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S2 E25 How AI Can Help Your Creative Business Grow with Lauren deVane

S2 E24 Life’s Initiations and Transitions and How They Help You Serve Your Clients

S2 E23 How to Create, Host, and Sell Out Impactful Retreats with Amber Hagberg

E3 Taking the Leap and Pursuing Your Dream Career with Wini Lao🏃‍♀️📸

How often have people told you to “get a real job?” Way too many times, I bet! It's not easy for creative entrepreneurs. We work hard for what we love but too many people out there don’t see it that way. You know the feeling! Your career path can be nonlinear — and that’s okay! If you’re in a creative field, your niche may change over time.

In this episode of the Pollen Podcast, Wini Lao talks about the ups and downs of creative entrepreneurship. She shares how she decided to change careers, from civil engineering to commercial photography. Wini also discusses her aspirations as a creative entrepreneur.

If you want to know how to take action and change your career trajectory, this episode is for you!

Create your own creative entrepreneurship story of clarity, professional confidence, and profit. Join Diana’s 90-day group course Camp Clarity and learn everything you wish you already knew, like how to land dream clients, harness the power of social media, and make the money you deserve. Learn more here.


In honor of launching this show, I am giving all of you a chance to win a totally free 90-minute Biz Clarity session with me ($750 value)! Here is how to enter:

1. Listen to an episode or two!

2. Subscribe/Follow the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

3. Rate the show + write a review on Apple Podcasts.

4. Share a takeaway or a screenshot of the show on Instagram and tag @dianadaviscreative, then DM me the word “pollen”

If we break the top 100 this week by all of you following these steps I will be giving away TWO private coaching sessions. LET’S DO THIS!

🔥Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:

  1. Careers don’t always go as planned–and that is OK! We’ll tell you why going off-road on your entrepreneurial journey isn’t always a bad thing.

  2. Be brave! Take the first leap. That first step is the path to getting what you want and achieving your dreams.

  3. Learn healthy methods for dealing with toxic clients and stress management.


🎧Episode Highlights

[07:36] Introducing Wini

  • Wini is a photographer based in New York. Her work mostly consists of products, still life, and lifestyle.

  • Before becoming a photographer, Wini was a civil engineer.

  • Previously, photography was Wini's creative outlet. She would take photos "for Manhattan."

[13:04] Making the Leap to Change Careers

  • Wini thought she would work and retire as an engineer.

  • However, she was let go from her first company after three years.

  • She looked for different opportunities from Craigslist to Upwork. While building her network as a photographer, she also applied for engineering jobs.

  • Wini took the leap into photography because she didn’t want to dismiss the idea without trying it first.

  • Seeing other photographers succeed inspired her to change careers.

[17:08] Wini’s Career Transition

  • Diana shares that trying out different jobs is essential to see what you like and don’t like.

  • Wini shares her biggest shocks were taxes and going from a corporate setting to a freelance setup.

  • After trying different photography work, Wini realized she likes commercial work.

  • The pandemic has forced Wini to shoot indoors, during which she became interested in product photography.

[21:34] A Non-Linear Path

  • Wini started photographing bloggers, then fitness and wellness influencers, and finally the commercial sphere.

  • Wini and Diana share that they both started in small apartment studios. Wini now has a beautiful studio in Dumbo.

  • You need to have room for play so that you can grow.

  • Wini shares how the new studio provided space for her clients. It also gave her space to play.

Wini: “In order to expand, to grow — having the room to order to play is really important.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[27:29] Take the Leap

  • Don’t wait until you feel ready before you take the leap.

  • Wini shares that waiting may also be because of imposter syndrome—having peers and support helped her overcome this.

  • Don’t look at step 12 when you’re still at step two. Take things one step at a time, and it will happen.

  • Remember to believe in yourself.

[31:09] Getting Out of Despair

  • When Wini feels stuck and anxious, she calls her work bestie, Phoebe. A good friend will remind you of your value and keep cheering you on.

  • Similarly, Diana’s work bestie and accountability buddy is Jamie. They have talked every Friday morning for the last three years.

  • You don’t have to do this alone.

  • You also don’t need to make everyone your work bestie. Your values should align.

[36:42] What To Do About Toxic Clients

  • Wini shares that if it’s too late to turn away from a toxic client, just get it done and learn from it.

  • Listen to your intuition on what feels like a good fit.

  • There’s no golden job. Every job will have its road bumps and missed opportunities.

  • Don’t let the past dictate your future.

  • You can make a list of red flags and green flags.

Wini: “Realize that what we've done in the past does not necessarily set the tone for who we are in the future, because that could take up so much of my energy and my happiness if I just keep beating myself up for something I've done in the past.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[40:13] Wini’s Upbringing

  • Wini was born and raised in New York.

  • Her parents immigrated around 30 years ago and had very little money. This made Wini want to avoid financial stress.

  • Since her parents worked physical jobs, Wini knew she needed to get a good job. This is why she chose engineering. It took time for Wini to tell her parents about her choice to change careers.

  • There will be a lot of naysayers who will tell you you’re on the wrong path.

  • Find someone who can see your path and future.

Wini: “There are gonna be a lot of people who are telling you you're not on the right path, because they're only used to knowing, seeing, and hearing one way.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[48:33] What’s Next for Wini?

  • Every new year, Wini thinks about what she doesn’t want to do from the year before.

  • Her goal this year is to be able to step away from the business and enjoy life more.

  • She also wants to have her name more widely known in the commercial industry.

  • Wini shares you need to have a thrive mentality to get to a point where you can relax a bit more.

[55:29] Lightning Round

  • Wini is a Virgo, Sagittarius Moon, and Scorpio rising.

  • For Wini, creativity is looking at something in the world and re-creating it.

  • She looks up to the photographer Kren Rosalie, who paved the way for Asian American photographers.

  • She is passionate about achieving growth and is a member of The Luupe, a network of female commercial photographers.

  • If Wini didn’t worry about money, she would travel and take more landscape photography.

About Wini

Wini Lao is a former engineer and self-taught lifestyle and still life photographer based in New York City. She has a technical eye for capturing color and joyful emotions that emulate her positive and upbeat personality. Her client roster boasts athleisure, beauty, and lifestyle brands including Elemis, Essie, Lululemon, Girl and Hair, Kingfield, and Target.

Enjoyed this Podcast on Creative Entrepreneurship?

Don’t let what others say bring you down. Take that leap, whether it’s the choice to change careers or any other decision.

Pollen is a podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs — just like you! If you enjoyed this episode of Pollen Podcast, subscribe and help us spread the word by sharing it!

