[S3] [E1] Why Asian Creatives Are Unique in Their Special Way with Han Ju Seo, Founder of Asian Creative Network

Why Asian Creatives Are Unique in Their Special Way with Han Ju Seo, Founder of Asian Creative Network

Success for Asians stereotypically means getting straight A’s and pursuing professions such as medicine and law. When a child pursues art, it is seen as a waste of opportunity because “there’s no money there.” This narrow framing of success gives Asian creatives not much of a choice when it comes to their professional careers.

However, time and again, we see that these stereotypes do not hold true. In fact, many Asian creatives find success in their passion, especially with the help of a supportive community.

In this episode, Asian Creative Network (ACN) founder Han Ju Seo joins us to talk about the complexity of Asian creatives. Han Ju also talks about the difference in personalization when it comes to K-Pop and the American music industry. Finally, she highlights the importance of self-care and taking a break when you’re striving for success.

If you want to be a part of an inspiring community that brings out the creative in you, then this episode is for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Discover the beginnings of the Asian Creative Network. 
  2. Find out how Han Ju balances conflicting viewpoints in managing ACN.
  3. Learn the importance of narrative diversity in the Asian creatives community.


Episode Highlights

Han Ju’s Background in Creatives

  • Her mom was an opera singer in Korea. When they immigrated to America, she focused on being a stay-at-home mom.
  • Her siblings were into doing arts. It encouraged Han Ju to form a community together where they can pursue the things they want.
  • One Facebook post asking where the Asian creatives are gave birth to the Asian Creative Network Facebook group with now more than 35,000 members.

Overcoming the Thought of Failure

  • It depends on your definition of failure and success. 
  • Is what you’re doing making you feel alive? Does it make you feel like you’re chasing positive force into the world and your life?
  • ACN’s goal is not to get the numbers; it’s about how they can connect with people and opportunities.
  • ACN teaches you that what you’re doing is important and worth doing.

Han Ju’s Creative Side

  • Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, Han Ju likes to “put her tentacles” in creating.
  • Growing up, physical manipulation of objects has always been her thing. She also likes creative problem-solving and thinking of innovative ways to fix things.
  • She likes doing things with her hands and putting things together.
  • Her and her siblings’ interests have always been on the creative side.

The K-Pop Industry

  • It’s gendered because it targets younger fangirls through fanservice.
  • There’s a lot less personalization in the portrayal of artists in the American music industry compared to K-Pop. 
  • In Korea, there are reality TV shows and game shows where you can see K-Pop stars showing their personalities. It’s less about their music, but it digs into them as people.
  • They build a community around idols so well that you feel like a part of a collective in the community.

The Asian Creative Network

  • There were many conflicting viewpoints on what the direction should be about.
  • Currently, they’re just “letting it ride” without pushing for anything.
  • As she transitions into full-time work, she wants to follow through with ACN and be fully present for it.
  • It is a platform where people can find each other, connect, and find networks and opportunities.

Dealing with Conflicting Viewpoints

  • Not everyone’s going to go along with a decision. But it’s good to remember that every person is just trying to make the community the best it can be.
  • It’s trying to balance how to agree to disagree and realize that they’re all in it for ACN.

The Demographics of ACN

  • The primary age range is from 18 to 30.
  • They have a lot of graphic designers and full-time creators.
  • It is a professional network, but it’s more of a “small grassroots movement.” Most of them are just starting on their journeys.
  • The community members are mostly from the United States, Australia, and the UK.

Han Ju’s Passions in Life

  • Han Ju loves dancing, and she sees it as a way to express yourself.
  • She also loves puzzles and animals, and she’s a staunch advocate of social justice.
  • From her personal experience, she finds herself invested in social impact and the politics of Asian-American identity issues.

The Vision for ACN

  • Her perfectionism, self-consciousness, and insecurities put pressure on her.
  • She learned the importance of balance in being gentle with herself and her limitations in managing ACN.
  • ACN is impacting real people through connecting like-minded people.

What’s Underserved in the Asian Creative Community

  • The Asian narrative is distilled into a very small box, typically the East Asian narrative.
  • Being exposed to the narratives of people in ACN lets you see that there are many layers behind Asian creatives; it’s not just one story.
  • Many complexities, nuances, and layers build upon themselves. 
  • Han Ju wants to see more diversity and a “city of thought” of what an Asian creative is.

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

[02:49] “Why can’t Asians have these sorts of opportunities? You know, why do we have to be in this very strange space? Like, can we not chase after the things that we want to do? Can we find a community? Can we bond together?”

[05:37] “How do I feel about myself? Like, do I feel like I’m chasing things that I want to? Do I feel like a person that is really kind of—self-actualization, you know—like really doing the things that I know make me feel alive, make me feel like a person, make me feel like I’m chasing things that bring a positive force into the world or into my life?”

[09:04] “Every creative endeavor needs multiple different sides of creative thought, so for sure, there will be space for everyone.”

[12:40] “When you’re feeling, like, lost and confused and no one understands, you suddenly join your community where everyone understands you and, like, everyone gets what you’re talking about, and everyone’s obsessed with the same thing.”

[30:41] “As much as we are trying to strive in this society and succeed and make our dreams come true, that we shouldn’t forget that we also really need to take care of ourselves.”

About Han Ju

Han Ju Seo is the founder of the Asian Creative Network. Asian Creative Network is an online Facebook group with over 35,000 members dedicated to bringing community and networking to Asian creatives worldwide. She created the platform to have a space for educators. Han Ju is also currently a Psychology senior at Washington University in St. Louis. 

If you want to connect with Han Ju, you can send her a message on her Facebook or through her email at hanjuseo@wustl.edu

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