Nothing is ever skin deep- Regarding the topic of social media and science.

I rarely ever post about science on my Instagram feed. Yes, I often post pictures and videos of myself at The Biodesign Institute on my story, but my posts have never been educational. With my time at biodesign coming to an end as I am set to graduate with my masters in biochemistry in a couple of weeks, it was so timely that I came across an op-ed article published in Science, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. The author of the article speaks about an Instagram community of (mostly) women, and men, who partake in something called #scicomm – they dedicate their Instagram to making fun and educational posts about their research and more, to make STEM careers more appealing to youth, to spread scientific knowledge, and while doing so, also challenge the stereotypes of people in STEM. The author addresses the fact that many of these IG science communicators are women, who are often fashionable, bubbly, and feminine, to show that women in STEM do not always have to be people who do not care about their appearance. And she felt that we should not be celebrating the fact that these women have to take time out of research and Lab, to debunk these stereotypes. She basically thinks, as obviously stated in the title, that “Instagram won’t solve inequality.”

This article did nothing but further confirmed my fears as a woman who is trying to dwell in the realms of both science, and Fashion/entertainment- people are often finding an excuse to dismiss the efforts of women (and actually anyone else) who have interests in fashion, social media, and other things that people often consider less important in society as compared to stuff like STEM.

These #scicomm instagrammers took it upon themselves to compile and consolidate accurate information, and repackage it into interesting, eye-catching posts for social media users of all ages to get to learn a thing or two daily about what they do at work and school. And yet, the author of the article still felt the need to state that “Time spent on Instagram is time away from research,” insinuating that what they do on social media is a waste of time compared to what they could be doing in the lab. Here are some of my thoughts and why I think the article is completely out of line (besides the fact that it directly and negatively calls a #scicomm instagrammer out by name):

First of all, one does not need to spend every waking hour in the lab doing research, reading research papers, or doing something to aid his or her research project. Everyone has things they do outside of their main hustle. And if these instagrammers are choosing to use their free time to educate through their ig posts, who are we to criticise them. Furthermore, I personally think that choosing to spend more time on your research, while applaudable, doesn’t make your contribution to science more important to that of others. I’ve actually experienced this phenomenon of ‘guilt tripping’ many times before in my lab- where people question what I do outside of work and school and use it to somehow insinuate that I don’t spend enough time on research, even though I’m literally in lab the same amount of time they are. I just choose to use my free time differently from everyone else. And I document what I do in my free time to create content for my Instagram and other social media channels. I believe that it’s the same for these #scicomm instagrammers- but they’re even better for going above and beyond to create content that is science related. Communicating science to people who don’t typically dwell in STEM fields, or have yet to do so, is not an easy task.

The author then goes on to say that many of these women are doing this to “correct for gender disparities” and that instead of these women making posts on social media, we should be aiming to make changes at “institutional and governmental” levels. For you to want to juxtapose well-dressed and really well-spoken women in STEM having an influential social media presence, with words like ‘institutional’ and ‘governmental’ is PRECISELY why these women need to do this- these women are doing what they can introduce STEM to the world using their platforms, but alas, what they do is not as important since it doesn’t influence things directly on a policy level.

In my opinion, the whole article STEMmed (lol) from the fact that many can’t handle the fact that people who are interested in things that are often very misunderstood to be ‘superficial’, eg. fashion, social media, beauty, are also smart (both book and street) and make meaningful contributions to the world as well. In fact, society is constantly frowning upon anyone who wants to take the road less taken (not just the above mentioned constructs). And to be very honest with you, as a person who has worked in a research lab for several years now, your average researcher, can be much more shallow-minded than those who they view as shallow, if they are insistent that doing science and research is the only meaningful way to live your life. Sure, solving equations/curing cancer is extremely important, but downplaying other aspects of life and the career paths/interests of others does not speak very highly of you at all. Everyone has brains, and people choose to use them in different ways. I am directly addressing people in the science community because it’s the community that the article is situated in and because I’m in it as well. But this could easily apply to anyone who is currently facing issues due to whatever stereotype has been imposed on them.

