AAPI and hey freya

AAPI and hey freya
Identifying as AAPI is interesting because it encapsulates over 50 ethnicities and nationalities. Our founders, Cecilia Tse and Dr. Thara Vayali, ND’s identities both fall under this giant monolith. In honor of the month celebrating these cultures, we wanted to share their stories and break apart the concept in our own way.

As we dug into our stories, we found many differences as well as surprising common threads – as children of Chinese and Indian immigrants, reflecting on our identities allowed us a clearer picture of how our cultures and upbringings led us to where we are today, building hey freya.

Beyond the AAPI Monolith

What continued to come up for us was going against the grain. Life often pigeonholed us or put us into boxes, and whether we tried out those roles or always rebelled against them, we eventually found that we couldn’t ignore what consistently pulled at us to stand up for what we believed in and find new ways to solve problems with the skills and backgrounds that shaped us.

In fact, we feel and see how this is what makes us good innovators and sets us up for success as founders. When you grow up as visibly and culturally different from those around you, you question a lot of things to understand why. When you’re different, you’re constantly negotiating between conforming because it’s tried and true and letting go of other people’s expectations because you’ve inherently already defied so many. Ultimately, your freedom lies in doing something because you believe in it and you’ve assessed the real probability that it will work. At least, that’s how we feel. We understand that being AAPI and being the child of immigrants resonates differently for everyone. That’s what we want to celebrate this month.

Love Letters

Both Cecilia and Thara have shared their stories as a love letter to their cultures, exploring questions like, when you (or your family) leave a place, what do you take with you? How do you develop your identity when bridging a culture of origin and a different, dominant culture around you? And, why is it hard to be different – who makes it that way? We, of course, connect it back to our work because that’s a part of who we are. The exercise of digging into our stories and cultures made it more clear than ever why we chose to forge this path – as difficult as it was and still is at times – and how it ties into our vision for hey freya coming to life as a place that welcomes and supports women from every walk of life.

Co-Founder Cecilia Tse's Story
Co-Founder Dr. Thara Vayali's Story

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