TikTok Icon Vi Luong on the Importance of Unplugging

TikTok Icon Vi Luong on the Importance of Unplugging

Vi Luong gravitated towards content creation long before such a thing even existed. “I grew up a huge social media kid – I had all the socials: MySpace, Tumblr, Twitter, Friendster, you name it. I was OBSESSED with sharing myself and my world online, even if I wasn’t aware that that’s what I was doing. In college, I studied Business and took an online marketing class that jump started my fascination with social media as a career. I also always had a feeling deep in my gut that working a 9-5 for someone else wasn’t for me. Therefore, I made it a goal to be self-employed someday. My parents are business owners themselves and I saw the freedom they were able to have throughout my childhood. This heavily influenced me to start taking things into my own hands and want to work for myself. I spent the next 2-ish years post-grad working a 9-5 in advertising and social media, all while building my personal socials on the side. I truly believed that I would work on the corporate side for a long time, but then TikTok came around and the rest is history. I’ve been a full time creator now for 1.5 years!”

After spending her entire youth feeling coerced to assimilate, she feels empowered to celebrate her visibility as a Vietnamese creator. “It feels invigorating and truly extremely exciting. I remember growing up believing that there was no one else out there that could understand what I was going through, which was mainly trying to ‘fit in’ to American society and find my own voice. While at the same time, I come from a traditional Vietnamese family and values which are at times, the complete opposite of ‘American’ values. It was a lot of inner turmoil trying to navigate school, friendships, relationships, etc. Now, I feel like I’m in a position where I can let younger Vietnamese and Asian Americans know that there is someone who has gone through what they are dealing with and can offer support.” She’s honored to be a role model for AAPI women and girls and wants to empower others to proudly embrace their roots. “As much as you feel the pressure to conform to American society, know that there is so much beauty and richness to your culture that you may not appreciate now but will later. It took me so long to ‘come back’ to my Vietnamese/Asian roots mainly due to the negativity and trauma I went through such as being bullied in school, having my appearance ridiculed, etc. but if I could go back, I would say f*ck all the negativity. Remember this: people make fun of others because they don’t feel comfortable with themselves. So, if someone is making fun of you for ‘being too Asian’ or whatever, f*ck them and do you.”

While Vi shares much of her life online, she equally values her offline weekends. “Every single weekend from Friday afternoon to Monday morning at 9 am, I completely unplug and do not go on any social media platforms (TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, etc). Instead, I’ll spend this time off my phone and doing things like catching up on my hobbies, hanging out with family, house maintenance and errands, and getting into the right clear headspace for the week ahead.” This balance became much needed as her relationship to social media decayed into something incredibly toxic. “Honestly, after spending a couple years straight on social media, I developed a social media addiction. It was the type of thing where I couldn’t even go 10 minutes without checking social media – I needed the constant dopamine boost. I also had a lack of self-worth that kept telling me ‘you have to be online and available 24/7 or else your followers will think you’re a lazy creator’ which is SO UNTRUE. In 2021, I started going to therapy and really working on myself – through this, I realized that humans need rest and time away from all that stimulation in order to be happy and whole. It’s the whole ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ thing. I also realized that I was just letting life melt away by being glued to social media on the weekends. I’ve been doing offline weekends for 6 months now and it’s the best life hack I’ve ever done, period.” Staying offline has resulted in a noticeable improvement in her mental health. “Whenever I am feeling down or find myself comparing myself to others or feeling icky in general, I KNOW it’s because I have been on social media too much. There were some weekends that I couldn’t be offline due to work events/obligations and the weeks that followed were just…meh. I would be more reactive to negativity, my imposter syndrome would set in, and my work anxiety would spike. Staying off social media for a few days definitely allows me to prep my brain to avoid these things.”

Vi says sometimes we need to unplug to remember who we truly are. “I think social media has a way of clouding up the mind. As you scroll the FYP, the Instagram feed, etc. other people’s thoughts/perspectives/etc. have a way of seeping into your brain without you even realizing it. Then, all of a sudden, you’re living life according to how other people say you should and not necessarily according to how you want to. Additionally, all that constant mental stimulation leaves no room for things like coming up with creative ideas, processing things like personal trauma, and just being yourself.” Vi herself has plenty of exciting things happening in real life! “I’m super excited to be going to my first Coachella as a creator! Currently, I am also building my first home in Portland. Navigating the home buying and building process at 24 has been challenging but extremely exciting. This will be me and my boyfriend’s first time living outside of CA, but we will also be in CA all the time for work and family. We are just excited to have a home station in a place that is beautiful and green. Other projects and goals for the year are attending NYFW, continuing to work with my management DBA on awesome deals, guesting on some video platforms and podcasts, and maybe seeing what the next step in my career is!” Whatever she’s doing, spectacular content is sure to follow!

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TikTok Icon Vi Luong on the Importance of Unplugging. Photo Credit: Ben Cope.

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