Episode 123

Lisa Ling ·  Take Out with Lisa Ling

“When I'm in the field collecting these stories, people share things with me that are from the depths of their hearts—things they may not have even shared with their close friends and family members. I have a responsibility to tell their stories responsibly, and I sometimes establish relationships with these people that are more precious, or more unique, than relationships that I have with my close friends.”

Lisa Ling is the executive producer and host of the upcoming series “Take Out with Lisa Ling” for HBO Max, an exploration of Asian American history through the lens of delicious Asian food which has become so ubiquitous in the U.S. She is also the executive producer and host of “This is Life” on CNN, already at work on its ninth season for 2022. For the series, Ling has embedded with a notorious biker club and explored the medicinal use of psychedelics in psychotherapy.


Prior to joining CNN, Ling executive produced and hosted “Our America” on OWN for five seasons. She was also a field correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and contributor to ABC News’ “Nightline.” For these shows she reported from dozens of countries; covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India and the Lord Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored.


Ling was the first female host of National Geographic’s flagship show “Explorer” which sent her to cover the phenomenon of female suicide bombing, the spread of the MS-13 gang –considered the world’s most dangerous gang, and the humanitarian crisis inside North Korea.


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Podcast Transcript

Lisa Ling

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 with us, her name is Lisa. Lisa is the executive producer and host of the upcoming series. Take out with Lisa Ling for HBO, max, the exploration of Asian-American history. She is also the executive producer and host of this is life on CNN already at work on its ninth season. In 2022 the series link has embedded within Korea. She was also the correspondent for the Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC’s Nightline for these shows, she reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about getting raped in the Congo, burning in India, and the Lord’s resistance army and Uganda among other issues that are too often. When was the first female host of National Geographic’s collection show Explorer, which sets her to cover the phenomenon of female suicide bombing the spread of the Ms. 13 gang considered the world’s most dangerous gang and the humanitarian crisis inside of Korea. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa: (00:01:41) Thank you so much for having me AHN!

Bryan: (00:01:45) Let’s go, Lisa! We’re so happy to have you on the show. I know I mentioned this earlier, but I don’t think Asian Hustle Network would have happened without because of the work you have done and we’re an organization based on people’s stories based on letting people share their stories that are normally allowed to be shared their story and you do a great job at that. Thank you so much for inspiring me.

Lisa: (00:02:07) Yeah, Bryan, I’m already emotional after everything that’s been going on, but that just really, touches me so much. Thank you so much for watching, for acknowledging, and for appreciating that the work that I do truly means so much to me.

Bryan: (00:02:26) We want to hear more about your story. We did a lot of research on you and followed you on social media for a very long time. What is your upbringing like and how did you came the person you are today?

Lisa: (00:02:43) I mean, it’s interesting because I think for the, for those of us Asian Americans here are so many things that are kind of happening right now. I mean, the community is in the midst of a crisis in the wake of COVID and the scapegoating that has been happening and the violence that’s being perpetrated against our community.

But there also have been just these extraordinary triumphs at the same time and it’s difficult to fully realize and celebrate these triumphs because of everything that’s going on. The underlying factor in so much of it is that for so long, our stories collectively as an Asian American community, haven’t been told.

As someone who grew up in a suburb of Sacramento in a non-diverse community, I truly can’t remember even a single day when I learned anything about Asian American history. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve started to dig deep into that history, which is so rich, it is so full.

It is so inspiring. It’s also so devastating and it’s so multifaceted. I think that one of the ways to address a lot of the hate that Asian Americans are experiencing in this country is to try and tell these stories of resilience of resistance, but ultimately these stories of belonging because Asian Americans have contributed enormously to this country and those efforts have never been recognized.

Bryan: (00:04:36) You contribute a lot to that, Lisa. I mean, we want to learn more about your upbringing. I think you’ve mentioned in your past that you weren’t too proud to be Asian-American right. Particularly Chinese American and I want to hear more about that perspective.

Lisa: (00:05:06) It’s a great question. So, I grew up with a lot of shame about being Asian American about being Chinese American, because I grew up in a community that was so non-diverse and even though I had a lot of friends, I was a popular kid. I was teased every single day from middle school through high school, I was called everything from Risa Ring, and people came up to me and like talking about what my house smelled like because they would come over and it smelled like Chinese food because it has such a vivid, noticeable, and distinctive smell.