With all that being said, I must say that I myself have allowed other’s people’s opinions affect my actions in life when it comes to what I do on social media. I often try to brand myself as a girl who is trying to pursue a career in fashion and entertainment, especially not leaving out the fact that I am also a grad student and biochem researcher. For my entire life, I’ve held back on fully pursuing my interests in the entertainment industry because I was so afraid of people thinking that I was ‘dumb’ and ‘uneducated’ or even what I’ve been personally called a ‘bimbo’. Both at school and outside of school, I’ve tried my best to make sure people knew I was good at science, as much as everything else I do. In a way, I did the opposite of these Science Communicators. I tried to challenge the stereotypes that someone interested in Fashion and social media, can have a ‘nerdy’, studious, smart side to them as well. So it really irked me when I read that article and realised that, these science communicators face similar problems as me, even though what they are sharing on social media is about science and academics. Their appearances and interest in social media still cause them to be affected by the negative stereotypes assigned to people who love fashion and beauty. So this has got to change.

To end this, going back to the first part of my post where I mentioned that my posts on IG are not related to science at all in an educational way, I do wish that I did speak about my research on Instagram more. With me graduating from program, it is very up in the air where I will be next due to my multiple interests in life (I will no longer be afraid of what people might think of me if I choose to stay in, or stray away from science). And I regret not attempting to speak about what I did in lab- the opportunity for me to learn how to better communicate about science was right in front of me but I did not take it. However, I’m glad that I now know about science communicators, and I greatly admire what they do. As I mentioned, it’s not easy to speak about research to someone who doesn’t talk science every day. So it’s a skill, and we should respect that regardless of whether they choose to dress well/put effort in their appearance, or not. And the fact that they are trying to overcome stereotypes is highly laudable- regardless of the platform they are using.

Sure, Instagram (and instagrammers) won’t be solving a lot of world issues, but so won’t bringing others, who are trying shed light on these issues, down.

Nothing, or rather, no one, is ever skin deep.

My #selfieforscience to remember these lab days by ✌🏼

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Hello, it’s the New Year! Feat. Yandy Activewear

Happy New Year everyone!

So, with every new year, comes the same age old question- what are your new years resolutions?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve mastered the art of successfully completing my resolutions just quite yet. I honestly cannot think of a single time when I’ve completely followed through with what I resolved to do at the beginning of every year. Therefore, this year, I’ve decided to pen them down, right here, on my blog, so I can actually have something to check back on and keep myself oriented to my goals.

Hence, here are my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Be cleaner: Put things away after using them, organize things better (organized mess does not count), clean things off after I use them (eg. my new laptop is completely white so I wanna keep it looking clean and brand new for as long as possible!
  2. Be better at responding to people: Be it for work, school, social media, modeling- I suck at responding to my messages!!! I have tons and tons of unanswered emails, texts, DMs, comments, and I really need to get better at this before I start losing more work opportunities, friends, and loved ones.
  3. Learn how to say NO: Last year, I basically said ‘yes’ to everyone. This year, I’m gonna only say yes to people who care for me, who aligned with my values and brand. This way, I will be able to give my all to these people, and have more time to spend with the people I love.
  4. Lastly, but most importantly, I NEED TO KEEP FIT! And by this, I mean that I have to work out and eat well consistently. Gone are my dancing days where I could skip working out and eat whatever I want and still get by with a (kinda) toned body. No excuses, no more quitting halfway! With this being my main goal of 2018, you  can only imagine how thrilled I was to be able to work with one of my fave companies, Yandy ( @yandy on Instagram) to showcase their activewear line! Nothing motivates me to work out more than cute activewear and workout gear!

