Notes on Escapism
"My biggest talent is to create something from nothing."
Hello! I am a Taiwanese-American model and budding actress who moonlights as a coder and social entrepreneur to build businesses from nascent technologies to serve marginalized communities. My experiences in the tech and fashion industry have greatly shaped my art, which usually comes in the form of installation art sourced with sentimental items from around my family and thrift shops.
TALENT & WORK
So, you were a model before. How did you get into VR?
I’ve always taken an interest in new technologies and figuring out how to connect dots that aren’t really there yet. Modeling and acting, as it is now, is obviously very visual based and it’s all about bringing together pieces and creating a scenario, an emotion, from an almost empty palette. Virtual Reality design and coding is very similar, in that you need to actually make the front-end visuals using 3D modeling, animations and rigging. You also need to understand the mechanics behind it with code, understand how you make each element interact with each other or with the player, and how you then store that information into your database.
The first time I was fortunate enough to try out VR was in grad school when I was getting my Master’s in Human-Computer-Interaction. My supervisor let me combine my grad work with the work at the research center, and I designed a language-learning scenario using Alice in Wonderland as my aesthetic and storyline inspiration. I just went all out in design and learned how to write C#!
What is it like to be a VR engineer? What does your day look like?
It’s super, superrrrr fun! I get to go into different visual and audio worlds, almost escape for a little while. I started off with coding by myself and creating from scratch for a year at work. I needed to learn more about the technology, but it was also just relaxing to make these superbly immersive environments that I could experience and play in.
A work day at my office is like this: I turn off my alarm about 6 times (once at 7:34AM, 7:40, 7:46…etc) and then I finally pop up, run over to the sink and brush my teeth and throw on some clothes, usually workout clothes. I go downstairs and eat fruit that my boyfriend puts out for me and grab my lunch and run into my office. I then check in with my interns for about an hour or two, work on some storyboarding to figure out how to make scenarios that are feasible for our team to make and also solves the problems.
What do you think is your biggest talent that sets you apart from others?
I think I have a lot of perseverance and quite often am able to make either myself or a product into something out of nothing. I, like many others, carry a lot of trauma, a lot of rejection and flat out hate, and many of those factors contributed to me having to do anything related to arts in secrecy, which is why I carved out a path for myself in modeling and acting, and @victoriamisu. Whether it was in the face of racism, childhood trauma, back-stabbing friends/acquaintances/family, my own failings, etc, I’ve always been very headstrong in what I want to do and am rather good at finding the pieces of the puzzle together. It took a while for my to find the courage to present myself as someone who is good at that, but once I recently did, I feel like I’ve been able to unlock a lot of myself and start to carve out new paths for me and others.
Victoria in Boho ivory embroidered lace blouse
We love the lighting/mood in your photos. What do you wish to achieve with your installations/photography?
Thank you so much <3!! That really means a lot because I feel I’ve finally found a medium to share my heart. I want to work with companies who want to tell a different story beyond trends, and want to work with me to think earnestly about elegantly bending the rules.
Some may have noticed but I am really into using frames to create these “still life” installations, which is a small commentary on how we choose to frame life and how we perceive art hung in museums.
Who takes your photos?
I do, or my boyfriend does! Which makes @victoriamisu so much more special to me. It’s a collaborative work with my boyfriend! Usually, if you see an image of me somewhere outside, he took them. Everything else on the account, like the art pieces, the more studio type of shots of me, the sky, I took those and wrote whatever captions you see.
What is your life motto/goal?
My life goal is to be able to look back on moments in life and know that I reconciled whatever I needed to and necessarily and empirically grew up without becoming a bitter person. My motto is to be forever grateful and know that what we have is such a gift, and fight for injustice in the way we know how to. This isn’t to say we need to all be marching, or all be in politics – in some phases of life, the best way to take a stance is to be you and be and make art and become someone who can give back.
FASHION & STYLE
How would you describe your style? Does this reflect your personality?
I think it’s anything that makes me feel at my feminine best, and is a mix of modern boss and vintage softness. But other times, I want to dress in all tactical wear so I have items much like @tugceoezel! My dream is to be cast as something like James Bond + Rey (Stars Wars Daisy Ridley) so I live it out in those outfits. It definitely reflects my personality, and that shifts a lot which I think is a beautiful aspect of modernity – women, and people in general, are starting to accept that others can control their identities.
What is your go-to outfit?
A go-to outfit for work is just leggings and a tshirt… but when I want to actually wear clothes I love and be functional, let’s say in the spring, it’s a pair of thrifted Stuart Weitzman sandals, a pair of wide leg, high-waist jeans, and either a silk cami, off-shoulder, or sweetheart neckline top.
What is your favorite fashion trend right now?
Yes! A no-trend, trend. Although I understand that things become popular and I wish every company that I like to catch on to that popularity, I think it’s the consumer’s and influencer’s responsibility to be mindful of what they push and what we consider “art”. I know there are items and styles out there that are super popular, and the way fashion functions sometimes enforces uniformity. I don’t dislike those styles, but I do encourage people to earnestly make style their own.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
When I think about my outfits, I like to consider my inherent greed and need to shop when I get depressed. I am so grateful to be able to own clothing that makes me happy, because I know not everyone has this opportunity. So, my favorite outfit right now is when I button together 2 shirts, 4 shirts, now exploring 6 shirts, and that really came from one day hearing myself say “I don’t know what to wear”! And seeing the amount of clothes I have. I then immediately took apart my closet, and set aside everything I haven’t worn in a year and sold them or donated a lot of them.
The next step was to consider how I can use what we already have to be creative and wear things unconventionally, so I took my boyfriend’s shirts and thought of making a waist-tie double shirt!
When I wore that shirt out, there were many negative side comments and laughs from people I would expect it from. I wanted to softly pose the question of why people do the things they’re told to do and why something different makes people uncomfortable.
How do you organize your closet?
I don’t :( I try to! I try to organize by season and by frequency of wear but I am just in general not very organized.
What is one fashion trend prediction that you foresee for 2019?
A lot more “little house on the prairie” styled tops and moods…finally!! I also think that there will be incorporation of different cultures more ethically and respectfully. I’m already seeing a lot of qi-pao styled tops, that were once made fun of or worn incredibly inappropriately, being respectfully incorporated into some lines.
For more on Victoria-