AAPI Heritage Month Q&A Series: Jie Kuang
AAPI Heritage Month commemorates Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that have contributed to America’s rich history and success. Growing up as an Asian American/Pacific Islander can be considered a collective experience that can impact each an every one of us in a variety of ways. Our cultural identity shapes a facet of who we are and I am happy to be featuring a variety of strong voices that will share their experience as an Asian American/Pacific Islander in America. I hope that this series helps you connect with your own heritage and reminds you to be proud of where you come from!
Today’s Q&A Series is brought to you by Jie Kuang, the founder of Monochrome Pink. Jie is super sweet and has so many creative talents that I admire. Even more, I love that she’s a girl who also supports girls. It also happens to be her birthday today! Happy Birthday Jie! I can’t wait to see what this year holds in store for you. Sending you all my love and best wishes!
Q: What ethnicity are you?
Q: Do you speak your language?
Yes, but not as fluent as I would like to be.
Q: Were you always proud of your heritage or did you initially reject it?
I was and always will be proud to be Chinese.
Q: When did you begin to truly embrace your heritage and why? to truly embrace your heritage and why?
In college, I took a course called East Asian Area Studies. Not only did I learn about Chinese history, I learned about my family and where they came from. It really made certain things click. I understood my parents more and helped create conversations that we may not have had otherwise.
Q: What do you consider to be the best parts of your heritage and culture?
I love learning about the history, especially the moments that my parents and grandparents lived. And of course, Chinese holidays are incredible.
Q: What was the first experience where you felt that demarcation of being a minority/different?
Because I went to a Chinese middle school, I wasn’t surrounded by other cultures and ethnicities until high school. I didn’t realize I was different until a girl used, “You’re Chinese!” as an insult towards me. At the time, I was shocked that someone who grew up in a mixing pot of cultures can still ostracize you based off of how you look.
Q: How did growing up as an Asian American/Pacific Islander affect your relationship with your parents?
Growing up Chinese American, I’ve grown to appreciate my parents’ strength and work ethic. My parents are two of the strongest people I’ve ever met and I will forever be indebted to their dedication in raising my brother and I in a positive environment. I am forever grateful and hope to make them proud as their daughter.
Q: Did you have any Asian American/Pacific Islander role models growing up in media (i.e. movies/TV/music/books, etc.)? Did this affect your self-image?
Growing up, there weren’t many Asians role models in mainstream media. Of course, there was Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Lucy Liu, but they were always represented in a way that always emphasized martial arts. However, I found myself lost in manga and anime, specifically remembering Hayao Miyazaki to be one of the first animators I knew by name. Because of him, my life took a turn towards creativity and the arts. I was a young artist, constantly sketching anywhere I could and quickly went through tons of sketchbooks. I’ve grown to have a deep appreciation for creatives who are always working on perfecting their craft. As a result, I founded a publication called Monochrome Pink, which is dedicated to creatives who are working on building a career using their skills.
Q: How do you feel about the rise of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in media today?
I genuinely get excited whenever I see Asians in mainstream media. Whether it’s playing a character in a romantic comedy or hearing K-pop on the radio, I feel like I’m witnessing history happen. We are living in a time where Asian Americans are emerging as leaders in their own right.
Q: If you could give your younger self advice regarding growing up Asian American/Pacific Islander, what would it be?
There’s no one better to be than yourself.
Q: How do you connect with your heritage and culture today?
Today, the best way to stay connected to my culture is through my parents. It doesn’t get any better than spending time with them and having meaningful conversations.
About Jie Kuang
Jie is the Founder and CEO of Monochrome Pink, a publication focused on creators who are passionate about social issues. She has a background in marketing, specifically in SEO, social media, and digital strategy. Jie has been invited to speak at top universities such as University of Pennsylvania and Temple University to discuss entrepreneurship and building a positive startup culture. She aims to motivate young creatives to build an empire that will pave the way for the next generation.