Zhu The Girl

HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PASSION AND THE WORK THAT SATISFIED YOU VERSUS WORK THAT JUST PAID THE BILLS?

Very simple, by heart, and by avoiding the things I absolutely do not want to do. I had worked at Citigroup in the Investment Banking division before. To get this post was already a difficult task. My then salary was £52k before Brexit without bonuses. In most IBDs, first year analysts can get $70-80k minimum after bonuses in major cities such as New York and London. For a 21-year old out of college, this was pretty good. But before I went to Citigroup, I already knew I didn’t want to do it. No need to say that the job itself was underserving my intellectuals and many other parts, the lifestyle does not suit me. I am a morning person, but IBD people always work late night. I do not like drinking, but IBD socialisation is majorly drinking. I could not sacrifice my likes and innate passions for mere money – it was not making me happy. At the time, I had already the fortune to travel to many places, often studying and volunteering, which enabled me to see a broader world and diverse ways of living. I had the belief that our new world always has a place, in this new era, for me the new generation.

Then, I started doing my travel blogging, writing articles for publications, working on my social media portfolios, founding companies, failing to sustain my ventures, living a very hungry life, literally hungry for not knowing where to get money for my next meal. It was very difficult, but I was very fulfilled. I woke up early as I wanted, arranged my own schedules despite working 24/7. I was on my way using my own brain. I did not need to drink for socialisation if I didn’t want to.

WHO WILL ETERNALLY BE A WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT, AND WHY?

Michelle Obama. What a lady. She is very lady-like, strong, compassionate. She is also simple and has beautiful value system. She is public and personal. On top of everything, she manages to have an amazing personal life. Without Michelle, Barack would never have been the president. Had Michelle wanted to run for the president, there would have been no Barack Obama.

IN LIGHT OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR HASHTAG #WHYITRIBE, WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO WE ALREADY ARE TODAY?

I believe every woman is born beautiful and a princess. A woman can have an immense power when she finds her true potentials. She is powerful and communicative the same time. Her power is soft. I feel the best of myself and of my career when I see my fellow women leaders that have been advancing ahead of me or reaching things I would have not thought of.

NAME A TIME RECENTLY WHEN YOU SAID SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF/HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

It is not easy to celebrate as an entrepreneur, because every small celebration only means more to come. I am constantly in the mindset of “not doing enough and could have done more”. A very small and easy thing I do to myself is to look at myself in the mirror. I always carry a bag of skincare product with me. Every time when I feel low in energy or down because of negative energy, I go to the bath room and refresh my face. Once seeing my face shiny, I would gather all the power I have because I know I am the most charming women in the world.

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?

I think we as women are generally humble beings. My boyfriend would have no problem praising himself and thinking himself as the king of the world, but I barely feel comfortable of bragging about my own achievements. I also know in many societies, parents and surroundings tend to discourage women
confidence but encourage men to pursue things. I personally grow up with my conservative Chinese mother always encouraging me to be a “normal woman” with a normal career and a normal husband. My mother thinks that a famous or ambitious woman will lead vice to the family. She’d rather me to be an anonymous Lady B. A woman with achievements and accompaniments, in many eyes, is still a more obvious target for envies. In a way, a woman tends to downplay her role to not get too much attentions or appear to be overly egoist. This is not okay. The society needs to get accustomed to both men and women achieving. It does not matter who is winning. Leadership is leadership. Clairvoyance is clairvoyance.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE GIVEN?

I think I am still working on it. I grow up anchoring the virtue of humility into my heart. I barely raise my own words to overshadow others. I believe humility should be a value for both man and woman. My boyfriend gets easily inflated. I always encourage him to be humble. But there is one thing I am very comfortable of – I put what I have done on my resume. I know how far I have been through, as a human being, a young millennial, and a woman. I have no problem telling people that I have travelled to many parts of the world as a single female, founded my own company, and had a great personal life. A trick I do to myself, as a woman or just a person, is that I have a notebook listing out my weekly and daily tasks. By the end of a week or a day, I revisit my list. I cross out tasks I have done. Before I go to bed, I tell myself, okay, today I have achieved this and that. Nothing major, but good small steps. Then I put on my facial mask to feel awesome. Then I go to sleep with this positive ambience.

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA THAT WE, AS WOMEN, ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?

A very important lesson, which I think is absolutely lacking, in many of the developed world and developing world, is educating men the right way. I will societies I live in and familiar with – China, US, and Iran as examples. In China, soap series encourage women to rely on men. In Iran, boys are definitely more encouraged to chase dreams than girls. In the US, the parental leave for dads is such a pain. Society has not been educating the right men through subtle rules and laws; instead, societies have always put an ideal for a woman, to be both sexy and accommodating at home. While many men grow up knowing that they need to work hard but not know that they need to do housework at home or put efforts to maintain a
relationship.

My boyfriend is great, but he grows up in a macho society. Sometimes when we travel, he is lazy to search for a hotel and asks me to do it. I tell him, I am a New Yorker, I am busy, and I have no time. From experience, women are not “enough” not because we really are not enough, but because men have not lean in enough.

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT? 

I have more than just appreciation to THE TRIBE movement, which galvanises the simple affirmative steps into winning mindsets. I believe, first, only when women stand in solidarity, we gain more voice and power. THE TRIBE has perfectly gathered such power. Second, I know that as women, our confidence comes from small things from moment to moment. Maybe signing a $500m contract can boost confidence for an executive. For me, my confidence comes from looking at myself in the mirror each time reminding myself that I am beautiful. My confidence comes from smiles people give to me and the doors men have opened for me out of a taxi. They are small things that remind me I am beautiful and attractive every day and every single moment. Lastly, through THE TRIBE, important women meet each other and pass strength to each other. I believe that only women help women can we go far. Women can get easily jealousy of each other. It is more advisable for us to help each other and grow our own ways.

Zhu is a fashion and travel blogger based in New York. She talks about elegant styles and under discovered cultures and sub-cultures. She focuses on high quality travel, fashion, and business contents. Born in the East and educated in the West, she is most famous for her work on Middle East.

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Occupation: Travel x Fashion Blogger & Entrepreneur

Website: www.zhuthegirl.com

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