“Ching Chong Ching Chong” kids would say as they would squint their eyes and pull them into slits. That day I went home from first grade angry and hurt because It was the first time I had ever experienced hatred because of how I looked. When I got home and told my dad, he reminded me to remember something; My mom came over from Vietnam right at the very end of the war when she was only 18. She came to America to be able to have a future and a family. When she left the only thing she really was able to bring was her love, kindness and culture.

No matter how I looked, I was raised knowing that it was kindness, compassion and hard work that was going to get me through life. My mom shared with me part of her life so that I could get to where I am today. I never was really proud of my heritage until I got a bit older and realized all the amazing things we’ve accomplished. Although we aren’t thought of often, I know that our culture has inspired so much creativity. There are so many asian makeup inspirations (shout out to my sister, Michelle Phan and sister in law, Promise Phan), hair influencers (woohoo for Guy Tang), and let’s not forget our Asians in the photography/film industry (Jingna Zhang is AMAZING) that have taken it above and beyond any expectations we ever could have imagined. Although many people may not celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I’m glad it’s still around because I know it gives me time to reflect and appreciate all of the good our cultures have brought to society and that we too matter in everyday life here in America.

Model\Words by Christine Phan P 

Photography by Korryn Hale 

Styled by Felix Castro