"Both of my parents are from Thailand and had pretty traditional upbringings. Family values are super important, but girls and boys are definitely treated differently. Girls are told to be soft and kind and boys are told to be strong and active. My mother and my aunts never played any sports or participated in much physical activity growing up. It just wasn't a thing, but when my parents came here, they raised me the opposite. as their oldest daughter, they kind of raised me like a boy. I don't think they even know the term 'feminism,' but I was always put into team sports, was told that my brain and personality were my most important characteristics, and encouraged [me] to go into a male-dominated profession without even considering that I would be looked at differently. Even now, I'm around the age that many people from my parents' generation got married, and yet my parents continue to ask first about my career, and not about "when are you getting married?" Growing up, I definitely resented not being able to do a lot of the girly things my friends were doing (wearing makeup, dressing up, going to dance class), but looking back, I'm super appreciative of my parents accidental feminism."

“Growing up, I was extremely shy - still a little shy, but I’m getting over that. Style is a way that I got to express myself without having to really talk. I got to be vibrant as I wanted to be or eccentric as I wanted to or bold or edgy. Whatever the mood I wanted to show or the look that I wanted to present to people, it was always a sense of comfort. It was what I got to show the world, while not having to explain to the world who I was. ‘You see the 'fit.’ That is all that I got to say.”

“As far as my identity, I hate to admit this, but I know that I am a bit difficult and hard to figure out and I’m usually all over the place. I’m a poet, so that comes out of my writing and that comes out in how I dress. I think people are thinking, ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ but I like it. That’s my work, that’s who I am as a person, and that’s how I dress.”

“I like to be minimalist as well since I have a lot of piercings and big hair. Usually when I get dressed, I try to keep everything much more simple--I like to wear black a lot and I’ll accessorize with just rings because I feel like my piercings and my hair are all I need.”

“I’m sort of going through a transition right now, from my mid to late 20s, so one thing that I have done is embrace my body. As far as style is concerned, I’ll try to go for something a little more revealing now since I feel a little bit more comfortable with myself. For the most part I’m extremely basic in terms of what I wear. It’s just how I’m feeling and certainly my mood dictates what I end up wearing that day. My mood and identity affect my style on a day-to-day basis.”

IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU COULD CHANGE ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
"GENDER AND INCOME INEQUALITY."
"I GUESS WORLD PEACE SOUNDS CHEESY, BUT JUST TO FEEL SAFE IN YOUR OWN HOME."
"WE NEED FREEDOM OF RELIGION."

What is one thing you would change about the world? “More equal opportunities for women in the workforce.” 

“I feel like I change all the time. So, I change about 5 times a days and that’s how I feel about myself. Like everyday is different and it’s just trying to find something to work with.”

What influences your style? 
“YOLO”

"My influence would be Lisa Bonet from the Cosby Show. I love her style; she’s just so free."
"I'm just really into colors and I kind of like more boxy-fits. I like things that look a little bit more vintage." 

"[My mom] is from Mexico and she owns a boutique in Brownsville, TX and she's pretty freakin' cool, she's SO freakin' cool. I think the person that I am and all of my super crazy ideas and weird, cool open mind is all because of her."

"We're very colorful people. We wear gaudy accessories and chunky jewelry. Malaysia is quite daring with our colors."

1. “I’m from Guyana and my parents are very conservative. I dress really differently from them and from most people in my family.”
2. “I’m biracial, which I think is hard. Growing up for me was kind of difficult trying to see which group do I identify most with or who really accepts me because you know, you’re mixed, a combination of the two--Malaysian and Chicagoan--so I think growing up learning to embrace both cultures and learning how to mix them well together and take whatever from my mom and dad’s sides--both things that they’ve learned and both things from their cultures--how to integrate them well and kind of just learn to love where you’re from. It’s hard, but you know, it takes time.”

“People typically look at Persians as terrorists, but they’re not. Persians are extremely loving and caring. If they don’t know you they’ll let you stay over their house - they will really help you out no matter what. Persians and the Iranian government have very different view points. And it’s a key point for people to understand the difference between the two.” 

