Episode 163

SuChin Pak ·  Add To Cart

“It is interesting because sometimes I that's what I think but then I see so many more stories and our faces, but the wider, the lens, the smaller that focus fruit is. So much has changed in just the past five years, more than in the 30 plus years I've been doing this. ”

SuChin Pak is a veteran journalist who has been hosting and reporting the news for over 25 years. She has reported on ABC, NBC, Discovery Networks, Oxygen and E!. She is most known for her long career as the first Asian American reporter for MTV News. From hosting red carpet shows, to reporting on presidential elections, international relief efforts and covering some of the biggest headlines in news, Pak has been a dedicated journalist since reporting on her first show at the age of 16. She has focused much of her work on issues involving social change. She currently co-hosts Add To Cart–a podcast about consumerism and the impact on our culture, for Lemonada Media.


Social media handles:

Instagram: @suchinpak @addtocartpod

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Podcast Transcript

SuChin Pak

Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, my name is Bryan and my name is Maggie. We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23)Today we have a very special guest, SuChin Pak is a veteran journalist who has been hosting and reporting the news for over 25 years. She has reported on ABC, NBC, Discovery Networks, Oxygen, and E!. She is most known for her long career as the first Asian American reporter for MTV News. From hosting red carpet shows to reporting on presidential elections, and international relief efforts and covering some of the biggest headlines in news, Pak has been a dedicated journalist since reporting on her first show at the age of 16. She has focused much of her work on issues involving social change. She currently co-hosts Add To Cart–a podcast about consumerism and the impact on our culture, for Lemonade Media.

SuChin: (00:01:12) Thanks, guys.

Bryan: (00:01:14)  You guys can’t see it, but I am smiling from end to end, I’m a huge fan of SuChin Pak. She’s such a pioneer in this pace without her, like, like we wouldn’t have gone as far as we did. So thank you so much SuChin!

SuChin: (00:01:32) Oh, that’s so, so wonderful to hear. It’s funny because when I was doing my job at the time there was no internet. There certainly wasn’t social media. So it felt very alone it felt kind of like I just got to get through this day, got to get through this week. So it’s only later in my life now, as we are all connecting in so many different ways that I’m hearing this feedback, and it’s kind of weird beause it’s, it’s such a disconnect, right? It’s been so long, but I never had these conversations when I was actually in the job and now here I am like raising my kids and have. Different experience and yet being so connected to the past in a way that I never imagined.

Bryan: (00:02:18) Those are the intangibles that you had and I’m glad that we’re here to share that back with you. We want to hop into your story a bit because I know that this whole career path, wasn’t something that you weren’t intending to be on television. 

SuChin: (00:02:39) I’m just curious, even with your experience, either personally and in doing the podcast, is it so different now, do you think that Asian-Americans feel like they can be on camera and that their parents do approve?.

Bryan: (00:02:55) No and to be honest, not at all.

SuChin: (00:02:59)  Yeah, it is interesting because sometimes that’s what I think but then I see so many more stories and our faces, but the wider, the lens, the smaller that focus fruit is. So I don’t know that it’s that different right than it is now. So much has changed in just the past five years, more than in the 30-plus years I’ve been doing this. But yeah, when I was starting, like I grew up in Union City, my parents, we all moved to this country from South Korea. I was five and the options were doctor, lawyer, an engineer like that, that’s it. Moving away from that was death to the security desk, to survival des, all of the dreams that come packed into the suitcases that when we come to this country. So it’s a career that in some ways chose me because I started so young and really out of the blue, I always thought I was going to be a lawyer. When I was chosen to do this teen program show, I thought, oh, this is great. I’m 16 doing this weird teen talk show on a local news channel. This is a fantastic job, but then I’ll go to college and I’ll be on my path. I hustled for TV work for so many years before I could say.

Wait, I think that this is what I want to do and that I can do it beause I’m not the type. I’m not a risk-taker. I’m not I’m one, that understands that I’m an, I’m the eldest sibling. So I understand that there are a lot of risks that are not my own to take. I wasn’t really until I moved to New York and by then I had been doing TV for 10 years. And for 10 years I kept thinking, okay, well, this I’m sure this is my last TV job. There’s no way I’m getting something after this. Then I’ll go back to law school and then I’ll go back to losing. So] yeah, that’s kind of the long long-winded way of saying this was not my career choice.