Before I get into the activewear outfits, here’s a quick rundown on what Yandy is! Yandy is a brand famous for their specialty women’s apparel, swimwear, lingerie, and activewear. As mentioned on their website, “The Yandy Girl lives out loud and is unapologetically connected with her mind, her body, and her own brand of sexy.”

Check out their lingerie, and activewear (click on the hyperlinked words!)

Here are a few pieces that I highly recommend you add to your workout wardrobe:

Yandy Cardio Romper

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First up is this uber cute cardio romper! When I first saw this piece on their site, I knew I had to have it, because, why aren’t cardio rompers a thing yet?! Its so unique, its easy to wear, you don’t have to fuss over matching your sports bras and leggings, and its suitable for a lot of kinds of work outs! It personally reminded me of my leotards I used to wear for dance, but you could definitely wear it for other types of cardio too!

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The cut out sides and back adds to the sleek design of this romper

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Scroll through this slide show to see more pictures of the romper, taken by June Hucko, styled by Edwin Humberto.

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Shop the Cardio Romper here.

Power Gym Leggings, paired with the Yandy Multi-colored Sports Bra in Green

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Next up, are the Power Gym Leggings, paired with the Yandy Multi-colored Sports Bra in Green! Who doesn’t love themselves a basic sports bra and black legging combo?!

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Mesh leggings are a must have in the world of activewear- they’re super practical, comfortable, and trendy at the same time. The number of designs one can have of different mesh leggings is basically infinite, and this is definitely a pair, with the mesh cut out right under the waistband of the leggings, that you need to add to your legging collection.

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Similarly to how there are so many different ways leggings can have mesh inserts and cutouts on them, sports bras in the recent years have been coming in all kinds of strappy designs! This Yandy Multi-colored Sports bra has an adorable back strappy detail, which is not only fancy but actually provides you with very good support while you work out! It’s material is highly breathable, so you can sweat it out while working out and still stay fresh and dry while at it!

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Scroll through this slide show to see more pictures of this set, taken by June Hucko, styled by Edwin Humberto.

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Shop the Power leggings and green sports bra here and here.

Power Gym Leggings, paired with the Yandy Multi-colored Sports Bra in Charcoal Grey

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Lastly, this is the same set as before, but this time I’m wearing the sports bra in Grey! Which brings me to an activewear tip: if you find something that fits you well, get it in the different colors available! Your early morning self will thank you for that.

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Something super cool about these leggings- it has pockets!!! I’m absolutely living for sports wear that has pockets so that I can have somewhere to put my phone and music on me while I am working out. Don’t you feel the same?

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Oh and also, how cute is this Yandy.com bag?!

And lastly, my favorite thing about Yandy Activewear is probably how versatile it is. Wear this set for some high intensity cardio:

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And cool down in the same set with some stretching and yoga:

Scroll through this slide show to see more pictures of this set, taken by June Hucko, styled by Edwin Humberto.

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Shop the Grey sports bra here.

So there, those are my new year’s resolutions and my recommendations for some curte sportswear from Yandy to motivate you to workout if you’re like me and need a little extra something to help you get started in your fitness journey! Hopefully the next time I’m modeling some activewear, I’ll have some actual abs 🙂 hehe. Thank you so much to Yandy for hooking me up with these cool pieces, June for being the most amazing photog (weren’t the pictures just all so good?!), and Edwin for giving me that glow and for your talented styling!

Once again, happy new years everyone! Let me know if you have any similar resolutions, or what your personal goals are for this year! As usual, shoot me any questions you have as well! Thanks for reading. x

Love,

Valerie

The CW Dynasty: Influencer Premier Party!

The CW has always been one of my fave networks because of shows like Gossip Girl. So you can probably imagine how excited I was when I was invited to the Phoenix Premier of their new series, Dynasty, by Avis from the CW! With that, I got all dressed up and headed to the Mountain Shadows Resort for a fancy schmancy night with the Phoenix CW team and other local bloggers and influencers.

Just from hearing the name of the show I knew it was gonna be jam packed with all that good television drama and they definitely did not disappoint! Dynasty had me hooked right from the start, and coupled with the ambiance of Mountain Shadows Resort, the hors d’ouevers and drinks served, as well as the best company that night, I had the most lovely time ever at this exclusive screening. Thank you so much to the Phoenix CW team for having me.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Andddd now, you can vacation in style like the Dynasty cast and stand a chance to win a FREE stay at Mountain Shadows AZ if you click here before October 19th and enter the competition!

But if you don’t win, don’t worry! You can enjoy a special rate at Mountain Shadows by using the code DYNASTY at the following link:

https://www.phgsecure.com/IBE/bookingRedirect.ashx?propertyCode=PHXMS&rateCode=DYNASTY

Thank you so much to the CW for inviting me to this soirée once again! I had an amazing time and I hope you all tune in to Dynasty!

-Valerie

Phoenix Fashion Week- Runway Beauty Forecast Event

Hey everyone!

A couple weeks ago, I had the lovely opportunity to attend a private Media/Influencer event, powered by Phoenix Fashion Week, Leiden Mitchell Model Citizen, Clever Koi, Sonata’s Restaurants, Central Wine, and Lyft Phoenix!

If you’re a follower of my Instagram stories, you would’ve seen a live coverage of the private event on my stories, and some pictures of it on my feed!

It was my very first fashion week event, and it was honestly a blast. The location, the food, the people I met… nothing short of amazing!

The Location

The forecast event was held in this really posh salon called Model Citizen, a subset of the Leiden Mitchell Salons, and to enter it, you actually pass through Central Wine, a Wine Bar thats connected to the salon. So when the event began, you were immediately greeted by a little glass of champagne as you passed through romantic ambiance of  Central Wine to enter the clean and modern Model Citizen Salon (which did I mention smells AMAZING?!). Perfection.

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Image from Central Wine’s Website

The stylists at Model Citizen, as well as the owners of the place were also extremely kind and personable. They were there to answer any beauty related questions that you might have had, and they also had set up a braid bar as well as lip station were you could get touchups to your makeup and hair! So if you’re looking for a good salon to go to for your beauty needs, I honestly and highly recommend Model Citizen because its not only a bomb location, but they also have the most knowledgable and personable stylists!

The Food

What’s an event without scrumptious snacks and things for you to munch on as you mingle? Clever Koi, and Sonata Restaurants were the official food sponsors of the event, and boy did they deliver. The food was delicious, simply put. I can’t describe to you how amazing everything tasted, and I didn’t take proper photos of the food to post in the blog (note to self for future events!) but imma post some photos of some of the food they have at their restaurants just to let you see what its like! (Photos taken from Sonata’s Restaurant and Clever Koi Instagram pages)

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As the event was going on, I actually didn’t have the time to really stop and eat, because I had two hours to meet as many people as I could and I’m just the kind of person who wants to talk to everyone! And as the event neared to an end, I was beginning to get so disappointed because I was so hungry and I realized that I barely ate any of the food that looked and smelt so good! So I was just casually saying, “I wish I could take all of this food home!” And a guy from Clever Koi totally packed a whole bunch of food for me to take home! I was, needless to say, ecstatic, and I happily brought all that food home to enjoy in the comfort of my house, heels off and everything. Thanks, guy from Clever Koi!

The People

The thing I love the most about events like this is meeting people. Specifically, meeting people who have similar interests and care about the same things as me. I got to meet tons of friendly, talented and lovely people at this even and its crazy how I got to finally see certain people whom I’ve been following on Instagram for the longest time, in real life! And of course, it was lovely meeting models and photographers and people I’ve shot with before at the event too! But yes, I cannot stress enough how important networking is in this industry, and I’m so fortunate that the many people in the Phoenix community are extremely helpful and friendly, making the process of making connections so so much easier. Here are some pictures of me and the people I got to meet/see at the event!

