Jenn Im loves that the rise in Asian visibility in Hollywood is giving kids real role models
Markus and Koala are no newbies to the Galore website – we are obsessed with this creative duos’ vision and the work they make together.
This time around, they teamed up with Korean American fashion and beauty vlogger and fashion designer, Jenn Im. Her Instagram page is extremely aesthetically pleasing, her YouTube channel is super informative, and her sense of style is very fun – it’s no wonder Jenn has 1.7 million Instagram followers and 2.3 million YouTube subscribers.
Yeah. That’s a lot.
We sat down with Jenn to discuss her Asian American upbringing, the rise of Asian visibility in Hollywood, the best and worst things about YouTube, and how to survive a LDR (long distance relationship…PS…her and her man? Too cute).
Check out the exclusive interview and Markus&Koala photoshoot below!
Did you grow up in a place with a strong Asian community?
I grew up in the outskirts of Los Angeles with a large hispanic/latinx community and it definitely influenced the way I saw myself. As minorities, we share a lot of the same values, especially when it comes to family. However, I was far from being the “cool kid.”
When I was growing up, we didn’t have many Asian American role models and it took me until my last year of high school before I really started to fully embrace my Korean roots. Social media has had a huge impact on my confidence. It created a platform for all ethnicities and cultures to showcase and humanize who we are.
I wouldn’t say that we are where we want to be, but there’s an undeniable Asian visibility in Hollywood/entertainment now – what do you think of it and what do you hope for us in the future?
I think it’s absolutely amazing that we’re getting that visibility in Hollywood. Movies like Crazy Rich Asians and Searching are pushing the boundaries on what Asians are able to bring to the table. We’re more than just the engineer in the background or the ninja doing backflips, we’re just like everyone else and it’s nice to see normal roles for us in the media.
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Favorite Asian food?
Oh god, this is a tough one.
If I could only eat any Asian food, it would probably be Korean. It’s pure comfort food for me. My favorite dish is kimchi jiggae. I eat it at least once a week to live.
Best thing about being a YouTuber?
The best thing about being a YouTuber is being able to be my own boss. I love being able to structure my own time and schedule what needs to be done. Independence and growth are huge pillars in my life so I love being able to evolve at the speed that I want. I’m a bit of a workaholic and I get a big high on knowing that everything I work for directly impacts me and the people around me.
Worst thing about being a YouTuber?
The worst thing about being a YouTuber is probably the criticisms and negative comments we receive on a daily basis. It’s difficult to have your life under a microscope, but I can’t say much about it because it does come with the territory. I chose to display my life and with that comes unsolicited comments about you and your choices.
I was always very sensitive (maybe a little too sensitive) when I was younger, but this job is teaching me to have a thicker skin. I will always have my values and I have an amazing pool of friends and family that keep me grounded.
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Any jobs before YouTube?
I’ve worked so many jobs before Youtube. I’ve worked at two smoothie shops, a server at Johnny Rockets, a hostess at a sushi bar, Forever 21 and a bakery. I grew up in a working class household so as soon I could get my work permit when I was 15 I never stopped working. All these jobs taught me so much: to be patient, to listen, and to develop a fierce work ethic.
What was your dream job when you were a kid?
My dream job as a kid was to be a cartoonist. I was obsessed with watching cartoons and loved the different worlds I would be sucked into where everything and anything can happen.
How would you describe your style evolution from when you first started Clothes Encounters?
My style has changed a little as I’ve gotten older. It’s toned down a little bit, but not by much. I know what silhouettes and fits work for my body type, but I still have that adventurous side when it comes to fashion.
I love being able to express my various moods through clothing and nothing feels better when your emotional self is congruent with your physical self. I believe style comes from the actual person wearing the clothes. It’s your attitude and the way you carry yourself that allows you to “pull an outfit” off.
READ ALSO: Afiya Bennett doesn’t just model. She designs now, too.
You were in a long distance relationship for a year with your man, do you have any advice for other people in LDRs?
Full communication and NO FRICKIN’ GAMES! When you’re in a long distance relationship, you don’t have time for bullshit or playing it cool. The only way it’s gonna work is if both parties are willing to put in 100%. Being in a LDR for a year was challenging, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I’ve always been kind of an intense person and when you’re in a LDR it’s very intense. Each time you leave your partner, you go through these devastating lows of missing them with your entire heart. But, it’s all worth it when you get to see them again. It’s transcendent happiness that no words can describe.
How did you feel about our first EVER shoot together?
It was the BEST day ever! Shooting with Markus and Koala was so experimental and fluid. Nothing but good vibes and a lot of Dua Lipa (laughs)!
Credits: Photography: Markus&Koala
Wearing: The Blonds NYC