Leave a review and share it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐If you enjoyed tuning in to this podcast, we'd appreciate it if you wrote us a review. You can also share it to help other creative entrepreneurs.

Have any questions or want to leave a suggestion? Come say hi on the 'gram @dianadaviscreative. You can also subscribe to my newsletter for travel updates, learn about special projects, and get tips and tricks for the creative entrepreneur life!

Connect with me on Linkedin: Diana Davis Creative.

Thanks for listening! Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.


All of us creative entrepreneurs, get some form of “Go get a real job. What are you doing? This isn't logical? Do you think you can just, you know, exploit your creative gift that you have?That's just a hobby.” And I think a really extreme version of that.

Diana Davis: Welcome to Pollen, the podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Diana Davis, multi-passionate creative, business coach, Gemini manifesting generator, macho drinker, and travel junkie. I'm also the founder of Diana Davis Creative, where I went from a six-figure photography business to coaching creative entrepreneurs like you. If you want to have a career and a life you love, you're in the right place.

On this show, I'll be coaching on all things creative entrepreneurship, and you'll hear stories from fellow creative entrepreneurs that will show you it is possible to do life the way you want to. They'll share the nitty-gritty of their journeys, like the real shit, and how they are doing it differently. I'm so stoked to have you along on this journey. Let's go. Hello, Pollen listeners. I am beyond excited to bring you our first guest episode on the Pollen podcast. My friend Wini Lao is our first guest—she is incredible.

We talk about everything entrepreneurial, how we got to be at a level of success versus hustle. And let me just tell you, it didn't always look the way it looks. Wini and I were photographers in New York together, doing $100 photoshoots multiple times a day, burning out, not making enough money, not saying no to anything. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We have our relationship and we really supported each other in those times and still do. And it's been so cool to see each other grow. But she has a whole story behind who she is now and I can't wait to share that winding road with you. Because it is so fucking inspiring.

Wini is a former engineer, and a self-taught lifestyle and still life photographer based in New York City. She has a technical eye for capturing color and joyful emotions that emulate her positive and upbeat personality. Y'all her photography is incredible, and it's been so cool to see her evolve. Her client roster boasts athleisure beauty and lifestyle brands including Elemis, Essie, Lululemon, Girl and Hair, Kingfield, and Target—she's a boss. Let's get into this episode. Let us know what you think afterward. Be sure to share on Instagram and tag us both we would love to hear from you.

Before we get into this episode, it would mean the world if you could take these four steps to help me in celebrating the Laonch of the Pollen Podcast. By doing this, you're also entering to win a 90-minute business coaching session with me for free. I know, totally insane, such an amazing opportunity. So here are the four steps. Number one, listen to an episode or two. Number two, subscribe or follow the show. Number three, leave a rating and a review. Number four, share your thoughts on the show on Instagram and tag me @dianadaviscreative.

For everyone who completes all of these first steps and messages me the word “Pollen”, you will be entered to win a private coaching session with me. Now listen up, if we break into the top 100 in our category, by all of you collaborating and lifting this up, by listening, subscribing, and reviewing, I will give away two private sessions with me. I cannot wait for you to listen and learn so much on the show. Join the party and help us in hitting some pretty big frickin milestones, by subscribing, reviewing, and sharing. What are you waiting for?

Hello, and welcome to the very first guest interview to Pollen the podcast. I am beyond excited to have this person, come talk to you and tell you all about her creative origin story and what she does as a creative. So it was actually like kind of nerve-wracking to think of who I was going to have on as my first guest. I have so many people in my network that I'm so excited to share with you the listeners. But Wini Lao is the first one that I thought of because we kind of go way back and we also come from a similar spot. We were both photographers, she is still a photographer, I am no longer doing photography, but always will be a photographer at heart. And we went from like $100, blogger shoots in New York City, to being pretty damn successful if I do say so myself.

So I really wanted to have her on because we've been through it together. And I also really, really, really admire her story where she comes from—all of the winding turns and roads that she has journeyed upon. So I am here to introduce you to my good good friend Wini out of New York City an amazing talented photographer, producer, art director, and just a good friend. So Wini, thank you for being here hello.

Wini Lao: Thanks for having me. Thanks for letting me be your first interviewee. Oh my god, it's so awesome.

Diana: So freaking honored. You have no idea and this is so exciting. I can't even believe this is happening right now. And our relationship has evolved to this point.

Wini: Seeing our growth. Yeah, growth from being photographers, as I continue being a photographer, but many stages of different photographers. Yes. And now your business coach. So I think it says a lot about how life itself is not a linear path ever. It's kind of like a little stairway or something. I saw that meme the other day.

Diana: Yes, it's so true. So we're gonna get into more of our story, I'm sure. And, you know, I think a big theme of ours has always been collaboration over competition, right? We almost kind of threw each other into that.

Wini: We're just like, the first time yeah,

Diana: Let's be friends, even though we're literally competing for the same clients, right. But let's be friends. So I think that's a beautiful start. But I want people who don't know who you are. Can you just give us a little popcorn situation here where I want to know who you are? What's your name? Where are you from? What you do, and also what your astrology is in human design and stuff like that, if you know. Because not everyone has to be woo on this podcast. But we are a little woowoo around here. And I would love to know maybe that'll give some people some insight.

Wini: I'm almost afraid to say but so my name is Wini. I'm a photographer. Just as you mentioned, based out of New York, a lot of what I do right now is like product, like still life, and lifestyle. Mainly shooting on my studio nowadays, which is awesome. So I don't ever have to leave. And then to answer I hate—I am nervous answering what my astrology is because they always said maybe we should have the interview and then I'll say at the end, okay, we'll configure it out.

Diana: Okay, I love that where people can kind of guess during this conversation to see if they are right. By the end of it. Okay, beautiful. Okay, we will save the astrology for kind of the lightning question round at the end. So that being said, I just want to begin. All right. So Wini, can you tell us like your origin story, like where you actually started? Because so often we see these people, especially in the Instagram world, the internet world, right? And we just see success. And we're like, why am I not [incorrigible] how am I not there yet? And we don't see the winding road that got the person to where they are. And it's different for everyone.

So I think your story is so expansive for other people, but also not a blueprint, right? No one can have your story and your road. So I want to hear all about weenie and how you got to where you are now.

Wini: Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like what we just talked about how life is not really linear path, there are just ups and downs in our life, and what we think we're going to be doing in our we might not end up doing. And before I was a photographer, and I really started photography, maybe five years ago, five, six years ago, as a career. And before that, I was an engineer, a civil engineer, I am that person who designs the lights like the green, the yellow, the red lights, like how long they are, or making me etc. And oh my god, I don’t remember anymore. It's been so long, making like plans if there's like construction or whatever like it's very nitty-gritty, like office like engineering stuff.

