It’s been a tough year and a half for the AAPI community with anti-Asian hate crimes and racial harassment on the rise. Celebrities like K-Pop phenomenons BTS, Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee and “To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” actress Lana Condor have spoken out against anti-Asian hate, calling fans to condemn the violence and stand with their AAPI friends and family.
For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Chriselle Lim spoke to Seventeen about how important Asian representation is — especially in such a tumultuous time. "Growing up and looking at media, I didn't see anyone that looked like me, and I immediately just wanted to look not like me, so I didn't look Asian. It's so important that brands are able to show more Asian faces. We've come a long way, but there's still so much more work."
Chriselle is right — and it's especially important to support businesses that are uplifting the AAPI community by destigmatizing the conversation around mental health, like fashion brand Love, Bonito. Chriselle is working with the Southeast Asian company to donate $20,000 to the Asian Mental Health Project, because "even pre-pandemic, the Asian community was the least-likely ethnic group to access mental health treatments due to systemic barriers and stigma around mental health." Chriselle tells us that "coupled with COVID-19 related racism, there's a lot of shame, fear, and guilt. So it's important to take actionable steps to create a better future for our community."When it comes to supporting Asian businesses, Chriselle tells Seventeen that "the biggest way to support a community is putting money back into the community to allow for more opportunity and resources to fuel the next generation, [who will] hopefully live in a more equal society."Maybe you're already supporting the AAPI community on a daily basis by buying your boba from a local Asian-owned business, stocking Asian-owned beauty brands, or watching movies that tell AAPI stories, like Crazy Rich Asians or Seeing Red. Those are all great steps — and you can keep voting with your dollar by supporting entrepreneurs who have started Asian fashion and accessory labels, too. It doesn't hurt that these AAPI-owned fashion brands make really, really cute clothing.Don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a list of the cutest items to shop from the trendiest Asian-owned fashion brands that should totally be on your radar for AAPI month and beyond!Portions of this interview have been lightly edited for clarity.