AAPI Heritage Month Q&A Series: Keri Hyjurick

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!

In today’s post, Keri Hyjurick, shares her experience of growing up Korean American. Keri has such a radiant personality that shines through her blog and Instagram. I’m also obsessed with her cute bunny, Mononoke. I highly recommend following Keri if you’re looking for advice on sustainable fashion choices, thrifting or living with purpose. She’s such a gem and I adore her photography!

Q: What ethnicity are you?

Korean American.

Q: Do you speak your language?

Beginner level.

Q: Were you always proud of your heritage or did you initially reject it?

I was adopted from South Korea and came to America when I was only 4 months old. From the beginning, I was inherently aware of my background as my parents taught me from an early age that I arrived on an airplane. With this instilled in me, I grew up accepting my heritage more and more as I got older.

Q: When did you begin to truly embrace your heritage and why?

In middle school, I stumbled upon K-pop and my world changed from there. It was rare for me to see Asian representation in traditional media so to discover there was a world of celebrities that looked like me was mind-blowing. This was the initial jumping off point and I delved into Korean culture after this!

Q: What do you consider to be the best parts of your heritage and culture?

The food and the people!

Q: What was the first experience where you felt that demarcation of being a minority/different?

Even though I grew up in a primarily white suburban community, I am lucky enough to say that I never really felt bullied or rejected. I always knew I was different and I didn’t let this bother me, even from a young age. However, I know this is a special case because I knew of other minorities who did struggle.

Q: How did growing up as an Asian American/Pacific Islander affect your relationship with your parents?

Although they only knew the basics of Korean culture, they encouraged me to learn more about my heritage. Eventually, I was able to teach them more and more about being Korean and they had nothing but respect for it!

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?

I vividly remember watching Kimora Lee Simmon’s reality TV show because this was one of the only instances in which I saw an asian represented on TV. I wouldn’t say she was my role model but I think I was so engrossed in her show because I felt a connection.

Q: How do you feel about the rise of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in media today?

I am so proud! Of course, it can always be better but I think we have come a kong way and still have ways to go.

Q: If you could give your younger self advice regarding growing up Asian American/Pacific Islander, what would it be?

To continue to do you. I’m really happy with the way I embraced both my American and Korean heritage. Today, both elements are such imperative parts of my life.

Q: How do you connect with your heritage and culture today?

There’s a multitude of ways in which I connect with my heritage on a day-to-day basis! Korean food is my absolute favorite, I am dating a second generation Korean and I continue to try and learn the language.

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About Keri Hyjurick

Keri is a sustainability fashion and lifestyle blogger. She has a fondness for vintage pieces and her pet bunny, Mononoke. Through her presence on social media, she hopes to inspire others to live more consciously, to be more confident, and to spread positivity.

Instagram: @mskerih | Website: www.anenclothedcognition.com