What’s your full name?
How old are you?
Where were you born/brought up?
I was born in England, brought up in the Philippines, Japan, England and a
little bit of Nigeria.
What do you do for a living?
I am currently an undergraduate student, studying Neuroscience.
What’s your ethnicity?
1/2 Filipino and 1/2 English.
How did your mum and dad meet?
My dad was working in Manila in the ‘90s. They were introduced through mutual friends.
How old were you when you became conscious that people saw you differently? What impact did that have on you?
I remember comments on my appearance at quite a young age living in Asia - that it was good I was mixed with white blood because it was the desired aesthetic. In fact, I still receive comments that it is “good” I am mixed and look white rather than Asian. I understand this comment tends to stem from a common beauty standard in Asia where being of a lighter complexion is sought after. It always makes me feel very awkward and bothered for a range of reasons.
Describe your most memorable moments when you were made aware of being mixed race.
Definitely one of the most memorable moments of being mixed race was when I visited my family in the Philippines. I was walking through our neighbourhood and this man came up to me with his son, pointed at me and said: “Look, that’s a white girl. Look at her.” I was only around 10 years old so it was very uncomfortable and confusing for me because up until that point, I saw little to no difference between my cousins and me.
Do you feel your parents prepared you for life as a mixed race person?
Somewhat so… They sent me to an international school for some time so I got to meet and befriend many other mixed race kids, which really helped. However, my parents didn’t really know what to expect and focused on preparing me for life as a human in general.
What ignorant comments have you heard about being mixed-race that really rile you?
Ah so many… “It doesn’t count if your mum is from the Philippines, I only see a white girl.” / “I don’t believe you’re mixed race!” / “Which side are you more of?”
What do you wish people who aren’t mixed-race understood?
That I identify equally with both of my countries and I do not have to speak a particular language or look a certain way to do so. Many mixed race people have spent a lot of time, figuring out their identity and where they belong. Do not come in and ruin that.
Do you think mixed race people/families are well represented in the media?
I think the representation is very slowly improving but there is still a lot of our reality that is not represented. I have yet to see something I can truly relate to and identify with.
Back in the late 19th century/early 20th century being mixed race held a stigma, as it was clear proof of interracial relations which was seen as an affront to society’s morals. Do you think it’s easier nowadays to be mixed race or is it more that racism has become subtler?
I do notice subtle racist remarks here and there but overall, I think it is easier (at least in my personal experience). That’s a tricky question though because I usually can’t tell if the remarks I receive come from a place of a stigma with interracial relations or if it is something completely separate. Interestingly, in a past relationship, a classmate had said to my then boyfriend (who was white) that he should not be dating me because I was “not pure”. So, the racism and stigma of interracial relations does still exist, but I do think it would have been harder to be mixed race back in the day just because I think our society has and is slowly progressing.
Is being mixed race a burden or a blessing for you?
Being mixed race is a blessing! Even though I did spend a lot of my years growing up confused, it made me come out stronger in knowing who I am. I get to be a part of beautiful cultures from different sides of the globe and I have the most wonderful family.
Have you felt a struggle with your identity? If so, how did you deal with it and if you are now at peace with who you are, how did you come to a place of self-acceptance?
I certainly felt a big struggle with my identity. During my early school years, I lived in Tokyo and went to an international school. Therefore, most of my classmates and friends were just like me, they were mixed race. Coming back to England, I realised that I wasn’t the norm. I was told I wasn’t allowed to join certain hang outs because I wasn’t a full Asian and then was told, by others, that I ate weird food and was “exotic”. When people found out I couldn’t speak Tagalog, they tended to have a look on their face, as if to say “ah so she’s not really that mixed race / that asian” - That she shouldn’t really bother saying she is. I felt like I couldn’t confidently claim my Filipino blood because I didn’t speak any of my mum’s dialects and I didn’t look brown enough. It took a lot of years for me to figure out who I am and be confident in that. Just a lot of contemplation to be honest.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Chill dude. It’ll all work out in the end.
Is there anything more you would like to say?
I absolutely love HaluHalo! It’s so good to read real and raw experiences of being mixed race and I am so excited to see how HaluHalo grows.