Bryan: (00:05:06) Thank you for sharing that. When do you say I’m going to go back and do this and that, whereas this sounds like I’m in my mid-thirties and like, what if I fail? I just go back to being whatever I was intending to do. I feel like sometimes we’re still bounded by our parents’ expectations. Then what you want us to be, what they want us to do. Like it’s always in the back of your head, but I’m really glad that you’re able to like trailblaze his new career path. That’s quote-unquote, untraditional to our parents and I’m kind of curious too, like how would you learn your public speaking abilities?

I saw online that you wouldn’t James Logan high school and you did speech and debate back in the day. Let’s talk about that.

SuChin: (00:05:49)  Okay. Bryan, where did you go?

Bryan: (00:05:53) I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, in particular, I went to Gabrielino High School.

SuChin: (00:06:04) Yes. For all of you forensics nerds. And we’re not talking about CSI, you’re talking about speech and debate Lincoln Douglas debate. I mean it’s funny, I rarely talk about this because it’s so small and so random, but I would say do that. Was the only way I could have entered this career because I just faked it, you know?

When you’re doing and competing and speech and debate, you’re just faking it the whole time. Iit’s not like it’s not like this is a skill that we’re born with speaking in public and being articulate and concise and having an opinion and being able to convey that.

Inadvertently, I mean, that sort of gave me a type of training that I didn’t know that I would be prepared for. And it’s crazy right. How you look back and the pieces fall into place, but they don’t, it doesn’t work out that way. It’s not like I went into speech and debate being like, yes, I’m going to.

Perfect, being able to speak in front of a crowd and then that will land me a news anchor job, and then that’ll land me in New York. So, but it was a huge impact, and shout out to my coach Lindsey, like legendary and sort of saw something in a very quiet Asian person.

I didn’t do debate because that was too scary. I did expositorily.

Bryan: (00:07:33) I don’t remember the abbreviation. Is it the one with the whiteboard?

SuChin: (00:07:40) I didn’t like suppository speech, which is a speech that you write and you perfect. You perform this for the entire year. It’s the one speech you give. So much goes into how you structure this. I would say it was probably a 30-minute speech, and then you have, you have props, you have like, and it sounds insane. Like, why are we competing in this? But anyway, so I did that and I got pretty far, like, I think I went to state and finally lost there, but it was just one of those things that, that I think because of that, because where in my upbringing, my parents still don’t speak English.

I mean, my parents have never used an ATM and they’ve never had a credit card. They’ve never been to college. Like where was I going to get this kind of support and mentoring and experience? So I think we, as immigrant kids, sort of piece it all together ourselves especially if we want to pursue something that isn’t traditional in our culture.

Bryan: (00:08:42) That’s the thing I want to highlight in this podcast too. It’s like every skill, no matter how random you think it is right now, all come into play. When you’re really in that position, you’re like draw upon every single experience that can push it forward. So you guys are curious about your career or whatever I say, go for it, especially at a younger age. It’s like, you never know how long that’s going to come back and be so useful in your life later.

Maggie: (00:09:05) Yeah. Bryan still talks about his experience in a speech to this day and he’s like, oh God. Yeah, he has nightmares about it, but it’s still like, I feel like it’s helped because Bryan is good at talking to people.

SuChin: (00:09:37) It’s an art, are you kidding? I built my whole career. I faking it. I figured it out every single day. I mean, yeah, those kinds of I don’t know what you would call them soft skills so it’s not math, it’s not English, it’s not science and those are the hardcore things that our parents drill into us.

But in this day and age, in this economy, in this country, it’s all the soft skills, right? If you can convince someone of your idea that your is better than the person next to you, it doesn’t matter if you got a perfect sat score. It’s the truth there’s something great about achieving academics.