"Keep following your passions. Don't think ahead too much 'cause I've made that mistake for a very long time and just live in the moment and actually enjoy what's around you." 

"Well my name is Unique, which is so crazy because I don’t know how my mom knew that I was going to be a fashion designer, but I like to try new things with fashion and I like to inspire other people through the things that I wear."

(UnIque is the founder & designer of FlyGirl Couture, a brand that is for every woman, every size, and it just helps to bring out the fly girl in everybody.) 

“I was originally born in the Philippines and one thing I am really proud of is the community we create. Just from coming here when I was eight years old--I was looking for Filipino friends, communities, and people I could actually relate to. From then on, you know there are a lot of Filipinos that dance and sing and that was one thing I was really into. It made me feel at home even though the customs and the traditional things that we do back home in the Philippines is different than here in America. I feel as though I was just at home with just meeting new pinays and pinoys." 🇵🇭 “[In regards to stereotypes] about all Filipino women being nurses, every Filipino women that has made it to America, has been through the toughest struggle and that is what we are proud of and that is why we have so much Filipina pride. And there is no reason for movies or any person to make fun of Filipinas being nurses. We work our asses off. We’re here. We’re artists. We’re dancers. We’re architects. We’re doctors. We’re more than just a stereotype.”

"Everybody can tell that I’m African-American but not a lot of people know that I’m also half Laotian, so I try to bring that into [my style]. If I could change something about the world I would definitely [like] to see more girls backing up other girls because it’s hard enough already with guys telling us, ‘oh, don’t dress this way or don’t act this’ and it’s just harder when a girl tells you that too. So yea, girl power really.”

“I feel like I want women to have a lot more power in the world. I would say I’m a feminist. [I want] women of color to have more of a strong standing in the world. [This would look like] women and men being on the same level - getting equal pay and for women to be able to walk down the street and not be afraid of men.” 

“Everything [you] do matters in some sort of way. Your expression and energy contributes to a larger group of people. We’re always adding unto the community we’re already in and it’s best to give back as much as possible. Even if it’s just social. Something as simple as saying ‘hello’ or a smile. Just include yourself."

"I’m half Mexican [and] there are a lot of misconceptions about Mexicans. If I had just one thing, it would be: stop stereotyping Mexicans as rapists. It puts a negative image in the minds of others who don’t even know and are just influenced by what they hear and just go off by what they hear."

"I think the world should be a nicer place to live. Even if you're not the one enacting violence, just having those fears and negative ideas--that's what motivates people to be violent."

"I'd like to change the thinking of fashion that if it's more expensive, it's more fashionable. I don't think that's right."

"I really like men's shoes. Oh my god, men's shoes are better than women's shoes--sneakers always! I love men's clothes. I don't really think it's important for clothes to be [gender-specific]."

“A strong black woman is a [woman] who is about what they have or is on a mission. Because, me, it’s just grind mode. You’re independent, you don’t have to worry about anyone else, you have an end goal and you’re trying to meet it. So I work everyday; I’m exhausted. Every single day. 8-5 and then 12-5 on weekends and it’s like, I have an end goal, so I have to keep pushing towards it. I don’t have to worry about the stereotypes or how people view black [women]. I just keep going because I’m on a journey. I have to figure out who I am and my mission on this earth.”

"It's hard being a black woman -- they literally don't accept the way we're made, you know? After graduating, there was this whole thing where I felt pressured to start working in the corporate world. I work for the professional development programs at Harvard and there's a certain way of dressing. They have a strict [dress] code and I decided to get dreads. People were like, 'oh, people with dreads are nasty and they don't wash their hair.' Well, being a black woman, I wash my hair twice a month. I don't need all that extra washing. I decided to go ahead with it and everyone loves it. Being confident in yourself and knowing what's best for you, goes a long way."

“I like to wear things from my culture. I like to represent my culture more, so I have my own touch. I try to wear things that are not usual or cliché. That’s how I present my identity, in my outfits."

