I want to highlight strong, creative, and interesting women as I launch my brand. I’m working to create a circle of diverse & stylish women. Today I’m launching my muses series and sharing my chats with friends, clients, and creatives.
My conversation with Debbie Kongsomboot:
ER: I checked out your website and read your blog posts on Asian representation in Hollywood and the fetishization of Asian women in general. I completely related to your experience growing up and not really questioning why there was a lack of representation of people who looked like me or storylines that related to my experiences growing up. I noticed those posts are from 2016 and I’m interested to hear your take on representation in Hollywood in 2018. I recently watched One Day at A Time on Netflix and it was great to see characters that reminded me of my family. Rita Moreno plays the grandma in sitcom and her character reminds me so much of my grandma. Regarding Asian representation, are there any movies or TV shows that get it right? If no, how can Hollywood positively reflect your family, culture, and values without relying on harmful stereotypes?
DK: I've seen a couple of One Day at a Time and I love the authenticity of it. It seems like they're just filming into someone's living room. I'm currently watching Fresh off the Boat on Hulu. My maternal grandparents are Chinese so I've grown up with some Chinese traditions as well as Thai ones. It's really great to watch a first generation Asian American family that faces similar struggles to the ones my family and I faced when we first moved to the States. I love how the show doesn't depend on Asian stereotypes but instead includes subtle details that relate to the Asian community, like how we use the fully functional dishwasher as a drying rack! I can't forget Crazy Rich Asians, the very first movie that features an ALL ASIAN cast! It was so inspiring to see white people as extras in a movie for a change. I wish movies like this one were around when I was growing up. This is just the beginning of many more movies with better POC representation!
ER: Who are your sheroes? How do they inspire you?
DK: My #1 shero has got to be my mom (and my dad), I have learned EVERYTHING from my mom. How to save money, how to be generous, loving, caring, as well as every other great trait that she has passed down from me. We started with nothing when we first moved to America, I have seen her build up everything we have now from the ground up. I inspire to become at least half of the woman my mom one day. She is the most caring, thoughtful, and strongest woman I know. My mom was my first best friend and she always will be!
ER: What would you like to pursue after school?
DK: I recently attended an event hosted at my workplace, K Ba-Nana, called "Women in Business". There was a panel consisting of inspirational women of color. They helped me realize that my career is going to constantly evolve and change throughout the years. I would love to be a creative director one day. I don't want to limit myself by doing something that limits my creativity, I'm not the kind of person who would do well with a 9 to 5. Eventually, I'd love to have my own skincare line and/or store that consists of the essential steps with the most basic and fundamental ingredients as possible. I'd also love to collaborate with eco-friendly packaging companies so I can leave the smallest amount carbon footprint as possible!
ER: What is your go-to look - your uniform?
DK: My go-to look currently consists of wide-leg crop pants (or jeans) from Madewell, with a basic white tee, checkered slip-on Vans, and my Gornick wool jacket from Aritzia. If I'm feeling a little flashier, I'll wear a little scarf around my neck, probably one from Madewell!
ER: Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? If yes, what is it and why?
DK: It's so difficult to choose one favorite piece of clothing but if I had to choose, my current favorite piece of clothing are my wide-leg crop jeans from Madewell. I feel like they're so flattering and it makes me look way taller than my 5'2 frame!
ER: What are your favorite Instagram profiles for style, inspiration, & laughs?
DK: My favorite Instagrams for style + inspiration:
My favorite Instagram for laughs: