BTB 3 | Vi Luong

 

Vi Luong is a TikTok star who has risen to fame for her self-titled channel which she began in September 2019. Most of her posts are videos about how to elevate your everyday style and the way you take photos. In today’s episode, she joins The Bunny Barbie to share how she got inspired to start her channel and the things it has allowed her to do. She also dishes out some tips for gaining confidence and stepping out of your comfort zone.

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How are you?

I am good. How about you?

I’m great. I’m happy to have you here and ready for our chat. I feel like we’ve been TikToking for a long time.

I’m freaking happy to be here. I watch you every day and you’re such a badass person to me so this is cool that I get to sit here talking to you.

Would you want to introduce yourself to everyone, your name, your TikTok, and the stuff that you post about?

My name is Vi. My TikTok handle is just my name, @ViLuong. I post a lot of videos about how to elevate your everyday style and the way people take photos and stuff because of the way I started. I started on Instagram. I was in the fashion blogger industry for a hot sec. Along the way, I was figuring out ways to do things easier, take photos, or dress myself easier. I thought with everyone becoming a digital creator of sorts, it would be helpful to maybe make some videos. That’s what got me to where I am now making all these videos and stuff.

You’re young to be successful with your online career. You left your job and now you’re doing online work full-time.

I left, officially. I was working a corporate job for almost two years. I was working on my Instagram and TikTok along the way. COVID came along and boosted it as it did for a lot of people, as I’m sure for you too. After that, I saw the opportunity to leave and pursue this full-time.

What’s awesome about you is I don’t necessarily know if you realize this, but you helped many girls with their confidence with them posting pictures and feeling more confident in poses like, “She can do that. I can do that too.” You are helping and guide them along with their own path of self-confidence.

It’s my goal. In the beginning, I didn’t realize I was doing it, but then I started getting DMs and messages and girls tagging me in their Instagram posts where they’re recreating something. I definitely want to make this all a platform about how to be a badass bitch.

Where do you see your TikTok going and is that going to be your main thing still?

It is funny because I sat down one time. I was creating content pillars for myself, like categories and stuff. I want to expand it in maybe 3 or 4 different categories. The photo tips, posing, elevating my everyday style, and all that stuff. My third vertical would confidence, how to be a badass bitch, and all those things. The fourth, since I’m seeing a lot of demand for it and I used to do videos on this before, but I didn’t think people were interested, but people are interested in how to become an influencer and a digital creator. With the exposure of TikTok and stuff, it’s possible. I think I would love to expand more in that aspect. I also started on YouTube to diversify myself a little bit more, create some more stuff, longer-form videos about stuff that I’m passionate about. My main goal now is expanding.

It’s been hard because they keep saying, “TikTok is leaving. It’s not leaving.” It is going back and forth and it’s been stressful for creators to know what’s happening because they are always like, “Diversify your platform and go on other things.” If TikTok leaves, I don’t know if I can have that same experience on a different platform. I don’t think it’s out there.

I see you do your shows. I see doing Reels. Your Reels pop up in my for Reels. I saw you on my Discover and Explore portion of Reels. It was one of those questions you were answering. I feel like if it were to leave, I think you would still have that influence.

I don’t know if I’d be comfortable. It’s not the same making videos on Instagram.

I posted two reels on there because I don’t feel the same energy.

I’ve only posted TikTok to Reels. I’ve never posted, which my friend told me it’s easier to edit on the Reels, but I don’t know.

There is this thing called Instagram Partner Managers. I had a call with them and they were emphasizing, “Use Reels,” but they want us not to post our TikToks.

They don’t want the TikTok name on it.

The way I’m going to approach it is I’m going to make videos outlet externally using my iPhone camera and stuff and put it on there. I then format it for TikTok and then for IG Reels so it’s knocking out both at the same time.

Who wants to shoot content twice? It’s ridiculous to do one or the other. It’s crazy.

I’ve seen a lot of creators get a lot of growth from doing Reel deals. That’s what I’m trying out. We’ll see what happens.

Do you have a manager that helps you do all your partnership deals?

I do. I brought one a few months ago. It’s a girl I went to college with. We were in the same sorority. She reached out to me and was like, “I’m working full-time at an agency that manages YouTubers, but I want to leave and work on my own as well. I’d love to reach out to you.” She helps me a lot if there’s like any contract negotiations, the more backend stuff that I need to do more because it takes so much time. That’s her area of expertise. She helps me with getting collabs with companies. She’s in charge of pitching, doing the proposals and I’m more focused on the more creative content creation aspect of my job.

