This May, we at CLEVER are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this year by honoring and amplifying AAPI creators in the influencer marketing space. Four CLEVER creators have partnered with us to publish our first-ever AAPI Heritage Month blog series. These posts are intended to provide insight into how the influencer industry can support AAPI creators beyond just this month.
This week we're thrilled to feature Suzanne Nuyen of Bun Bo Bae!
Not your model minority
Follow Suzanne at:
Hello! Xin chào! My name is Suzanne Nuyen. I run Bun Bo Bae, a blog dedicated to celebrating the joys of Vietnamese home cooking. I started this blog because I wanted to share the recipes my mom and I bonded over as a child. While dishes like phở and bánh mì are popular in many places in the U.S., there are so many delicious and easy to make dishes that aren’t served at restaurants that I eat every day. I want to represent those! Bun Bo Bae isn’t my full time project though; I currently work as a journalist, and I’m working on my master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University.
- How does your content reflect or celebrate AAPI Heritage month?
I’m always advocating for the Asian American community, but this month I’m focusing on uplifting Asian owned businesses. I’m running a month’s worth of giveaways from my favorite local Asian-owned businesses. Some of the giveaways were generously sponsored by the brands, but I’m also spending some of my own money to send these products to winners, because I believe in putting my money behind organizations I believe in.
- What does it mean for you to be an AAPI content creator in the influencer marketing industry/your vertical?
Being an Asian recipe developer means that I’m competing in an already oversaturated environment with many other influencers who are capitalizing off of the love of my culture and food without giving it proper respect. I see so many brands and content creators who develop Asian recipes or use Asian iconography without doing any research into the rich culture of the countries they are capitalizing off of. So many do not speak out on the issues my community faces. If you are earning income from our culture, you have a responsibility to do so. Period. I hope to bring nuance and respect to my content, not only for Vietnamese culture, but whenever I try any cuisines that are not my own.
- As an influencer in the AAPI community, what message do you want brands and the influencer marketing industry to hear loud and clear? What are your hopes for the future?
I want brands to dedicate themselves to social justice and uplifting voices not only when a terrible tragedy has befallen the community, but all the time. It’s AAPI heritage month now, but we should be uplifting Asian voices always. And while it is our month, we should still be uplifting Black and Latinx voices, and the voices of any marginalized community. More and more, consumers are becoming wary of when brands are co-opting movements for their own profit. If you don’t want to seem exploitative, you really have to mean it and put in the work.
- What is your advice for brands who want to continue to celebrate AAPI Heritage month beyond the month of May?
Hire more Asian creatives and always work towards working with diverse creators. This includes, but is not limited to Asian creators. Look inwards as well, not just at the influencers you’re working with. How many Asian employees are at your company, and how many hold positions of power?
- Have you ever had the opportunity to do a paid, brand-sponsored post in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month?
I just launched a giveaway with one of my favorite local grocery stores, Rice Market. They generously provided all of the products for the giveaway. But other than that, I have not done any other campaigns specifically targeted at AAPI Heritage month. I’ll be hosting more giveaways, but some of them are not official partnerships. I’ll be spending my own money on these prizes.
- Who are your favorite AAPI content creators we should follow?
Wok And Kin
Cooking With Chow