AAPI Heritage Month Q&A Series: Venise J. Salcedo
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 features one of my closest friends: Venise J. Salcedo. Our friendship was truly meant to be since we literally met by chance in a Lyft Shared headed to an Alina Baraz concert. Venise is such a go getter with a great eye for style. She’s an inspiration to me and is destined for greatness. I can’t wait for you to get to know her and follow her journey as she enriches the lives of others through public health and beyond!
Q: What ethnicity are you?
Q: Do you speak your language?
I would say a little bit / intermediate.
Q: Were you always proud of your heritage or did you initially reject it?
I initially rejected it.
Q: When did you begin to truly embrace your heritage and why? to truly embrace your heritage and why?
It wasn’t until college that I truly embraced my heritage. I think I may have rejected my heritage in my younger years and throughout high school because I didn’t want to be “the other.”
Q: What do you consider to be the best parts of your heritage and culture?
Filipinos are very family-oriented!
Q: What was the first experience where you felt that demarcation of being a minority/different?
I would say it was a subtle backhanded compliment during my adolescence.
Q: How did growing up as an Asian American/Pacific Islander affect your relationship with your parents?
I feel like I was more cautious with my parents’ when it came to going against the norm or traditional ways. Since they had migrated from the Philippines, I also felt like they were learning the ways of “American” life WITH me. This, I feel, caused me to mature quicker and caused some resentment.
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?
No! Brenda Song maybe?! She was the only Asian on Disney Channel.
Q: How do you feel about the rise of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in media today?
I think it is about time.
Q: If you could give your younger self advice regarding growing up Asian American/Pacific Islander, what would it be?
I would say to embrace your heritage from the start and really own it since it is part of who you are. You really come to a better understanding of yourself when you understand where you came from.
Q: How do you connect with your heritage and culture today?
Sharing stories with family.
About Venise J. Salcedo
Venise is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines currently completing her Master’s in Public Health from Temple University. She has a special interest in global health, particularly the health outcomes of children, and aspires to work with this population. During her off-time, Venise enjoys exploring the city, finding new thrift stores, and reading entirely too many VICE articles.