June 17, 2017
June 17, 2017


“There’s no half and half to me. I am not fully American. I am not fully Indian. I consider myself to be from this Polynesian background and I have that Hawaiian factor to me. Not saying that I am ethnically Hawaiian but I associate and identify with being from Hawaii. I grew up in Hawaii. No one can take that away from me. But growing up in Hawaii people would look at me all the time and based on my nose, or who I am, or how tall I am would be like “You’re not from Hawaii, you’re not local.” Well, yes I am. I went to the same elementary school where Barack Obama went to. My dad was a professor at University of Hawaii. Take something away from me, go ahead and try. So that Hawaii complexity is there. But I am also American. I like American cuisine. And I like traveling. And I love New York. I love San Francisco. For all intent and purposes, I am American. And then you also have that Indian factor. In my household, we eat Aloo and Gobi. We eat Roti. We eat Nan. We pray. My parents speak in Hindi and Punjabi. My father is Sikh. There are pictures of Indian gurus in my house. And my parents are Indian. I am Indian. I don’t know how else to explain it.  It’s just who I am.  And for someone to love me and get to know me they need to understand all those facets and complexities. So growing up, and even now still, I struggle all the time with my identity. And that is why I travel so much. I grew up in such a complex, culturally diverse place and people constantly were telling me you’re not from here – why do you sound like a valley girl? You know I have this California valley girl accent, which is true. I do. I am proud of it and I also don’t care anymore. Your perception of me is a reflection of you. And for all these reasons, you know and struggling with the racism, with the hatred, the animosity, with the confusion, self doubt, the low self esteem. It all just made me stronger.  I am young. I am a very positive person. I am a happy person. I want to give people energy. I believe in hope and love and kindness.  And I believe that when life gets you down and when you experience those kind of adversities and racism based on nothing other than skin color, then all you can do is just exude love against the world and blanket anything with love. And then it just makes me want to help people and heal people and travel around the world.”


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