Triple threat is just one way to describe this month’s Going Against the Grain spotlight. An ad woman by day, a DJ by night and a fashion blogger for Sugar Rock Catwalk, somewhere in between, Lani Nguyen proves you don’t have to pursue just one dream.
After a gig as an internet radio music director in Southern California, she started her adventures as a club DJ in New York City in 2007. There, she shadowed local DJs before finding the courage to play out on her own in 2009. Fast forward a few years, Lani now lives in Chicago and works as a senior strategist for one of the top global ad agencies, Leo Burnett. She also sets up regular gigs at some of the best events and spots around Chicago, as well as DJ-ing for SXSW, New York Fashion Week and other high profile events around the country.
With a strong work ethic and a lot of passion, Lani is proving you can do it all!
Lani Nguyen (aka Lani Love)
Huntington Beach, CA
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
To challenge the status quo and create your own path
What made you decide to pursue advertising and DJing?
I’m insane! I’m kidding. Both were natural interests of mine, and hard work has never failed me. I pursued advertising because it spoke to my practical sensibility and my creative tendencies. Advertising is art with a business purpose. And as a music enthusiast, I dreamed of DJing all throughout college and eventually pursued it after I established my footing in advertising.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
Luckily, there are quite a few positive Asian American stereotypes – good at math, studious, hard working, mild mannered, so I can’t say that I’ve faced any major challenges as a result of being Asian American. But I have learned that one of the best things I can do to support diversity in an industry that is lacking is to be visible and accessible to young Asian Americans so they’re aware of all possible career paths.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
Being comfortable in my own skin. Unfortunately much of my adolescence was spent wishing I was a tall, lanky blonde. Then one day towards the end of college, I woke up (and grew up) and embraced being different. It’s allowed me to follow my heart with confidence, resulting in professional and personal accomplishments beyond what I ever dreamed for myself.
What’s up next?
I have a general idea, but for the first time in my life, I don’t have a detailed road map. I’m just focused on developing my skill set and living life and seeing where that takes me.
Quote to live by:
“The easiest way to be instantly happy is to make somebody else happy.” – Deepak Chopra
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Ox & Gemini
Passionate about: Sustainable living
Favorite food: Noodle soup (Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, I love them all!)
Can’t live without: A nice pair of glasses, because I’m blind as a bat