Interview by: Rehana Paul
This is the first in a series of interviews with AAPI women working at JUV Consulting.
Rachel Seo is a second year at UC San Diego,
majoring in literature and writing. She currently works for JUV Consulting as their Director of Social Media and enjoys tweeting, editing videos, and reading children’s fiction.
1. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
Honestly, my biggest accomplishment so far has been learning how to be content in the stage of life I’m in currently. It’s really easy to compare yourself to other people, particularly in the digital age (as the Director of Social Media for JUV, I’m online almost constantly), but in recent months I’ve begun to separate my idea of myself and my own security from the success of others online. Obviously it’s still an ongoing struggle, but I’m really thankful to be where I am right now, and having that sense of peace is amazing.
2. What is the best part about what you do?
The best part of what I do is being able to interact with so many amazing people! As a college student, I have the opportunity to build relationships with peers at school and at church. As a team member at JUV, I’m super grateful to be able to collaborate with really intelligent and talented people; it’s honestly been one of the coolest experiences.
3. What is the worst part about what you do?
The worst part about what I do is feeling the need to be constantly online. Because things move so much more quickly on the Internet, I’m on my phone and computer a LOT and have my notifications for almost every social media app turned on. It’s a lot of fun, but frankly, trying to keep up can get exhausting.
4. What advice would you give to young Asian women looking to start their own business?
I’ve never started a business, but if I did, I’d probably just…do it, haha. A lot of people like to talk about the stuff they’re planning to do, but it takes a lot for people to actually follow through with that (@myself). So honestly, to everyone who wants to start a business, or do anything, really: start now, talk later!
5. What is your favorite thing about your culture?
The food! I’m Korean-American, and somehow I’ve only just realized that Korean food is really, really good?! Korean barbecue, kimbap, bulgogi, bibimbap, etc., etc. I also love the fusion stuff, like Korean tacos, and plus like there’s this chain near my school that’s like Korean Chipotle called Bibigo. It’s not super authentic, but it tastes really good.
6. How do you stay in touch with your heritage?
To me, my heritage is something that’s just naturally part of who I am, and so I’m always reminded of it in little ways–whenever I visit my grandparents, whenever I eat Korean food, whenever my parents talk to one another in Korean.
7. What is something you could talk for hours about?
Children’s fiction. I’ve been reading children’s fiction since I was seven–I still try to make time to read it even now–and in my opinion it’s just honestly one of the best things on earth. Kids can’t really read adult books and enjoy them, but anyone can read children’s fiction and love it, because a good story is a good story.
8. What is your go-to coffee order?
If it’s a normal coffee shop, I’ll probably get a mocha–but my favorite coffee drink right now is this Nutella latte that one of the coffee shops at my university sells. It’s amazing.
9. What do you consider the biggest problem facing Asian women to be?
This is a really, really huge question! My answer will probably be neither adequate nor true for every Asian woman, but in my opinion and experiences one of the biggest problems I’ve faced is being patronized/condescended to/delegitimized. I’ve been in many, many situations where I tell others things that are meant to be taken seriously, and people laugh and–one of my biggest pet peeves–call me “cute.” (I don’t mind being called “cute” by friends or family, but it’s honestly all about the context.)
There are a number of factors that have probably caused this (see: youth), but I do feel that my identity as an Asian girl has contributed to a lot of that. As a result, in the past, I’ve pressured myself to be high-achieving and do a lot of stuff to make myself feel more legitimate as a person. Ultimately, though, I realized that I can’t find my identity in that, either, particularly not if the motivation behind it is to prove myself to others.