MEET ANNA SIAN
MARKETER, VSCO / PHOTOGRAPHER
I met Anna probably five years ago. We were both women working in streetwear and while we weren't the only ladies to be in the realm of graphic tees turned cut and sew back to graphic tees, we were a part of a small sect of women who fell into and/or took on the roles in the extreme dude-centric industry that were presented to us.
Now Anna is marketing at VSCO Cam, the best photo app. She tells us about her transition, her thoughts on women in the workplace, her goals, what marketing in 2015 even means and her favorite spots to ponder all of those things.
Follow us as we follow Anna this week.
INTERVIEW: SARAH KIM
PHOTOGRAPHY: MINNOW PARK
GIF: HAYLEY CHAMPOUX
What do you do? How does that differentiate from what your business cards says?
I'm Brand Marketing Manager at VSCO. And I love taking photos on the side. :)
Grew up in NY, went to Dartmouth, studied? Joined a band? Worked at Staple, now at VSCO? Am I missing anything?
Grew up in NY, went to Dartmouth for Psychology, worked at a photo mag, worked at a few Japanese restaurants, worked at a photo book publisher and gallery, was a TA at ICP, volunteered for a human rights org & Filipina non profit org, worked as a marketing assistant at an engineering company, joined a band, worked at Staple, now at VSCO.
What was it like working at Staple and with Jeff Staple? I imagine the answer is different given Jeff and Staple as a company are two different things.
Getting the opportunity to work at Staple was one of the best things that happened in my career. I learned a TON about people and human behavior, I learned a lot about the fashion/streetwear industry and how marketing works. Jeffstaple is an incredibly smart businessman and it was amazing to be under his proverbial pigeon wing for 4 years.
What would you do differently?
Documented even more. There were so many fascinating people coming in and out of that office.
What was the best part?
The best: meeting brilliant, creative people.
What was the worst part?
The worst: so much to do, always, because the company was pretty small.
WOMEN, ROLES & REST
Why are some women so tough to like? How do you combat that feeling of haterade?
Women deal with the difficulties in life in so many ways. Maybe they're insecure and overcompensating, or maybe they've been hurt before and they're protecting themselves. Whenever I feel myself judging someone I try to see them as just human, having the same kinds of goals as I do, the same suffering, wanting the same kind of love and attention. And then I see that we're all kind of woven with the same thread. So how can we judge each other?
We cannot deny, that as women we have a special, different kind of appeal and power. How have you used your power as a woman for good? Whether that's for yourself or for others?
I play poker once in a while, and I know that people underestimate me because I'm a woman. So I take their money. (Ha) Especially as an Asian woman, whether I like it or not, people generally think you're subservient or demure. As much as I hate it, sometimes that stereotype can be leveraged in certain ways...I try to continue to surprise people by being empowered and shed some light on that ignorance.
WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE
How do you get ahead in your career? In your goals?
I think I try really hard to be genuine and honest no matter what. This goes a long way. It serves the connections you make, and the people you work most closely to.
Do you see women as leaders in the workplace?
I see women as leaders in the workplace. I don't know if everyone sees women as leaders in the workplace. But I think that's changing with time, and it's changing as people start to redefine how they perceive leadership. It's not always who barks the loudest -- leadership comes from great ideas and their execution.
What would make you feel stronger and more empowered in your career or workplace?
I think what would make me feel stronger is if everybody listened more (including me, ha). It's challenging sometimes with a company split between 3 offices, where we're always on video chats and sometimes things get lost in translation.
When do you think the whole getting married, having kids, family life, is that something you want for your life? If so, when do you want it to happen and what will it look like? Will you stay at home? Work?
Dang. That's a really tough one. I've always envisioned myself raising kids, it's something I've always wanted. But I'm not rushing it either, the timing has to be right. I hope at that point I can be able to achieve a healthy work-life balance, because family is #1.
How do you find balance in being a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, a co worker, every other role you play?
Each of these comes with its own unique struggles, right? Again, with relationships, trying to be genuine and honest, always with good intentions.
What kinds of advice would you give someone who wants to move to NY?A word of advice and a word of caution.
A word of advice: experience everything. Say yes. Go to the weird shows, the obscure lectures, eat cuisines for the first time, take the train to the last stop.
A word of caution: maybe this goes without saying, but the winters will push your body to its limits. Wear comfortable shoes at all times, and buy a really warm coat, heat tech from UNIQLO, thick wool socks and a beanie.
Where do you find rest and solitude?
The people closest to me will tell you one of my biggest problems is having FOMO all the time. So rest and solitude don't come as often as they need to. Sometimes when I need to get my mind right I try to be near water, the East River, Brighton Beach, Jacob Riis, or some ocean farther away. Often it's with my camera. Other times it's less about getting away and more about going deeper within to sit with myself and my feelings. Sometimes I go with my mom to the Fire Lotus temple in Brooklyn on Sundays.
Any words you live by?
Wherever we are is where we're meant to be.
What is your most prized possession?
My photos! My memories.
When you are 85, a cute grandma with all kinds of life experience and wisdom, where do you see yourself and what are you doing?
Haha... I'm going to be exactly the same, because I already approach life like a granny. But when I'm 85 I'm gonna be even more like IDGAF! I see myself with the people I love, eating the yummiest food, being myself and not caring about what anyone thinks.