I’m sure it is a lot easier for you.

Here’s what’s weird. I like her job a little bit more. I don’t know if you’re the same way or you’d be the opposite, but I’m not a creative brain. I’m not wired that way. I’m more strategic. I’d much rather negotiate contracts and things like that. I’m not a creative person, which I don’t think people realize. It’s hard for me. I have to flex that part of my brain and practice it. It doesn’t come to me naturally.

Do you think you’ll ever get into the management business of your own?

I know a lot of influencers who launched their own service on the side. For now, I am going to focus on myself because that’s a whole job in itself. Maybe down the line, if it gets easier, maybe that’s where the whole influencer tips gravitate towards in the future. Who knows?

You could do your own website kind of thing and put your videos like special content on there for people who want to pay for it.

Not everyone has the confidence or the willpower to take a step forward and do things. Click To Tweet

It’s a possibility.

Where do you live?

I live in Orange County if you’re familiar with it because you’re in East Coast time.

I used to live in LA though.

I’m South of LA.

Do you go to LA for work or is everything virtual now?

Everything’s virtual. Before, I might’ve gotten to LA a few times, but I honestly try to stay out of LA. One, because the traffic sucks. It takes so long to get anywhere. With COVID, it’s made me realize what would I need to be there for? Where did you live in LA?

We used to live in Beverly Hills, right down off of Rodeo. It was nice because I don’t drive. There was a lot of walking that we could do around there plus the nice restaurants. It’s like a neighborhood behind Rodeo. We lived there for two years together and then I got pregnant. I was like, “I cannot go back and forth because I can’t imagine buying baby stuff of everything.” It’s driving me insane. We’re thinking about getting maybe a condo over there, but we’ll see. We always talk about going back and forth. I’ve always been an anti-buying a second home, but it’s been my husband’s dream to buy a second home, and then we bought some land in Wyoming so we are going to build another home. Wyoming is only two hours away from LA so maybe we’ll get a third little spot in LA again. It depends.

That’s dope. That would be your third property.

I’ve started to do merchandise management for other influencers. I was putting their logos and stuff and managing their merchandise, like drops and stuff like that. I know I don’t post about it or anything. It would be strategic to probably have a place in LA since a lot of the people are out there, especially like the TikTokers. If you want to do some merge, let me know.

I don’t think I’m cool enough to do merch. I have a loyal following, but I don’t have enough of a loyal following for me to drop something but we’ll see. That’s awesome though. If you were in LA and you lease a warehouse or something, it could be expensive.

It depends, but we can’t live in LA full-time. It’s just too much. It’s different now with COVID. I feel like it’s still shut down. I’m in Florida and they lifted all bans of everything. Everything’s 100% capacity, like clubs and bars. We’ll see how it goes.

Is that why people are in Disney World now?

I’m sure. We had the most deaths in the country for COVID. The governor is Trump’s best friend so they’re pushing to open everything soon. We literally don’t go anywhere here. If we go somewhere like go out to dinner or something, we’ll go to Wyoming or somewhere not in Florida.

It looks like you don’t need to go anywhere. Do you have a lake in front of your house? What is that situation?

We live near the ocean so we have a beach in the backyard, which is nice, but it’s hot now. I think we’re getting a cold front though. It should cool down a little bit, but it’s been 100 degrees. It’s hot, but it’s nice in the wintertime. It’s beautiful here. It’s starting to get a little bit cooler. I’m hoping we’ve got some cold weather soon.

I was jealous. It’s freaking hot in California. I’m not originally from LA OC. It’s still in California, but I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m much more used to having seasons. California is hot in general also with all the fires and stuff.

Is it smoking near you or no?

No. It looks pretty clear. If you ever saw pictures of San Francisco, the skies were orange. It was completely gray. It was gnarly. I go outside and I see ashes on my car. I saw ashes all over my outdoor plants and table. It was insane. I went on a trip to Joshua Tree Desert and on the way, we saw the start of one of those fires. It was the fire caused by that gender reveal, but we passed by it. We saw it start, but we didn’t think it will get huge. When we came back, it was all smoky so we left just in time.

