I am so thrilled to introduce Yow Yow’s latest interview today featuring the lovely and inspiring SuChin Pak. Readers, here at Yow Yow! we love our MTV. For those of you who have been with us for awhile, you probably remember me interviewing Liz Lee, former Real World-er Chet Cannon, and the boys of The Buried Life previously. It has always been my goal to highlight interesting characters in these interviews and to feature individuals who were accomplishing great things in their lives. We took a break from interviews for a year, but I am so excited to bring them back and start a new series of interviews surrounding strong and successful women that I look up to! With that said, let’s just get into it.
Q: You currently hold a number of roles such as working with DailyCandy and Hester Street Fair not to mention being a newlywed and a new mother. Congratulations, by the way! If you could give yourself an official job title, what would it be?
SuChin: Can I have 2 titles?!?! I’m the Chief Correspondent for DailyCandy and Co-founder/Curator of Hester Street Fair.
Q: What does a day in the life of SuChin Pak look like?
SuChin: Because I juggle so many different projects, every day is a rotation of either DailyCandy, Hester or other stories I’m pitching. I get up in the morning and spend some time with my son and then the rest of the day is spent on the computer and conference calls mostly. I’m usually putting together a story for one of my video series on DailyCandy. Currently Coveting is a weekly video series where I talk about the things I’m most obsessed with that week; 5 Questions is another video franchise on DailyCandy where I interview someone I really admire in fashion, film or pop culture; I have a regular interview column on DailyCandy Kids talking to mom-preneurs who are successful at juggling everything and then I do segments for The Today Show, E! News, Access Hollywood and other press outlets for DailyCandy. There’s a lot of researching involved which because DailyCandy is all about food, fashion and fun…is a pretty sweet deal! Hester Street Fair is launching our 4th season on April 27 in New York, so right now, it’s crazy time! We’re combing through the best vendors, putting together the roster for the season and generally brainstorming fun ideas and events we can do at the market. We are also launching our 2nd season of Hester Nights which is a weekly nighttime food market at the Eventi Hotel in Midtown, Manhattan. PHEW! Plus of course, I have a new baby and somewhere in there I try to stay in touch with friends…oh and I’m traveling back and forth between NY and LA every month….now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably slow down!!
Q: You started the Hester Street Fair a few years ago, can you tell us more about this and why it is so important to you?
SuChin: The Hester Street Fair is an outdoor specialty goods and artisanal food market in the Lower East Side of New York. 3 friends (including my brother, Suhyun) and I started this project in 2010 because we were passionate about our Lower East Side community and wanted a space where people could gather, connect and have fun! We have always been obsessed with flea markets and as the number of markets started to dwindle in the city, we really wanted to revive this idea of connecting people to the products and food they buy in a real personal way. It’s become a launching pad for small businesses—a sort of testing ground for new ideas and new entrepreneurs. We had no idea that it was going to turn into such a passion project for so many other people. My whole career, whether it’s on camera or with this market has always been about giving people a platform to express their passions. It doesn’t matter if I’m interviewing a band about their new music or talking to a cool designer for DailyCandy or helping a new business launch with their first product at Hester Street Fair…the mission is the same—to give other people a chance to pursue their passion in life.
photo cred | NY Mag
Q: Hester Street Fair will open again at the end of the month. Are you doing anything differently than in past years? What can we expect?
SuChin: We focus on getting the best vendors, the best products, the best food possible every year at Hester. We only have 65 slots, so you can imagine there are a lot more who apply that don’t fit for one reason or another. The market is different every week because we try hard to rotate in as many new vendors as possible. So, we strive to be a “different” market every week!! Expect more ethnic street foods, expect more curated vintage and handmade and we also have a lot of natural beauty stuff in the line up as well this year.
Q: SuChin, you first got your breakout start through MTV. How did you feel about being the Asian face of the network? Was there any pressure tied to that and did you know that you would become such a role model?
SuChin: I never feel pressure because I’m Asian American because there’s nothing contrived about that identity…I am who I am and all of my experiences are filtered through that lens of being a child of immigrant parents. As far as role model….I just try to do what I love with integrity and intelligence…sometimes I’m better at it than other days, but if that’s something that’s inspiring to someone else, than I feel honored.