I wasn’t one of those kids, I kind of just always was looking for the way in the other door. I think that those skills translate when you’re out in the, in the big world where nobody can see. Those soft skills are really hard to come by in immigrant families. I think that I go back to, there was this article years ago and you guys should look it up. I wonder if it still holds as much truth as it did when I read it. But in New York magazine, there was an article and it was called Paper Tigers about how we as Asian-Americans are tigers on paper, but that’s all is pieces of paper at some point. We have to live off of that piece of paper to succeed and if you’re a nuclear physicist or a biologist, those skills serve you, but if they’re not so clear, cut those skills and move what you want to do in your life, then you’ve got to find those ways to figure that out.

Bryan: (00:11:19) Absolutely. It’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses.  think you’re being so humble, you went to Berkeley, so it was a great school.

SuChin: (00:11:27) I got into Berkeley. I didn’t graduate, but I got in there. I mean I got great grades. Are you kidding me? I’m a perfectionist, but faith, all of it. I do. I knew how to play the game well, I was not one of those kids that never opened a textbook and then I suddenly aced exam  I was studying for months before the quizzes. I was always the most stressed person because I wanted that A. We all have those friends where you’re just like, oh, that is annoying that you can just walk in and ace an exam. So for me, it was all of it, even getting good grades was a hustle for me. It wasn’t something that came in a straight line. I had to work at what I wanted.

Bryan: (00:12:21) That translated to your adult life too and I know that you got discovered twice and let’s talk about that. Those experiences, like talking about your first time, like being discovered and allowed to pursue this career path.

What was going through your mind?  I want to just reframe what year this was. How old were you, what were you and your mind tell you to tell your parents that you want to pursue?

SuChin: (00:12:46)  I was 16, so it was probably 1991. I think the first time I had an email was when I went to college and I got a Berkeley Edu email, right. That was like you got emails only because you were in school. So it was a land before that. So it was the land of TV. TV was king and there was a local news channel, ABC of KGO TV in San Francisco and the bay area.

They were doing a weekly teen talk show called straight talk and teens terrible name. They wanted real teams. It was there four of us wait, one, two, the four real teens talking about teen things. So like every Saturday morning we’d talk about it, and there was a live studio audience. We talk about teen pregnancy and the latest shoes and how to ace your college applications. It was just a kind of like a news magazine show and I was chosen to be one of the kids. It looked like a Benetton ad. A blond girl named Julie from Merryn and Louise Castro was Latin American. I don’t know if he was from Mexico or not, but anyway, of Latin heritage, and then there was JaVale. So Wiki, who was African-American, and his mother was white. He has gone on to have also an incredible career. In New York as like in education, but anyway, so it was the four of us, like truly Innisfree ad.

If now I’m going to go real hardcore deep for those old folks that are listening to that remember is free, but, and the four of us were doing that. So, they were kind of looking for kids. And so that’s how that started. And I remember I, there was, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what this meant.

I just remember that I showed up with my parents. To the new station to sign the paperwork, having no clue that they wanted me to be on camera. I knew that they wanted me somewhere in the production of it. But even that, as I had never seen, I’ve never seen anybody work in front of Kim.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the inside of a studio, I’d never seen any of this stuff, no aspirations to be on camera and so they had to tell me you’re going to hold a microphone. Then this camera is going to record you and I was like, right, right. When they said that they were going to pay me, I think it was like, 150 or $200 a show. My parents were like, sign her up. How does she hold the camera here? So it was a survival choice like that someone would pay me that I could make $300 a week doing what, like talking about shoes is like, get outta here, but who’s going to say no to this.

Even if I fail miserably, I think back to it and it like it’s so, so heartwarming to see that this endeavor was such a family effort because even getting to San Francisco as I live in union city, that’s like, that’s a whole world away, even though it’s a 40-minute drive and my parents, we would all get in the minivan together I would get there and Saturday morning. Park the minivan, in front of the station and they would be there all day. I’d come out, I’d eat something. My dad would be reading the newspaper in there and they would park in front of that station until I was done and then drive me home. I mean, it was huge, like a village effort.