It’s a good thing you didn’t get stuck in it or anything.

I had a sore throat for about a week, but California is prone to fires. It happens every year. It’s dry so my boyfriend and I were like, “We should move out of state.”

Are you thinking of moving?

Not now because he works a corporate job. He works in finance and he just started his career here. It’s hard to move around when you start a career somewhere because of the network and things like that. I don’t see myself moving in the next couple of years, but one of my main goals within the next few years is to buy my first rental property or something here. To have one in Orange County and then maybe move somewhere else and manage it from wherever I will live.

Especially if you like contracts and doing more backend stuff.

I might get my real estate license or something.

That would be good.

It would be fun. I would love to move to Washington or something. I have never been to the East Coast.

Have you been to the East Coast?

No. I was going to go in 2020 for the first time for the New York Fashion Week. It’s a big event for people who are in fashion. A lot of people go as a work trip and stuff, but with COVID, it is not, but that was going to be my first time ever on the East Coast. I’ve been to Florida, but that was a long time ago and it was to go to Disney World.

BTB 3 | Vi Luong

Vi Luong: The majority of people on TikTok were born between 2006 and 2009.

 

Orlando is its own Disney World, Universal kind of place.

I remember going there when I was younger and there was a tornado. I freaked out.

We have lots of hurricanes. There are tornadoes sometimes too, but the hurricanes, at least I feel like California, the fires and the earthquakes are scary. You don’t know when they’re coming, but in Florida, you know when it’s coming. You can leave. Years ago, Irma was a bad hurricane that was supposed to hit here and they closed the airport. You’re not allowed to leave, but the airport called us and they’re like, “You have to move your plane.” We had to leave, but we waited until the last minute before they shut down the airport. It was eerie. Everyone was there. The line guys that help you with the airplane and do the stuff around and that filled the airplanes and everything. They were like, “I hope we see you again.” It was 6:00 AM and it is dark out still. Everyone was crying and mopey. It was creepy. They had to stay because they were working. If you drive away from the hurricanes too, the roads are packed and you run out of gas everywhere. It’s weird living in Florida.

Everyone living in California is weak sauce. We had an earthquake and everyone freaked out.

You don’t know that it’s coming. At least here, you know it’s coming. You may or may not ever see your house again. The earthquakes are random. There are different kinds of natural disasters that are difficult to live in.

Speaking of your plane, I think it’s funny that many people are mad about you and your plane.

They’re mad. Someone commented on something and it was like, “We know that this is just a set.” I was like, “What? I really have a plane. This is the outside of it. How could it be a set?”

I think we’re both pretty young. Maybe we’re on the oldest side of young, but I’d say in TikTok, the majority of people were born between 2006 and 2009. When they go to TikTok, I don’t want to say mob mentality, but when someone says something, they tend to not.

I feel like the way that TikTok’s built, this happened to me, but I can’t remember what it was. It was a video of me and my son and we were walking on the dock and I had it up for a day and all the comments are sweet. I also have comment filters on. It was us walking and then I pull my son and we’re looking at the water. I saw one person commented, “I wish you would have thrown him in.” There are fifteen comments in a row because they put the most recent comments on top. Every single person after was like, “She should have yeeted him. I thought you were going to throw him in the water.” All these negative comments in a row, which I feel is toxic about TikTok. If they see someone else saying something nasty, they go with it.

I agree with you, but it was low key the way they said that. You don’t say yeeted when you talk about a child. That’s ridiculous. I do have comment filters on too because it’s such a negative place. It’s all about protecting your energy, but the thing with TikTok kids is they don’t care. They don’t think about the fact that the stuff you put on the internet means they are there forever. If they were to say mean things, that’s going to probably bite them in the ass. If it were with an employer or someone else.

I have two different scenarios. One is I’ll respond to a nasty comment from a little kid or something. They will be like, “Sorry, I’m a kid.” I’m like, “You’re saying something mean.” Another thing is sometimes when I respond to comments, I don’t even look who it’s coming from. I’ll just do the comment reply and say something back, specifically this one girl. It was one of the first videos I ever made. She told me to put a shirt on and I said something like, “If you have a problem with this, wait until you see me in a bikini and the video went viral.”