And so even though I had a lot of friends like I would go home crying about it because when you are in that phase of your life during your preteen and your teen years, all you care about is belonging and not being different. There was nothing that I could do to physically change my appearance and so that was hard for me. I mean, if you would’ve seen me in high school, I had straight-up 80-style hair. If you heard the way I talked and what I listened to, like, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell that I was Asian. If you didn’t see me and that was by design and that made me happy.

It wasn’t until I left Carmichael, Sacramento when I turned 17 and moved to Los Angeles that this whole world opened up to me. Los Angeles is such a diverse, melting pot, and I felt so embraced. I felt like I was finally home and it was at that point that I decided to just do a deep dive into who I was like, what are those parts that make up my identity?

I went and I spent some time in China trying to learn Mandarin in 1994 while working as a correspondent for a show that was seen in schools. I started working in journalism when I was young, but it was during this time that I developed such a love and pride in my Chinese roots, but also my Asian American roots.

I want to be specific about that because I’ve come to realize that the Asian American community is its category unto itself. You and I, you are too. I think you’re what are you? Vietnamese? Bryan.

My husband is Korean American, and I came to realize that we are more comfortable with one another than with Asian Americans. I would be with anyone from China or my husband would be with someone from Korea. We are a wholly distinctive category and there’s something so beautiful about that. We have our shared history in addition to this incredible ancestral lineage that goes back to the mother country from other countries, but just this idea.

Celebrating our own Asian-American culture has been something that has just become important to me. And, you know, I waited over 48 years to do it.

Bryan: (00:08:08) I’m really happy to hear that and I’m really happy you bring that up too because I think that the Asian American experience is different from any other experience in the history of Asians, right? When we travel back to our home country and we don’t belong there and we were like, oh, wait, I stand out. We tried to do our best to belong in a country where they always see us as outsiders. And this experience is similar for not just Asian-Americans but Asian Australians, and Asian Canadians.

I’m happy you were able to pinpoint that and bring that up because when people are like the Asian community needs to come together and stop seeing themselves as being different, it’s a lot harder than you think, we’re very diverse as a group.

Lisa: (00:08:51) It’s true, Bryan and I think that for so long, the different Asian American communities kind of operated separately from one another, right? We are this amalgam of all these disparate communities, and I think in the last couple of years, when either these attacks, these brazen attacks on our elders and the attackers didn’t discriminate between who was Chinese or Filipino or Vietnamese. I think it’s been this kind of awakening for our community, that we are stronger together and that we are a community separate from Asians in our home countries and there’s something just powerful in that.

It’s been moving for me because for so long, I felt so alone, and I start talking to other Asian Americans. It’s hard not to recognize that thread that runs through all of our lives of similarity and that is what I’m excited to celebrate.

Bryan: (00:09:55) I want to hear the most impactful story that you’ve been a part of where it just really opened a brand-new perspective for you in a way where it’s like, holy moly, like what’s has happened. I just want to hear about that experience.

Lisa: (00:10:52) It’s been an incredible honor for me to have been able to executive producer and host this series. This is life on CNN. Yes. For what will soon be nine seasons and before that, I hosted an EAP to a similar show called our America on my own. For me again, as an Asian American woman who grew up with so much shame around my identity, but never fully, fully American, because I didn’t look like the stereotypical image of what an American looks like to be able to host these shows to be the front person for these shows about.

This incredible American experience has just been an incredible honor and I think one of the reasons why people have come to trust me and tell me their stories is they, I think we’ve built up a track record of really being respectful, being nonexploitative, and not being sensational and being willing to listen.

I do think that the adversity that I experienced as a young person helped me become more sensitive to stories of people who might live on the margins or the fringes or feel marginalized. And that has carried through. It is also true that when I’m in the field, collecting these stories, people share things with me that are from the depths of their hearts and things that they may have never even shared with their closest friends or family members. To me, I have a responsibility to tell their stories, responsively, and I do establish relationships with these people that are sometimes more precious to me, or unique. More unique than relationships that I have even with close friends because when you’re with your close friends, you don’t always go that deep.

