Cassey Ho’s parents told her she had to be a doctor to be successful, but instead, she became a fitness instructor and the creator of the top female fitness channel on YouTube — Blogilates.
“I don’t think they understood my passion and where it was able to take me,” Ho said.
Ho visited campus Thursday night to redefine how Asians are represented in the media and society as part of InspirAsian, a Campus Events and Entertainment Asian-American culture panel. The other panelists included Binna Kim, marketing senior and former student body vice president, Edward Sumner, UT almnus and creator of Don Japanese Food Truck, physics freshman Charlotte Yun and business honors sophomore Christopher Tung.
Ho said the Asian community needs leaders who will speak out against the stereotypes and misrepresentations of their culture in society.
“You have one life,” Ho said. “You should take every opportunity you get, whether it be standing up for yourself or pursuing your dreams.”
Kim said that letting people get away with saying racial slurs is a wasted opportunity and that speaking up is the only way to stop them.
“The little insults hurt, but I’m doing a disservice to myself and everybody else they’re directed at to stay silent when I hear them,” Kim said. “I can’t and won’t let the opportunities I have to stand up for my culture go to waste.”
The panelists also discussed how being a member of a minority group has helped them learn to look at their lives objectively and to not let emotions hold them back.
“My mom always said to get on the cloud,” Sumner said. “Do not look at yourself on the ground, where everyone else thinks they have a say in who you are. Look at yourself from up above, where only you have a say.”
Yun, who was born and raised in Korea, said Asian stereotypes used to shape her life, but she has learned to value her culture more than the way other people view her.
“When I moved to America, I was really self-conscious about who I was,” Yunn said. “I thought being different was shameful, so I dyed my hair blond to distance myself from being Asian. I know now that I can’t ever distance myself from all my culture and country have given me, though.”