Another Woman of Note: Anny Ma, definitely making her mum proud.
What do you do 9-5 and what do you do outside work hours?
I'm an Integration Manager in radio promotions. I basically do marketing-type stuff, so have an equally marketing-type title. Outside of work hours I like cooking (not just because it leads to eating), writing, reading non-fiction books/biographies/articles, watching trash TV, and doing fitspo things like going to boxing or on long walks for the 'gram.
We've been reading you around the internet - what's the piece you've been most proud of lately?
Every time somebody says they've read something I've written I'm very surprised, so thank you! I would have to say it's the "Asian fusion, with a side of racism" story on RNZ. My mum said she emailed it to all of her friends because she was so proud that I was speaking for people that wouldn't feel comfortable speaking up, and wouldn't have the platform either. Making mum proud is my number one priority in life. I also received a lot of really kind messages afterwards from Asian people who knew exactly what I was talking about, and validating how they felt about those experiences.
How do you stay so woke? Anything we should be reading/watching/listening to?
I think being part of marginalised groups I'm more attuned to seeing other social injustices, but I've always been very vocal when I see something I don't like, and aware of the fact that you should use your privilege to support those with less. To do this, I always try to speak up for those who can't without speaking for/over them. It's important to use your voice but it's more important to listen as well. I see a lot of people who think they're helping, but really they're just further disenfranchising people by taking away their opportunities to speak. Like, if you're a straight person, you're just not the right person to be representing LGBTQI causes - you can and should support them, but you shouldn't represent them when their community already can. Same goes with feminism, race relations, mental health etc. Performative allyship is SO 2016. On Insty, I like to follow anybody who feels like they will enrich my mindless scrolling experience, such as @lalalaletmeexplainblog for feminist empowerment and sexual agency, @activistbitches for a breadth of social issues (also a NZer is one of the admins! woo!), @jahrager who is a dear friend and creative not of this world who will destroy your soul and world view in her captions, @raquel_savage who is a working sex therapist and sex worker who also has incredibly informative captions. tbh the list goes on and on. FAFSWAG are the collective of my dreams and I can't do justice to describe them, so just check out their online presence - they've got a Vice doco, and an interactive documentary website created in collaboration with Taika Waititi's production company. Snacks and Chats by Lani and Ben is a great podcast and shares stories in an NZ lens as well. Lani is well worth a follow too, her interviews on RNZ and columns for Metro are so beautiful. She also posts loads of yum food content. In 2018, Jess B will be NZ's greatest export, sorry dairy industry. Her energy and spirit is incredibly inspiring and her music and the accompanying videos deliver an incredibly empowering message, as well as being bangers to bop along to. For 'media', Teen Vogue is pushing content boundaries and is more socially relevant than most traditional print media. The Huffington Post has a great section called 'Voices' too which highlights different groups that mainstream media's narrative has excluded so far. Basically, I would say just follow people and media that make you feel uncomfortable in your privilege and listen to what they have to say without expecting their emotional labour in return - google your questions before you ask them.
Who's a woman who inspired you to be your best self?
My mum has always been my number one and the person I want to be my best self for. Aside from her, the first person I would usually say is Beyoncé, cos Bow Down, but recently I was lucky enough to meet Yvette Noel-Schure, her publicist, through my friend Taryn of the Women's Collective. She made a seriously lasting impact on me, as she is a woman who knows her values and doesn't stray from them. She's incredibly kind, intelligent, caring, thoughtful, humble, honest, and the career woman of my dreams. From meeting her, I've learned better stress and people management skills, and see the world through a happier lens. Also, Rach and Anjali are the sweetest women in NZ fashion and I've seen them in the most stressful situations the fashion industry can throw without throwing their toys. Their genuine spirit makes me happier than my TSN cat sweater and matching socks. On the other hand, I also feel like every woman in my life is an inspiration. Seeing women succeed when all the signs and political climate say they shouldn't - that's badass.
What's the best advice you've been given?
"Never forget to say thank-you" - that's one of Yvette's gems, and it's so applicable to every situation you're in. Every exchange you have with another human is one to be grateful for - they gave you their time, and even if it wasn't pleasant you learned something from them, even if it was 'how not to behave'. I also feel like manners and respect aren't afforded to many, and simply using your manners and being respectful can make people feel on top of the world even if they think they're well below it. Also, I can't stand people who don't thank the bus driver. Ugh!