Diana: Can I just say we don't think about those people. Like, when we're driving now, I want all of you to think about, like, because I was a graphic designer as well as a photographer and we even talk about the road signs are so important that they are designed in a certain way, the street signs need to be legible, all of these things. So now, when everyone's driving, maybe you're driving, while you're listening to this podcast, you're gonna be thinking about this stuff, the people behind the scenes that make this world go round. So I think that's so cool.

Wini: It is. So do what you say is so true. And there's something very intuitive about it, too. So my mind definitely is more of a technical mindset, mainly because coming from the engineering world. And I noticed that with all my engineering friends is like, they're either musicians, or they're photographers. One or the other. And I think that just taps into the technical aspect, as well as the creative aspect. What I would do on the side of like, literally get off work. And I was like, “Oh, this one's about to set. Let me go take photos for Manhattan.” And remember that and I think that's the best.

Diana: Let's explain Manhattan. Hench for a second. Yes. And you explain that to people who aren't New Yorkers.

Wini: So it's when the sun sets or rises right along the grid of New York. So you know, how like New York is really like straight lines, like right across. So skyscrapers, streets. Yeah, yes. And you just see like the ball of the sun, just lowering perfectly aligned things. And I remember going to like 34th Street, 42nd Street, Long Island City, just getting these like, landscape photos. And that's kind of how I started whereas a like New York City landscape photographer posting on my, like, personal account, and everyone's like, “What is this girl doing?”

But it was an outlet. It was a creative outlet for me when I wasn't in my office. Writing all these like, plans, drafting them out. I think the funniest part is like Victor, my fiance, he's a civil engineer as well and I would see all these plans. And I'm like, “Oh, thank God, I'm not there.”

Diana: How did you make the leap? Like, there's usually some sort of leap in entrepreneurship, especially creative entrepreneurship? When did you know it was no longer the thing, even though? Like you went to school for this? You put a lot of time in this. You had a job So how did you go? “Okay, this ladder that I'm climbing is no longer relevant. I am going to follow my passion of photography.”

Wini: That is a very good question, mainly because I don't think that there's—because I spent so much of my time studying engineering, even when I was in high school, like here in the city, like, I selected a technical high school so I was learning like robotics and all that fun stuff when I was like 14, even though I'm not robotics, and but that meant that I like I just I knew I was like, I have to do the engineering path. I'm like, invested in it since I was like 14 years old, went to like, college for it, almost graduate with grad school with it was in the industry for like, couple years. And so I thought I was going to die as an engineer and retire as an engineer.

But I was let go from my company, maybe about three years into my first job. And it was very devastating. And I thought that that was the end of my life. I didn't know what to do. I was and but I thought about why. I was like, Oh, why I was kind of maybe I just I wasn't happy. where I was. It just wasn't clicking to me what you learned in school. As fun as that is, is not really what the real world is like. And having that and I didn't realize that immediately. I think part of it was I was thinking like, “Hey, I need to sustain myself. I need to make sure I'm still living in New York City—”

Diana: not a cheap place to be

Wini: Not cheap and was like, how do I sustain that? How do I survive here? Because there's so many opportunities here. And one thing I definitely did was I just jumped into the deep end. I starte—I mean, the nitty-grittyness of it was I just started googling things going on Facebook groups, and I was like, how do I find jobs? And honestly, I had huge success on Craigslist, I found assisting jobs on Craigslist. I found I think I was on this platform called Upwork, which I've definitely, but I was on there because it is what it is, it's like people post jobs on Upwork. And freelancers like me would like say, “Hey, here's my proposal. That's what I think you can do.” And so that's kind of where I started getting a lot of like traction and started building my network as a photographer. While on the side submitting cover letters and submitting resumes to an engineering job. I don't know if this will work out, but I'm just gonna continue doing this. But I'm really more passionate about assisting other photographers, seeing what that world is like, before I kind of closed that door.

I think partially, that came from being involved like being in like Instagram. And I was like, I kind of really I see photographers on there, that I really admire that also switch careers. And as like, I kind of want to test this out going to fill it out before I say, “No, that's not the door for me.” That's kind of where things, that's where that year of transition was really very eye-opening for me and realizing that it was possible. As someone who's not in the industry, like I went to school for it, and when you want in it, and to build a relationship with people, to build my brand from that to build, like who I am as a photographer from that.

Diana: I love that. A couple of things, first of all, the people who you saw that were doing it, that made it seem possible for you, in the Pollen world, we call that expanders, right. And it's like, you are an expander. For people, I am an expander for people, we are showing people right now that it's possible for them, which I love. And not looking at that person as your competition, but an expander for you. And then I think I talked about this a lot. But playing in the sandbox, that year of transition, allowing yourself to be the photo assistant to take the graduation photos, too. I shot a bar mitzvah, like my first year of full-time photography. And I was like, “What am I doing? Like, this isn't even whatever.”

But I was trying to pay my rent and seeing what I liked and what I didn't like. And I think that year of transition and year of just play and sending out the cover letters and applying for the random gigs is so important. I think so many people think they have to go into entrepreneurship and just have it all together. What do you think that did for you? What kind of lessons did you learn in that year? And then when did you kind of start finding your niche?

Wini: Oh, man that year? I mean, I was going from a W2to W9. So if anyone is in freelancing, all knows what that means. Taxes were a shock. Me because I'm doing my taxes right now. And then going from a corporate setting where everything had its structure in place, and then realizing I was like, “I need some structure in my life, like, how do I get paid? Or I can't just use Venmo?” That's a big no, no. And then or how do I like, “Oh, I need contracts.” And then I was like, what's an LLC? I didn't. I didn't figure out LLC, like, two, three years in my business. I mean, either.

I was just like, these are things that I kind of felt that I realized I didn't need to figure out immediately. Yeah, but as I was going through it, a lot of people gave me advice on things to look out for. They're like, “Hey, what do you think about this?” And I was like, “I don't know anything about this. Tell me more about it.” And but people were willing to share that other photographers that I had met through photo sustain, or that I've connected with on Instagram. We just have honest conversations because I was deer in headlights, no idea what I was doing, but it really helped me grow in the long run.

Diana: Was there a project that you finally did where you were like, “This is what I want to keep doing.”

Wini: I know what I didn't want to do.

Diana: That’s important.

Wini: I was just going through a list where I was like, This is great. You know, like, I got to shoot a wedding, but I hate weddings now. I did get to photograph a lot of families. And I was like, I do not like, I mean, one day I like kids, maybe not right now.

Diana: It’s very hard to photograph, you don't have to like, explain yourself. It's not for everyone.