We didn’t know what we were doing and of course, they were going to sit out there for eight to 10 hours and wait for me to get done with this weird job that I had somehow thought about how tiny our world was, and then to sort of have that discovery land in my universe was. I mean looking back it was mind-blowing earth-shattering and altering the course of my life, but then I just didn’t want to get fired. Like every day was just learning on the job. I remember one of my first celebrity interviews was with Ice Cube and I accidentally called him ice pick because I was so nervous he shut the interview down and he walked away and cried hysterically sobbing. I was like, they’re going to fire me like this is it. 

I barely know what I’m doing anyway so like every day was that was just like a fight or flight, trial by error, which is a great education and trying to have a job on television because it’s, it’s like that it doesn’t matter if you’re doing that for a small news station that’s trial by the fire too it’s like my mistake with that small interview.

Would it be seen by no one, but a mistake on a national the number one show for young people in the world. I mean screwing up on there is also fight or flight so that’s kind of how the context and how I  see that time in my life now. 

Maggie: (00:18:35) Thank you so much for sharing that SuChin. I’m just kind of envisioning it from your perspective and from, your lens and I can see it just like it’s so heartwarming hearing about your family waiting outside in the car and just waiting eight, nine hours until you come out. I just wanted to say like how much I appreciate that story because I feel like a lot of Asians can resonate with that.

And our parents, tend to want us to go into certain roles. Like you mentioned a doctor’s lawyer, but until the money comes in then they’re like, oh, okay like this makes sense. I can see how you can make a career out of this.

SuChin: (00:19:15) They didn’t see it for a long time. Trust me, I was that 35-year-old who my mother was it’s not too late Mr. Lee’s daughter went to dental school and she was 35. I’m not going to law school while I’m like, I am on MTV.  I say that jokingly, but I was like, I think I’m going to make a go of this. 

This is a game of survival and we don’t have the luxury. Most of us don’t have the luxury to choose what we want to do. I didn’t choose to do this. At one point, later on, I finally did choose for myself that this is the path that I wanted, but we don’t have the luxury of choice. So I always think it’s such a hard question to answer when someone asks, how did you end up doing this?

The short version was discovered at 16 and then I worked on local TV and then I got into MTV. That’s the short version, but the truth and the long version, the one that we all know as Asian-Americans, and as immigrants in this version, is like a hook or crook.

I never felt like I had the luxury in any of my career decisions until much later on and that’s after my family was fed, and taken care of. I have the security of my brother, mom, and dad. But up until that point, if the job stopped coming, I never would have pursued this. 

Maggie: (00:21:29) Learning experience and look how far you’ve come. You have learned from that experience. I think a lot of us can resonate with those experiences too. Just starting early in your career nerves, everything wanting to perfect, every little single thing, and then 10 years pass by. I love that story. So fast forward a little bit you got discovered after moving to New York, after being hired as a host for the show trackers and someone from MTV had spotted you and soon you were the first Asian face of MTV.

You were the first, you were MTV’s first Asian American anchor slash reporter. I’d love to hear about that experience. What that experience was like when they discovered you and did you ever feel the weight of being the only Asian in the room when you were hired on TV?

SuChin: (00:22:25) By that point I had been doing TV for 10+ years. The job itself was easy for me like I understood what it is and I knew how to do it very well and okay. I didn’t have MTV growing up. Like we didn’t, are you kidding? My parents are freaking cheap like we are not going to pay for TV. So I didn’t grow up in the context of pop culture and I didn’t grow up in the context of music. I say that because I think when this opportunity to MTV came, I thought it was like really great.

The stepping stone to becoming the next Connie Chung. I would go from MTV and then I would graduate to national news. I would be co-anchors at NBC nightly news and to me, it wasn’t MTV. I think that that helped because I didn’t go into it with that expectation or that like the fandom that sometimes can trip you up. When you’re doing this job and throughout my career there, we’re so lucky to meet all these celebrities and interview them. For me, there was such a distance that I could rely on. When I was a little bit older at the time that I was there it was like the era of Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake and boy bands. That wasn’t my music and MTV that pop culture. So when I moved to New York when oxygen first launched with Oprah Winfrey. It’s I know it’s very different now, but it was going to be a profoundly changing network just for women. I was hosting a talk show and then when that ended, a lot of the producers on my show all came from MTV.

