Taylor Yingshi Wang

Occupation: Social Entrepreneur

Website: tayloryingshi.wixsite.com/arts

Instagram: _taylorwang

Taylor Yingshi Wang

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

Doing work as an organizer has changed my life. Months of planning in 2019 led up to my organization’s first equitable art gallery in August, aptly titled The Modern Youth Identity. Suddenly, we went from late nights working endlessly at a Starbucks to receiving emails asking for interviews and collaborations. I was humbled to receive the honors, but I came to realize that even if there was no recognition or support, I would still be doing this. It’s hardit feels impossible at times—but seeing teens look at their art in a gallery with pride makes it the most rewarding experience in the world.

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

It’s cliche, but the answer is my mom. She emigrated to the US from China and worked waitress shifts to support my father through American medical school. I admire her resiliencewhen I was little, I would cry a lot over small things (still do), but she never coddled me. Instead, she told me that crying would do nothing to solve the problem, and I would need to pick myself up and tackle the issue head on if I wanted it to get better. I’m eternally thankful that she shared her strength with me. It’s the reason why I’m able to balance schoolwork, three jobs, art fellowships, and running my own nonprofit without getting overwhelmed.

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

Women never, EVER get enough credit for what they do. If you ask me #whyitribe, it’s because I want every young girl to feel fearless in her pursuit of what she loves. We need to stop telling girls to work toward a career, a degree, or a relationship that they can celebrate, but instead teach them to applaud themselves for who they are already. 

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

For me, it’s very hard to feel proud of my accomplishments. Whenever I win an award or secure an opportunity for my organization, I can’t celebrate. I feel like I have not done enough, and I let myself fall victim to petty comparisons with other women. Recently, however, I set out to begin nationwide chapters of my nonprofit. I worried night and day about what the chapter leaders (located in Dallas, NYC, Los Angeles, and more) were doing, how they were holding up if they needed help. One day, I received a DM from my Dallas leader saying how she had secured funding for the project and gathered a team of a dozen people. I was struck with the realization that they did not really need my help as much as I feared. They were just fine on their own. I sat back and let out a breath I felt I had been holding in for ages, and I gave myself a little internal high-five.

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

There’s this stigma around feeling good about yourself. If you’re a confident woman, you’re either delusional or an arrogant b*tch. I’ve always been blown away by the fact that it’s not men who are constantly putting down womenwe shame each other the most. When a woman posts a pic on Instagram and she’s clearly feeling herself, other women judge her out of their own insecurity. I think this behavior is because we’ve been conditioned from a young age to treat other women as our competition. We’re taught that there’s only so much success in the world, and that we’re not allowed to celebrate our own achievements while also supporting our fellow women. In a society that profits off of female shame and insecurity, self love is about the most radical thing a woman can do.

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

Throw it right back at ‘em! If someone tells you your outfit is bomb, tell them you love their nails! The best way to accept a compliment is to take that love and spread it.

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

Regardless of what we do, we are pitted against other women and our lives are treated like a competition. If we want to start a family and become a mother, we’re shamed for wanting domesticity. On the other hand, if we want to put a pause on relationships and focus on our careers, suddenly we’re perceived as cold or uncaring. The best way to take this power back is to be yourself, unconditionally. If you fit into certain stereotypes, who cares? No matter what, people will judge you, so you might as well be your true self.

ARE WE TOLD ENOUGH AS YOUNG GIRLS THAT #WEAREENOUGH? IF NOT, HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS MESSAGING FOR YOUNG GIRLS TODAY?

Young girls are not told that they are enough. Having strong female role models is integral to building self confidence and nurturing unconditional self love. Right now, girls do not have adequate exposure to women they can look to for support, whether it is within their community or on the celebrity level. I believe it is the duty of other women to empower and inspire those who are younger than them because that type of role model is what they might have needed when they were at that age. As someone who is on the verge of adolescence, I do my best to positively influence girls in middle school and high school to do what they love without fear or judgement.

HOW ARE YOU ENSURING YOUR PEACE OF MIND AND SANITY DURING COVID-19?

I try to maintain a routine — waking up around the same time, eating meals, and keeping up on my work. Of course, it’s easier said than done. To me though, keeping myself occupied and productive makes me feel fulfilled during these chaotic times. Start a new hobby, take up that passion project that you always wanted to do but never had the time to. Join a volunteer group! And last but not least, a shameless plug to join my organization Student Art Spaces in our fight for art equity digitally!