A fun fact about me is … I wrote and published two novels before the age of 25.
I racially identify as … Filipino, Portuguese, German, and Irish (Hapa).
When people ask me the question “what are you?” I usually say … It often depends on the person and how well I know them. If it's someone I know, I'll kindly answer the question before going in depth on how nerve wracking and cringy that question can be. If it's someone I don't know, I tell them that it's none of their business.
My favorite thing about being mixed is … I defy boxes and labels. I'm not what immediately comes to mind on what a white person looks like, and the same goes for not being the first example of what an Asian person looks like either. I challenge people by way of my existence, and I kind of love that.
The most difficult thing about being mixed is … The lack of knowledge there is out there at large about how to address a mixed race person, the feelings surrounding the "What are you?" question, the history of mixed race people and interracial marriage (shout out to Mildred and Richard Loving), etc. There needs to be more education out there, not just for the mixed race community, but for everyone.
If I could visit anywhere in the world, it would be … There are so many places, but I particularly want to visit New Zealand someday. Ever since I saw "Whale Rider" as a teenager, I've developed a love for the country and the people who make it what it is today. Doing a Google image search of New Zealand summons the gorgeous sights of the country! I would love to see them in person.
If I had one day left on Earth, I would eat … All my favorite foods: poke, lumpia, spam musubi, ramen, etc. Also, they would be in small portions, so that I could pace myself.
When I was a kid, I wish I would have known that … I was mixed race, and how to go about other peoples’ impressions and comments about people like me. I was raised in a predominantly white household. My Filipino heritage was non-existent in my upbringing. If my parents had raised me with the knowledge that I am Filipino, I think that would have spared me from the bound of confusion I quietly experienced growing up. My advice: If you are a mixed race person where one side of your heritage is being prioritized over another and you want to know why, don't be afraid to speak up. Ask questions. Ultimately, that's one of the reasons your parents are there: to teach you about being the best version of yourself.