“I AM GHANAIAN AND WEST-AFRICAN, AND I REALLY LOVE THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT THAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW ABOUT CHANGING THE NARRATIVE-- THAT’S ABOUT EMBRACING OUR ART, OUR HISTORY, OUR ACHIEVEMENTS, AND SHOWING PEOPLE WHO WE’VE BEEN AND WHO WE ARE NOW AND HOW MUCH WE’VE SUCCEEDED.”

“I am beautiful beyond measure--no matter color or race." 

"I’m like an onion--I’ve got a lot of layers, so I guess just being aware of that. You never know what you’re going to get."

"ONE THING, IF I COULD ABOLISH IS WHEN PEOPLE SAY, 'OH, YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL FOR A BLACK GIRL.' IT SUCKS. WHO SAYS THAT, YOU KNOW? IT JUST SOUNDS REALLY UNEDUCATED TO ME. 'CAUSE YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T GO AROUND SAYING, 'OH YOU'RE SO HANDSOME FOR A WHITE GUY' 
I'M ORIGINALLY FROM HAITI AND WHEN I TELL PEOPLE I'M HAITIAN, THEY'RE LIKE 'WOW, STOP. ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE HAITIAN?' THEY START TO QUESTION MY IDENTITY. THEY START TO SAY, 'YOU'RE NOT HAITIAN. YOU MUST BE FROM THE BAHAMAS. YOU'RE JUST TOO GORGEOUS.' IT'S JUST, YOU'RE REALLY DOWN GRADING MY PEOPLE AND I TAKE THAT AS AN OFFENSE. I DON'T LIKE THAT." 

I'd change how women are treated in America. I don't even have words for it. The amount of misogyny and racism that women of color have to face everyday that a lot of white feminists don't really understand or don't acknowledge, is really difficult and that's where I'm trying to work on too.

With women of color, obviously there are so many women of color in different communities, but there's a basic level of experience that we get, that we understand, that white women don't understand.

If there is one thing you could share about your culture, what would it be? “Outspokenness.”

What is one thing you would change about the world? "No more homophobia. Support same-sex marriage." 

"I like wearing old school t-shirts, ripped jeans, and heavy metal shirts. People always ask me, 'Are you really into this band?' Let's say if I wear an ACDC shirt - and people are always surprised because not a lot of black women like this type of music."

"Here in America, when I speak--my accent--they don't understand me so I try my best to make the others understand."

What influences your style? "I don't know, I just want to dress like this.

"Since I'm Indian and I'm going into the arts--I'm an Acting Major, specifically-and so, a lot of the times in school, people would stop me and go, 'you don't look like an Acting Major,' 'you don't look like you'd be into theater,' from the way I dress and from the way I look and I know by that, they sort of mean, you're Indian, why aren't you at Harvard or MIT right now doing something technical. I think it's important for me to just defy the odds in my own way and in my own sense. I think being Indian, in a way influences me to try--I mean, in a way, I'm forced to work harder than a lot of people within my business because of the misconceptions that come along with it." 

"I just turned 25 yesterday, so as you can imagine there are the questions of: 'what am I doing with my life? where am I going? what am I doing next?' I had to slow down and last week I broke down. It was one of the most relieving and healing things I've done because in that, I was able to fully just accept myself--flaws and all---and cleanse and just know that it's at my pace. It's my story."

"In my culture overall, I think there are a lot of negative stereotypes that are attached to how blacks are perceived as far as hip hop and just in pop culture in general, but I think it actually just shows how much we value our culture and love it and we’re not afraid to be ourselves."

"I would encourage people to not judge [others] based on what they’re wearing because you can never judge a book by its cover. I grew up in a society where girls had to have a certain way of dressing up and I really didn’t like that because we have the freedom to dress any certain way we like." 

“I was born in the Philippines, but moved here when I was three and I’m always trying to connect with the shamanistic-side and the non-Christian side of the Philippines. I actually had a dream the other night about my female ancestors and I felt a strong connection with them...something that I’ve been searching for [in relation to] female bonding, my mom, and all the strong females in my life. I had a dream reaffirming that it is something I should really look to. I’ve been really conservative with my style and not dressing how I’ve been wanting to and connecting with my ancestors has helped me. I usually don’t dress like this...and looking back at my Filipino history and seeing how they dressed [is] slowing bringing me out of my shell.”

