph.

“My Parents really celebrated us being mixed race.”

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It is no wonder that Kanno has become an activist within the mixed community, as her parents always exposed her to different holidays and food that were from all sides of her family. Something Kanno’s Dad always told her was,

“you’re a whole member of each of your cultures.”

Growing up, Kanno’s parents shared both of their perspective cultures and family traditions with their family. Kanno’s dad would envy how cool it was that she was able to be a member of multiple ethnic communities. 

“I love old school hip hop.”

When listening to hip hop by artists like Tupac, N.W.A, and Method Man, Kanno said, “I felt invigorated.” She described how those rappers and artists were talking about real life and their struggles in their music. While simultaneously thinking about the experiences she has as a mixed person and as the daughter of an immigrant, she began to educate herself on the inequalities and equities of the world. Kanno used this passion and knowledge to become the activist she is today.

“Honestly it came really naturally to me.”

“I grew up around mostly BIPOC folks.”

In her hometown, the high school she attended had more diversity than the other school in town. “I’m so glad I grew up on the West side because of that.” Kanno talked about how growing up around other children of immigrants she noticed most of them all had similar mindsets. “‘Oh yeah my parents do that too,’ or ‘oh yeah that happened to my dad, also.’ And through all that you really start piecing everything together.” 

“Black and Asian people have come together historically.”

Kanno ran a Black and Asian solidarity series through Mixed Present, where she discussed history, Hip Hop for the Asian community vs Kung Fu movies for the Black community, and the “American Dream,” as well as many other topics with a bunch of different people.

“Ultimately at the end of the day, the real enemy is the system of white supremacy that has been created.”

Kanno described that oftentimes white supremacy doesn’t get confronted the way it needs to because different BIPOC communities are constantly “fighting over the scrapes” that are left for us. “Like these crabs in a bucket mentality.” Kanno mentioned household Black activist names such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. “But in the Civil Rights movement there were prominent Asians who fought alongside these people [. . .] But it doesn’t serve white supremacy to talk about that.” Kanno believes in coming together, validating each other, and being open with one another in order to dismantle systemic white supremacy. 

“Not quieting or making invisible or invalidating the mixed race experience.”

Holding space and really making an effort to hear people out versus getting defensive when people have different experiences is a way that Kanno thinks spaces could be more open to mixed people.

“As mixed folks, we always feel like we are not enough for either of our groups.” The more open spaces are to the mixed experience the more a part of a group mixed people will feel.

Kanno also said it can be really great to find mixed spaces, and then use the confidence you gain from those spaces to enter other ones. “I’ve had to become really aware of the fact that when I’m around other Asians, I’m like, ‘let me prove to you how Asian I am,’ and it’s like really ridiculous.”

Kanno and I also spoke about affirmative action, the census, and wanting to check multiple boxes under the race section of paper work. Go check out and follow @asian_soph to keep up with what Kanno is upto! 

Favorite Food? Sukiyaki, a one dish Japanese stew.

Go To Boba Order? Kanno doesn’t have a go to, but is obsessed with cheese foam, and of course is a boba lover.

Would You Survive a Zombie Apocalypse? Yes! 

Fun Fact? Kanno has dual-citizenship in Japan!

Asian_Soph is a mixed Japanese, German, and Scottish activist and daughter of an immigrant. She runs the pages @mixedpresent, @mixed_made, and her personal page is @asian_soph. She uses my platforms to build community with other mixed folx, amplify voices and share stories, and as a means to share educational resources and calls to action to dismantle systemic oppression, white supremacy, and the patriarchy. Feel free to connect with her to share the stories and the struggles of the mixed diaspora and to aid in the fight against systemic injustice. 

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.

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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.

We hope you’ll join us.

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