So they all went back to MTV and I had become friends with all the producers and so when the spot came up, Serena was leaving. They wanted a female and I don’t know that they necessarily were looking for a female of color. I wouldn’t give them that much credit and so I auditioned and I got the job.

In terms of feeling, I sort of alluded to this at the beginning of the interview it was a very isolating experience. I mean how many people can say that their everyday job is to walk in on to interview Gwen Stefani and Diddy. I mean, it’s like a dream so, in that way, it’s very isolating. But in terms of my Asian American identity, I always had like a sense of it because I grew up in the bay area where I think there were three white kids. We were all Asian or of color I never felt like I was in the minority until I left home.

So I think I had like very kids have a different sense of identity, I think, than even like, when I moved to Los Angeles or New York, even New York was, it’s like a different Asian vibe to me. I always had that sense, but I was always very reluctant to identify myself as an Asian American in my work, because I didn’t want people to think, oh, that’s all she does. That framework held me back from discovering my community, but also discovering what this identity even means to me. This is something that’s come much later in my mind. I would go on TV, I do my thing and then I go back home. I don’t hear one word from an audience member. I don’t hear one word from anyone that hated it or loved it. So I think that there’s a beauty in it because you can kind of just do your job and there, you don’t have trolls, but there’s also a real sense of isolation because you have no idea that there are people that like your work or care about what you’re doing. It’s so different than how it is now.

Bryan: (00:27:02) Thank you so much for sharing those experiences in isolation. I want to hear more about like the times where you felt really sad and you felt a lot of self-doubts, because honestly, when we see you on TV, like, we sound so confident. We love your tone of voice and the way you present everything, but deep inside, we’re still human beings. People forget that. I don’t want to hear more about that side.

SuChin: (00:27:49) You find your sense of community when you feel isolated. How you find your sense of community or your sense of identity when you don’t see it around you is virtually impossible, which is why representation matters. Why visibility matters because you can. How do you imagine something that doesn’t exist is so what, what does that even mean? It’s like a math equation that is too big and too elusive for most of us to figure out.

So that’s number one is, is that I had no sense of my identity. I could only do it because I had grown up where I grew up. I had gone to Berkeley, I was on my way to getting a minor in ethnic studies. So all of that, I came with all of that, that academic knowledge of what it meant to be a person of color.

I would say the first time I saw myself. Sometimes you have those experiences where you’re like, whoa, this is like a matrix moment. I can take the red pill or I can take the blue pill. Like this is going to alter something and you don’t know how big it is in that moment, but you’ve got, you have that gut feeling where you’re like this is a fork in the road.

And one of those forks in the road was when tomorrow came out and I went to Sundance. It was the first time it has ever seen an Asian director the first time I’d ever seen an Asian cast and when I sat in that theater and I watched this movie play with an all-Asian American cast, nobody had accents, nobody was the butt of a joke.

We talk about the realization that I was missing, something that I had no idea what was even there. It wasn’t until I saw it, that I was like, wow, this is such a hole that I never even knew and it was so mind-blowing. That’s when I say it’s impossible. How would I’ve had that experience?

So from that experience, I was like how do I get this movie out there? What can I do? And so that was my real first experience in, in trying to push my professional career to further the stories of Asian-Americans that was when I first started to realize like, oh no, this is the space I want to live in this is where I feel most alive. I don’t have to pretend here. I feel like vomiting and screaming and dancing all at once. This is the only space I want to live in and so that kind of was a place. I think that the sadness of the isolating part of this experience. On one hand, you have this thing where you’re like, you have the best job in the world. Like you have no right to not be happy. You have no right, not to be grateful. You have no right to ask for more. You have the golden ticket, the Willy Wonka ticket, that they’re one in a million. 

Then there’s the aspect of it where I’m like, God, I’m not fulfilled. I’m not happy. Every day feels like a battleground every day. Every moment on the air feels like I have to fight for it, and so that is a really tough place to live because it’s isolating because who are you going to tell that to?