Wini: No, and it's fine. And it's fine. Because I think part of that is leaving room for people who are good at it, that they specialize in that. But I was just going down a list, but I realized one thing I really liked was commercial work. Because I think it's still that bridge between corporate and photography, where I know the lingo, I know how the communication is. And I think that's kind of where I started, really blossoming. Then during the pandemic, so what two years ago, 2020, I got my first set of studio lights, and I was like, “Well, if I'm not shooting outside with people, I'm going to shoot indoors.”

So I started shooting my own skincare, started shooting some—I knew some people in PR ask them for some packages to like, shoot, and I would just shoot their stuff. So I can build it on my portfolio. And it was just me being interested in exploring it and I knew that I just had have had to start diving into artificial lighting because I was getting turned down for jobs because I need artificial lighting. And so that's when I started diving into still life and like cosmetics and beauty and maybe shooting more product photography. And that's when people were like “You're really good. Let's keep hiring you for that.”

Diana: You really are really good. And I can't wait for all of you to check out her Instagram and her work. It's so beautiful. So I know there's a lot in between there and we could go hours about this. But if you were to just like in a 30-second fast track me through what you started at as like still sending cover letters and doing assistant work to I know there was like a lot of bloggers in there and fitness stuff. Can you fast-track, timeline of it went from this to this to this to this? And now, “Hello, I rent out a fancy studio in Dumbo in Brooklyn. And like I'm shooting this amazing commercial work.” Can you tell us what that timeline was not necessarily dates, but just like yeah, kind of like what it looked—like the breadcrumbs.

Wini: Part of it was it's not to say don't do any of these anymore. But you get to a point where you can kind of choose who you want to work with. But when I first started I started off photographing inspired bloggers I—like ladies who found me on like these upward platforms and like filling out the water of like, trying to grow their like Instagram presence. And then I started connecting with my friend Mel on Instagram—love her to death—photographing her she's a fitness influencer nowadays. Not a diver.

Diana: I stole her from you that her now she's mine

Wini: I'll just have to go visit

Diana: Visit us that just come every quarter.

Wini: But we grew our friendship and then I started shooting. Through her she connected me to many fitness influencers I started photographing fitness and wellness influencers in New York City. That started growing more into lifestyle influencers and that started connecting me with their brands that they were working with and people that they were connected with. So might be small brands and might be big brands, might be PR brands. And then from there started growing into now what I do more in the commercial sphere. That's kind of like the gist of it.

Diana: Yeah, I love that. So good. So tell us a little bit about the studio. Because you and I were both kind of on the same track for a long time even when the pandemic hit just like you said, we started buying our first lighting sets. Like you and I were diehard natural light photographers forever. We're like nope, no studio lights intimidating. Actually, our friend Phoebe was one of the people who really helped with that and the technicality part of it right? So surround yourself first with people who expand you and help you and will answer questions and you can help each other.

But you and I started shooting brands in our apartments and our poor partners in these one-bedroom teeny-tiny New York City apartments if you know you know with our rolls of background paper and our lights and our boxes of product, I was having like boxes and boxes of vitamins and deodorant and all this stuff I was shooting. Going from that to now your beautiful studio which I could probably say when he when we met in the East Village that day for coffee for the first time. We would have never pictured this. Like you having a beautiful photo studio and Dumbo like, we were barely making rent. You know what I mean? So I want to hear that story too.

Wini: Oh, gosh. Yeah. I mean, part of that was just the hustle, right? Part of that was just figuring out if we could even sustain our lifestyle and like rent just through what we were doing. But during the pandemic, I just had like, open conversations with a lot of photographers who've been in the industry longer than me. And part of what they were saying is like, Yeah, I think in order to expand, to grow, having the room to order to play is really important. And like poor Victor, I've always said like, all the boyfriends need to have like a support group together. [incorrigible] That just piles up as ends up being furniture.

Diana: Partner Support Group.

Wini: It really, it really is. And I remember my studio, may she actually sent me an Instagram DM, my studio mate. Now before then we were just like, Instagram buddies. Like, we chat all the time. And she said to me, she was like, I see the boxes behind you and your Instagram stories. I think it's time to leave. And I was like, “You are right. It's time to leave.” But then I think it to me, I've always wanted a studio. I think that's always like the next level of my career. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. I like in my like, five-year plan that I don't actually have, I don't believe if I were planned either.

I really didn't expect it to happen until like years later. But the one thing she said to me and I love that she said this to me was “Get the studio now and it will all work out.” She's like, it's a huge level up to have a space for your clients. Have a space to play, store all your stuff somewhere else. And she's like, it's a year commitment for now. And we'll see how it goes. And right. And I loved her I met her for first time seeing the space, connecting her immediately, we had the same passion of just not only creating a space for ourselves but allowing it to be an open space for like, people to also feel a sense of inspiration when they're in the space. That was our goal

Having the studio has been a game-changer because I think it changes my mindset about “I'm small and small” to “No, I'm kicking ass.” It's so funny having a physical space changes that for me.

Diana: Yeah, for you. And like, I think that's different for everybody. But it's like, what is that thing that you're not taking the leap on? Because you're not, quote-unquote, ready for it yet? And I love that your studio may push you and like, leap and the net will appear when he?

Wini: Oh, yes, yes, it is so true. And I think part of that is there suffer so much impostor syndrome of like, I don't think I should get a studio space. I don't. But I think having the support with my studio made or having the support of other peers who have gone through it. And was really helpful. There are a lot of other female photographers that I've connected with in the past, like two years. One year since I got the space. I've also gotten spaces, and we're all just kind of like, okay, what do you think of this? What do you think of that? No work was so important. Who's your attraction to collaboration? [incorrigible]

Diana: I love that. Well, I got to see your studio space for the first time when I was just back in New York in February and it's beautiful. And we just were like, pinching ourselves for each other. I think all of my entrepreneurial friends like you, we—every time I see them, I'm just like, do you remember when we were at x point, and we had no money. And we were basically exploiting ourselves and doing things for free, not charging enough, not valuing our work, to now. And I think the big lesson that I want all of us to learn through this podcast is we don't need to look at step 12. My partner used to say this to me all the time “Don't look at step 12 when you're on step two.”

One step at a time, and it will happen and hold those desires, like you always wanted a studio, right? But you didn't know when or how or what it was going to look like but you held that. And then it happened faster than you imagined. And so just letting go and letting our path like kind of unfold and knowing that it's going to be great, and to get the support around yourself while it's unfolding is so crucial. Oh for sure.