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Top 40 Model Charles Hodges and the gorgeous Mary Espritsu (Photo by Jam Sani)
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Influencer and Stylist Andrea (Photo by Jam Sani)
Top 40 model Edwin Humberto
Top 40 model Samantha Maxwell
Photographer Francisco Gonzalez
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Digital Influencers and Stylists, Smart Blondes!

My Outfit

As some of you guys know, I’m kind of a fashion fiend, and knowing that I was going to meet some of the Valley’s most fashionable people, including designers, Stylists, bloggers, influencers, models, pageant queens, TV and radio personalities, as well as the organisers and sponsors of PHXFW themselves, I had to step up my fashion game for the event. I realize that at this point you’ve probably already seen a photo of what I wore either on Instagram and in the paragraph above but heres a close up of my outfit for the event:

So I’m not gonna lie, I tried real hard. But I ended up loving the result! I was definitely super confident in my style that night. And it was extremely comfortable for me to walk around in which was good because I was pretty much standing the whole time. If you know me, you’ll probably know that I’m not the type of person to try and set trends. I love rocking current trends but styling it to make myself stand out with colors and statement pieces. Color matching is a big thing for me. I choose colors that either match or compliment each other. And most importantly, what I wear should also somehow match the event theme. So I was super happy with what I wore to my first fashion week event and thank you to everyone who complimented me that night because your girl tried so hard and it was so nice to hear kind words about my outfit!

So there you have it! My official recap of the Phoenix Fashion week Runway Beauty Forecast Event! As you can probably tell, I had the best time. And I am looking forward to dressing up and being at Phoenix Fashion week to watch my designer and model friends strut the runway on October 5th-7th! If you’re interested in going, get your tickets here!

STAY TUNED TO MY INSTAGRAM STORIES FOR LIVE PICS AND VIDEOS DURING FASHION WEEK! ❤ If there are any designers/brands or even HMUA who want to collaborate, please reach out! I would love to wear your stuff to Phoenix Fashion Week!

Till next time!

Love,

Valerie

Cello Jeans and how I feel about blue

Blue isn’t my favorite color. But I love how it’s a color that pretty much describes any feeling. Sometimes my shade of blue is calm like the ocean, sometimes it’s cheerful like a clear sky in the late mornings. Sometimes it’s sad and gloomy when I’m feeling (you guessed it) blue. And other times it’s cold and scary like dark, cold, uncharted waters. But blue isn’t just a great color to describe feelings, it’s a great color for clothing. 

Blue is the color of denim. 

Most people probably own a good old pair of blue jeans. It is a fashion staple and in addition to being stylish, I love my blue jeans to be comfortable. And Cello Jeans is exactly that. 

This pair of jeans that Cello Jeans sent me is literally the most worn article of clothing that I own now. Because its so stretchy and versatile. I can dress them up or down. On a lazy day (which is most of my days), I can basically just throw them on over a body suit and wear some sneakers with them. Just like I did for this little neighborhood shoot I did with Regan:

Photos by Regan Norton ❤️

Love,

Valerie 

Just wanted to say ‘thank you’… and more food for thought to follow up!

Dear readers,

I am absolutely floored by the amount of support I received for my last blog post about my name. Thank you so much to everyone who gave it a read, shared it, commented on it and complimented it. I’ve actually been wanting to write about that for awhile, and I am extremely glad to have finally written that post. And while I am so happy that many of you thought it was a good read, the truth is, the fact that so many of you related to it was really nothing to celebrate about. Because it means that so many of us experience racism, daily. It means that so many people get away with saying ignorant things without even knowing that they did. And this makes me feel even more for people who experience intolerance and oppression in even more obvious, and outright disgusting ways. Because if you read my last post and realized how terrible someone has made you feel just by not understanding what your name is about, imagine what it would be like to be marginalised for your beliefs or how you look, to be called a terrorist or banned from a country for thoughtless reasons, to be slut shamed for choices you have the freedom to make, to be told to use the bathroom with people of a gender you don’t identify with, to have lost a loved one to hate violence… just to name a few of the horrific, heart-wrenching struggles people of Color, LGBTQ and other marginalized groups face every single day. So, cheesy as it sounds, it’s really up to us to stand up for ourselves and our friends and family, and our fellow humans to build a world that isn’t ignorant. A world that is safe for everyone. Maybe start with the little problems you can tackle, like telling someone what your name is and how to say it right, once and for all. 

