In Conversation with Tiffany Chan
Hi! I’m Tiffany, I’m an actress and YouTuber. I’ve lived in New Jersey pretty much all my life and have visited my parent’s home city, Hong Kong, only twice ever.
What absolutely excites you right now? — I’m excited to go as a participant to the Cannes Film Festival!
When you get home, what’s the first thing you usually do? — Charge my phone!! I’m always on my phone so it’s near drained by the time I get home.
If you had the opportunity to meet one person you haven’t met, who would it be, why and what would you talk about? — Marie Kondo, I want her to help me to clean my house LOL. I don’t know if this is a Chinese thing or just a me/my family thing but we have soo much junk. I love the Japanese idea of keeping tidy and mainly only keeping the things that you love and are necessary, and I wish to see what her thoughts were on all the sentimental and “in case of emergency” things we’ve kept at home.
What does it mean to be an Asian Between Cultures? — Being an Asian Between Cultures means living between multiple worlds at the same time. For me it really resonates because I think about growing up with learning Chinese culture and language at home, learning about American culture and language at school, and learning about Christian culture and language at church.
How does being an ABC shape the way you think of your relationships? — I think it’s helped me become more empathetic towards marginalized people groups but also rather confused as I try to figure out how to interact with others who don’t share the same trifecta of experiences.
What are some of the blessings that come with being an ABC? — You know what’s the one thing that brings cultures together…? Good food. And so I get to enjoy all the good food every time I go to gatherings and hang outs. I also get to choose which paths I want to walk down. I feel like, especially since Eastern and Western cultures are pretty much polar opposites, I get to see the best and worst of both worlds and be able to form my own judgment of which pieces of each culture that I want to keep for myself.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced as an ABC? — Self-Confidence! Although I am able to choose what pieces of cultures I want for myself, living out that choice can be so daunting because if you choose one culture you are essentially excluding another which can cause others to feel offended or someway. I’ve been learning how to accept myself as I am and the choices I have made. Very challenging and unnatural for my Chinese side for sure! Also, the process of searching for your own identity can also be confusing since you essentially need to pave your own path.
Cultural identify and upbringing is a great way to start deeper conversations. Why do you think most people engage or disengage with these topics? — I think it is interesting to get to know how other people run their lives, I’ve been consistently surprised when I talk to my more Americanized friends, my Asian friends who are not Chinese, and my non-Christian friends to see how differently they grew up. I think there are many reasons why people sometimes disengage from these topics, either their upbringing was painful, or they don’t know what to ask without being offensive, or maybe they grew up with certain biases about other cultures so they are already predisposed from being curious about others.
What is the driving force in your life? — The only way I feel alive is to chase my dreams, even if it’s in the smallest ways possible. Because if I’m not doing what I love or toward what I love, why would I waste my energy doing it in the first place?
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your previous self? — It’s okay to say ‘no’ to others to say ‘yes’ to yourself.