Jaymee Kobryn: Stop Asian Hate
Hello Jaymee! First of all, thank you so much for talking to us, we appreciate it. For starters, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi there! Thank you for having me. I'm extremely grateful to be talking with you today. I'm Jaymee. I'm a 24 year old artist with a passion for modeling, music, writing, and fitness. I'm also an adoptee from Gwangju, South Korea. I currently live in Michigan.
You’ve been more and more using your platforms to discuss about Asian-Hate. What got you into using your visibility to talk about it?
What got me into using my platforms to discuss Asian-Hate was really just my experiences growing up. As a child, I truly believed the negative treatment was normal, something that was *my* fault. Now that I'm an adult, I want to share my story with others who may have experienced/be experiencing the same thing. That's what I would have liked to see growing up.
As a child and a teenager, how was it for you to embrace your asian features and be proud of them?
I was adopted when I was 6 months old. My mother is Italian and my father is Polish. I have an older sister who was adopted from Vietnam, but other than that, I never really got to be around kids who were like me. I remember being deeply ashamed of my Asian features, especially since I was bullied for them. As a teenager though, it got easier to embrace my features, such as my eye shape and skin tone. I realized it made me unique, and that made me proud. However, I still struggled with a lot of it internally even if I didn't show it.
Did it ever affect your relationship with yourself and with the people close to you? How?
I think as a child, and even throughout my teenage years, it affected the relationship I had with my family. I always felt like the odd one out in school, so that just translated into other areas of my life. It also affected the relationship I had with myself. I remember not even wanting to look in the mirror when I was younger because I felt so horrible; I also remember wishing that I could have blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, which made it harder to accept myself for who I was.
Ever since the pandemic hit the world, Asian people have been suffering from stereotyping and misinformation. How do you think this could’ve been avoided?
At the end of the day, it's about not jumping to conclusions or following mindless stereotypes. I believe a huge part of the misinformation/stereotyping came from the media. We are bombarded with so much at once that it's increasingly difficult to find quality, factual information. I felt that all Asians were being completely demonized, specifically anyone of Chinese descent. If the mainstream news reported it without keeping the focus on a specific culture, then I think that the hostility towards us could have been avoided.
What or who inspires you the most as an Asian woman, and why?
Seeing other Asian women in media, especially the modeling industry, inspires me to embrace who I am and own my features.
Hating people based on their looks and features should’ve never been acceptable, and it’s absurd that it’s still happening today. What do you think should be done by us, as a society, to get rid of this once and for all?
We need to maintain our sense of humanity. Hating someone based off of how they look, certain physical features, religious/cultural beliefs, sexual orientation/identity, etc. is a very negative worldview to have. I mean, isn't that exhausting? At the end of it all, we are just human beings trying to live the best life we can while on this planet. It's human instinct to love one another, and I feel like that instinct has been diminished because of everything going on in the world. It sounds cliché, but we all know the saying, "Treat others the way you want to be treated," so let's keep that in mind while we're on this journey together.
Photographer: Nicole @nicoledenisephotography
Model: Jaymee Kobryn @jxymee
Makeup Artist: Brittani Hodges @beautifulliflawedllc