Growing up as hapa — meaning "mixed race" in Hawaii and half-Asian, half-white in my circles — comes with its own set of problems. I'm not just talking about when I had to check "other" under the race box during standardized tests: I'm talking about beauty problems. There are many misconceptions when it comes to being hapa, and I'm here to set the record straight.
A little background: my father is Chinese, and my mother is Irish, and I've found it difficult to find the balance between being too white and too Asian. There were only about five Asians in my entire graduating high school class, and because of the lack of diversity, I thought you had to be blond and Caucasian to be beautiful. When I got to college, Asian students made up about 40 percent of the student population. Although it was great to see more diversity on campus, I didn't feel like I fit in with that cultural group either. After a lot of soul (and family-tree) searching, I really started to embrace being biracial. How lucky am I that I get to feel connected to both my Chinese and Irish side?
Even though I'm so grateful that I get the best of both worlds, there are still day-to-day annoyances, from finding the right makeup to having strangers tell you the most absurd and ignorant things. I'm sure you can relate to at least one of these beauty struggles.