“Recognize Korean cultures, stand with Koreans, and be an ally to us. As a lot as you like our magnificence [rituals], you higher love our individuals, too.”
Multi-talented journalist, model founder and writer David Yi is a magnificence business powerhouse. With over a decade of expertise below his belt within the New York media area (the place he’s written for publications like WWD and Mashable), Yi launched his personal inclusive magnificence website, Very Good Light, in 2016. His newest ventures embody a brand new genderless skincare model referred to as Good Light and an upcoming e book referred to as Fairly Boys (to be launched June 22).
Kicking off our sequence of name founder interviews for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we caught up with Yi to talk all issues magnificence, together with why he’s launched not one however two inclusive magnificence manufacturers, and the way customers can admire Korean magnificence with out fetishizing cultural practices and rituals.
How did you make the transition from journalism to product growth?
“I’ve been a journalist for over a decade, principally within the trend and wonder area, working for locations just like the New York Day by day Information, WWD and Mashable. Alongside the journey, I felt the sweetness area was so gendered. As an example, why are magnificence aisles so separated by the gender binary when there are, and have at all times been, extra expressions of gender than simply male or feminine? It additionally felt so alienating strolling down each aisles realizing that neither catered to somebody like me — a shopper who shaves but additionally likes to beat their face every so often. One part is hyperfeminine whereas the opposite is hypermasculine, however I don’t suppose most customers determine by both. It made me suppose there was room for extra gender inclusivity and for the sweetness business to actually be an area for all.”
How did you first get into journalism?
“I began in highschool at my college’s newspaper, The Lever. I at all times wrote about Asian American points or centred my expertise round being Korean American, which didn’t go down properly with my editors. I bear in mind one white lady editor telling me that they may now not publish tales on Asians as a result of they didn’t wish to be labeled an ‘Asian newspaper.’ The xenophobia is actual, folx. It made me understand that this individual didn’t see Asians as Individuals — and I needed to struggle for each single considered one of my tales to be printed. It was an uphill battle however I’m so grateful for these experiences that really ready me for the hardcore journalism world in New York Metropolis.”
The democratization of magnificence is a serious pillar of your manufacturers. Are you able to inform me why that’s essential to you?
“I grew up in Colorado Springs as one of many solely Asian Individuals in a predominantly white metropolis. I’ve at all times felt othered and as if I didn’t belong. There was additionally this notion that I wasn’t stunning due to my almond eyes, my jet black hair, or my golden pores and skin tone. As a result of I confronted racism early on, it was important for me to develop into an advocate and activist at a younger age — to struggle for others in addition to for my very own individuals. This early expertise allowed me to really feel an amazing sense of empathy in direction of others, and is the primary cause I turned a journalist. I wished to inform tales from all views and uplift others’ tales and their voices so that they really feel empowered.”
What has it been like launching a model through the pandemic?
“It’s each rewarding and difficult. I used to be additionally concurrently engaged on my first e book, Fairly Boys, which is non-fiction and a deep dive into the historical past of males, masc-identifying folx and their relationship with magnificence and energy. I additionally labored on our marketing campaign, BIDEN Magnificence, which was immediately viral and raised funds for the DNC. I used to be so busy and distracted with productiveness that I coped with my ache and anguish via suppressing it. I’m now decompressing, reflecting and likewise uplifting throughout this time. And therapeutic — I’m positively attempting to heal.”
You’ve mentioned earlier than you by no means felt represented within the magnificence group since you appreciated sheet masks and make-up, but additionally facial hair grooming and so on. Are you able to elaborate on that and the way Good Gentle addresses that duality?
“Good Gentle is a magnificence model that’s all about unleashing your individual good gentle from inside. Firstly, it’s about self-actualization and love, self-worth and proudly owning your magnificence. If magnificence is within the eye of the beholder, be that beholder. Solely you possibly can set the tone on the subject of energy and company. I hope that Good Gentle can proceed being a secure area to discover who you might be, your id and your energy. And we wish to create merchandise for all, irrespective of your gender id, race, measurement, pores and skin tone, pores and skin texture, sexuality.”
What has it been wish to witness so many Korean magnificence rituals and practices develop into part of North American magnificence? Does it trouble you to listen to these practices be referred to as “developments”?
“It bothered me after I was youthful that Individuals would uncover different cultures and label them ‘developments’ as if we had been discoveries for them to uncover. In actuality, we’ve at all times been right here. We’ve at all times thrived. We’ve at all times been stunning; it’s simply that others had been sluggish to acknowledge centuries of our wealthy ancestry. Whereas I’m all about sharing cultures, I’m not for fetishization or objectifying anybody primarily based on their race or background. I really like that K-beauty is democratized for all — it’s as a result of Korean know-how is the world’s finest. However I’m additionally for appreciating cultures as properly. Recognize Korean cultures, stand with Koreans, and be an ally to us. As a lot as you like our magnificence [rituals], you higher love our individuals, too.”
If Good Gentle was round whenever you had been rising up in Colorado Springs, how would it not have modified your strategy to magnificence? What would a model like this have meant to you?
“It could have been so transformative. It could have been all the things. To really feel like seen, heard and validated would have meant the world. Illustration issues — and I nonetheless cling onto Very Good Gentle and Good Gentle selfishly in occasions after I, too, want group.”
Rising up, what was your relationship to magnificence like?
“I grew up with a Korean mom and father who each emphasised magnificence merchandise. My father would groom himself by slathering his pores with essences, toners and lotions. My mom would do the identical, inculcating to a younger, impressionable me how essential sunscreen is. I didn’t know this on the time however now after reflection, I perceive how that was their approach of coping towards American racism and surviving via hardships. With each drench of their pores, they had been working towards self-love. 5 minutes each morning and night time was a routine only for them, the place they may quiet the world and be aware, current and within the second.”
What are your objectives Good Gentle?
“My objectives for Good Gentle are to persevering with championing range, inclusivity and understanding that we’ve a lot work to do! I’m rolling up my sleeves every day and seeing how I might help.”
What would you like the model to say to individuals who really feel like they don’t belong?
“I hope that Good Gentle portrays magnificence past the binary. There’s a lot energy and wonder on the market. We — collectively, all of us — are worthy and I hope this magnificence model exhibits that sure, a model may give a rattling!”