Spotlight: Linh Truong
Linh Truong is a freshman at Georgetown and a content creator on Instagram and YouTube, focusing on fashion, commentary, and lifestyle content. I had the opportunity to speak with Linh about her thoughts on her unique job, her artistic process, and her goal of bringing more good to the world. You can find Linh’s videos here and follow her on Instagram @withlovelinh. To get started, I just wanted to ask: what do you do? I would call myself a content creator. Most folks would call us “influencers,” but I prioritize myself as someone who creates, produces, and directs content. A lot of my content is centered around my own life, but I also love doing commentary videos as well as fashion and art things. Overall, I try to create a safe space where people can share their ideas and I can share mine. What got you started as a content creator? When I started my YouTube channel, I just wanted to make cool content. I think everyone at one point in their childhood wanted to be like Ryan Higa or the next Michelle Phan—that would be so cool! Being Asian American myself, I wanted to put myself in that space so I could share my own story, do creative things, and also just have fun. I started taking YouTube more seriously at the beginning of 2020. I realized that if I could make some money to pay for college off of YouTube instead of taking on a work study or minimum wage job, I should take advantage of that. Then, when quarantine hit, although it was depressing as hell, I had more time to create videos and my page just took off. I personally don’t watch lifestyle or fashion content, but YouTube recommended your Animal Crossing video to me which is how I found your videos. That’s what I’m trying to bring to lifestyle content. A lot of it is, I don’t know, lo-fi music in the background or something. I do try to add a little bit of my own personality to it and I really go the extra mile when it comes to graphics and making the viewing experience enjoyable. That effort is definitely felt on the viewing end! How did you come to find your aesthetic? Everyone’s style shifts. Since I’m still young and my YouTube channel is still pretty young, I feel like my style is evolving with me. It’s gone from really warm to cooler tones, and now it’s in a really colorful stage. If you look at my Instagram or even my YouTube thumbnails, there’s an insane amount of saturation and color right now. You recently made a productivity vlog and personally, seeing you be a content creator as well as a student was inspiring for me. You did say that being a content creator is a job, but does it feel like one? It feels like work in the sense that there are deadlines and some monotonous things that need to get done. But I never look at YouTube and Instagram as a burdensome job because I have friends who are doing 3-4 jobs just to pay tuition. Of course, YouTube and Instagram do have their own set of problems. For instance, we don’t get healthcare. We’re always being scrutinized by the public and vulnerable to totally unwarranted sexist, racist, and ableist remarks, which can take a toll on your mental health. While I do experience these things, I think it’s such a cool job, and I can’t complain because I get to do what I love. At the end of the day, it doesn’t feel like work when I post a video. I know I worked to make that content, but it’s something I also derive so much pleasure from. I’m glad to hear that it’s something you can derive pleasure from yourself because, especially during this time, I think your content has definitely been a source of light. With a lot of people staying at home because of quarantine, people just want to see people experiencing daily life. I think people are looking for familiarity and also for a little bit of hope for the future. I think vlogging content—even if it’s just interacting with friends over Zoom and attending Zoom classes—is something that people find a lot of solace in now. I also always see you actively putting timely resources and links in your Instagram and YouTube descriptions. How important is it for you to use your platform? At this current moment, I would not label myself as an activist. Although I hope to one day start participating in those movements, right now I’m just another teenage girl with an oddly large following. People like me have a responsibility to direct people to these resources so these stories and voices can be heard and amplified. There’s a lot of sh*t going on in the world. I never want to gloss over the very real problems and struggles that are happening. At the end of the day, what I want to do with my platform is to bring more good into the world and I believe that ignoring the bad brings more harm. Is there a threshold between having a platform and not having a platform? I think it’s important for anyone that has social media to understand and interact with what’s going on. If you don’t talk to every single person following you on a regular basis, then there’s someone you can start a dialogue with. Are there any specific issues you would like to highlight right now? Georgetown VSA hosted a fundraiser for the Asian Health Services in Oakland, California. It’s a health clinic that’s working on providing health services to the medically underserved which includes immigrant and refugee AAPI families. But they’re also implementing this really cool community outreach program where people can reach out for mental health crises or hate crimes as an alternative to contacting the police. Be sure to check out the Asian Health Services here. What can we expect next from Linh Truong? I see myself going wherever people need me. I really just want to help people where they need and serve where I can in whatever capacity. I very much see myself working on social media campaigns for candidates or doing graphic design for food pantries or local grassroots movements, and hopefully still doing YouTube along the way; I would love to document the process and share it with people. The other day, I had a call with my dad about my future and he said, “Linh, I just want you to do whatever will make you happy” and asked me if I ever thought about incorporating the skills I use as a content creator into my career. I thought it was really cool that my traditional Viet-Dad, who tried to get me to be a doctor or even an engineer, was affirming me in my space as an AAPI creator and artist. I think it’s really important to have Southeast Asian representation in every sector. I really hope to incorporate video and art into activism because that’s what I’m passionate about. Gene Kim is the Managing Editor and a sophomore in the College studying Theology.