At first, she was commenting like, “I’m famous now.” She was fifteen or something. A day goes by and it gets even more viral. She and her boyfriend were messaging me and they’re like, “You’re bullying me.” She was saying that I shouldn’t have ever made that video. She started messaging me on Instagram and she’s like, “All of your fans are bullying me.” I probably didn’t even have that big of a following then. It’s hard because I don’t look who it comes from either if you’re 15 or 19. It’s usually more like older women that hate on me.

I see many Karen’s on your page. It’s ridiculous.

They hate me so much, but some of my advice for younger kids is like, “If you’re not saying something nice, keep it scrolling.” I don’t know if they’re trying to be funny or get clout from it.

I think the exact same thing and I feel like as many times as they’re told that, they don’t care.

I do feel like a lot of my following is young.

I thought of you in this scenario. I wouldn’t say my humor is edgy. Maybe you can relate to this. In real life, I’m not someone that’s for the weak. You know that that’s you. I don’t have a personality that’s for weak people. It’s hard because I have a lot of followers who are 14 and 15. Anything I say can be seen and can be taken personally. Sometimes, I don’t know how to showcase my personality more on TikTok without getting scrutinized. Maybe some things that are funny to us aren’t funny to them either. It’s hard.

I think so too. I feel like a lot of my followers, they’re even like 10 or 11. They’re young, but it says in my thing that most of my followers are maybe 18 to 35 or whatever, the older age group is. I feel like most of the people that interact with me are young. I’ve got on Instagram Live where I’ll add them in and they’ll talk to me. None of them are over fourteen.

Are they allowed to be on the platform?

I’ve seen some videos of 3 or 4-year-olds posting things and having their own account.

Were you ever in Myspace? The minimum age is thirteen. I figured that that’d be the same for TikTok. With all the content that’s on the free page, I don’t think it’s ten-year-old friendly.

I agree. My friend has a son who’s ten and all his friends know me. I was at TJ Maxx and these little girls stopped me and I forgot that people even know who I am. I was walking around talking to my friend. They recognized my voice because I had a mask on and stuff. I was telling her like, “My friend’s getting a divorce.” I’m talking to her not aggressively, but I am into the conversation. I was walking down an aisle and they were in my way. They were like, “Excuse me. Sorry, we’re in your way.” I was like, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” I then saw them taking pictures of me. I was like, “Are those girls?” because I don’t leave my house. I forget that people know who I am. I was like, “Are those people taking pictures of me?” She was like, “Yes.” They came over and they were crying. They’re like, “Can we take a picture with you?” I was like, “How old are you guys?” There were four of them. I think only two of them responded, but they were 13 and 11. They were young.

I can’t believe they cried. That’s freaking crazy. I have never had that instance before.

People don’t recognize you.

I don’t leave the house either. I don’t have the opportunity. I’ve never had that instance ever.

I’m sure you will.

I was going to say your voice definitely is recognizable. Wasn’t there one time when you were doing the Kourntey impression?

Everyone thinks that I sound like her. Maybe it’s the voice, but I still think people will recognize you.

I think it’s your looks as well. Even with a mask, you have a very distinctive look

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I feel like I’m not that recognizable. I was at my friend’s house and she lives like an hour away from me. Literally in the middle of nowhere, these are the two times I’ve left my house and where I live. She lives in a townhome area and she has a son and we were walking the boys around the neighborhood and this car started driving weird. We were outside for maybe ten minutes and this car started driving away and I wasn’t paying attention to it because I was looking at my son making sure he wasn’t riding his bike anywhere near the car or whatever. We get back to her house and I got a DM on Instagram and this girl was like, “I think I just saw you walking with your son. I love you so much.” I was like, “This is weird that people recognize me going places.” I feel like if I lived in LA or something, people wouldn’t care as much.

Maybe it’s that or maybe I look freaking ugly when I walk outside that they don’t recognize me. I don’t know if that’s crazy, but I also try to be a little careful about disclosing where I live. I remember one time you made a video that people found out or something and that freaked me out. I had a few apartments toward the TikTok app so I immediately went private.

I took everything down that shows anything. I’ve never said where I live or anything like that so it’s been weird. I feel like the past month has been a lot better. I don’t think people have been aggressive towards me. I feel like they know more about me, so they’re not trying to find more about me.

It’s like they’re satisfied with what they know about you. I think your format of TikTok is awesome. As you said, we all know so much about you.