You sort of live life on the surface a little bit on the periphery, but with the people that I feature for our show like we go deep and I want all of those people to know that I’m not the kind of journalist who’s going to do is going to just like drop in and then thank you for your story and leave. I want them to know that we have a relationship and that if they need to call me for some reason, they have my number and they can do so. I hope that that in some ways, inspires people, to want to do that with everyday humans. We’ve gotten to a place in our culture right now, where we’re not talking to each other and we’re not taking the time to engage and to hear each other out.

And I think that that has ultimately led us to a very precarious and dangerous place. Things are so divided right now and ultimately; I think we all need to be proactive about trying to get to know our fellow humans a little bit.

Maggie: (00:13:39) I love that so much, Lisa and you’re right. I think being a journalist, is a job, right? But you also must be very engaged with their story and want to know more about them. Because at the end of the day, maybe that person just needs someone to listen to them and for them to be so vulnerable in that state and to share their story, their lifelong story, takes a lot of courage.

I love that you mentioned it’s not just like a one-time thing where you just get their story on leave. You have to be very reengaged with their story and want to help them and I think that’s so amazing. I know that you had started being a journalist at a very young age, and you said you hadn’t moved to LA until the age of 17 and you never looked back at the age of 16. I think there was an article saying that you were one of the youngest reporters on that show and I think that’s so amazing.

What made you decide what you wanted to and listen to these stories of these people who are not very underrepresented and don’t have the platform to share their stories.

And what was that experience like? I’m sure that has opened your eyes and opened your perspectives in such a new light at such a young age. How has that kind of channeled within yourself? How has that kind of shifted your mindset at that age at 17 and 18 years old?

Lisa: (00:15:24) I’ll be frank with you when I was a kid, I just wanted to be on TV and the reason was that the TV was on in my house all the time. My parents were divorced when I was seven and I didn’t have a ton of parental supervision. I just watched a ton of TV and I used to watch shows like the Brady bunch and fantasy island and love boat.

I had these grand fantasies of being part of those shows because I thought if I could somehow be part of this world, I might be able to have a better life one day, but nobody on those shows looked anything like me. The only Asian person I ever saw on a national stage was Connie Chung.

And if you ask any Asian journalist of my generation, I’m almost certain, we will all tell you that Connie was our inspiration for pursuing journalism, because she allowed us to know what was possible. I mean, I truly would not be doing what I’m doing today. If I hadn’t seen Connie if Connie hadn’t shown me that it could be possible to pursue this line of work.

I auditioned for a teen magazine show called scratch when I was 16 years old in a mall and I got hired as one of the four hosts of that show. Interestingly enough, Bryan, back to your question about the fact that there were so few Asians. The executive producer of that show was a Chinese American man.

And it was important for him to make sure that there was solid representation on that show. It took an Asian American person to be conscious of the fact that he wanted that perspective represented somehow. I did that, that was my first foray into the television business and then I got hired to become a reporter for channel one news, which was a school that was seen.

I mean a show that was seen in schools across the country and that show sent me all over the world to cover stories. My senses, the things that I experienced in the world were so heightened that I felt like I had recognized that this is what I was supposed to be doing.

My desire went from just wanting to be on TV, to wanting to communicate the things that I was seeing in the world to a bigger audience. I mean, I covered the civil war in Afghanistan when I was 21 years old. I covered stories about the democracy movements in China and Iran in the nineties. I covered stories about the drug wars throughout South America.

I had been given this opportunity for my eyes to see these things and I recognize that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be communicating these things that my eyes are seeing to a bigger audience and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this.

Bryan: (00:18:18) That’s amazing and to be honest, it’s very talented of you to be able to communicate that story of what you see accurately. I thank you so much for doing that and I can’t imagine what experience you went through and what you saw. For Maggie and I, it is like, wow, like we are, we’re so plugged into the community. We see a lot of things that are going on and it’s just the Asian American community or Asian Western community for you to see how the world, for lack of a better term, see how the world works, unless you like truly awakening and some ways did that reshape who you are as a person.

I know earlier you mentioned that it helped you become more aware and understanding of different people, different backgrounds, and different cultures, from a mental health standpoint. Learning a lot more about how the world works. How did that affect your perspective and own mental health as you’re like engaging with people and learning a lot more?