Q: Through MTV, we had a chance to see you in a number of roles – not just reporting the news. We saw you in the series My Life (Translated), working with Teen Mom, True Life, and even during election season in the past. You have always been an advocate for young adults and you have seen them tackle some hard issues. What is the most important lesson that you have learned through these experiences and what advice do you have to offer young adults as they graduate college and enter the real world?
SuChin: More than anything, I’m passionate about young people and the choices they make, the lives they lead and how to support them. I think the best advice is to be open to everything. Be open to new experiences, people, opportunities, projects….the more out of your lane it is, the better. One, you never know where these roads will take you. I don’t know how many times “random” events have come around to bring me work. Secondly, getting good at thinking on your feet, growing and expanding your limits is a muscle that you should develop early on while you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Later on, you’ll be too afraid to take chances if you don’t do it early on. Everything, every person, every moment is an opportunity to learn something which will be of use to you immediately or years from now. If you welcome life that way, then there are no failures, there are no wrong decisions…challenges are opportunities to learn. And one more thing…at the end of the day, let it go and start the next day fresh. Whatever mistakes you made, whatever success you had, learn from it and then let it go. Don’t get stuck on the past, approach each day with a blank slate.
Q: Since you worked with MTV for so long, you must have impeccable music taste. Tell us who you’re listening to these days.
SuChin: I have horrible musical tastes. Ironically, I had never even seen MTV until after I got the job. My parents, like so many other immigrant parents believed that “paying” for television was sacrilegious. I love pop music. Bruno Mars, Mackelmore, Jay-Z…it’s about as mainstream as it gets.
Q: There is a common stereotype among Asian immigrant parents that their children are meant to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers. How did your parents support your career and did you always know that you wanted to go into journalism?
SuChin: My parents didn’t support my career at first. To be honest none of us knew until MTV, that this was even going to be a career for me. This is the thing I always say, and maybe it’s not an opinion that you may agree with…but if you have a passion for something in life that goes against your parents’ wishes, standing your ground with them will be the first challenge that you’ll have to overcome. If you can’t stand up to your parents on how you want to live your life, then standing up to your boss, your colleagues, the world is going to be a long uphill battle. You don’t need their approval, but you can earn their respect. Maybe not today, but once they see that you are working hard at something every day, they will learn to respect you.
Q: You were recently hired on as a correspondent for DailyCandy. This role is very different from what you have been used to working with television and being in a fast-paced environment with live news. What do you love most about this new role?
SuChin: I love that I get to be creative every day and to create every day. The DailyCandy team and I come up with a fun idea and then it’s in production. The wait time for approvals edits, etc., in TV time moves so much slower than life online. I love that I get to cover fashion, food and young emerging talent. I also love working for a company that’s mostly run by women for women. There’s something incredibly nurturing and empowering about that.
Q: Since you are working for a blog like Daily Candy, do you have any favorite blogs that you like to read on your own time and if so what are they?
Q: You have got all of these projects under your belt – how did these projects all come about? Are these things you always dreamed of doing or did they happen organically?
SuChin: It always happens organically through people I know or worked with. There has only been one time in my life that I got a job just out of an audition. DailyCandy happened because of Hester Street Fair. They loved the curation and the idea that we were supporting emerging talent which is basically DailyCandy on a bigger scale. It just goes to show you, if you follow your passions, even if it seems a little off your path, it will come full circle. And of course be nice to everyone you work with…!
Q: SuChin, you have been an inspiring role model to me ever since I was 11 years old and seeing you on MTV News. I’d love to have a career like yours. What advice do you have to give for young adults like myself hoping to follow in your footsteps?
SuChin: There’s a whole world out there waiting to hear your stories. You don’t have to wait for a big network to find you…you can launch your career from your laptop. If you want to write, write! If you want to be in front of the camera, start filming and posting videos! If you want to direct films, go ahead and start now! Learning your craft every day, practicing and critiquing yourself is the best way to get really good at what you love to do, so when the opportunity comes your way, you’ll be ready to take it on.
Q: Well SuChin, you’ve done almost everything! What’s next for you?
SuChin: I have no idea…but I can’t wait!
To learn more about the Hester Street Fair – visit their official website here.