Lyena Kang Doesn’t Conform, She Breaks the Mould
Meet Lyena Kang: model, actress, and creative. She’s all about positivity, empowerment, and inclusivity! With videos about combating stereotypes, and advice on how to break into the fashion industry, Lyena Kang is reaching for the stars and bringing everyone along with her. In The COMMverse, she’s the one we’ll all be running to for advice on style and wellbeing!
Please introduce yourself!
Hi, my name is Lyena Hironaka Kang and I’m just a human being like you. I’m 24 years old and I still don’t know what I’m doing as an artist, but figuring it out has made the journey all the more challenging in the best way possible. I’m unable to stick to just one thing and honestly people can view me as an amateur, but this is what I love the most about myself.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s a do-it-yourself type mentality. I’m so easily inspired by my surroundings as a Pisces that if I want to create a look I’ll do it for myself in my own way. I’m very unapologetic about what I wear, how I do my hair, and I don’t care what other people think. I’m impulsive, spontaneous, unpredictable, and I love it. I thrive on change.
Speaking of change, you’ve changed your hair! What inspired the change?
I’ve gone from black, yellow, platinum, neon green, and yes to the peachy blonde. I’m finally ready to lay down my roots with my black hair, but I’m not fully able to let go of my rebellious side. I kept the hidden peek-a-boo colors underneath my black hair to remind me who I am. In short, it signifies a more meaningful way to live my life through my roots that have kept me grounded this whole ride.
How did you get into modelling?
Honestly, just through supporting my highschool friend who desperately needed a model for her makeup academy. I loved the creative energy, the struggling artists, and the process from the beginning to the end. I ended up working there part time for three years. I developed my skills then I let go of my younger self. I decided to enter the real, tough world, the internet and Los Angeles in order to rewrite my story as an adult.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would focus on changing the education system. I went to college for psychology and I got my bachelors in it only to realize that being a therapist wasn’t for me. I wanted to embark on my own independent path to figure out who I am and what I can contribute to this world. I would change our education system by developing another one that focuses on how to teach children to cope with their everyday struggles. Coping is not something we learn how to do by ourselves.
I think it’s better to instill values where it’s okay to debate and argue in order to understand how a person feels. That pain and discomfort leads to more empathy, love, and truth. Honesty, integrity, and hard work is what we have to teach the next generation in order for them to survive. The minute you realize life is not easy and shit happens, you’ll wake up. We need the children to wake up sooner.
Have you ever faced adversity? If so, how did you overcome it?
All the time. Don’t think of it as a limitation or a one-size-fits-all rejection. This is where you have to let go of your ego, your pride and just accept it. You are in fact not good enough YET, you don’t have the right skills YET, and you need to focus on healing every part of yourself in order to grow to a point where you believe that you are good enough and have the right skills.
You have been very vocal about the negative sides of the fashion industry. Can you tell our readers about some of the things you find particularly problematic about the industry?
The most problematic thing about the fashion industry is the greed, the ego, and the mentality of taking advantage of others because of privilege. I believe there are broken people at the top of our industry and they never took the time to heal because they are workaholics. It gives them tunnel vision and they end up wanting more and more until it’s a broken system.
There are no simple solutions, but what do you think needs to be done to begin to resolve the issues within the industry?
Working in a broken system means allowing others to be disrespected because of what they look like and where they came from. I’ve been discriminated against many times, losing jobs because I’m a “mutt”, Japanese and Chinese mixed. My height 5ft 2in was never enough for them. This rejection of physical appearance that you can’t change leads to depression and body dysmorphia. I’ve been through it and I’ve seen it happen. This is why I fight for all the voices to be heard and I share my story. Once we realize it’s not the individuals that are at fault, it’s the mentality of those in control, we will stop blaming ourselves for our faults and we will learn how to embrace them.
You are also an aspiring writer and you often talk about rewriting your story. How does your writing factor into your outlook on life?
Writing is a powerful way to heal because you believe what you say about yourself to be true. I decided to rewrite my story because I wasn’t happy with conforming to society. I wanted to find my own voice through my own experiences and share them. Writing evokes an emotional response and that response is everything you need in order to instill change. It’s the way you think that will determine who you are. The same goes for writing. What you write about yourself or others determines your worldview.
Any last words?
I just want to say thank you for taking the time to get to know me. These questions are so detailed I could tell that it’s coming from a genuine place that cares for their artists. I appreciate any platform that has the ability to share the truth and inspire others. Y’all keep me going.
Introduction by Daniel.
Images courtesy of Lyena Kang.