Thank you again. We will talk again soon!


^^^ that’s me, v happy because y’all shared my post so much, thank you thank you so much (photo by Regan Norton, full photo story by her coming soon!)

Btw I know I said I’d have a more light-hearted post after my last one but, I didn’t know how having my post shared so many times was gonna make me feel about bigger world issues! I PROMISE I’ll do a different post next!

Sincerely,

Valerie 

Follow me on Instagram @valeriedabomb

My Name is Loo Yi Jia Valerie. Yes, Valerie is My Real Name.

And yes, it is my first name. Not my middle name. My first, given name. So is ‘Yi Jia’. Because that’s my Chinese name. And ‘Loo’ is my last name but it is written before the first name in my culture. But yeah, they are ALL written in my birth certificate. Including ‘Valerie’. Because my parents gave me that name, at birth, and registered that as my name. 

*warning: long rant post ahead*

So when I first moved to America and started college at ASU, I was on an A2 diplomatic Visa due to my dad’s job. And when I applied to ASU, I had my name written down as ‘Valerie Loo’. Because, well, that is my name. And no one questioned it. People called me ‘Valerie’ perfectly fine. I got the occasional ‘Vanessa’ and ‘Victoria’ or some other 3-syllabled V name from some people but other than that, it was all fine. Life was great. But when my father was posted back to Singapore, I had to switch my Visa status to an F1 International Student Visa. And with that, all hell broke loose. Ok that was a tad bit dramatic, but you get the point. To switch my Visas, I was called in to the college’s International Students and Scholars Center where I was greeted by a white man who was going to be my advisor for the Visa switching process. And for some reason, he insisted on calling me ‘Yi Jia’, which he obviously could NOT, for the love of god, pronounce, even though my documents clearly stated the name ‘Valerie’, right beside it (I was also constantly pointing it out, so it’s not like he couldn’t read it or anything). It was as though, now that I was officially, on paper, an ‘International Student’, a foreigner, I had to be identified by the part of my name that was most foreign to him. He then went into the school system and changed my name to ‘Loo Yi Jia’, and my first name, ‘Valerie’, was nowhere in sight. Of course, he didn’t just do it. As he went into the system to change my name, he said, as I recall very clearly, word for word, “oh no, we can’t have you in the system as ‘Valerie’ anymore, we need to put your real name in there. You’re a foreigner and you need to use your Asian name.” And that, was one of the most racist, ignorant things that anyone has ever said to me in my face, especially by a school official who works in an office that swears to aid international students in America. But, hurt feelings aside, by changing my name in the system, and by not including ‘Valerie’ in it, my academic life in ASU was full of issues. Professors and TAs started to get so confused about who I was and who they should give my grades to. When I started working at school, people didn’t know who to deliver my paycheck to. Friends and classmates didn’t understand who they were working with. And whenever I filled out something that I wanted someone to print or read out, I had to specifically explain how to read or say my name, and beg them to include ‘Valerie’ in it for the sake of being recognized by my peers and school faculty. Furthermore, this does not just happen once in awhile or just when I’m handling official business. It happens all the time. Daily. On campus, off campus. At work, at play. At the DMV. When I meet someone new. And I’m honestly quite sick of it. My name is ‘Loo Yi Jia Valerie’, whether you like it or not. 

