AAPI is a social movement. Every May, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is celebrated in the USA.
It originated with Congress to recognize and uplift the contributions of people from the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, and has been officially recognized since 1992 – although the first petitions were made in 1977. It’s also been celebrated in Canada since 2002, where it’s known as Asian Heritage Month.
Members of the AAPI community and their allies use this month in particular to highlight the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, their heritage and culture, and the work they’re doing both in their own communities and beyond. The month is also a time to acknowledge, reflect and educate on the hardships faced by AAPI people, both historically and in the modern world.
Though often under-acknowledged for their achievements, members of the AAPI community have made huge waves throughout American history – and they’re continuing to do so. Which is why, this AAPI Heritage Month, we’re looking at ten of the most influential AAPI creators taking the content game by storm.
Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, author of eight children’s books, and former Editor-in-Chief at Lucky and Beauty and Health Director at Teen Vogue, Eva Chen’s resume is an impressive one.
New York City native Eva has amassed a following of 2 million fans on Instagram, where she shares her interviews with celebrities, backstage shots from international fashion weeks and star-studded events like the Met Gala, and insider info around new Instagram features as well as frequent peeks into her home life. Eva has written 8 children’s books, and the protagonist of each is an Asian American girl who loves fashion and beauty.
Bryan Grey Yambao first started making waves in 2004, when he launched his fashion and style blog, Bryanboy, from his parent’s home in Manila. Now based in Sweden, Bryanboy is hailed as one of the most popular and influential fashion blogs in the industry and has attracted a global audience as one of the original content of its kind.
Now, Bryan has over 722K followers on Instagram and over 3.4 million on TikTok where he shares fashion highlights and insights into his content creation process. His on-point fashion commentary is aspirational to many creators new to the industry.
Before launching her clean skincare range, cocokind, Priscilla Tsai was a Wall Street investment banker. So it’s fair to say she’s been winning in her career since Day One. Inspired to create a product to cure her own acne, she took matters into her own hands and is now not only a super successful entrepreneur, leading a creator-led brand (a lifelong dream for Tsai), but she’s also one of the front-running beauty creators out there.
With 12.4K followers on Instagram and 113.6K on her brand’s TikTok, Priscilla doesn’t only promote her own content, but also that of her audience. cocokind is one of the few brands that has managed to effectively reach and work with Gen-Z TikTok creators who love what Priscilla and cocokind does so much, that they share their own content about it – no mean feat, as any brand trying to make it on TikTok will tell you.
Another AAPI entrepreneur now making moves as a creator in her own right is Dulma Altan. Once an Advertising Strategist at Google, Mongolian-born Dulma is now the CEO of Makelane, a digital community that uplifts and supports women running their own e-commerce businesses.
But just running Makelane herself wasn’t enough for Dulma. Now, she also shares business school-style videos on TikTok, where she teaches her 65,200 followers how to build their own brands. Her page covers everything from celebrity entrepreneurs like Kim Kardashian and Jay-Z to politics, to business news.
Liah Yoo’s 263K Instagram followers and 1.23 million Youtube subscribers follow the entrepreneur for her beauty expertise. Her brand Krave Beauty aims to reset the way we think about skincare, moving away from novelty treatments and unrecognizable ingredient lists and into a purer, more simplified routine.
Her weekly videos touch on different aspects of beauty, from traditional tips and tricks to Yoo’s expert opinions on the industry and thought pieces on how the industry as a whole could change for the better. So if you’re tired of the typical fast-moving beauty blogs that flip-flop on what’s best for your skin from week to week, Liah Yoo’s content is one to look out for.
19-year-old Pacific Islander Mele is a Polynesian dancer and content creator who has amassed over 1 million TikTok followers with her educational videos. As well as performing hula, she educates her viewers on Hawaiian customs, traditions, and politics.
Unlike so many young creators making a name for themselves in industries like fashion and beauty, Mele’s focus is on activism and spreading information about AAPI rights and issues – often while entertaining her followers with traditional dances at the same time.
Owin Pierson is an AAPI creator who is outspoken about mental health and issues affecting the LGBQTQIA+ community. He shares experiences from his own life, educational information about queer and AAPI communities, and Hawaiian life.
In 2017 he gained huge popularity when he shared his coming out story on his Youtube channel, though his main platform is Instagram where he’s garnered 225K followers. Follow Owin for a happy and healthy mix of uplifting, educational, and entertaining content that will make you smile even on your darkest days.
Polynesian fire knife master Mikaele Oloa is one of the most entertaining AAPI pages on TikTok. He shares his Samoan fire knife and fire dancing skills with his 1.2 million followers, in between education videos about AAPI heritage and traditions.
From challenges to memes to insights into Samoan culture, Mikaele is a TikToker to watch. His page proves that being a content creator isn’t just about perfectly polished pages. His fun, fast, and often hilarious videos give his followers a taste of AAPI culture – the perfect way to celebrate Heritage Month this May.
Stockholm-based Julia Dang is not just any other fashion creator. Creator of her own brand, DANG STHLM, she has 181K followers on Instagram, 91.6K on TikTok, and 543K on Youtube where she shares styling, inspo, and other fashion content. Queen of bold hairstyles and glam nails, Julia’s videos range from outfits of the day to TikTok trends to insights into running her brand.
Julia’s effortlessly cool style makes her one of the most influential AAPI creators in a landscape that’s packed with wannabe fashion stars. Her hair, nails, makeup and wardrobe are inspirational.
If you’ve not heard of Patrick Starr, where have you been? The Filipino-American makeup artist, Youtuber, and singer has been breaking down the barriers around gender expression and men in makeup since 2013. Now he has 4.3 million followers on both Instagram and Youtube, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Having got into makeup after starting his career as a photographer in Orlando, Florida, his videos share his beauty expertise, tips and hacks for applying the perfect beat, and his experience as a man wearing makeup. Few Youtubers have done as much to fight stigma and succeed as this creator.
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