Vicki Ho and Kathleen Tso are the founders of Banana magazine, a publication dedicated to helping Asian Americans bridge the gap from East to West. Through their beautiful issues, Ho and Tso share the unique stories and experiences of different Asian Americans, proving that in the end, we all have more in common than we think and that our culture should be celebrated, not minimized. That's why Vicki Ho and Kathellen Tso are 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.
Describe yourself in one line, including how you identify and what you do.
Kathleen Tso: I’m a Taiwanese and Chinese American born and raised in Texas and co-founder of Banana.
Vicki Ho: I’m Chinese American from Brooklyn, NY and co-founder of Banana.
What do you hope people take away from following you/your work in the industry and on social media?
KT: That we should all be celebrating and discussing our experiences as Asians — from the East to West. There is so much we can all learn from our differing perspectives and so many similarities as well.
VH: That Asians are creative AF! And if any Asians out there want to purse a career in creative, you can. There can be a seat at the table for you and there’s a built-in community we’ve discovered through Banana that is here to support and inspire you.
When did you first feel that you were a voice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community?
KT: It’s been a humbling experience to be looked up to as a voice in the community. The first time we felt validated (and when we continue to) is when we receive thoughtful, personal emails from strangers around the world just thanking us for creating Banana.
VH: Same as Kathleen, but I was truly shook last week when the guy sitting next to me on my flight to LA recognized us and was listening to our interview with Asian Not Asian podcast while on the flight and beside me! We spent the entire plane descent talking about the podcast, Banana, and how we both try to lift the Asian creative community in different ways. It was such a great discussion and I really felt confident in speaking on behalf of the community we’ve built.
Who's another Asian American or Pacific Islander person you would recommend to follow on social media?
KT: An Rong Xu (@anrizzy) is a Chinese American photographer and contributor to the New York Times. He’s been a contributor to Banana magazine since Issue 002! He has an incredible way of capturing so much emotion and beauty in his portrait photography and is dedicated to showcasing the Asian experience through his work.
VH: Follow the Asian Not Asian Podcast (@asiannotasianpod)! It’s hosted by two Asian comedians, Mike Nguyen and Fumi Abe, and they are seriously one of the best podcasts out there that capture the Asian American experience in a hilariously relatable way. We don’t always need to take things so seriously and that’s why I love their approach to our collective identity.
Follow Vicki Ho, Kathleen Tso, and Banana magazine on Instagram, @bananamag
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.