Wini: And I think that's what helped me get through q1 is always really slow for me as a photographer. I think people are just figuring out kind of like what they're doing for 2022 with their budgets are always notoriously slow I talk with so many photographers and they always feel really stressed out from it. But that sense of belief that like, “No, I don't need to work immediately just because it's 2022”, that mentality of like, everything will work out. And it's mainly from experience. Experiencing the—just in the past, knowing that like, Q1 is always slow, things will pick up, I'm good at what to do.

And like believing in myself, such a big difference from when I first started as a photographer to where I am now. And I think it really keeps me grateful and really humble from where I started from. Because I always think back as long as I am happy from where I was a year ago, I'm setting my boundaries of not running around New York City carrying like 30 pounds or 50 pounds in my bag and changing sets. I was like, as long as I am—because I've recognizing that like, “Okay, I am comfortable. I'm okay. And you move on from that.” Because it's what I want in my current lifestyle.

Diana: So I think that's a really good thing to dig into for a second. I think anxiety as an entrepreneur is a big roller coaster. Do you have ways that you come down from that? Do you have things that you do at all? Like, when you're just in the depths of despair and anxiety as an entrepreneur when it's Q1? And you don't know when the next thing is coming in? And you—should I just go apply for another engineering job like, whatever.

Wini: Never ever again, I always thought if I'm going back to corporate it would probably be for something else. Not so yeah, but who knows that may be down the line, but not right now.

Diana: You never know. So what do you do in those moments?

Wini: Knowing myself of just the past 30 years. I have a work bestie and I will call up Phoebe and I would just cry and like I can't believe this shit happens. I can't believe—

Diana: You're allowed to cuss on this podcast and let's give Phoebe a shout-out. Tell the group her handle and all of that [incorrigible]

Wini: Phoebe and I find out we're very similar. So the way we do so we're almost like each other's devil's advocate. Like she'll say something out of like her and I'll see something on my heart. We try to help each other through and I say we always need to work best with Phoebe. Her photography handles @phoebecheongphotography, but her good stuff. Her good stuff is that our plan account call @welcometothejunglehome where she lives at urban jungle with her cat pixel. And her lovely friend who takes her photos in the back and I don't take it. But I think through that is Phoebe has been in the commercial world much longer than I have. We're actually doing a trade. She's doing more personal branding. I'm doing more commercial work now.

And part of that is having a work bestie to just call and say “Hey, I'm stuck. Can we just talk this out?” That's kind of been my way of going through certain anxieties and realizing that I don't maybe don't know what my self-worth is. But Phoebe knows what my self-worth is like, and whenever she's going through certain anxiety gives me a call. And I'm like, “I know what you—I know you for years. I know who you are, your value.” I think it's cheering each other on from there. And I always tell everyone, you need a work bestie

Diana: Yeah, I love that. And I love the term work. Bestie I just always say like accountability, buddy, but it is its work bestie. like mine is Jamie Ratterman and we have talked every morning at 7 am on Friday for the last like three years and we just go through like what's working what's not what's going on in life and business because it's so—blurs when you're an entrepreneur. So amazing just to have someone to pull you out or celebrate you because it's not always the case where we can be like, “Oh my god, I landed a 20k photoshoot” and people aren't always receptive to that. It's like you need someone to really celebrate your big wins.

Wini: That is and getting a place with someone where you can celebrate your wins and not feel a sense of competitiveness is such a huge it's hard to find. But I'm so glad I found that with Phoebe. And anytime like I can't believe this happened she's like “Oh my god congrats girl.” Or she'll tell me this happened. I'm like, “Whoa, that's awesome”. Or just sitting around and just like just talking shit about things that we feel a lot of stress about. And knowing that that person doesn't take it to heart in a way, knowing that it's a process that we just going through.

Like, for example, I was slow and Q1, there were times and I said to her, I was like,”Should I just take this gig? Because I'm running low on money sometimes, like, I have my profit from last year, but I'm kinda like, Okay, I need to, I think for my own self-worth. I was like, Maybe I should say yes, I shouldn't be such a hardass.” And she's like, “No, you put your foot down for a reason.” She's reminding me what I told her.

Diana: Yes so important.

Wini: Everything will work out.

Diana: Yeah, I love that. And I recommend that for anybody, like get a work bestie get accountability, buddy. You don't have to do this alone. And that's part of the reason why I think our relationship was so and is so amazing. And crucial was because we saw each other out, we were like, “Hey, we're both photographers in the space. We even have, like, traded some clients. Let's break the ice and come together and support each other versus staring at each other from across the water. Like, you're my competition.” And that just—

Wini: I think that comes with also. Because we aligned in the same values. I had— I don't need to be best friends with every photographer know, that other photographers were I was like, we don't align in our ethics. And so I don't think we could necessarily be work besties I'm telling everyone, like, we need to be collaborative with every single person.

Diana: Totally. I think that's a great, great point. Like it doesn't—we get to have our boundaries, too. And it doesn't mean we're a bad person. If there's one we're like, “You know what? It's just not aligned.” And that is even with clients. Can we talk about that for a second? How do you know, because both of you and I—we won't name any names here. But both you and I have had very toxic clients. And that's kind of like, I look back on it kind of is our fault, because we let that through the door. But it was also like a learning experience. And we needed to have that test to pass other tests. What's that experience like? And what do you do in that case? When like, maybe you're in it with a client, it's too late like you're 75% or sometimes way through the project? Like what do you do when it's like a toxic situation,

Wini: Calling Phoebe and telling her “Do not ever let me work with this guy.” And again, take a mental note. No, I'm just kidding. I firmly believe that, once we've gotten to that point, it is too late to turn back. It's just a matter of like getting it done, getting it over with, learn from it, what were the red flags? What I should have known from the beginning. And I think so much of what we do is from intuition, creative side, or whether it is from just networking and knowing who our clients are, it's comes from you.

You feel it, you're like this feels good. This feels like a good fit, and reminding ourselves why it was a good fit. There are definitely some moments where I don't believe that definitely red flags right there, whether it's like you. And that's when I learned, oh man, who thinks that like there are moments when there are clients who say, “Oh, you didn't say this, you didn't do that.” Next thing I know I'm adding it to my next contract. I'm adding it to my next workflow so that I can make sure that doesn't happen again. And each time each person is very different. But sometimes we have to protect ourselves in order to realize that.

But when it comes to toxic clients, I think part of it is unfortunately there's no way—no golden job, every job, there's going to be bumps, every job is gonna miss opportunities. The most important thing I've learned in the past years to not let it get into my mind or affect my next photoshoot. Say what I have to say, keep moving on. I think if anything, I always make sure that what I'm learning about certain clientele I'm passing it on to my assistants, making sure that they don't make the same mistakes my peers, making sure that like yeah, this client did this to me, just be careful heads up. There's a reason why I'm not working with them anymore, for example.

