A Conversation With: Rachel Nguyen
Three months is possibly the lengthiest hiatus I’ve been on with regards to posting- I don’t have any (good) excuses, but I do have some ideas and content lined up for upcoming posts, so look out for attempts for redemption ASAP. In the meantime, I had a FaceTime chat with Rachel of That’s Chic chic-ness and here are a few nuggets from what we talked about when we weren’t going off on tangents, which I can either attribute to A) me being a bad interviewer/ conversationalist, or B) Raych being too fun and easy to talk to. We met in person for the first time when I visited LA two years ago and have had but brief reunions in Paris and London, and yet she’s one of those personable yet irrefutably cool girls who can make you feel like you’ve known her forever. Plus, she has YouTube skills and style like nobody’s business. Hope you enjoy the following fragmented bits of our catch-up!
R: I might be going to New Orleans and New York, but I’ve just been looking forward to coming home after travelling since I was in Tulum for a bit.
R: Exactly- in a way, society telling us we need to have a regimented approach to happiness means that a lot of people are discouraged from ‘the hustle’ when it is outside the conventional format, say climbing the corporate ladder.
Z: In that sense it shows that what you’re doing is so much more than capturing a style or aesthetic, but a lifestyle in the sense that you have your own avenues to contentment, which is pretty great.
Z: What was the latest movie/ photo/ song/ art piece (etc.) that you were inspired by?
R: Hmm…the last place that really inspired me was Tulum. It’s not an art piece or anything but the entire ecosystem of it- it was definitely a place that I felt immersed in, it’s seriously so magical and an environment of purity that is aesthetically pleasing and thought-out.
Z: I really want to go there. One of my next questions was going to be ‘When was the last time you were most content?’, would you say it was when you were in Tulum?
R: Yes, definitely. Especially with everything political going on, I didn’t realise I had crazy media fatigue, and on top of that a sense of commercialism fatigue- being advertised at all the time and having something that you want. Being detached from social media and news was true contentment.
Z: I know what you mean about the media being super overwhelming at the moment, and I imagine its worse in the US.
R: It’s just hard because everyone has their very specific viewpoint about what’s going on right now. I forget what the phrase is….”an opinion is like an asshole, but everyone thinks that everyone else’s stinks”
Z: Haven’t heard that before- I like it.
Z: Are you someone that cries easily in movies? Are you an emotional person in general?
R: When I’m on my period I can get very emotional, but other than that, no. But I will cry in movies- the one movie that gets me sobbing in everytime is The Notebook and Artificial Intelligence.
Z: I usually cry a lot in movies and I cry a lot in general- not a huge horoscope person but I’m a Cancer and we’re meant to be super emotional and into crying, so I can say that my horoscope rings true in that aspect.
R: Cancer’s are meant to be really really loyal too.
Z: We’re meant to be maternal, but I don’t consider myself a maternal person.
R: Maybe maternal isn’t really the right word, because you’re quite young, but you’re very nurturing and thoughtful, which I think are maternal traits.
Z: That’s a very nice compliment, thank you.
(15 minutes later, back to the subject of movies)
Z: One of my favourite movies that I’ve seen recently is Arrival, if you’re into Sci-fi and aliens.
R: I want to see that- last year I saw The Handmaiden, and I also really want to see A Cure for Wellness, the trailer looks really cool.
Z: I love Park Chan-Wook’s movies (Edit: I’ve seen The Handmaiden since and it was beautiful). Right now especially since it’s award season (Edit: this was a few months ago) I always feel a bit anxious as I’m unable to watch everything. My ex Ran introduced me to film video essays on Youtube and I’ve been really into those channels, you should check them out (Edit: Here are a couple of my favourites: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4)
Z: Whats a thing that always reminds you of home?
R: I always feel at home if I can get really good asian food. I can have amazing food when I’m travelling, but I won’t feel at home unless I have good asian food.
Z: Same- my favourite thing to do back home in Hong Kong is getting ‘set breakfasts’ like fluffy egg sandwiches and iced lemon tea. It’s really junky food but it always feels nostalgic- there’s a place my mum brings me to, and my mum used to go there when she was a little girl when her grandparents would bring her there, and they do amazing instant noodles and pineapple buns.
Z: Do you get asked a lot about living in LA?
R: I love LA and it will always be home base- its an hour away from my parents, it has the beach and great weather, and a thriving creative world right now. It’s finally building into its own aesthetic, and I think the food here is amazing.
Z: I never ended up going to that restaurant you told me about, Sqirl, but I follow them on Instagram now and I really regret it.
R: It’s my favourite. Yeah, I think its really cool that LA has its own creative field so it has its own look now, even for the food which we can say is ‘Californian cuisine’.
Z: Out of the restaurants I ate at in LA, I really loved Gjusta….did we go there together?
R: Did we go to Venice? No (a few minutes of re-tracing hang-outs later) that was Republique. I remember it was Halloween and we went to the fabric store to buy stuff for my costume.
Z: I think this is actually my favourite part of blogging and Instagram- how crazy it is to meet people around the world you meet online.
R: Yeah its crazy- blogging has really changed so much of my life through sculpting the landscape of the people I’ve met. Since starting it, having met key people has had such a ripple effect on the people in my life, I have no idea where I’d be at otherwise. I mean I got a job at Paige because someone saw my blog and wanted to hire me, and then someone at Shoedazzle was friends with someone at Paige and hired me, and then at Shoedazzle I met all my best friends and now we have our circle of friends. If someone didn’t read my blog and hire me at Paige, none of that would have happened.
Z: Speaking of that, and the butterfly effect, have you seen (the movie) Mr. Nobody?
R: No, but my friend was telling about it recently.
Z: I’ve seen it three times and its blown my mind every time.
R: Fuck, I have to add it to my list. Is it like Inception in that way?
Z: I think its better…it slowly plays with your mind as the movie goes on.
Z: Another random question, but last time we were in Paris we went perfume-shopping, so what is your current favourite scent?
R: Right now I’m wearing Wood Sage and Sea Salt by Jo Malone, but my favourite scent….I’m really heavily tied to scents associated with places I travel to, as a way to try and bring something back with me. We talked about Tulum just now, and there were a ton of mosquitos, and they had this incense (Copal) that they burned everywhere, and it smelled so beautiful.
Z: When I went to Morocco I bought some jasmine oil, and now I think of Marrakech whenever I smell it.
Z: Alright, I have one last question: You can think of a question, and I’ll ask it to the next person I interview.
R: I love that- my question would be ‘What do you like to collect?’
Z: And what do you like to collect? I’m a hoarder, so…
R: I like to collect a little bit of everything…patches, stamps, perfume samples.
Z: I always keep my museum tickets and train tickets…and hotel shampoos.
Who would you guys like for me to have a conversation with next time?