Lisa: (00:19:23) I mean, extraordinarily, I think that it is impossible to get to know people and your. People’s stories are deep stories that come from the heart and do not feel more compassionate and empathetic. It’s the one thing that I try so hard to encourage young people to do.

You can always go to school, right? The school will always be there in other words but traveling to me, you don’t even have to leave your country. You can travel outside of your town. To me, not only do you become a smarter person, the more well-traveled you are, the more you leave your comfort zone, you become a more well-versed person and ultimately you become a better person for allowing yourself to get to know your fellow humans a little bit better. Ultimately you will realize that no matter how different you are from someone, no matter how divergent your political views are from people ultimately we all do want the same things we’ve just been raised in environments and have accumulated a certain set of values that may be different from one and another, but ultimately we all want the same things. I think that the more we get to do that and leave our comfort zone. I mean, look, I still live in Los Angeles and there are so many parts of LA that I’ve never even explored.

You wouldn’t have to leave LA to be able to experience so many different worlds right unto itself and that applies to all towns. I mean, if you’re a college student just on your college campus alone, think about all the worlds there are to explore. I think these days we could go entire days without meeting new people, even people that we might see every day, we may say what’s up to, but like not know too much about their story. What if we took the time to try to get to know one person every day and like really kind of have a conversation, look them in the eyes and hear them out.

I mean, I just think that our perspective would widen so enormously. I visited a charter school in downtown LA, and this was a very diverse school, mostly low-income students. They did this exercise freshman year, all the freshmen where were given the assignment to write an essay about something hard that they were going through.

And so all the kids would write the essay and then they would put it together in a book and mandate all the freshmen to read that book. Well, what happened? By doing an exercise like that. You and I can never look at each other on a really surface level again. I will know something about you, it’s from the depths of your heart and that allows, that will allow for that freshman class to go beneath the surface. Why can’t we do that day today? Not necessarily what a piece about ourselves, but share and engage. I think the reason why we have gotten to this place in our country is that we’ve really stopped engaging and we’re just existing in these bubbles and there’s so much danger to that.

Lisa: (00:23:47) We want to be happy. We want to be safe. We want to be able to provide. We want to be able to ensure that our families are okay. Ultimately, they’re very basic things. We just might have different ideas or perspectives about how to reach those goals.

Maggie: (00:24:05) I agree with both of you and in building Asian Hustle Network, I think naturally a lot of us tend to listen to what our parents say and it’s easy for them to kind of stay in their lanes. That’s why there’s so much division within the Asian community but I think after COVID. It’s taken us into a different step and made us look into her cultural heritage. And noticing and realizing that we’re all more similar than we are different. We grew up with very similar experiences. We all want the same things. Like both of you said, we all want happiness.

We all want love to be healthy, to be safe, to be successful and it makes us realize, that I should be sharing my story and learning stories from other people. Lisa, like you, mentioned If we were able to listen to other people’s stories, not only does it make us smarter and learn more about different people’s cultural experiences wouldn’t make us makes us more empathetic.

Because naturally, it’s like, we tend to think about what’s going in on our lives and we normally don’t think about what’s going on in our lives. Are they having trouble or are they going through something? But when we know what they’re going through, we’re able to apply more empathy, right?

We’re able to kind of open up our doors and say like, you know what, let’s create relationships. Let’s build a better community. So, I absolutely with, with both of you. When I talk about your end-use show, Lisa, which is takeout with Lisa Ling, which is a six-episode documentary series that debuted on HBO max on January 27th. It specifically focuses on the lives of those who run. Some of America’s Asian restaurants, which is very compelling because we know that your grandparents ran a restaurant as well. I want to hear about that. We love to know a little bit more about that and what brought you to start something like this.

We know that this was something personal that came from you, and you wanted to create this platform and amplify the voices of a lot of these Asian American restaurant owners.

Lisa: (00:26:08) I said in a post recently that I couldn’t have even dreamt that this could happen because the idea of hosting a show that highlights Asian culture and Asian food just seemed like a completely inconceivable, impossible notion.