Now realizing that what we've done in the past is not necessarily stepping stone for who we are in the future. Because that could take up so much of my energy and my happiness if I just keep beating myself up for something I've done in the past. And it's a hard place to get to because there are moments where I'm like sitting there and I'm like, “Oh, I should I realize I should have seen all the signs.”

Diana: And I think there's so much advice, especially for budding photographers of this— how to allow these things to be learning experiences. Not yet beating yourself up too much. And also just even writing a literal list of red flags, green flags, it's kind of dating, and you do have to listen to your intuition. I want to pivot for a second, go really far back into your origins.

Wini: How are we going?

Diana: We're going back. So I want to talk about because, the listeners know I grew up in a town of like, 500 people on a ranch, right? You and I talked about this when we were sitting on the water near the Brooklyn Bridge in February—this last February chatting, and how different our lives were growing up. You are from New York City, and talk about if you're open to it, like your parents, your background, also like, what all that was, like, where you grew up, but also what their opinions of entrepreneurship are. So can you kind of just start at the beginning, give us a little paint a picture of what life for Wini was like, like as a kid.

Wini: Oh, my gosh, when he she was young, she was here in New York. I— born and raised in New York. My parents immigrated here actually around my age 30-32 years ago or something like that. And stepped foot America and was like, “Okay, what better opportunities for our kids, my parents grew up in the farms in rice farms in China.” And they came here to really give an opportunity for me and my sister who didn't know they're gonna have at the moment, but they knew it was hard, a lot of hardships, and they want it easier for us in terms of just education, in terms of opportunities,in terms of just growing our place in the world. And through that is we grew up in Williamsburg. And before it was I—we actually went to visit Williamsburg yesterday, my old like childhood, my building doesn't exist anymore. Now a condo, that's most near they have said.

And now my parents live in Chinatown, and my studio is like right across the river. So you see my studio from the window, you see the Manhattan Bridge, and you see this tower. And my parents live in that tower. I lived there for 10 years looking into Brooklyn going, “That'd be cool.” Going back to Brooklyn, and there I am looking back at my parents’ place. I've always joked how my parents could walk to my studio faster, and I can take the train. I'm in Crown Heights now in Brooklyn, then we take the train. So I always joked about that, how close it is to where they are.

But so much of that was the immigrant pressure of, “Okay, I have to live up to why my parents lived here.” They came here a very little money. And part of that was me realizing like, I don't want to put me through that state, I don't want to necessarily have to really struggle with finances like they did growing up. We were happy, very happy. But it was definitely a struggle. Like if my dad got injured or my mom got injured. That's it, the jobs are very physical. And so I knew that I had to get a good job. So that's why I went to the engineering path because no one else was around me to guide me to what I should do. So I kind of had to make that decision early on as a kid. Do I want to do creative or do I want to do engineering I chose engineering at frickin 14. So crazy.

So much New York City has weird schooling system. It's v ery, it's a lot of pressure. I got into like the performing arts school here in high school where I got into for the art program. I don't draw anymore, but when I was 13, I did. And I had to make that choice. And it's funny, looking back, because then literally 10 years after that, I switched back to the creative industry. But there's definitely a lot of growing pressure from my parents of like, “What are you doing? Like, okay, so we found out you're not an engineering. What are you doing now?”

And my parents were awesome. They didn't pressure me in any way. I think I gave that pressure to myself. They just wanted to see me happy. And it took me three years to go up to them and say, “I'm doing fine. Um, I have earned more in my photography career than I have in my engineering career. Much more bumps in the road. But it's something that we have to go through.” And that's kind of what I was I think we're always still going through that conversation with my parents. I took them to the studio for the first time this past summer, and I was expecting this like, “Wow” response from them, like, this moment where they're like, “Good job”, and I never got that.

And I had to look within myself to feel like, No, I did it. Like, it's I checked it off for myself, you know. But my dad was proud and happy. And my mom was like, why is the studio so big? It's the most mom response ever?

Diana: Like, how do you clean it? Like?

Wini: Yeah, like she actually cleaned out to like, grab, grab the cleaning tools for me.

Diana: So wild, so many lessons in there. And I know as your friend, can you dig into this a little bit more that? You were sort of like not really telling your parents you're a photographer and wasn't quit your job. Right? Can we talk about that?

Wini: Well, to them, I was like, “Yeah, I'm still applying. I'm still applying for jobs.” And so in their eyes, they're like, “Yeah, she's still doing that.” And whenever the conversation come up, I'm like, “Stop asking me, don't tell me.” Because I didn't feel like I was at a point where I was going to tell them what I was doing. And then a year in, they finally caught on. They're like, “We see you running around a lot. You're like out all day. What are you doing?” And I would shoot products in my home as well, too. So they would kind of see what's going on. And so it just got to a point where I realized that like, yeah, I just have to like, lay it down on them. Just tell them how it is and then they'll just say. I mean, they figured it out at the end. But I think they were just kind of always being parents, like, “Are you okay? Are you eating?” Things like that.

Diana: I love that. And I love the story of like, them coming to see your studio and you really having expectations, which expectations are like the death of us, right?

Wini: They really are.

Diana: And then just being like no aware enough, where you just know you need to go within yourself to find that validation and I think that's so beautiful. And that's really what we all need. And I just think your story is so powerful, because all of us creative entrepreneurs, get some form of “Go get a real job. What are you doing? This isn't logical, you think you can just, you know, exploit your creative gift that you have, like, that's just a hobby.” And I think, a really extreme version of that.

Wini: I've been told that many times where my friends, Mel had sensing hills, my wellness influencer friend who I first met here, when I first started my career, she always told me she's like, they're gonna be a lot of naysayers. They're gonna be a lot of people who are telling you you're not on the wrong—you're not on the right path. Because they're only used to knowing one way, they're only see hearing one way. But the first step was to find someone else who wasn't doing that. And I could see my path in that I could see my future. And that's when I realized like, I can definitely do it. It's not an easy way. Like, I have to figure out all the nitty-grittyness along the way, but I think part of that was like, yeah, just seeing it like when someone else paves the path seeing someone else do it. You're like, I can do it. Motivation.

Diana: Such good advice. Okay, one last thing here. I would love to hear what's next for you. Because I think you and I have gotten and maybe we don't know, and that's okay. And you and I are they have no five-year plans because I really believe the universe has something totally different in store than what we could have ever imagined. But I think we also get to this place when you and I are very similar in this way. Like we grew up with not a lot and like we are at this place where we're baffled. We're here. We're like, holy shit. What like, this is so cool. I'm making more money than I could have ever imagined. I'm making I'm more successful, quote-unquote, than I could have ever imagined. And then we get to this place where we never dreamt further than here, right?