Who’s listening to that and then also you don’t know how to bridge that between like, I should be so thankful and yet I’m so angry that these experiences are happening to me. So I think living in that space was one of the reasons why I sort of took a step back from being on camera after doing it for so many decades  I’m not willing to do this anymore, to put myself in this kind of soul-crushing equation. I have to find a different way to make a living and a different way to tell stories in different ways to move my community forward. There are so many different ways now that I’m, I’m lucky to have that was a really tough time.

25 except my twenties and thirties, those are miserable years but it gets better. You’re still trying to figure yourself out. You’re trying to date. Every decision is so weighted. Now I have the luxury of like making decisions and nothing feels like a survival decision but that’s on top of all of that and the career thing, I think I was just so unhappy.

Maggie: (00:32:34) Thank you so much for sharing that solution and I’m so glad that you were able to find other ways to get out of that current situation because some people will never really find those other ways. You mentioned that there in between, there’s like this fine line of. I should be grateful for what I have.

I should be grateful that I didn’t have to suffer as much as my parents did. I should be grateful to have this job. But at the same time, there are so many nuances. There are so many complications and difficulties with what we currently have, that a lot of people outside don’t see those hardships, don’t see those struggles. We’re constantly trying to find that balance of like, I should be happy, but I’m not.

SuChin: (00:33:17) This is funny, I had this conversation recently. Someone who was asking this question and I think it matters that he was white and not from our similar backgrounds. He kind of asked this question differently, but my answer to it was, and I don’t know if he understood it the way that we’re going to understand it, which is that for me, my whole career was that I’m so lucky to be here that like, I better be a really fun person. I better be a smiley person. I better be personable. I better be really smart. I better be articulate the minute I voiced dissatisfaction, anger, or sadness. Oh yeah. No, that’s not what the invitation said.

That’s not what you’re here for and so that framework is, was my entire career and it isn’t until it’s pretty recently or later in life that I could be like, no, I’m fucking pissed. I’m annoyed and I don’t care what this sounds like, and I still belong here. I don’t want your invitation, like keep it and so to say that we’re all here in the ugliness of it. Especially as Asian-Americans and still welcome that’s the groundwork that we’re laying here with the storytelling and the sharing. This has to happen first before there’s any sort of significant movement in politics or policy or in the way that the world moves.

We have to be able to own all aspects of our identity and ourselves as full, full beings and still have a seat at the time. That I don’t have to behave to be here. That’s the agreement that implicit agreement that I think so many of us make is, is that, wow, I finally made it to this table. I better behave otherwise I’m not welcome.

That’s the truth and I don’t care if the person that handed out the invitation says, no, that’s not how it is. That’s not how I am. That’s, this is the truth. We know it. We all know exactly the deal that we made and so it’s about laying the foundation for a different, totally different conversation.

Maggie: (00:35:28) I feel like that goes back to your original point of taking the seat at the table and also building representation, making sure that we are properly represented. I feel like there’s an analogy how a lot of people say that when you have a dream and you think of people in your dream or your dream about certain people, everyone in your dream represents someone who you’ve met or seen in real life.  Because you can’t envision something that you’ve never seen before. So these are all. People that you’ve met, are not new people that you just come up with. So the fact that representation is so important, it goes back to like, we have to see it on screen. We have to be able to see it for us to envision ourselves being in that position or else we can’t come up with that idea. I can do that because I can see it happen and that’s the only possible way.

SuChin: (00:36:46) Oh my God, that’s crazy. Crazy, but that’s, it’s not crazy to think about that. Like, it just takes one person to do. We can’t overstate this, like that small, those small moments that I was able to be on TV at that time, when that wasn’t possible to a lot of people mattered and I mean, God imagine if we had the menu that we have offered today when we were growing up, like, I don’t know who any of us would be.

It is pretty crazy and I shared the story as something that had happened to me at MTV years ago. I hadn’t shared that story before in some ways, because I knew enough to know that like my time there was, so was such a like point of reference for so many Asian Americans that I didn’t want to take that away from someone who was like, but you, you were this. Beause it was all those things, but it was also a lot of really negative, dark things that were happening. It’s interesting because I instinctually feel that now though, we can hold all of that. It doesn’t have to be so precious because we’re all moving the story forward. 