But Valerie, you’re Chinese! You were born in Singapore, you can’t have an English/American name, you must’ve given it to yourself! Ok, first things first. For the hundredth time, the name Valerie, is recorded on my birth certificate. I must’ve been a hella smart baby to have been able to pop out of my mom’s womb and pronounce myself as ‘Valerie’, so my parents could have it registered! Second of all, in Singapore, ENGLISH is our first language. And if English is what we primarily speak now in Singapore, then naturally I think some kids, if not most, would have some sort of an English name. Is it that hard to believe? And lastly, so what if I gave myself the name ‘Valerie’. That’s what I identify myself as! That’s what I respond to, and I sure as hell prefer it a lot more if you call me ‘Valerie’ than hear you try so hard to pronounce ‘Yi Jia’ only to end up butchering it like crazy. I also sure as hell prefer to actually know you’re trying to get my attention, rather than, for example, sit in the lobby of an office unaware that my turn to speak to an advisor is here because I didn’t understand the receptionist shouting “Yi…. YI” at the top of her lungs. 

But Valerie, your first name doesn’t even come first in your name, your last name does! Well, my family name, Loo, comes first in my name because that’s how my culture set it up. Just like how yours puts your family name at the back, mine puts it right at the front. And it’s really not my fault that someone decided to literally label and identify family names in your culture as the ‘last name’ because you put it at the back. Because in Singapore we tend to call it a ‘surname’, which works pretty well because it just automatically refers to your family name, which could be placed in any order and presented in any way in your name, according to your culture and family’s choice. And as for why my Chinese name comes before my English name? Well, traditionally Chinese names are written with the family name followed by the first name, and since my last name is technically a Chinese name/word, it just rolls off the tongue so much better and makes so much more sense to say all of my Chinese name together, before writing my first name! And honestly, I could write my name as ‘Valerie Loo Yi Jia’ instead of ‘Loo Yi Jia Valerie’, but my family name just matters a lot more to me okay? Again, it’s a cultural thing. So it’d be real cool if you could just try and understand it. 

But Valerie, you can’t have two first names, you have to pick one! Ummm…. no. Why? Well, let’s see… I’m a Singaporean girl of Chinese descent who speaks and writes Chinese. I’m also a girl who grew up speaking and writing English fluently and has primarily lived in two English-speaking countries. That’s all part of who I am! Should I choose between just identifying with my Chinese heritage or with the fact that I was born into an English speaking household in an English speaking country? The answer is no. Because I identify with all of that. But honestly, even if I didn’t grow up speaking English or whatsoever, I can still have an English name and a Chinese name. Because that’s my identity in both languages. I’m not asking you to call me both at the same time, but just recognise that those are both my legal names and I want to be called Valerie, especially if that is what you can pronounce better. And I don’t want to feel like I have two separate identities. Right now, because my school refused to let me register ‘Valerie’ as part of my name, my friends and professors all call me Valerie, but when it comes to anything ‘official’, I’m ‘Loo Yi Jia’. And even the closest of friends don’t recognise that name when it’s called sometimes. Professors have given me zeros because they didn’t know that ‘Yi Jia’ was in class. Hell, even I don’t know that I’m being called on sometimes when I hear ‘Lu Yeee Chi? Cha? Yee cchee…A?’ 

And I know this isn’t a huge deal, but it really shows how much more we need to understand one another’s cultures, especially when you’re living in a country like America, in which tons of people who come from different cultures/backgrounds/religion/races/beliefs/identities live together. Being sensitive towards each other’s differences is important. And you can start doing so by just putting in the effort to understand something simple like someone’s name.


^^^ that’s me, sick of all this bs. Photo by  Daniel Primero 📸. 

Thank you so much for reading this, I really appreciate it. Till next time! And I promise the next one won’t be a rant. Have you ever been in a similar situation or have exprienced racism (done with intent or not) or any other form of oppression? Let’s talk in the comments below! Goodnight for now❤️.

Love, 

Valerie L 

Follow me on Instagram @valeriedabomb ✌🏼