We're like, Okay, we have it all. We can go out to fancy dinners and get it done. We're working with the dream clients, we got the studi. And so if we were to just crazy dream. Would you share with us like some of the stuff that you would love to see even if it's crazy, like not even practical like do you want to speak on a stage? Do you want to have celebrity clients? Do you want to write a book like what's in it? What does Wini want?

Wini: I feel like every year, instead of like a New Year's resolution, I'm kind of thinking about what do I not want to do from the year before. I want to see myself in and I'm just taking it step by step up year by year. Part of my goals this year really is to actually step away from the business, which is very shocking. But enjoy life a little more, enjoy the past five years, I worked so hard for where I have made myself and I really want to step back and like enjoy the fruits of my labors. Just kind of like knowing that, like, I can spend a Tuesday hanging out with a friend. But then I can also work on a Saturday to make sure this gets done. And at that, I think this is for more of a personal growth, more personal I want to do.

I think now that the pandemic is not as scary as it was two years ago, I want to see the world a little bit more now. Knowing that I can take maybe a two and a half week vacation, which seems like a lot, but not a lot. And we also enjoy my end, but come back and knowing that like I still have a career that I have passionately built. That's one that's a personal goal for me.

When it comes to my work career, I want to aim more towards—just steady getting my name in the industry of the commercial world. That's it, that's my goal is just people hearing like, Wini is a photographer in New York City. That's all I kind of want in this year for me is just making sure that I'm leaving my imprints in different places, whether that's like testing more, whether that's meeting more people, maybe it is going to another city and say “Hey, I'm here, I'm alive.” I think part of that is almost rebuilding my network, as I'm pivoting from to win to more commercial work. That's kind of where, in general, what I see for this year.

I don't know what five years will look like. I don't know, I think part of dreaming big is kind of scary. Because as a photographer, as a female creative, I also don't see a lot of photographers out there that's older than me, and still has a thriving career. So I almost am like, “I don't know how to dream big. I haven't seen anyone else be huge.” And I can see myself in that foot in that in the same sphere. So kind of a little scary. A little bit realistic in a way.

Diana: Absolutely. I love realistic we all we all need each other. I love that and I think that resonates with me so much. You and I both in this is such a pillar of Diana Davis Creative, my business is ditching the hustle. You and I both hustled our butts off, in a bad way. Yeah, go ahead.

Wini: [incorrigible] seven times a day

Diana: a day. Y'all. She's not exaggerating. A day.

Wini: No, it was like Saturdays, because everyone was off on Saturdays, and I'm getting seven clients maybe?

Diana: Yeah. And like we would have those conversations I remember with even Vicki, who is another photographer friend of ours. And we talked about like how much we're making at the end of the year. And it was nothing, specially for New York City. And it's like, “But you're busy. You're booked, you're shooting seven clients a day. Shouldn't you be making like millions?” But we were undercharging and hustling our butts off and kind of wearing a badge of pride for doing so. There's like, especially in New York City is such a badge of pride to be busy and for it to be hard. And I think for your simple desire to be, “I just want to live life a little more.” I love that. I think that's so fantastic.

Wini: I do believe that you need to have a hustle mentality in order to thrive in order to get to a point where you can relax because that's maybe it's the path I know because that's what I did. But I think part of that is realizing that it's the hustling is about building a network and just saying and just building a name for yourself or realizing what you do and what you don't want. Hustling can be in different forms as well. But yes, at the end of the day, after five years of this, I'm ready to take a break. I have turned down certain clients and I'm like, I love you I support you work to forever but like I really need to get them back like I can't keep up anymore. I'm sorry, you know, just putting my foot down and saying I need to do what's good for me.

Diana: Yes, putting yourself first I love that. So good. Okay, first of all, thank you so much for telling us your story. And I think so many listeners out there are going to find you as their expander right just to be like other people with immigrant parents, other people with societal pressures other people in New York City with this hustle and knowing that it is so possible to kind of create, first of all, your dream career and dream life, but also create kind of a balance of life and work and not sacrificing either that we can have both.

So I so appreciate you. And I just love having this conversation. So we're going to end with a few questions. Are you ready? First of all, let's tell the people what your astrology sign is. So they can be revealed. Let us know if you guessed it, right. Let's do this.

Wini: I want to know if anyone gets through, right? I'm a Virgo.

Diana: Oh, yes, very, very Virgo energy organized on top of it thinking things through. Do you know your other stuff? So that's yes,

Wini: I'm looking at my co-star now. I'm a Virgo Sagittarius Scorpio. I don't know what any of that means.

Diana: I know what that means. So you're a Sagittarius moon and a Scorpio rising. That's me too. So I'm a Gemini Sun, which is very different than Virgo. As we know we need each other. I love my Virgos my Libras and my Capricorns. They like ground me. They think things through Well, I'm like flitting about like a fairy. But then you and I both have a Sagittarius Moon, which I contribute to our love for travel, and our love for adventure. And we both have a Scorpio rising, which I don't think I realized that's so cool.

Wini: I never knew that.

Diana: Yeah, that's so funny. Okay, so if anyone guessed that, right, as always screenshot this episode, put it on Instagram, tag us both. Let us know what you think. But let us know anyway, even if you didn't get it, right. So a couple of questions.

Wini: What's up?

Diana: What does creativity mean to you, Wini?

Wini: Oh, I mean, back to my Virgo technical mentality. I think sometimes like creativity, I look at something that I see in the world that's already out there. And I'm like, How can I do that? That's what creativity kind of means to me. That is the most technical mindset I could ever have.

Diana: Creativity is almost like a recreation to you.

Wini: It is, but it's really fading from my own hands. At it's like, I'm inspired by architectural elements. How do I put that in a photograph? And, and that's what you see a lot of my photos too, is when I'm thinking about what inspires me, I was like, architecture really inspires me. You see a lot of lines, you see a lot of like, forms in this shape of that. And yes, and it's really clean. So a lot of work inspired by like modern architecture. So that's kind of what creativity means to be it's just kind of getting—is recreational most.

Diana: Yeah, just like I love that answer. So good. Okay, a couple more. Do you have an entrepreneurial crush? Like someone you are just like, they're just killing it? I love and follow everything they do. Do you have someone like that?

