Stella Simona is the co-owner of Haati Chai and Amarilo, two jewelry lines that were inspired by her experiences growing up as the daughter of East Indian immigrants in the United States. As a child, Simona constantly struggled with her identity, feeling caught between her Bangladeshi roots and her American upbringing. With the help of her grandmother, Simona founded Haati Chai as a way of celebrating her ancestry by creating timeless but modern heirloom-inspired jewelry pieces. That's why Stella Simona is included in this special edition of Bustle's Must Follow, in which we highlight the incredible Asian American and Pacific Islander voices you need to follow on Instagram and Twitter.
Briefly describe yourself, including how you identify and what you do.
I'm a mother, wife, entrepreneur, and aesthete.
What do you hope people take away from following you/your work in the industry and on social media?
It's important to follow your passions, your own path, and to allow everything that you do to grow you into a better you.
When did you first feel that you were a voice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community?
I started receiving messages and comments from other individuals in my community saying, "You are such an inspiration to women from our background" or "I look up to you so much, you didn't choose a path our parents expected of us, or even what society expects of us." I honestly didn't realize what I was doing had such a grand effect. It makes me want to do more and continue to think big.
Who's another Asian American or Pacific Islander person you would recommend to follow on social media?
I love @Zarna who curates @tonaljournal. Also, @Lovesheree — she's a creative to definitely keep a close eye on.
Follow Stella Simona on Instagram, @stellasimona
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.