The show is green-lit by HBO before COVID before the sort of Asian hate started to escalate. So kudos HBO max for green-lighting it. But as I mentioned before, some of us have gone our entire lives without really knowing much about the incredible contributions that Asian-Americans have made in this country.

The severe levels of discrimination that so many in our community have but also the extraordinary achievements and the triumphs that have happened in the Asian-American community and, despite the struggles and the hardships the community has faced so many of us do not feel like we belong.

Somehow Asian food has been able to be able to like the track. All of those challenges, I mean, Asian food is more ubiquitous than McDonald’s, the smallest towns in America, they certainly have a Chinese restaurant, but these days they might have a Bangladeshi restaurant, or they might have a Nepali restaurant.

The best way for me to understand and appreciate a culture is through food. You know, food also transcends gender and ethnicity, and everyone loves Asian food. Well, if you love Asian food, take the time to get to know Asian stories because they’re incredible and they’re rich. And so for me, I’m very specific about the fact that this isn’t a cooking show because I don’t cook.

And in fact, the reason why I don’t cook is that my grandparents, were highly educated people, but they couldn’t get hired to work in finance. Or my grandmother couldn’t get hired to work in academia because they were Chinese and so they did what so many immigrants did, was they did odd jobs and they eventually saved up enough money to open a restaurant and they toiled away in those restaurants. They went on to own. They spent every single day, they were open seven days a week. Every holiday, my grandparents didn’t go to any of their kids’ school events at all. Everything was about working in that restaurant and these stories are so pervasive throughout America when it comes to Asian Americans.

The opportunity to highlight stories using this device of food that everybody loves is such, an exciting one to me and there are six episodes. I tried to get HBO max to Greenlight 20, but they’re like, no, here’s six. They’re such cool little shows with their own unique identity and I can’t wait for the world to see them.

I mean, one example just quickly, we covered a story in Boyle Heights, California and when you think of Boyle Heights, you think it’s a mostly Latino neighborhood, but many people don’t realize that after world war II, after the Japanese were released from prison camps, they had lost everything and many of them retreated to Boyle Heights because it was one of the few places they were allowed to live and could afford to live.

And so, this is the riding Japanese community sprung up in Boyle Heights, and they’re still vestiges of those of that community in Boyle Heights today. One of our episodes explores the Japanese American roots in Boyle Heights, California.

Bryan: (00:29:54) That hits home for me. I am familiar with Boyle Heights.

Lisa: (00:29:58) Did you know that that, that once housed like these American community?

Bryan: (00:30:03) I did not know at all!

Lisa: (00:30:09), Bryan, there’s a cemetery called Evergreen Cemetery in the middle of Boyle Heights and there’s this beautiful monument to the four 42nd regimental combat team. If you’ve never heard about the four 42nd, they were a team of volunteer soldiers, mostly of Japanese American descent who volunteered to fight for America, even though America was incarcerating. So many of their families. So many people who looked like them during World War II and in Boyle Heights, there’s this beautiful cemetery with, I believe 44-second soldiers who are laying in rest there.

We profile a granddaughter of one of those soldiers who are half Japanese and half Mexican who has a pop-up making tacos because she’s fusing her enter Japanese roots and it’s just like a real amazing. It’s an amazing concept food concept, but it’s an amazing part of our episode.

Maggie: (00:31:12) Oh, wow. That’s so amazing. I mean, yes, food brings people together. There are so many different food cultures and you get to learn about that specific culture and try different foods I think what is so compelling about Asian restaurants in general, is businesses that could obtain merchant status and a lot of immigrants, they ended up opening a lot of restaurants. Because there were special immigration privileges for Chinese restaurant owners, which cause a bunch of people to open restaurants to bypass restrictions and us immigration law.

That’s why we see so many Chinese restaurants across the United States and I love the way that you’re just telling these stories of restaurant owners and giving them this voice right giving them this platform. An episode that we saw, I don’t want to give away too much, but yes thank you HBO Max there was this one part, you know, obviously don’t want to give away too much to the listeners before it comes out, but we love how you incorporated your daughters into the show. It’s just so inspiring to see you, you know, creating so much impact across generations and there was this one line that your daughter had said where she said, I’m so proud to be Asian.

