In honour of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, The Influence Agency’s Executive Producer, Brigitte Truong, interviews four prominent influencers and creators within the AAPI community for TIA’s latest edition of Behind the Gram. In this four-part series, Meghan Yuri-Young, Didier Young, Jennifer Lau, and Maxim Kim share their views on AAPI Heritage Month and the heightened awareness around discrimination of the greater Asian community with the #StopAsianHate movement.
Let’s see what they have to say!
“I’m 34, but look 24. I love style, but hate materialism. I adore animals, but eat meat. I run, but hardly stretch. I’m awkward, period. In the end, aren’t we all walking contradictions trying to make sense of the world? I try to do that through experiences and meaningful connections, words, and images.”
A proud half Korean, half Sri Lankan, Meghan Yuri Young (@meghanyuriyoung) is devoting Asian Heritage Month to education — what it means to her and the significance of it, and learning about her own heritage.
“Some of my favourite books — I’m a big reader — that are written by Asian authors are Little Fires Everywhere [by Celeste Ng], Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, and White Ivy by Susie Yang.”
To learn more about Meghan see her full episode here.
Didier Young (@didieryhc) is of Chinese descent, raised in Africa and the proud owner of a french name. How does one stumble into such an odd ethnic makeup one may ask? One cannot say for sure but a couple of decades ago (the exact number shall not be disclosed), Mr. Didier made his grand entrance into this world on the beautiful island of Mauritius.
Didier shares his thoughts on the history of his heritage, honouring the generations before him as a way of moving forward.
“Asian Heritage Month is a celebration of a culture that I grew up in, a celebration of our history, our cultures, our cuisine, our triumphs and our shortcomings.”
Check out Didier’s full episode here.
Jennifer Lau (@itsjenniferlau) loves to run, cannot stomach a meal without hot sauce, uses Snap filters to express her emotions, and is the owner of a grandiose Hello Kitty collection. She is also a highly accomplished Personal Trainer and Holistic Nutritionist with 10 years of experience in the fitness and health industry. Her passion to empower women has led her to become a leader in female training.
In this episode, Jennifer discusses her sense of pride around her Asian heritage and using this month as an opportunity to celebrate, learn, and really connect to her heritage. Jennifer also shares some of her favourite Asian Entrepreneurs.
“I have a great support system so having conversations with my friends, including Meghan [Yuri Young], we have conversation constantly about how we can support each other, what we can do for the community, how we can show up for each other and then really being able to give ourselves that space to step back if we don’t feel like we have the energy to show up that day.”
Check out Jennifer’s full episode here.
Our final episode of this month’s Behind the Gram series features Maxim Kim where he discusses the rich history behind Asian heritage, respect for his elders, as well as the deep sense of anger he felt with the rise in Asian hate.
“We can all respectively honour Asian Heritage Month at home by looking into Asian rich history and learning their philosophies, their culture. I feel like everybody can learn something, it’s inclusive for everybody, not just written for Asian culture specifically.”
Check out Maxim’s episode here.
Thank you so much Meghan, Didier, Jennifer, and Maxim for sharing your experiences and allowing us to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with you. We are humbled by your openness and eagerness to share more of your culture with us.
What did you think of this month’s series? Sound off in the comments below!1