“I was born in Sydney and moved to Melbourne, then the US, then the UK, and then I moved back to Australia when I was 12. And then my parents moved to the United Arab Emirates when I was, like, 13 or 14, so I lived between there and Australia for the next 20 years. So yeah, it’s been an interesting life. Even my mother and dad are kind of ex-pat immigrants. My dad is Indian and my mother is Chinese. But when they were little, they both moved to Malaysia. We’re all kind of transplants and from everywhere in the world.”
“So growing up with parents like that, they’re a bit more open-minded. I was never told that I’d have an arranged marriage or that I could only date Chinese boys. My parents were a lot more open than that. I could date whatever race I liked. I could be gay — they wouldn’t mind. But they would care about what he did for a living, that he earned enough money. Those things.
“Absolutely. I definitely didn’t want that division to happen to me. I didn’t want people to think a certain way about me, and I definitely know it influenced a lot of my self-confidence in terms of how I viewed myself. I definitely viewed myself as different, and different was ugly. I didn’t like being different. I really just wanted to assimilate. This was harder because we moved around so much. I went to predominantly white schools, and I never thought of myself as particularly beautiful or interesting until I got older. And that’s when I started to recognize that being different is beautiful. That took a long time to learn. I have so many stories of people telling me how absolutely beautiful I was, but I completely ignored them because I just thought, ‘No, I’m dark and I’m ugly.’”
"While men are starting to understand that things are different and harder for women in general, they don’t necessarily understand that it’s doubly difficult if you aren’t a white woman."
“I think the biggest pitfall is that, while men are starting to understand that things are different and harder for women in general, they don’t necessarily understand that it’s doubly difficult if you aren’t a white woman. They think that gender is the only thing that is an issue for us, and they don’t quite understand that there are relatively more hateful things that actually happen to ethnic women of marginalized groups. It can hurt because there are a lot of cultural implications that they don’t understand. Like they don’t understand colorism. They don’t get why I see myself as ugly when they’re constantly telling me that I’m beautiful. They don’t get that, growing up, I might have felt more ugly because I was constantly told that being dark is ugly.
“Yes, he’s white. We’ve been dating since April.”
“They will next week!”
“Super anxious. I always get this way. It’s just because I think, again, I’m worried about the cultural clash. It’s strange that I have this anxiety, because our mutual friends have assured me that he’s dated women of other cultures before. He’s really lovely, and he’s very charming. But again, you still always worry what are they going to say? Are my parents going to embarrass me? What if in the middle of the dinner he decides he doesn’t want to be with me because it’s too culturally different? And I wonder if other people feel this way — worried about how it’s going to work out?”
“Yeah. I went on a dating trek this year. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend last year, and then I decided that I wanted to go on a date a week, and I met a lot of great people. Some of them have become good friends now. It really opened my eyes up to the fact that, even though I still have anxiety about how I look and where I come from, I live in a very open city where people are incredibly lovely and open-minded. That’s hard to remember sometimes, because I’ve also met people who would rather put their head in the sand than understand what you’re going through — even friends.
“Yeah. And I know that he serially targeted women of color in order to do that. He knew what their doubts and insecurities were, and he targeted that. [Women of color] can be easier to manipulate because of their insecurities, and it really impacts and damages you when that happens. Because they really hone in on all those intersections of gender and cultural anxieties, and it was really painful.”
“Interracial isn't a category in porn. It's a real thing happening between any two people."
“Of course. I think everybody’s issues are important. I don’t like the idea that my issues are worse than yours. I just want to expand people’s ideas about what issues can come up for women of color.
“I think it’s taken me 30 years to realize that I’m worth something. I used to think I wasn’t valuable or attractive. I still question my boyfriend all the time about whether I am attractive to him. I think that anxiety is always there. But I’m more comfortable being me and not having to define myself by how attractive I am anymore.”
“Oh yeah. I’m constantly like, Oh god, are they playing a game because they know they can play a game? Do they think I’m an easy target? Are they gaslighting me? And it hurts that I have to think like that, but I feel like I have to be skeptical in order to protect myself. And it can really hinder love from happening — when you become so overly worried and anxious all the time. And it’s something that’s another barrier to get through, and it can be really devastating.”
“Interracial isn't a category in porn. It's a real thing happening between any two people. And one day we will just call it 'dating.’ With all the segregation and division happening globally, I love seeing an interracial couple going about enjoying their loud PDA coupling and loving. It's a tiny step forward, but a giant step forward to this becoming a norm.