“I would change the stereotype, and that’s not just for my culture but every Latin American culture, the fact that because we [may] have an accent we know less. The fact that we have an accent means we know more. We’re coming from a different place and actually assimilating to a new culture. I would like to change people’s perception - so when they hear an accent, they become more interested in what other things you know rather than immediately thinking that you don’t know as much.” 

“The way we interpret mentalhealth [is one thing I would change about the world]. If we accepted it and then actually tackled it throughout elementary, middle school, and high school--the way it is meant to be--then a lot of the issues we have today wouldn’t exist to the degree that they do. They would exist because they are meant to, but they wouldn’t cripple us the way they do now or how we grapple with them.”

"I wish more people were really bold about who they are. Whatever that is and would just take a stand for something. I think it’s so easy to just go with the flow, go with what’s safe, go with what people agree with but I wish more people were more passionate about something and would take a stand regardless of opinion." 

"Most people don’t know about Bermuda or where it is. And the#BermudaTriangle is not a thing! The Bermuda Triangle is an area in the Atlantic Ocean where the tides are so messed up that boats have gone missing. It has nothing to do with Bermuda. Everybody asks me ‘Have you been to the Bermuda Triangle?’ No, I haven’t."

"For me it was so difficult being [in the United States] because I was living with a family as an au pair. They were like 'you're Mexican - you don't know anything about the U.S.' And I was like 'no, we have the same things in Mexico as we do here.'"

"Life's too short to be ignorant. I think that a lot of the things we go through as people, as a race, and as different cultures [are] because we don't take the time to understand. If we try to be more like-minded and try to understand, we'd be a lot further along. We can share, we can build, we can grow."

"I would just love to let everyone know that a woman's beauty isn't all of her worth. So, just because you think a woman or a femme-presenting person doesn't look beautiful by your standards doesn't mean she's any less, or that's what she's all about. If I decide to dress in slacks or sweatpants, you shouldn't make me feel bad about it. As a society, we put too much pressure on women's beauty and in actuality, it's directly connected to capitalism and patriarchy. It's something I struggle with and something I hope more men and people are aware of."

"My whole life I've been a sprinter. So when I was in college and I got re-injured, and I couldn't run anymore and when you're doing something your whole life and that's like you and you can't do it anymore, it makes you redefine yourself. I think I've just learned so much about myself and I am not just a sport, I am so much more than that."

If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
"I want to change how [men] are always the main figures [in finance], they’re the CEOs, the presidents, etc" -
"Less sexist advertising.”

"I don’t care what people think. I’m at an age where I don’t care what people think about me. I wear what makes me happy. I don’t want to be like anybody else.” 

"I study architecture and I [want to] focus on changing some aspects of cities like the inequality between socioeconomic status." 

" 'WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE A REAL ASIAN PERSON?' IT WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS WHERE I THOUGHT, WELL, YOU ARE A REAL ASIAN PERSON. WHEN WE'RE WITH OUR ASIAN FRIENDS, WE FEEL VERY WHITE AND WHEN WE'RE WITH OUR WHITE FRIENDS, WE FEEL LIKE WE'RE THE MOST ASIAN PERSON THAT'S EVER EXISTED. YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON'T REALLY FIT INTO EITHER ONE AND YOU THINK, IS THIS A ME THING OR AM I THIS WAY BECAUSE I'M REALLY INSECURE, OR AM I INSECURE AS A RESULT OF THE WAY OTHER PEOPLE HAVE CATEGORIZED ME. THERE ISN'T A NUANCED PICTURE OF MIXED-RACE INDIVIDUALS OR IN GENERAL, WOMEN IN THE MEDIA ARE GROSSLY UNDERREPRESENTED."

- JEN RUGGIRELLO & sisters FROM BUZZFEED!