I feel like I put so much out there.

You’ve built a personal brand off of being that badass who doesn’t tolerate internet trolls.

My whole thing is responding to comments.

You’re the first person I knew whoever did that. What do you call yourself? You’re like the TikTok MILF.I thought that was genius and also funny because who the heck is going to call himself a TikTok MILF.

It is like a business owner or something, but most importantly, homeschooling MILF. That describes me.

I think that’s awesome and because we all know so much about you that those who stay are super loyal.

I feel like my followers know me well. I feel like it’s not a business page. I’m running my own TV show, my own talk show on my TikTok account.

I’ve seen 1 or 2 podcast clips. Are you going to have them on your main page as well or another page?

They’re going to be on my website and then they’ll be on YouTube, iTunes, and Spotify. There’s a production company doing it so all I do is record the videos and then they do everything else.

Without disclosing things, you can’t say, how does the podcasting business work?

I will let you know once I get this started, but I don’t know. My husband’s ex-wife does podcasts, but she’s in the technology space. It’s nothing interesting that probably anyone here would want to listen to, but she’s a celebrity in her own right in the world that she’s in. She does podcasts and when I told her that I want to do a podcast, I used her production company and they’re good. They did all the artwork, the microphone, the full thing. All I do is record it and then upload it and then they edit it. They’ll make a picture for me and you that you can post. They’ll make us a little clip that you can post on TikTok. They do the whole thing and post it everywhere. They’ll send you an email afterward with all of our info, where you find it, how you can upload it, and all this other stuff. They’ll give you everything.

That’s amazing. I had no idea.

I didn’t know either.

I was going to say, “I don’t know how the hell you do it, raising a kid, TikTok, and running a podcast.”

I also have some other projects I will tell you about after this.

I don’t know how you do it. What you do is impressive. I think about doing like three things and I want to go to sleep. I don’t know how you bring a kid to the equation.

He’s always with me too. He’s downstairs with his nanny. He hangs out during the day, but I’m always with him 24/7 if I have the time. Sometimes, he’ll be in the background of my videos where I’d like talking, but he’s in the corner playing whatever. You got to make it work.

That’s so funny. I didn’t know, but in your TikToks he looks a little older. I would say he was five or something.

He talks well for being so young. He’s around a lot of adults. He also watches lots of English shows. My husband is from London so he watches lots of English stuff. He talks properly too, which is random.

Does he have an accent or no?

I would think when he was younger, he had a little bit of an accent. Have you seen the kids that have Peppa Pig accents? It’s from the show. He watches fifteen of these English shows. He’s obsessed, but then my husband’s mother who lives near us, she has an English accent as well. She says like, “Where’s the rubbish?” rather than trash. “Can you phone this person?” rather than call. He says different things that people in England would say.

How did you and your husband meet?

I get asked this all the time. I’m glad you asked me but it’s not that interesting. This is why I’ve never made a video about it. I had a best friend who was a guy and we lived together. I was his roommate. He’s a Wall Street guy. He ended up buying a second home in Miami, which is a condo. Downstairs from his condo in the same building, he made a friend and that friend was friends with my husband. He lived in the same building as my roommate. We met through mutual friends. I remember our first date. I don’t drive and I still didn’t drive.

I’m a bad driver. I hate driving. I’ll never forget. We went to go on our first date. He was like, “I have a driver. Do you want my driver to pick you up?” I was like, “This is perfect because I don’t drive.” The driver picked me up and sitting in the car and he’s looking at me in the rearview mirror. “He’s going to fall in love with you.” I was like, “What?” I had just gotten out of a relationship and I want this to be casual or whatever. We went on vacation two days later. He’s been a pilot for many years and has always had his own plane and stuff which was cool to experience that. He totally swept me off my feet. We’ve been together ever since.

Is he the one that taught you how to fly or did you teach yourself?

BTB 3 | Vi Luong

Vi Luong: The thing with TikTok kids is they don’t care. They don’t think about the fact that the stuff you put on the internet means they are there forever.

 

There are these conventions where pilots get-together. If you’re an owner and an operator, there’s not that many in the US and it’s a jet. It’s different than having a prop plane. You go to these conventions and the wives, it’s called the pinch hitters where you learn how to land an airplane rather than how to fly it. I was in one of these classes and they tell you the number one reason that pilots are incapacitated is food poisoning. It’s not from a heart attack. It’s not from anything. Imagine you having food poisoning, you’re throwing up. You’re pooping yourself. You can’t fly an airplane. It scared me a little bit. I don’t know if I was pregnant or not. It might’ve been before.