And, that just touched my heart so much because, at that age for us, it was so different for us. We grew up in very predominantly Asian cities. Bryan grew up in a 626 in LA and I grew up in San Francisco in the sunset district, which is very Asian. But at the same time, there were moments where I was just like, I saw features physical features of non-Asians, who were told skinny and I want to look like them and I never saw Asians on TV. So for us, it’s a little bit different, but for your daughters to say something like that is so amazing.

I want to know, like what you want to be able to share, like the message that you want to be able to share to your daughters because it seems like they’ve already kind of picked up on being so proud to be Asian, but I guess like to the next generation.

Lisa: (00:33:30) Maggie, it’s so funny because my kids, they request in their lunch, like dumplings and noodles and seaweed packets, t’s incredible. They are so proud and like someone who likes loved boy bands my whole life, like the fact that I was able to take my daughter to see the biggest band in the world, which is BTS right along with 70,000 people of all different ethnicities and over four days, 280,000 people, it’s incredible the world that they are growing up in, but at the same time this violence that is very scary because no matter how accepted we feel or how much we’ve achieved, there will still be people in this country that don’t see us as Americans.

That is sad, but that’s the reason why we have to keep fighting and keep pushing. Sadly, having to just demand that people recognize the fact that we belong here.

Maggie: (00:34:45) We loved it was so good and to our listeners, you have to watch it. We had received a lot of positive comments, people saying that they were excited to watch the series and I think we should all watch it. Not only do we get to learn about food culture, but you also incorporate a lot of history into those episodes as well and it makes us learn something new about our cultural heritage, which we appreciate.

I guess my question is what you want viewers to get out of the series, the documentary, the next generation of Asian leaders, and just the younger generation to get out of this.

Lisa: (00:36:15) I hope that the series, I hope it galvanizes the Asian American community and it just shows us what incredible, incredible roots we have collectively as Asian-Americans and that we should be proud of those who came before. How they paved the way for us, but I hope that the larger community, even outside of the Asian-American community comes and just has an enlightening experience. Because at the end of the day, it’s a really fun series, but just walking, walking away, just feeling appreciative and acknowledging the Asian American roots in America. That is what I hope people take away from it and just be open to also your stomach growling and seeing some yummy, delicious Asian food.

Maggie: (00:37:18) Oh my gosh. When you guys laid out the food on the table, I was like, man, that looks good.

Lisa: (00:37:26) But despite how ubiquitous Asian-American restaurants are in this country. It’s kind of astounding that, that our show is the only show that I know of that’s ever highlighted the Asian American experience and it’s historic in some ways.

Bryan: (00:37:58) I guess for the next segment, as we’re wrapping up this podcast, we’ve been putting a lot more emphasis on mental health for 2022 and the reason being is that we get a lot of people, our community reach out to us and be like, how can I better take care of myself? How can I speak up more about tough issues, right? And to us, Lisa, you are incredibly strong, incredibly strong. How do you take care of your mental health? How do you keep yourself going through like setbacks and hardship? Because we as human beings, all go through that, right? You all feel as if your way is not happy all the time. We want to learn from your experience, like what keeps Lisa going?

Lisa: (00:38:38) Mental health is a journey and one that we all have to take very seriously and I think as a culture, Asians Asian-Americans and all of Asians. Culturally, I think we tend to repress hard things. Well, what happens when we continuously repress things and don’t communicate about it, don’t share, don’t get it off our chest. It starts to fester and it can start to make us sick and it can manifest itself in some negative behaviors.

I’ve been on this quest for a long time, and I have always been a pretty communicative person. I recognized when I was 17 years old, that I was inheriting severe levels of generational trauma. I got myself into therapy at 17 and I went twice a week. When I moved to New York in my twenties, when I was working on the view, I had a therapist on the east coast and the west coast, because I was like, I need to deal with this.

I would like to see the de-stigmatization of therapy in the Asian community and I would like to see us encourage each other to share and get things off of our chests. I mean, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but like to hug each other, feel each other, embrace each other, to express affection within our circle and our group. Those kinds of things are things that a lot of us never got ourselves as kids from our parents, most of us or many of us like didn’t exactly have the models for healthy mental health, you know? And so we’ve kind of like been on these journeys alone, but I think that if we focus on it and also take the time to hear our parents’ stories and our grandparents’ stories and understand like the generational trauma that they inherited and the trauma, the ones who came before they inherited, I think that is how our generation and I’m older than you all, but can end that, that general.

