PHOTO BY BEN COPE

Vi Luong is the Older Sister You Never Knew You Needed: a Talk on Identity and Chasing Dreams

Culture

At first glance through Vi's viral social media pages, it's evident that she is many things, and certainly one-of-a-kind. It's easy to spot that she's a TikToker and an Instagram sensation- but to her thousands of fans, Vi Luong is more than just an idol to follow.

For the large but lesser seen audience of Asian American girls, Vi has become somewhat of an older sister figure to the younger girls in need of a role model. And she's done so stunningly- all in an easily approachable, comfortable, and natural way.

With that, it's without a doubt to be said that Vi Luong is taking the world by storm.

photo cred @Ben Cope

Hailing from Orange County, California, Vi is a girl of all-around talents who not only knows how to play the piano, but also has a marketing degree from Chapman University and has worked in corporate America. Previously, she worked as a Marketing and PR assistant before going on to become a Social Media Marketing Specialist- from where she then managed to use her knowledge from her degree and work experience to become a full-time social media influencer and our favorite Asian-American big sis.

photo cred @Ben Cope

From Corporate Beauty to Social Butterfly

It is no surprise at how smart Vi is that she once worked in corporate America. When asked about her working experience in corporate America, Vi shared, "Everyone's corporate America experience is so different. For me though, it was claustrophobic. I also worked at a smaller company, so the pay wasn’t amazing, and I didn’t have a lot of free time for myself since I was also building my social media channels. It was a difficult 2 years, especially being so young (I was 21 when I started working for corporate). Going full time as a TikToker gave me some of my life back, since I wasn’t juggling multiple things for the first time in my life."

For Vi, while the corporate world definitely was a learning experience, it also opened her to a whole new world and allowed her to fully pursue something she is fully passionate about: social media.

According to Vi, some other factors that impacted her decision to officially switch over also came into play. "At one point, I began making a lot more money from doing social media than from my corporate job. Mentally, I always struggled working under other people too. After 6-7 months of doing TikTok, I plunged into it full time."

"However, I don’t want people to think “oh, just quit your job and do social media, blah blah blah”. It was a very calculated risk - I quit months after I could have in the first place, but I wanted to take the time to really build out my nest eggs, network, and stability so that once I did quit, I was in a very safe place to do so."

While it wasn't easy for Vi to transition, she does say that she is glad she did. Although TikTok gives her more freedom, she still operates as she did before on a 9-5 schedule. She thinks of the experience as a "fun, little in real life case study" where she's constantly learning about herself.

Along with her new job, Vi shares that she hopes that she is able to accomplish "something tangible around self-improvement"- although she isn't sure what that may be just yet.

Photo cred @Ben Cope

Being a WoC in America

Vi is of Vietnamese descent and is proud of her heritage, evidently through her public profiles and stories. Although her parents were the stereotypical Asian-American parents- even making her learn how to play the piano at 6- Vi has no negative feelings. In fact, she's actually grateful they made her learn. In fact, such experiences later allowed Vi to later join the marching band and musical ensembles, where she not only learned great discipline but also creatively expressed herself through such outlets.

When asked about her thoughts on her heritage, Vi only had positive things to say. She answers, "I admire that the Vietnamese people, and Vietnamese-Americans, are extremely hard working and dedicated. I believe many of us always strive for excellence."

When asked about how she feels being Asian-American may have impacted her career overall, Vi did not hold back. She tells us, "I think it’s made some doors a bit more difficult to open, being that America is primarily white. I’ve definitely also struggled with feeling enough courage to voice my opinions, being that WOC tend to be shut down or mislabeled when they use their voice - even when it’s used in the same way as non-POC’s. This is slowly changing though."

Especially with Vi's prominent role in the stage of influencing and advice-sharing in social media for younger girls, we had to know: how did she feel or think about her role as an Asian-American role model for other girls like or similar to her?

For Vi, the question only evoked a resounding response of her excitement to empower young Asian American girls. "Through sharing my struggles and experiences, I’ve been able to connect with so many other Asian Americans and I, in turn, have felt so much less alone."

Photo cred @Ben Cope

Get to better know Vi with a series of rapid-fire questions! From the most random to intriguing facts, meet Vi from behind the screens:

10 Quick Qs With Vi Luong

1) Out of all of the places you’ve traveled to, what have been your top 3 and why?

Right now, I am in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), and I’d have to say that it has made my top 3! The other 2 are probably Spain and France.

2) What are some of your favorite Vietnamese dishes?

Definitely Pho - I am a broth girl. If a meal doesn’t have a broth component, it makes me very sad. Other than that, some favorite dishes are Mi Vit Tiem (duck with egg noodle soup), Chao Vit (congee or rice porridge with duck), or Vit Quay (Vietnamese Peking duck basically). Lots of broth and duck!

3) What are your go-to makeup products?

My staples are a lip tint (specifically the Amuse Dew Tint in ‘Dew What You Love’), sharp black eyeliner (from Rare Beauty), cream blush, and concealer (I use the r.e.m. beauty one as well as the Kosas one)!

4) Who was your celebrity crush growing up?

Honestly, I didn’t really have one! My crushes were mainly from books. One that I can remember is Dimitri Belikov from the Vampire Academy series.

5) What are your top 5 K-Dramas?

Off the top of my head - Crash Landing on You, Red Sleeve, The King’s Affection, Business Proposal, and Mr. Sunshine.

6) How long have you been lifting weights? Any tips for beginners?

I have been lifting since I was 17 years old! However, I no longer rely on that as my main source of exercise as it got boring after 6-7 years. I now do a mix of that and Pilates. As for tips - go on YouTube and learn! Some of my favorite tips were from YouTubers like Nikki Blacketter, Whitney Simmons, etc.

7) If you could have any talent in the world, what would you choose? Whether it’s realistic or fantasy?

If I could have any talent in the world, it would be to make things magically appear.

8) If you had the power to fix any problem in the world, what would it be?

If I were to have the power to fix any problem in the world, it would be negative thinking and reinforcement. I personally think so many of our problems result from negative thinking and/or a scarcity mindset. Of course, if you grow up in an environment where things really are scarce, it makes sense to grow up with that worldview. So really, I guess I wish I had the power to fix scarcity.

9) What is your dream date?

I don’t have a dream date! But, I have been with my boyfriend for 7 years and everything we do and experience together is always a fun time.

10) Any future business endeavors that you hope to explore?

Definitely! Endeavors along the more real estate / entrepreneurship side of things. Still figuring exactly what those would be out!

Photo ced @Ben Cope

Keep Up With Vi

Be sure to follow Vi on all socials for her big sister energy and all-around friendliness and wisdom. Find Vi on TikTok and Instagram.

Naia Freeman
10k+ pageviews

Naia Freeman lives in Albany, NY where she goes to school. She has always been very creative and imaginative with a passion for literature, art, and fashion. Naia likes to spend her free time drawing, sewing, writing, reading, working out, cooking/baking, and coming up with new projects and ideas.

Kate J.
300k+ pageviews

Kate is the Marketing Director of The Teen Magazine.