When my son was four months old or something, I was like, “I have to learn how to fly.” I had to keep going from there, but he’s pretty much vegan now, too. Unless he needs bad romaine or something, but we don’t have the food issue anymore. If you ask my son, people ask him all the time. They’re like, “Do you want to be a pilot when you grow up?” He’ll be like, “I already am a pilot. What are you talking about?” He is fully convinced he can fly an airplane better than anyone else.

It’s hilarious that your main fear is food poisoning. My boyfriend will say this, but I accidentally poisoned him with chicken. I got this chicken from an Asian market called H Mart here. I don’t know if you guys have it in Florida. What they like to do is they extend the expiration because they want to make more money. They want to sell more of these chickens. I guess this chicken was a little expired, but it didn’t say it was so we both ate it and he got food poisoning.

You didn’t?

I made a bunch of this chicken for 2, 3 days. I ate the day before. After I ate it, I went to dinner with my friends and I had a bad reaction. I was like, “Maybe because we had pasta or something.” I’m like, “It’s never been this bad, but maybe it’s my lactose intolerance.” I was dying at dinner. I keeled over holding my stomach and the next day was when I gave it to him and he had that reaction. I then put two and two together and was like, “This chicken is poison.”

How are they allowed to sell it when it’s old and not tell you? Don’t they have to have dates on it or not?

I think they do have dates on it. I’m not sure myself, but my boyfriend said that it’s known that this supermarket will fudge the dates or something or they put it a day later than it is supposed to be so then they sell it later. Straight up, I poisoned my boyfriend. I gave him food poisoning.

His was worse than yours.

I don’t know if it was worse. I think it was the same. It was just by the day he got it, I was over it so I forgot. It was pretty bad. We were walking downtown where I live and he immediately had to go to the bathroom. We went into this closed coffee shop. I was like, “Please let us in. We have to use the bathroom.”

They were probably like, “What are they doing?”

It was all dark inside. They were closing up. I felt bad because I used to work at this coffee shop and as someone who has worked with a bunch of restaurant jobs all through my life, I know how frustrating it is for me to come in during closing. Those are the people you hate the most. Here we are, “We have to use the bathroom.”

At least you weren’t trying to order something.

They thought I was trying to, so then they got annoyed.

Did anyone there know you?

The main girl did. I don’t know if she was out there, tired or closing or forgot who I was. We used to work together briefly years ago. She was annoyed at me, but I was like, “No, I’m just waiting for my boyfriend in the bathroom.” She didn’t give me the time of day. I think it was because it’s closing and they’re frustrated and want to go home. Customers during COVID are a special breed and annoying. I think working during COVID is super frustrating.

I’m sure you’re so thankful you don’t have to be around people during COVID.

I’m happy, but it does get a little lonely because I do live by myself. My boyfriend does stay time from time, after work and stuff, especially now that I work from home as well. This is my whole life. It does get a little lonely so I do it. I can talk to more people. When I get lonely, sometimes I’ll go on TikTok Live or something and talk to some of my followers and stuff. Luckily, I have a few friends that live close to me. One lives like right across the street.

Do you have pets?

I don’t. I would love a cat but pet rent is expensive. It’s like $50 a month and you have to pay a deposit. I feel like I have a hard enough time trying to get myself.

I feel like cats though are pretty easy. I feel like dogs are a lot more work.

I wouldn’t ever get a dog. I have nothing personal against them.

I’m a cat person too, but we have dogs.

My boyfriend invited me into a cat person. All his life, he has had cats. He has two cats at home. I feel like with litter, I don’t think I have a big enough space to where I could put the litter where I can’t detect it. Also, I don’t want it to mess up everything and pause it back. Maybe once I go home, I’ll be more open to getting pets. Otherwise, once in a while I go to Petco next to my grocery store and say hi to the cats and peace out.

They have in LA those cat cafes where you can go snuggle with the cats. You have to pay by the minute or fifteen minutes or something.

