I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday time! Here is our last interview for 2021! I am really hoping for a successful and joyful 2022 for everyone, as we've been pushed to our limits these past 2 years. I want all the best for everyone and hope you can find your light within to shine even brighter than you have been!
Over time, I've used these blog entries to not just talk about my own successes, but also highlight the successes of others because I feel that it is important to help the community grow, shine, and inspire others. Perhaps while reading these blog entries, people may find out something they've never really known before and it can give them a new idea! Whatever you feel or have gained from reading these blogs, I am thankful that you took the time to read it through and through. Thank you for helping the people highlighted in these blogs. Helped by clicking their links, subscribing to them, and hearing their stories. This is my little contribution to the bigger community, in hopes to help bring more people to them and even to myself as well! Everyone can help each other and everyone can win and feel good!
This digi-view shines light on a kawaii influencer who is using his light to inspire others and create safe kawaii fashion spaces!
Sean Chong-Umeda - seannyboy808
I have not met Sean in person, but I hope our paths will meet someday! (I discovered him on instagram) Sean is a genderfluid influencer online who is most definitely a unicorn disguised as a human! His goals are to bring the community positivity and confidence through his online content.
First off, I started by asking Sean what he values most about fashion:
"What I value most about J-fashion (and Fairy-kei specifically) is the ability to fully express myself. Though I am somewhat of a social butterfly, there is something that a full coord can say that words can not. The thing with fashion is that it allows you to say so much, without saying anything at all. Fairy-kei for me is my suit of kawaii armor, trekking through the day and being my own superhero. Fairy-kei and J-fashion helped me find like-minded communities and individuals who also have similar stories. What I value the most about it is how it helped me rediscover myself and the love for myself- not bending to the rules of society because 'boys wear pants or girls wear skirts.' It goes beyond the boundaries and touches every light in the universe. And ultimately what I value so much is the pure joy and happiness I get from dressing up. When I was growing up, I was told not to wear certain things or act a certain way because of fear of retaliation from the world back then. I loved Care Bears, pastels, and Barbie, but my parents were against it, though they were just protecting me from those who weren't so kind. However, now that I fully stepped into J-fashion it has allowed me to break the chains of what is 'right or wrong' to wear and just wear it because I simply love it. And to see the smiles and laughter from those who enjoy what I wear is an added bonus! "
Its always neat hearing about people's dreams and goals. Its exciting to get hype about something you hope to accomplish! Sean says he has so many dreams but not enough time! (relatable haha!!) "I would love to do collaborations with fashion brands! Though I am not a designer, I would love to do a small capsule collection of things I think every J-fashion person (and unicorn) would love! I would also love to model a lot more and become a personality on a kids tv show, Youtube Channel or radio! I want to be an example to everyone that you can wear what you love because if you are kawaii on the inside, then you are kawaii on the outside! Oh and my DREAM is to have either a plushie collection or have a plushie business! I love stuffed animals so much! Maybe a collab with Build-A-Bear? I have been so fortunate to have done so many things with big brands already such as Sanrio, Pusheen, tokidoki, Barbie, Care Bears and even Disney! My eyes are definitely looking at My Little Pony (which I am obsessed with) and to be honest any brand that wants to work with me and spread the word of inclusion and diversity! "
(Sean's awesome work with Sanrio!! GHOST GiRL GOODS would LOVE to do a collab with Sanrio.....ONE DAY!
My personal favourite of course is the Gudetama look.)
Of course, people have lives outside of their online presence. I asked what a typical week for Sean looks like: "I work a full time job at a digital ad agency in social media and before that I was the Director of an anime convention for 5 years. Add in doing social media, modeling, and attempting to see friends...you can see where this is going lol! It's hectic and chaotic, but it's controlled chaos. So what does my typical work week look like? I work Monday through Friday 9 AM-6PM working with clients on social media strategy, community management and influencer campaigns. It's a very adult and boring job (in my opinion). So how do I have time to do social media and modeling? I learnt that time management is SUPER important. I spend my weekends doing photo shoots and creating content, and sometimes even on late nights right after work reviewing brand deals, creating pitch decks, learning new social media strategies and dealing with contracts. So Monday-Friday from 9-6 is Job #1, with Monday-Friday 7-8 and weekends job number #2. Balancing work life with personal life is very hard as I am a huge workaholic. But I know that I need time off! I play D&D (Dungeon and Dragons) twice a week with two different groups and I am a part of a fairy-kei discord where I have a good group of Fairy friends all around the world! And with the beauty of social media, a friend is just a click away! "
I can completely understand the crunch of time , as the GHOST GiRL GOODS dynamic duo also both work fulltime jobs. For me (GHOST GiRL), I am in charge of making new designs and working on new products, so that itself also takes up a lot of time. I often find my days super crunched. HOWEVER, we both find time to have fun still!
