Part-time journalist, part-time dancer, part-time Asian American activist, full-time PR person.
Often, I feel like my professional title is as splintered as my racial identity. Just as I'm roughly half Filipino, a quarter Japanese, a quarter white, I feel like it's difficult describing what I do: I'm a full-time PR person, a part-time dancer, a part-time journalist, a part-time Asian American activist. Honestly, I am sort of done thinking of myself like this. And I may be in luck, because I think I've finally found a word that describes what I am: entrepreneur.
I use my practical "real job" skills for my own creative projects. As a former full-time reporter, I have volunteered my time to writing newsletter articles and press releases for Japanese American Citizens League, Nikkei Concerns, Bellingham Repertory Dance, and my own company, Relay Dance Collective. I started Relay using much of the business savvy I gained during my in-house PR gig, (plus a lifetime of classical ballet training). Relay has successfully raised the $3,300 we needed to produce a summer production, in addition to performing in the community for free at schools, community centers and nursing homes in order to "expand the boundaries of who gets to enjoy dance."
A term in particular that recently caught my eye was "cultural entrepreneurship," a field that some universities are actually offering as a course of study, especially at the graduate level. Cultural entrepreneurship is broadly defined (and I haven't been able to find a clear, concrete definition), but I think I have learned enough to discover that I might be one.
Cultural entrepreneurs build innovative enterprises, weaving self-expression, cultural tradition and entrepreneurial skills to capture market opportunities. Cultural entrepreneurs build ventures in the arts, architecture, music, film, design, craft, fashion, foods, and performing arts sectors.*
Artist entrepreneurs and creative people provide unique role models for other businesses, engage communities in unique ways, support and develop community artists, provide learning opportunities and bring unique perspectives and creative problem solving to community issues and planning.**
According to Forbes Magazine, most gifted people don't simply have one passion. I'm not saying that I'm gifted, rather, that I simply have some pretty diverse tools in my toolbox. I identify with this idea, because my seemingly-scattered path was intentional. When it came time for me to either go to New York City to dance, or go to college to pursue these other interests, I realized that I didn't want to have to choose.
Rather than being a fraction of a lot of things, I 'd like to think that all of these experiences and passions get to be included in who I am. Because whether I'm writing an article, or choreographing a dance, there a couple things about me that stay constant:
The desire to do good in the world.
The desire to create amazing content.
And the desire to be a contributing member of my community.
I have come to understand that identities are complicated, but people often want to put you in a box; a nice, clean category where you belong.
Unfortunately, in that regard, I am a strange mix, trying to create her own wild, colorful box, (or perhaps, leave the box completely).