It’s this one. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s super popular. It’s like a coffee shop as well. You pay $25 or something to go in just to go pet the cats. The cats are up for adoption, which I think is like super awesome. You buy the coffee and the snacks. I don’t know if it’s like $25 per hour or something, but it is expensive.

I know there’s one on Melrose. Are you talking about the one on Melrose or no?

I think so.

It’s pink inside. I feel like it’s $20 for fifteen minutes, maybe. I remember when we go to LA, we’ll rent a house near there. We walked down Melrose Avenue. It was my favorite place to stay because I liked to get out. I remember them saying that the coffee shop was in a different building, so they brought the coffee over or something. It was weird.

It’s $25 for fifteen minutes. I can go to Petco for free.

When you're putting out content and stuff, you're opening yourself up for scrutiny. Click To Tweet

They’ve got to pay a lot of rent there, too. I’m sure it goes towards their rent.

My friend, she does social media and PR for one of the main businesses on Melrose. I don’t remember what the exact number is, but all I remember is that the lease to be on Melrose is freaking insane. I wonder during COVID, they did have to shut down.

I can’t imagine. I’m sure half the street is shut down. Some of the beginning of Melrose is big businesses, bigger brands, and stuff, but on the other end, it’s the small starting out businesses.

The end of Melrose you’re talking about is there’s like a Glossier there now.

That’s more like the beginning. That’s where we’re like the high-end stuff is. If you keep going down, that’s my favorite place to shop ever. I only shop online other than like on Melrose all the way at the end. They’re funky stores. There’s this one store that has the best handmade stuff. It’s so cute on the end, but it’s more boutiquey rather than bigger brands.

It’s going past the pink wall, going down that.

Yes.

I didn’t know that. I haven’t been there. One, because finding parking there is ridiculous and two, I don’t know. I’d have to go back and find out the stores. I love this little boutiquey stores.

There’s a ton, although who knows what happened with COVID? I’m sure the price points a lot lower than the bigger stores. Hopefully, they’re still making it through. I get this asked a lot and I feel like you’d be a great person to answer this. Do you have any advice on how to gain confidence?

I feel like for me it was something that had to happen over time. For me, it was more of a mindset switched versus doing anything. Especially because when I was younger, I grew up cyber bullied a lot by the same group of girls and stuff. That shot my confidence for a long time. After that, once I got to high school and college, it was about recognizing that people who say these mean things, it’s more of personal for them. It’s more like a reflection of what they’re going through and it’s not you.

Also, recognizing that ultimately, you can’t please everyone so why even bother trying to please people, especially people that are haters or something like that? I feel like it’s a waste of energy. Once I overcame that, that was when I started on my confidence journey and taking pictures and stuff. I am practicing a lot doing positive affirmations. Every day, I remind myself that, I’m here to do something I’m passionate about. Fuck whatever anyone else is saying. Not everyone has the confidence or the willpower to take a step forward and do things.

Do things that are different. You’re helping girls and stepping. I’m sure out of, at the beginning of this, it was out of your comfort zone, a little bit.

I’m still out of my comfort zone. I felt very down in general. I don’t know if that’s for a lot of people or just me. Especially with TikTok, the climate has been toxic. It was affecting me. Even pushing out TikTok or a day or something is almost excruciatingly hard for me. You can be confident, but even the most confident people have their down periods. That was super hard.

Do you think it was like based off because you’re getting a lot of more mean comments and stuff?

I don’t know if I’m on the wrong side of the For Your Page or something, but I saw on my For You Page, for example, there are many videos of kids hating on each other and saying mean spiteful things. I got a few like mean comments. I wouldn’t say it was a lot but I got enough to where I privated a couple of videos because they’re a bit more personal and stuff to me. I would say it was both. It was hard. Looking back, it was something that maybe a month ago I would’ve been like, “Whatever.”

It depends what kind of mood you’re in. If you read something that bothers you more, that wouldn’t bother you at another time. When you’re feeling more emotional and stuff because you are vulnerable putting yourself out there.

I don’t think people realize that. I didn’t know that either. Now that I’m in a creator’s shoes, you see the other side of it. When you’re putting out content and stuff, you’re opening yourself up for scrutiny and you’re seeing stuff like.

