Sam "Smushipig" Javier, 20’s
Influencer, Social Media Model, Brand Ambassador and Speaker.
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Filipino-American / Asian-American.
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
My dad enlisted in the US Navy in the Philippines. Mom's family immigrated to Hawaii when she was in high school. They met in an ice cream shop in Waikiki. BOOM, several years later I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii at Tripler.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
- Underestimated, which is wonderful!
- Ethnic background is rich with culture and history.
- Amazing, delicious, and exotic food that tells a story.
- Duality in identity – not being Asian enough, or not being American enough.
- White/lighter skin is what’s beautiful rather than tan/dark brown skin.
- Societal expectations/stereotypes that can lead to prejudice and racism.
- Intense pressure from parents/older generation to get a college degree to then get a high-paying corporate job.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Honoring my parents, and their sacrifices as immigrants coming to America and how their experiences inspired and impacted me with my drive and ambitions to inspire and motivate others with the Hawaii video collaboration I did with the WatchMe Brand.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
- Appreciated: They made me a foodie. Growing up, every time my parents took us out to restaurants, they would always say, “Don’t worry about price - go order something you cannot cook at home - or else what’s the point of us going out to eat if you aren’t trying new things?”
- Learned: Their old and traditional definition of success is something that our generations and younger generations need to re-define.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
I can understand more than I can speak, which is a regret. My older sister, when she was in elementary school learning English, would start to speak more English and even answer back to my parents in English rather than Tagalog.
As her younger sister, with the older sister stereotypically being the role model, I copied her and so my parents stopped trying (unless they were super mad - they would speak all Tagalog and I knew exactly what they were saying lol).
I didn’t realize how much value there would be growing up bilingual when I was still a kid. It is on my vision board to start learning and teaching myself Tagalog like Wil Dasovich!
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
Don’t misunderstand the discipline and strictness of how your parents raised you with the idea that they just want you to be miserable. They are that strict because they want you to succeed in life in the way that they were not able to do so for themselves - it’s their tough love way of showing they care for you.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Being able to see how I have impacted someone’s life in a way that motivates and inspires them to have belief in themselves or to reach a goal. Thank you, Bob, and his granddaughter, Amanda.
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
- Short Girl Power: Just because I’m 4’8’ doesn’t mean that I can’t overcome challenges and tall obstacles-figuratively and literally.
- WatchMe Brand Hawaii Promo Video: This is the video where I honored my parents and their journey as immigrants, and how that has inspired and influenced me and my ambitions.
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
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Justin Cardona (JCool)
Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon
Krystal M. Chuon
Lina (Spring Roll Fever)
Mei Mei Long
Melissa Khoeum Barnett
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Sam "Smushipig" Javier
Samrach Sar, Esq.
ចាប សាត Sath Chap
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