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Interview with Deborah Kwon

By June 12, 2019 June 14th, 2019 No Comments

Deborah Kwon is the editor-in-chief of Lune Magazine, and is an eighteen-year-old girl from the Seattle area. She loves spending her time advocating for social justice via organizations like Lune Magazine and Renarrate Media. In all other times, you’ll likely find her brainstorming a new video series idea or acting at her local theatre.

  1. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

    I would
    like to say that Lune Magazine is my biggest accomplishment — and it is, in a way — but I would have to say my biggest accomplishment is really just my venture into writing and social justice advocacy as a big part of my life. I feel accomplished because of how much it has shaped my life, with how I’ve been able to use mediums like writing to promote justice and awareness. Starting this whole thing of writing online was a scary idea for me, but it was also thrilling, and it just gives me an accomplished feeling of “I can’t believe I’m doing it,” knowing I’m still keeping up with it two years later. I did start Lune Magazine, but it wouldn’t be as big as it is now without the amazing, growing group of empowered, talented writers, editors, artists, photographers, and podcast makers on the staff.
  2. Why did you start Lune Magazine?
    The idea started forming during my freshman year of high school, I believe (context: I’m entering college this year). Around this time, I had a growing understanding of issues like feminism and race in the U.S. However, this was also around the time that Donald Trump announced his campaign for presidency in the U.S. I felt a growing tension within me of not having a substantive way to do something about the situation, or to at least talk about it in a way that didn’t consist of me ranting to my friends who were indifferent at the time. I started Lune Magazine to create a publication that focused on young voices, like myself, who were passionate about writing about social justice and culture issues. I wanted to be able to allow GenZ writers to share their perspectives, but to also allow a place for younger creators to have a place to start, with the lack of opportunities for young people.
  3. What are some of your goals: both for Lune and yourself?
    For Lune Magazine, I’m hoping to continue growing and to become a more mainstream source for teenagers invested in social justice advocacy. I’m planning to grow our podcast and to continue to solidify and improve the content on our website and bimonthly periodical. Aside from Lune, I do love to write, but I’m also highly invested in acting at my local community theater, as well as working on content for Renarrate Media, something I’m in the process of starting up at the moment. For a while, my aim has been to be a screen actor and writer, with an emphasis in sharing stories of people of color and giving them a larger focus, hence my work with Renarrate Media. I want to push barriers in entertainment and media that tend to disadvantage people of color.
  4. What have you learned from your time at Lune?
    With Lune, I’ve really grown as a writer and leader, as I manage a growing group of more than 30 staff members. And, I’ve been growing and improving my takes on different issues, through my own exploration of social justice topics, as well as the content the other amazing writers, podcast makers, artists, and photographers at Lune Magazine contribute.
  5. What is a book that you think everyone should read?
    I recently got the chance to read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and fell in love with it! The novel centers around the experiences of two Nigerians, and it gave me a lot of insight of the experience of Africans in the U.S. (and U.K.), as well as the way their experience differs from one of an African-American. But, I do also think that non-black people can connect to the novel because 1) it’s just such an engaging read, but also 2) there’s a lot of connections you can make whether you’re an immigrant or are the child of immigrants. There were references that I really understood, being the daughter of Korean immigrants. And, whether or not you can personally connect with the novel or not, I feel like it’s a necessary read for everyone, to get a better grasp on race and blackness in the U.S.
  6. How do you stay connected to your culture?
    I have to admit that I’m not so connected to my culture, specifically with my Korean heritage. Having spent nearly my whole life in the U.S., and in areas like Chicago and Seattle, I’ve become very “Americanized.” In my childhood, I tried so hard to distance myself from my Asian-ness because I thought it was something to be ashamed of, but I’ve been growing from that in the past years. I usually visit Korea regularly, meaning every other year, on average, and I enjoy my mother’s Korean food, as many other Asian-American kids might. I’ve been working on improving my Korean, because I lost much of my ability to speak it, due to not being exposed to it very much at home. But overall, I’m in a sort of “recovery” path to being more receptive and understanding more of my culture as a Korean, which I am very open to!
  7. Why did you choose the name “Lune”?
    For the last four years, I’ve been taking French classes, and it’s actually one of my favorites. I tinkered around with many names in English but started turning to different languages, and started looking through some small French words. “Lune,” in French, means moon. I considered the role of the moon and the way we view the moon. To us, the moon appears to always be changing, from it’s different shapes of being full, waning, waxing, half, or new. With the content of Lune Magazine, we are promoting change from norms and to represent the changing attitudes of this new generation. Lune Magazine and its staff members will always be here, to shine a light on controversial issues from our perspectives, despite how much it might be discouraged during high-tension times.
  8. What is something you wish more people knew about you?
    I don’t pursue writing, acting, and advocacy because it’s “cool” or a fun “hobby.” It’s something that I know I plan to dedicate my life to because it’s what I love to do, and in specific reference to advocacy, it’s of the utmost importance. Much of what I’m trying to do is unconventional, especially my want to pursue the entertainment industry. But, this is something that I’m passionate about and something I’ll continue doing for as long as I know.
  9. What is your go-to coffee order?
    I usually don’t drink coffee, actually. But, I’m a major tea lover, and my favorite has to be oolong tea, where cold, hot, and/or mixed with milk. 
  10. What do you consider the biggest problem facing Asian women today to be?
    Specifically with Asian women, there’s still a big issue — whether it’s explicitly thought about or implicitly — of the fetishization of Asian women in dating and how we’re overall represented, with the trope of Asian women being submissive. This plays a huge role in our interactions with other people and what people expect of us, and the effect of it is evident with how we see Asian women in media, like with Mantis in the Guardians series as one example.

Find Deborah and Lune Magazine here:

Lune:
Instagram: @thelunemag
Twitter: @thelunemag
Deborah:
Instagram: @debskwo
Twitter: @azndeb

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