Check out one of Sean's YouTube appearances, where him and a bunch of pals prepare for Harajuku Day in Las Angeles!
When I discovered Sean's instagram, By seeing the work he has done, I would definitely define him as a style/fashion icon in the kawaii community! I asked him what is the one thing he would want to be recognized most for? (other than having amazing pink hair!)
"I definitely do not think I am a fashion icon, but I will take the compliment and be truly flattered! If anything I want to be known as someone who was always uplifting others and helping pave a path for the next generation so that everyone can truly feel free to wear what they wanna wear.
In my dreams of dreams, I hope that in my J-fashion career, I can revive Fairy-Kei (it has been slowly declining) and help bring J-fashion into the mainstream media while it is being accepted by the general public. Though I think simply just being known for being super positive and a shining light is good too!"
In this big, wide world of social media, I see that people often get stuck focusing heavily on all the numbers while trying to juggle so many things. Its hard to stay on top sometimes, which brings people down. Even I sometimes feel like its hard to post 1 thing every single day! But I know I am only human and I don't need to pump something out when I am not ready to or not best prepared. I asked Sean what he does in moments of doubt, stress, or hardships related to sharing content and keeping up to date with your social media platforms.
"Social Media is basically a full time gig and it can be definitely stressful! I think the most important thing I tell myself is that there are certain things you can't control. Nobody knows the inner workings of Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok etc. so rather than pull my hair out, just do the best that I can do and know that I did an amazing job no matter what. Yes do your homework and learn the tricks and tips, however ultimately remember that social media should be fun! If a few things don't do well..oh well! Just move on. Eat some ice cream, take a hot shower and continue moving. It's not about how popular you can be right away, rather how long you can last in the sea of people. Its a marathon not a short sprint. And remember that popularity isn't everything! Even if you just made 1 person's day, know that singular moment can propel them into a better brighter future."
(A few of Sean's super kawaii looks!)
Sean has also worked with various conventions, media channels, creators, and more! What was one of his most memorable moments?
I have so many amazing moments in my J-fashion career! Definitely some of my favs have been modeling on the runway at Anime Los Angeles and Anime Expo. At Anime Los Angeles and Anime Expo I got to model for ACDC Rag and h.NAOTO. Especially with these two cons, they really give a lot to their fashion show! So to walk and model on a huge stage with a team doing your hair and makeup, you definitely feel like a superstar! Another amazing moment I will always remember is being one of the posters for the Hello Kitty store in Hollywood! Seeing my face in the store was jaw dropping and such a humbling experience! Finally another great moment I still remember to this day is doing the "Hooked on the Look" series with a few other J-fashion people in LA! It was my first 'series' type of filming and I felt like a reality TV star with cameras following me around!
I asked Sean to list a few of his favourite brands! (A difficult question because there are so many great ones!
1. Nile Perch (The Fanciest ever!!!) 2. Miss Alphabet (An amazing designer from California who specializes in Fairy Kei and Spank!) 3. Spank! (The OG)
4. ACDC Rag!!!! (I LOVE U RIMMA)
Sean will be starting up his YouTube channel again (He says "especially got inspired by my friend cybr.grl"), so you can expect alot of fun kawaii content there! Be sure to check out his channel.
"Also expect a lot more of me just...everywhere! Time to crank Seannyboy808 to an 11! I honestly don't know what the future has in store for me, but I can't wait!"
And lastly, I asked what is Sean's favourite snack! "Favorite snack of ALL time is easily peanut butter straight from the jar! "
Thanks for your responses Sean! And thank you all for reading. Be sure to check out Sean's social networks and subscribe/like, and check out our other blog posts on events I've attended, KAWAII INTERVIEWS, and more!