Wini: I do. And I've mentioned this so many times on our like, growth together? Love, love, love Karen Rosalie to this day. Mainly because to me, she's paving the path for Asian-Americans, specific female photographers, and she is not even in New York, she's in LA. And I'm really grateful. I've got a chance to meet her multiple times when she was here. And when I was out there, and part of that was like, wow, she's an inspiration. And, and she has paved the way for us who are children of immigrants to say yes, we can do it as a creative

Diana: and as a female. Yeah.

Wini: And as a female, and, um, and we've had many conversations about that. And I see that she has a lot of conversations about it, too. I love that. Oh, and you?

Diana: Can you spell her name for our listeners?

Wini: Yes. Karen Rosalie, K-A-R-E-N-R-O-S-A-L-I-E.

Diana: Beautiful. Okay, well, we'll link that in the show notes as well. I love that. Yeah, I know remember when you were having me follow her and all of her product photography, right? Like she's like, directly an expander for you, which has been so cool that you've gotten to meet her and I think it's such a good lesson too of “Hey, you know if you have someone you admire and that inspires you.” Like in your in their space, their physical like city or even on Instagram, like reach out to them and let them know like, they are just humans and they would love to know that and I'm sure would love to connect with you.

So I love that you actually just reached out to her, human to human, and you got to meet, which was so beautiful. Okay, are you—what are you reading or listening to? Like, at the moment, a podcast, a book something good? Something juicy doesn't have to do with anything business like anything like that, or are you just like, Nope.

Wini: I am such a person if I'm working, if I'm editing Oh, I'm sure you know this when I'm editing, I love to have a good like a sitcom show on the side, like New Girl and stuff like that, like Friends seen it a million times. But there's something very comforting about just hearing something as I'm editing. Maybe it's something my friend was telling me. It's something to do with my anxieties, but we'll talk about that some other time. But when it comes to work-related things, I am a believer that there's always more to learn. There's always room to grow. So I'm always looking for webinars that help expand who I am as a business person and as a creative.

And when I started, I'm a member of the LUUPE, and they are a network for female commercial photographers and they're awesome. Every Thursday at the end of the month, they always host a webinar, whether it's talking about editorials, how do you navigate through that? Or like, how do you navigate through copyright, things like that, they'll kind of talk about it, maybe they'll bring a lawyer in. Maybe they'll bring a stylus and you know, they just kind of talk about random things that we're interested in. I always ask the community.

Second thing is I do like AMA. Artists Management Association. I believe I started from Kelly, Montez, she's awesome. She's amazing. I'm just setting, she owns an agency called Apostrophe started AMA so that we have open conversations in the commercial world so that people who read photographers or producers or art directors are all having the same conversations so that we're we have a set standard love her love everything about her amazing,

Diana: All good resources. And I love that I think I know the whole editing thing with a sitcom in the background where it's something you've watched before, and you don't need to pay attention to it. It's just on in the background and you get to feel almost a little like you're getting away with something like I'm binging Netflix, but also working. And then the second thing you said was called the loop.

Wini: Yes. So L-U-U-P-E, cool. And they're awesome. They're great. you have to apply for their membership, but it's completely free If you're in the community, specifically for female commercial photographers. So like, if your wedding photographer might won't be a good fit your personal branding may not be a good fit, but commercial, perfect fit.

Diana: Amazing. Okay, cool. All right. Last question. This is my favorite. If money, time, resources, all of that it just didn't matter. Like we didn't have to do something to make the money and pay the rent and worry about it. What would you create, just to create?

Wini: I think I would, I would travel and take more landscape photos. I think personally, what that is—because I started off more as a landscape photographer, I love looking sometimes back at the photography that I've taken of New York because what I've taken like seven years ago is different than how it is now. Not my photography, but literally landscape of New York has changed. Yeah, and I love looking back of how the idea of is that the only constant is change. And so for me the idea of like traveling, if I can just take photos all day for fun, just what I'm seeing what I'm feeling and sharing with people that would be such a dream. But I like, being in one place.

Diana: Yeah, travel as fun as our Sagittarius moons love travel. As fun as it is it's exhausting. It's a lot.

Wini: So exhausting.

Diana: I hope to see you doing that more since that is a desire of yours and just to travel more and live your life. Is there somewhere you would go? Like, if you could take a plane tomorrow, is there. What's the first place?

Wini: If COVID was not an issue? I haven't been to Japan or Korea. And I just want to eat all the food. But that's like big thing. But of course with quarantine rules and everything. It's just not possible right now. And part of me is when I'm in Asia, I don't feel like—I feel like I'm part of I look like everyone else to be honest. So I don't feel like I'm not—I don't feel like I'm the exception. I feel like I'm putting—

Diana: yeah, you're not a tourist.

Wini: I'm not a tourist. I love that and my background is Chinese but still look like.

Diana: I feel like you fit in. That's another thing. I just want to give a plug. Yeah, you and I love food. You and I both love food and one of my favorite experiences and I hope we can go on more of these is Wini is the best tour guide in Chinatown ever. Because she spent so much time there, she knows the dive places to go. She knows how to order off the carts that scroll. I'm like little you know, white girl ranch girl, like going like “Wini, please lead me through your world.” And that was such a cool experience. And I know you and I have had a lot of foodie experiences. But that was

Wini: Oh my god. Yes man. The pandemic hit Chinatown really hard. Fortunately, place one-two is not around anymore but doesn't mean that I'm not seeking for more. Yeah, there's a lot of great places that we could always support. Oh, yeah. But that's like, half I feel like for me when I travel, it's really about eating and then things to fit in, in between. [incorrigible] Dinner, but I guess I'll go to this museum. And, you know, while I'm waiting for dinner,

Diana: yep, same page. Oh, I love all of this. I love those last answers. Wini. You're incredible. And I love the heck out of you. I'm so grateful. We're friends. And I'm so grateful that you could come on and share your story and have this space. How do people connect with you? Is there anything you want them to know? Like? We'll link all of your stuff in the show notes. But how do we? How do we connect with you? How do we bring you into our network?

Wini: Find me on Instagram. I like as much as like Tik Tok is growing right now. I am always honest

Diana: By doing the DMS— the other DMS

Wini: tell me that you found me through Pollen podcasts. And I would know I would. I'm going to be so excited to connect there and just any questions? I think I do better when someone has a question for me.

Diana: than just like, “Hi, I'm from Milwaukee.”

Wini: Yes. Like just say hi. Maybe a question like help you answer. I feel like so technical. I'm so direct with certain things. But find me on Instagram. I feel like that's my home base. And then that's the best place to connect with me. If it's something a little more serious, always an email right in emails always great too, but you can always find me on Instagram.

Diana: Beautiful. Wini, thank you for being here. We're gonna wrap up. So excited for this to come out and for everyone to listen and we will go over and out.

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