Written By ASIAN AMERICAN GIRL CLUB - October 01 2019
Singer, songwriter, member of RCA Records’ girl group Citizen Queen.
Who inspired you to start singing?
Nina: My parents. I feel lucky to have felt comforted, loved, and supported through my journey in an industry that is not always so loving. I started singing and acting professionally when I was around seven years old. Rejection after rejection later, as everyone that auditions experiences, I couldn’t help but question if who I am, and what I looked like was the issue. I wondered if there was love for Asian American Girls, and if there was even a story of a multiracial girl in America to BE told in the first place. As time has gone on, I have learned that those not represented in media have to take the bull by the horns and MAKE space. The girls of Citizen Queen, my girl group, are doing just that. I’m proud to be the figure for Asian American and multiracial girls I never really had growing up. And I get to be that by doing what I love - singing.
Photo by Luke Fontana
There aren't many Asian Americans in mainstream music, who or what gave you the courage to pursue this industry?
I actually think Asian Americans are slowly starting to rise and become more known than before. Some of the biggest asian American artists dominate the charts: Bruno Mars is half filipino, so is Hailee Steinfeld, BLACKPINK is taking over, and Awkwafina is making space in the industry for herself quite successfully. These artists keep my head up. What I think is definitely missing is the story of the Asian American experience in mainstream music. An amazing example of a song like this is “I Can Only Write My Name”, by Will Jay. Composing stories like this is NECESSARY for the normalization of Asian American Artists into Mainstream Music. People need to hear our perspective. Until people are willing and excited to listen, we will continue to make space for ourselves. And for those of you reading this that feel hesitant to enter the music industry because it seems as though not many Asian Americans succeed in it:
It’s about the music. Tell your amazing story, and REGARDLESS of who you are or what you are, people will listen.
Your story needs to be heard. Be the first to say something or be something if no one has yet.
Don’t trip. We’re thriving. We are making space for ourselves, and even more for you.
Check out some inspiring words of motivation from Nina!
Krista: ME! My job, my ethnicity, my gender make up PARTS of me that I’m very proud of, in an individual way, but they don’t define or label me based on a group definition or stereotype. There is so much more beyond my job, ethnicity, and gender that make me who I am! There are many many many layers in a human being - every person in the world has a different story, and history - nobody is the same, and that’s what makes human nature so interesting and beautiful and unpredictable!
How do you handle rejection?
Rejection is a big part of my job as an actor and artist. Rejection isn’t easy. When I audition for a role and do not get the part, I usually am bummed. But then I remind myself the part is going to another hustling actor, and I certainly can’t be mad about that - we are all working hard, and there is room for everyone, especially to celebrate more Asian American actors!!
Being rejected socially is something that is harder to deal with, because at first it feels much more personal. For example, being excluded from a group or a party or conversation might not feel good. But I have learned over time that it is not worth the energy to worry about people who are exclusive. Especially when I have genuine, wonderful, and supportive friends and family (like Team AAGC!) that I would so much rather spend that energy and time on and with
If someone is choosing to be unconcerned or catty, then I probably don’t want to be around an insensitive person anyway. It’s so much better to focus on the love and matters that are important to you, than the inevitable negativity surrounding you. That's why I deeply value inclusiveness and kindness.
Being rejected has taught me confidence, to love myself instead of looking for someone else to, and most importantly, to treat OTHERS with love and compassion because I know how bad it feels to be on the rejected side. I do find coffee ice cream a great friend on the darker days, though (Haagen daz plz) =)
Dr. Ken (ABC)
Last Man Standing (FOX)
Favorite self care tips?
15 min walk outside right before the sun goes down, extra bonus with a dog!
Stretching and breathing
Prioritizing Family and Friends time
Taking the time to give thanks.
A single flower
Dancing to music
Check out what Krista has to say about what being undefinable means to her!
Written By ASIAN AMERICAN GIRL CLUB - August 13 2019
Producer, Writer, and TV Host on E! News.
What makes you undefinable?
Erin: My dna, my mixed cultures, my people, my dreams, and my drive make me undefinable.
Seeing a woman of mixed heritage on E! is so beyond inspiring to us. Can you explain to us a little bit about how you got your start?
Yikes. There’s no way to tell you just a LITTLE bit of how I got my start haha. If you want the FULL story you can listen to it on the “Career Stories” podcast, but I guess it all began with my schooling and experiences at Chapman University. I was in the Dodge College Television Broadcast Journalism program. While getting my degree I was working for the City of Orange’s local station as a “producer/host”. I put quotes because I was being paid by my work study and not a lot of people watched the program. I also was the gaming reporter for Chapman news which aired locally too (yes, video games- i created my own niche). I formed a reel off these school projects and moved to Singapore after graduating. I did a documentary in Singapore and discovered it’s the hub of English speaking television in that region. I saw an opportunity and just jumped in without looking back. I built my portfolio in SEA, eventually landing E! Asia. From E! Asia, E! Hollywood took notice.
What are your self care rituals?
Massages! Yoga! Exercise! Masks! Time alone with God. When I get a chance to do self-care I try to treat my body like the temple that it is. I’m constantly on the go and sometimes it’s hard to “treat yo self” but when I do, I go all out! I love The Now massage boutique or Burke Williams. Hot yoga always makes me feel like I get a good detox from the day, energy, stress, and it’s a good reset. And scriptures always remind me to love myself the way JC does- and that’s some REAL self care.
What would you tell your 14 year old self about setbacks and failure?
Setbacks and failures are part of the process. If it wasn’t for setbacks or failures then we would be unprepared to weather real storms. All of my trials and tribulations have built a resilience and perseverance that has allowed me to keep pressing forward. I know that my strength is made perfect in my weaknesses.
Here at #TEAMAAGC we believe in the power of being and staying true to yourself. How do you retain your sense of self and individuality in your career?
I stay true to me by staying grounded and connected to my reality. My reality is my family, my community, my faith. Without these things it could be so easy to change your identity and of course I’ve been tested and have felt the moments of straying. But as I’ve gotten older I realized that none of the fancy stuff or the industry standards matter! People want authenticity and relatability so why not just share the raw, weird, unabashed me? The fabric of my life is made from different cultures, experiences, and people, and my tribe reminds me who I truly am everyday. When my creator knitted me in my mama’s womb, He said this will be 1 of 1- therefore there’s no reason to try and be like someone else.