The cycle of trauma, but takes work and you have to be proactive about it. But the first thing you have to do is recognize this about yourself. How do I deal with issues? How hard is it for me to say, sorry? How long do I allow these things to just fester?

Because this is something that we’ve been talking about a lot about mental health in general, but particularly for the Asian American community that’s been carrying. So much, especially in the last couple of years, it is essential to find outlets, to be able to relieve tension, and to be able to release those things that you have been repressing for so much of your lives.

Maggie: (00:41:26) That’s so true and so powerful and the middle one you mentioned about our parents and our grandparents. Generational trauma. We talk about that a lot because we have our trauma and oftentimes it comes from our parents or our family. But we often forget that they had to go through their trauma from their parents and so on.

And at that time in their generation, mental health was barely recognized, and no one knew a lot about mental health. It was not a lot of research that was going on about mental health. They didn’t know how to express themselves, right? There’s no outlet for them. But now I would say we’re very blessed to be able to even talk about the de-stigmatization of mental health. What you brought up is so important and so critical.

Lisa: (00:42:12) One of the things that my husband and I have been exploring and I would never encourage people to do it themselves, but it’s been incredibly helpful for us is psychedelic therapy. It’s the kind of thing that if you think that it could be something that could be helpful for you would have to seek it out.

I would never want to encourage it, but for my husband who is Korean American and has been very repressed his whole life, it’s been. A complete game-changer. So I’ll leave it at that.

Maggie: (00:42:55) Lisa, this is our final question for you. That is, if you could give some advice to someone who is trying to tell their story, but doesn’t know how to, what would that one advice be?

Lisa: (00:43:09) I think right now there is this unique opening, right? Where people want to hear and want to know our stories, our Asian American story and I strongly suggest that if you have the capacity or the ability to write your story or tell your story. I know people want to listen and I think that that’s another way that we are finding community. In one another is by sharing these stories and what you will find inevitably, is that your story while unique to you. There will probably be people out there who can relate to the things that you’ve gone through and as someone who has felt very alone in my kind of repression of my Asian-American identity for so long, it’s been really, it’s been wonderful to be able to share stories with other Asian Americans. It’s been, it’s been comforting. It’s been reassuring, it’s been inspiring and it’s allowed me just to feel, feel so much more pride in my Asian American community.

Bryan: (00:44:19) I love that answer so much and for you guys to want to share your story, you also have Asian Hustle Network. We have 100,000 stories of Asians around the world, sharing their story in our community alone.

Lisa: (00:44:35) I also want to thank you both for being proactive about wanting to collect these stories. One of the things that I experienced, I’m sure you probably have experienced this on Asian Hustle Network is when I was working on Takeout, everybody that I talked to was like, thank you for letting me share my story. Thank you for letting me share my family story because I never thought anyone would care. I would say to the people listening. People do care. Like we care and there’s this like unique opening right now where many more people outside of our community care and want to know. So I encourage you to try and just get it out.

Maggie: (00:45:15) Amazing.  I love that advice. That’s so powerful and agree. I think even if it’s, there’s like something in our hearts, that’s scared to tell our stories, just know that there’s someone out there who’s probably going through the same thing and they would find. So much inspiration just by hearing the fact that there is someone else out there in the world who has similar experiences, and you could be changing lives. So where can we find out more about you and your show? Takeout with Lisa.

Lisa: (00:45:46)Take out, drops on HBO max on January 27th, really soon and we’re currently shooting our ninth season of this is life. I’m on social media. I probably use Instagram the most. Thank you for allowing me to share. Thank you all for, for listening and you know, then your mission to want to, to highlight Asian-American stories.

Maggie: (00:46:16)Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Lisa. It was awesome having you on the show. I just really wanted to thank you so much, Lisa.

Bryan(00:46:23) Thank you so much for pioneering a new space for us and being a role model that we all need. Appreciate everything that you do.

Lisa: (00:46:32) Thank you, Bryan and Maggie have a great day.