Meet Rebecca

“My relationship with my cultural identity has not been linear. When I was in elementary school I never questioned why the way things were. I would do whatever my parents told me to do, like eat Buddha’s Delight on Chinese New Year or never stick my chopsticks straight into my bowl of rice. With that also came a lot of superstitions I had to follow as well. 

Unfortunately, growing up in Fort McMurray, I faced a lot of internalized racism. One prominent feature of my face is that I have monolids. I hated them so much and like some had considered going to Korea to get eyelid surgery. I would get the occasional classmate who would make the “chinky eyes” gesture. What helped me gain confidence about my monolids is that I watched a lot of Asian Youtubers like Michelle Phan, Bubzbeauty, and Wong Fu Productions. They were Asians who were themselves and made me feel part of a community on Youtube. They didn’t have to play into stereotypes and if anything, went against them.

Rebecca posing next to her series titled Chop Suey, 2019 displayed at SNAP Gallery

When I was in high school, I developed self-hate for my Chinese identity. I hated being the token Asian friend and dealing with microaggressions in my daily life. It wasn’t until I moved to Edmonton for university that I used my creative practice to explore the Asian diaspora, embrace my Chinese upbringing and love myself.”  

“我对自己的文化认同并非一成不变的。当我上小学时,我只会遵从父母,而不会质疑他们让我做的事情。例如要在农历新年吃罗汉斋,或者不能将筷子插入饭碗中。像这样类似的很多迷信的传统,我也必须遵守。但是,当我上高中时,我开始讨厌自己的华裔身份。

我在Fort McMurray 长大,曾经对自己作为华裔的种族非常反感。我讨厌成为象征式的亚裔朋友,并在日常生活中面对无意的冒犯。直到我搬到埃德蒙顿上大学,我才开始运用自己的创造力探索亚裔侨民,拥抱自己作为华裔的成长经历,自强自爱。”

—Rebecca

Rebecca sits on a grassy hill with her BF’s dog, Navi. (2020)

Cover photography by Alyssa Lau
All photos provided by Rebecca.

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