In 2019, actor, director, producer, activist, America Ferrera, delivered an inspiring Ted Talk on what it’s like to be Latina in Hollywood. A story about owning her truth, My identity is a superpower – not an obstacle is conversation about how Ferrera fought her way through the limitations and biases she was victim of as a result of her cultural identity.
This was a conversation that resonated all too well with Fevi Yu, who is a top SEO Consultant, leading the launch of the vernamyers.com website. Yu shared her story online, which was very similar to Ferrera’s.
“This is my story and it’s still my journey today,” owning her truth, Fevi describes what it was like when she, a Filipino woman, first arrived on Grand Cayman.
“When I first arrived on Grand Cayman, no one would give me the time of day to present SEO, a service they didn’t know and understand. Also I was Filipino, and on Grand Cayman, Filipino’s are mostly Domestic Helpers…definitely a limitation when you are trying to grow a SEO business.”
Much like America’s quest “for more authentic representation of different cultures in media”, Fevi knew instantly that she had been “typecast” based on her identity and not on her skill and expertise in the Tech industry. Fevi goes on to explain:
“I remember walking into a financial firm and the President of the company, who I was meeting with, glanced up when I came into the room and then went back to looking at his computer. It was only when I sat down in front of him when he looked up and said, ‘Oh, I thought you just came in to bring my water.” When I smiled, he proceeded to say, ‘You look like Juliana, our kid’s Nanny. Are you the web designer?’”
Fevi explained how she returned a traditionally-Filipino uncomfortable smile, the first of many times throughout those years.
“When I finally started my own company, my next obstacle was when other people were saying my services were expensive. At the time, if you compared my expertise and experience, my prices were below industry standard. The root of the problem was not my rates, it was that I was too brown, too fat, too poor.”
Fevi goes on to share how thankful she is for those clients who have given her a chance and have accepted her as her “full authentic self.”
How do you live your life as your full authentic self and use your identity as a superpower? How are you owning your truth?
“I am just one of millions of people who have been told that in order to fulfill my dreams, in order to contribute my talents to the world, I have to resist the truth of who I am. I for one am ready to stop resisting and start existing as my full and authentic self.”- America Ferrera