I think about that too like, “When I was fifteen, was writing mean comments to people?” I don’t think I was. It’s a weird transition to being someone watching like other creators to being a creator. What I think is changing with TikTok that I love so much is that there’s different kinds of creators that are way more authentic versus the Unboxing my Prada on YouTube video kind of creators. That side of it has kind of died and it is dying. It’s breeding a whole new creator of people that wouldn’t have been creators years ago.

I think that’s happening, not just in TikTok but in other platforms like Instagram. I follow a few people who are more creative and super curated. I brought up the question of like, “Is the climate changing? Do people want to see more uncurated more personal things like that?” I do very much think it’s going that way because people are tired of looking perfect and all that stuff on the internet. We all want to breathe and be ourselves. I definitely think it’s changing. The whole YouTube thing, I feel like the unboxing, maybe years ago, I would have totally watched. Now, there are probably so many that I don’t care and it’s not representative of the creator. I could like the creator, but not care about their unboxing.

They’re just buying stuff or getting it for free.

BTB 3 | Vi Luong

Vi Luong: Ultimately, you can’t please everyone. Why even bother trying to please people, especially people that are haters?

 

Their getting stuff for free and then unboxing it and then telling their followers, you’ll get this Prada bag. I’m like, “I can’t get it.”

How do you respond to brands? Let’s say for girls that are trying to be influencers and brands that reach out to you and that want to send you stuff and don’t want to pay you and kind of stuff. How do you deal with getting free and sent stuff?

How we do it is that if someone comes up to me and says like, “We’d love to send you this gifting.” Usually, it comes with an unsaid thing of like, “If you send me gifting, if I love it, I will post it, but I have no obligation to do so unless you’re sponsoring me or paying me or anything like.” Most likely I would end up on my stories or something, but unless I love it and I’ve tried it, it won’t end up on my feed. I’ve have had a few brands that come up to me and offer gifting. I said, “I’m sorry. I don’t have the bandwidth.” That’s what comes down to like, “I don’t have the bandwidth to post and shoot.” I’ve gotten a few brands that get super salty. They’re allowed to feel that way, but for me, if you love and trust me as a creator then, I don’t think you should get salty at me.

Especially with things that aren’t that authentic. I really don’t run any ads and I don’t take a lot of stuff. It’s a lot for me. I feel like I’m focusing on myself and making my brand. I don’t want to push out branded content just to get paid or get some free stuff. It doesn’t interest me. As a brand, we should respect that a little bit too, rather than getting upset because it’s like, “I’m being authentic.” I don’t want you to send me some face wash and then I hated it. I’m pushing it to teen girls who are going to hate it too.

I’ve noticed that big brands like Neutrogena or something, they have enough budget to where if they send it to me and I don’t post, they don’t care. They’re a big corporation. It’s usually the smaller ones, which I understand. It is a small business. You want to go here and stuff. I don’t want to post something I’m not passionate about. I’d say I take a decent amount of sponsorships, but they’re usually things I’m already passionate about like Neutrogena because I genuinely love their products and I’ve been using your stuff since I was ten.

That has got to feel good for you for these brands that you’ve used your whole life to work with you.

It was awesome. I got this one. It was like a Neutrogena Amazon. They are paired together. It’s my background. For my full-time job, I worked pretty closely with Amazon because we were a company that builds like advertising to go on Amazon’s like platform. We had a direct relationship with them. When they called me up, I was like, “I love Amazon. I have a lot of experiences you guys like on the backend.” It is bizarre and bittersweet when brands I’ve been using since forever reach out and express an interest in me. They usually say like, “We found you on TikTok.” I’m like, “I don’t know how you found me, but thanks.”

I’m proud of you and where you’re going in life and I see big things for you. I’m happy to be a part of watching your journey. I’m going to ask you two questions before we get off. There are two questions I asked my son every night before we go to bed. The first one is what was the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is I woke up at 6:00 and I got a lot of stuff done in terms of content creation and then being able to make time to hop on this interview with you. That was definitely a highlight of my day, being able to take control of and do a lot of productive things.

The second one is, what did you learn?

I learned that I am not as great with time management as I thought. That is something I need to take the steps to improve.

It’s good to recognize that, but I’m the same way too. It gets worse when you have kids because you’re spending time doing your projects and then spending quality time.

I’m all about personal development, reading self-development books, recognizing my habits and stuff. It’s fun to hack myself.

Thank you for joining me on the show and I hope we will have you back soon.

Me too. This is so fun.

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