You might know entrepreneur Jeanne Grey as @thegreylayers or “your big sis” on Instagram. She uses her platform to tackle several important conversation topics – including what it’s like being an Asian American immigrant in NY/NJ, empowerment and social issues, as well as personal finance and saving money through #wehavecoffeeathome and #wehavenailsathome tutorials. In our latest edition of #ModernAsian, Jeanne talks about her heritage, racial stereotypes, and more.
What does being a Modern Asian woman mean to you?
It’s knowing the balance between the two worlds I’ve grown into. Too foreign for my own, yet too different for the one I’m currently in. Yet it is in the in-between that I’ve made my home. Being a modern Asian woman means I still get to eat my food with my hands like it’s lunchtime in the Philippines, sweep my garden with my walis tingting, and then go brunch on the sidewalks of NYC with a mimosa on hand.
How has your Asian heritage shaped you?
My Asian heritage has shaped my values and characters as a person. It is what anchors me and keeps me grounded. It serves as my guidebook and has kept me from losing myself in the western culture of America.
What’s the greatest piece of wisdom ever shared with you by your parents or grandparents?
We are different. We will never fit in. And that’s okay. It will be your greatest weapon. You are different and make sure you stay that way.
How do you deal with racial stereotypes?
I turn them into educational comebacks. There’s beauty in being soft, but Asians are too known for being soft and quiet. There is strength in educating those around you, and so I refuse to be beautiful, instead choosing to show my strength in speaking from my mind and not my heart. Knowledge instead of emotions. I’ve gotten more positive responses this way, and most of the time they actually turn into beautiful conversations.
How do you define beauty?
This definition is in the beholder. Beauty is what you make it to be. It’s how you choose it to be.
How do we move the conversation forward?
To understand that it isn’t just a moment but a movement. It must be a lifestyle and not something to simply uphold in the month of May.
To learn more about Jeanne, follow her on instagram @thegreylayers.