Bryan: (00:38:39) I am glad you’re able to share both sides of the story. No matter how much you look up to your idols. We want to hear each other’s story because that’s how we connect and resonate and the Asian community, I feel like it’s still has a long way to go in terms of like unifying ourselves and seeing ourselves as one family, essentially we’re pushing things forward and we’re still very early stage but you’re one of the pioneers.

Maggie: (00:39:28) Thank you so much. So you did culturally groundbreaking content at MTV with shows like my life translated, which is a documentary series of you following the lives of people, juggling two different cultures. One of them is the American culture and the other one is the culture. Their families. I want to know how much of that has translated into your book, my life, growing up Asian in America, and tell us a little bit about your book and how those two documentary series and the book kind of relate.

SuChin: (00:40:10) The book that I just wrote is the introduction to the book. It’s a collection of essays called my life, growing up Asian in America and they’re all personal. They’re from different parts of the Asian community we’re, non-binary all the minorities in the Asian community we have to remember that even within our community, it’s so fractured.

There are those in our community that suffers so much more, than others, even within the Asian American population. So they’re artists, they’re writers, they’re political activists, they’re television writers. I mean there are so many different voices they were able to put together and this book is just.

I told the editor I wrote my piece and I hadn’t read any of the other stories and as the story finally came in and I was reading through it, I was like, this is going to take me a while to get through beause I have to like get up like every few minutes. I’m emotionally even talking about it either I’m like crying or I’m so mad.

That I have to like, take a walk it’s so raw. It’s so incredible, but also the through-line that we are even in our fractured state, I think this version of Asian-American this identity that we’re right now in this moment in time developing and putting together there is a common threat and so you also see that in the book, so I’m super proud of it, but also there was, there was the faith I didn’t know. I wanted to tell it through the lens of like specific American experiences. 

Bryan: (00:45:14) I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. The book is extremely raw and the stories are extremely powerful. Be warned, that you might be very impacted by the stories.

SuChin: (00:45:29) I was not expecting that there was, there’s so much like pain and rage and depth, and it is raw. Like these not, I’m not a writer. Like I don’t identify as a writer. Like most of the people that contributed or not. So they just kind of tell it like it is, it is I’m excited about this book.

Maggie: (00:49:54) We have one last question for you and it’s a two-part question. I do want to do what I know about your add-to-cart podcasts. The second part is we would just love to know what’s next for you?

SuChin: (00:50:07)  So the podcast is about all the things that we buy and buy into and then what it says about who we are. So every week we sit down and we reveal to each other on the show, what we bought that week, and then what it says about who we are. It’s been such a crazy journey because we started in 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. The rise, in API, hate crimes I mean, like so many things were happening when we were launching this. The show straddles all the fluffy stuff that we talk about our experience being Asian Americans in this time right now.

You need to talk about all the stuff that brings you joy and the stuff that is killing you at night. I like to ask questions and answer questions about myself and reveal things about myself, not my comfort zone.

So I have no idea how long this podcast will last for now And then in terms of what’s next, I don’t know. I mean, even before the podcast, I was just like, I’m not sure what I want to start auditioning for talk shows. I just couldn’t do it anymore. And, and then this podcast happened in, and so I’m not sure, like, I think that there’s maybe a business here.

I think that I’m going to do this until it just does, it feels stale, but right now it feels electric. Every time I sit down and then the future is, is, I don’t know  I was talking to someone and they were asking me about my career and I was like, but I don’t have. 

Like my career ended when I said no to being a news anchor for a national network like this day, I said like, no, thank you. This isn’t the job I want after all I like have not had a career. I don’t know where the next thing is. I’m open and I have the luxury in my life now that I can choose.

Maggie: (00:53:52)  I just wanted to thank you for your transparency, your positivity, and the fact that, it’s not your comfort zone to be asked, but you’re still on our podcast. Just wanted to thank you so much for that.

SuChin: (00:54:04) I mean, I can’t say no to my Asian. Brothers and sisters, I’ll never say no. So it’s always.