interviews*

In five-minute to hour-long conversations, we interviewed Asian-American individuals on their heritage and perceptions of identity.

some of these were voluntarily requested by our
voices contributors; some were painstakingly organized and set up months in advance; some were conducted spontaneously with shoppers in the aisle of an Asian supermarket—

—and all of them were incredible.

read their stories here.

Vietnamese-American Binh escaped a Communist-seized Vietnam in 1979. For twenty minutes, he shared with us the details of his stunning journey from Vietnam to Indonesia to America, from refugeeism to acculturation to a modern-traditional lifestyle. 

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Binh*

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Katie*

We met Staten Island-based college student Katie in an Asian grocery store on May 29 and had a more-than-merry time discussing her upbringing, frustration with anti-Asian attacks, and "biting the shit" out of a sixth-grade bully mocking her race (at the cost of a two-day suspension).

note: contains frequent swearing

Lily & Krithika*

We found Lily and Krithika, both college students from New York, sharing dessert at a local spot. In a fifteen minute conversation, they taught our editors about Caucasian-dominant colleges, Hindu traditionalism, and the absence of Asians in conversations on race.

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Gabby*

Gabby Zonneveld is a queer Asian-American  musician based in New York. She shared with us heartbreaking and heartwarming anecdotes about her family and her trip to Malaysia, and the influences of her Asian identity on her music and upcoming album, DISORIENT.  

Ayman*

Ayman Chaudary is a Pakistani Muslim from Chicago. She is also a 'booktoker' on TikTok where she creates content/videos based on literature and fiction/fantasy novels for over 260k followers. Here, she shares her thoughts on the importance of good Asian representation in media and even gives us a few book recs!

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Allen*

Allen from Raleigh, NC currently studies music therapy in Indiana. Here he shares the more unconventional stories of his heritage—growing up with a white stepfather, pursuing his passion, and arriving at the value of empathy in and out of work. 

Winston*

Winston Chiu, a consultant-turned-chef-turned-entrepreneur, founded Rethink Food in 2018 as a pipeline dedicated to fighting food insecurity. He takes us from the personal, including rekindling his love for food, to the professional, including new social impact initiative Feed Forward, which continues to serve New York's minority neighborhoods today.

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Hannah*

Hannah was our Korean-Chinese-American cashier at a Korean restaurant in New Jersey. We interrupted her work for a five-minute interview on her double-Asian heritage, separation from the news, and visions of equality. 

Alexandra*

Alex is a current high schooler and dedicated advocate for social justice, mental health and body positivity through her account @alexfoodfreedom. We talked with Alexandra on May 30th to speak about embracing ethnic cuisine, Eurocentrism, and Gen Z’s BIPOC. 

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Tao*

Tao lives with her husband and three children in New Jersey, having arrived from Xinjiang in the 1990s. For an hour, we discussed with Tao her immigration story, Buddhist identity, praises for collectivism, and thoughts on the more shameful undersides of Chinese history.

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Jyoti & Murtaza*

Jyoti and Murtaza Presswala moved from India to America in October of 2001. Born from Hindu and Muslim parents respectively, they shared with us the trials they faced to make their relationship work, as well as bits on South Asian snacks and familial tradition.

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Sandra*

Illustrator Sandra Hsu is the co-founder of 'Share Your Asian Story,' a gorgeous Instagram art campaign for the AAPI community to advance social justice through creativity. We talked to Sandra, an artist herself, on April 26th about Share Your Asian Story and the impact she hopes to create. 

Dylan*

Dylan is a Chinese-American college sophomore who we met and interviewed next to the rice piles in a Korean supermarket.  He discussed with us his growing up “whitewashed” on the Jersey Shore, disillusionment with government, and the unanswerable dilemma of college admissions.  

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Leo*

Leo Xander Foo is a talented teen photographer who is already making his mark on the world with almost 20,000 followers. He discussed with us the prevalence of transphobia, his love for photography, and the importance of truly expressing yourself. 

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Claira*

Twitter-trending Claira Janover is best known for her activism and videos on TikTok, which went viral last summer. Here, she shares with us some of the 'behind-the-scenes' of her videos, her time at Harvard, and her plans for the future. 

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Lei & Jonathan*

Lei and Jonathan live with their two daughters. Immigrants from Beijing, they came to America in the 1990s to pursue higher education in Massachusetts. On May 22, we shared a conversation on progress, parenting, and more than a couple inspirational quotes.

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Grace*

Grace, whom we met shopping for groceries, immigrated from China to St. Louis as a student and now works in New Jersey. She takes us through her migration journey and reflects on  Midwestern versus Asian work cultures. 

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Yufeng grew up and attended school in rural Xi’an. At age thirty, she came to America with her husband. We spoke with Yufeng on May 18th, 2021 to discuss her views on the Chinese Cultural Revolution, differences in traditional values and the future of the next generation.

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Yufeng*

Ashley & Nina*

Ashley, Chinese-American, and Nina, half-Mexican half-Muslim, were shopping at Hmart when we met them and asked for a five-minute interview. Here they share stories on fitting in, racist jokes, and family connection. 

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Rachel*

Rachel Zhang is a 16 year old Chinese-American who currently attends the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ. In this interview, she talks to us about the beauty of Chinese culture and reviving activism in a predominantly white school.

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Raphael*

Eighteen year-old Raphael was in the produce section when we found him and asked him for a conversation. In these five minutes, he gives us his resolute takes on controversial issues from the Chinese government to self-segregation in schools to the definition of equality. 

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Serena*

Serena Li is a writer, artist, high schooler, and, most importantly, one of our very own editors. We had a second between interviews to share some earl grey and ask her questions on her own life, from social bubbles and "otherness"  to education and equality.

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Grace*

Grace Doh is a high schooler living in New Jersey. In this interview, she shares with us more on how she keeps in touch with her Korean-American heritage through religion, activism, and writing. 

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Sophie*

Originally from Connecticut, Sophie studies pharmacy in New Jersey, which is where our editors met her and asked her for an interview. She guides us through her perception of identity, from growing up in a white suburb of Connecticut to finding acceptance and solidarity among new friends.

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Anonymous*

Our interviewee, a 17 year old from suburban New Jersey, would like to remain anonymous. He shared a conversation with us on the ups and downs of his very recent immigration to the U.S. to India. 

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Phoebe*

Phoebe is a Chinese-American college student, entrepreneur, and activist, whose self-launched, Forbes-featured business Cuddle Box connects artisans to the public via self-care boxes. In this brief interview, she shares with us insight on entrepreneurship, model minority, and supportive immigrant parents. 

Nichole*

Nichole Gonzales is currently a rising sophomore in high school. In this interview, she tells us about her relationship with her mom and Filipino side and finding pride in your Asian identity. 

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Katie*

Katie Ko is a Korean-American high schooler and dancer. She talked to us about Asian representation and dancing in a predominantly white studio. 

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Brandon & Justin*

note: contains frequent swearing

We met Staten Island college students slash brothers from Staten Island Brandon and Justin in Hmart Edison for a conversation on Chinese-American heritage. They tell us about generational gaps, vent about bystanders to hate crimes, and share wisdom from their college experience.   

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Natalie & Jaylie*

Natalie and Jaylie from Frederick, Maryland met our editors while visiting a local Korean grocery store in New Jersey. They shared with us how difficult it was to fit in as Vietnamese-Americans in Frederick and their frustration with racism from all sides. 

Angela*

Angela Bi is a Chinese American artist who originally hails from California. As she gets ready to attend college in the fall, Angela tells us about her long-standing interest in the arts, how her Asian identity influences her art, and her intricate creative process. 

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Rei*

Rei Lo is a talented Chinese American artist from Queens. We had an in-depth conversation about Rei's background in the arts, the significance of her Instagram art series, 'Unveiled in Red', and the importance of solidarity between communities of color, specifically the Black and Asian communities. 

Brandon*

Brandon, whom we approached in a Korean grocery store, shares in this short segment insight about his complex family cultures and relationship with his parents. 

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Kate*

Kate is a Korean-American student currently attending college in New York. Read her story on experiencing her first bout of “otherness” here, as well as her childhood in a predominantly white school.

Chelsea & Lening*

Chelsea and Lening are a queer Chinese couple currently studying in North Carolina. They tell us about their experience as international students in America and share more on their struggles with sexuality. 

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Sophia*

Sophia Chew (@shots_by_sophia) from Seattle, Washington has established her niche in fantasy photography and Photoshop art, recognized by UNICEF, Seattle Mag, and 50k adoring followers. In this conversation, she shares with us the books that have inspired her and the heavier parts of her growing platform.

Jade*

Jade Deo is a talented South Asian illustrator based in New York. She focuses primarily on fanart for various fantasy book series' by Leigh Bardugo.  In this interview, Jade talks to us about her fanart, her cosplay of a famous Grishaverse character, and the harmful effect of whitewashing POC characters.

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Aparna*

Described as a cross between Dune and The Poppy War, The Boy With Fire is the first in a brand new, South Asian-inspired fantasy trilogy. Three weeks before the book's debut on August 31st, we sat down with author Aparna Verma to talk about the characters, plotline, and inspirations that drive the story of The Boy With Fire.

Dasle*

Dasle Kim is a digital strategist, author, mentor, advocate, and certified "cool professor." Here, we sat down with her to inquire about the many roles of her life, as she shared with us insight on mentoring ESL students, fostering workplace diversity, and sharing her story.

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Helen*

Helen is a Chinese student finishing up her studies in New York. She takes us on her international education journey, from fostering her early interest in gender studies to reconciling her heritage in a Catholic university.

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Michelle is a queer digital artist who grew up in Colorado, studied in the Northeast, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. During this conversation, we explore her path to pursuing art, the healing effects of creating, and the future of representation in media. 

Michelle*