J E N Y I H
J E N Y I H
PRODUCER | STORYTELLER

Shy town girls

NOVELIST

5562fc72f0a1a4de6573f3311f21d9c6.jpg
 
 

INTERVIEWS

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

In the summer of 2014, Shy Town Girls intern, Bailey Allen, was given the opportunity to sit down with author of Book 1 and 3 of the Shy Town Girls series, Jen Yih, for an all-inclusive interview. Jen, a free-spirited 23 year-old, shares her story about finding her passion, or as she said “living passionately”, through travel and challenges hoping to help other 20-somethings pursue their goals and dreams. Jen is revving up for the debut of Book 3 of the Shy Town Girls series, her first children's book, and a novel she has decided not to reveal the title or plot quite yet. 

 

1. You started out in a Political Science/Journalism major when you were in College. What made you choose to pursue that field?

I came into college as a Journalism major thinking I wanted to be a writer. Like everyone in my family, I'm a storyteller but after my first few classes I was not into the idea of putting writing in a box. The same year, I took Political Theory 101 and the class blew my mind. We read all the classics like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, it was truly the first time I’d been introduced to that sort of great thinking, philosophy. I was addicted and found it to be the most challenging yet interesting classes. Once I explored what a Political Science major had to offer, I found myself loving international relations, law, economics, and philosophy. It felt right, and actually felt like I was learning something…

2. Why do you believe that path was unfulfilling for you personally?

I wouldn't say it was “unfulfilling” but there is a pretty stiff route with Political Science majors. A lot of people actually go into politics, some law, and I’m not sure what everyone else is doing. I loved studying it and I loved what it did to my mind…it has helped me in everything I’ve done but after graduation I knew politics/law just wasn’t for me. I needed something more creative, and that’s not to rip on lawyers, they can be quite creative just in a different way.

3. It’s amazing that you were able to find your passion in your dream job as a media producer at empire green creative. What steps did you have to take through your career journey to get here?

I do feel so lucky that I’ve landed a job in an awesome city with the most talented people and truly love coming into work everyday. But oh man, the steps I’ve taken…well I can tell you that it is definitely not a linear path. Honestly, I felt like I was running in circles for a long time. Since I graduated High School I knew there was something I was working towards, I had so much anxiety all the time and if I wasn’t being productive in some facet of my life, I was not the happiest person to be around. I have to keep busy otherwise I go nuts, boredoms definitely my enemy…and I think that’s the key to getting to where I’ve gotten…just keep moving…gravitate, grab, and run with whatever you’re attracted to. Try things, figure out what you don’t like, it gets you one step closer to what you’re looking for and definitely definitely take risks!!

4. Tell me a little about your job as a Producer and why it is so exciting.

I wish I knew about this kind of job when I was starting college, you know, when you get to school it’s like engineer, doctor, lawyer… but there’s so many rad jobs out there that people don’t know much about unless they have family ties or whatever. If you’re a creative and people tell you that the creative world is dog eat dog, no jobs yada yada, they’re lying. As a producer, I basically do just that, I help make things happen… Empire Green is a creative agency that focuses on unique photo and video content, so we’re constantly working with different clients setting up shoots and as glamorous as that sounds there’s a TON of prep work and post work. Before any of the fun stuff can happen so much has to be communicated like budgets to figuring out how to get a tiger on set. …That was actually one of my interview questions… “If a client were to request a tiger on set for a photo shoot, how would you go about getting one?” I guess I had a pretty good answer cuz they hired me. I’m still learning new things everyday on the job but it’s definitely about staying organized, maintaining good communication, and thinking on your toes! I love it.

5. What are the significant differences between your job as a Producer and your original career path in Political Science and Journalism?

Ha! Wow, well…if I went the Political Science route, I’d probably be broke and getting ready for my first semester at law school right now. Like I mentioned earlier, the creative aspect of being a producer at an agency definitely trumps the legal route where things are pretty boxed in.

6. What is the most rewarding part about actually landing your dream job?

Being happy everyday. When you’re happy, you know you’ve made good decisions and that makes you trust yourself.

7. What mistakes have you made along the way?

Caring about what people thought of me and my decisions, some of which were pretty unorthodox and still are [laughs]. Follow your gut and do whatever lights your fire, people really don’t care what you’re doing or if you change your mind 100x’s.

8. You have traveled to some pretty amazing places. How did being able to see different parts of the world open your eyes to what your passion truly is?

I could go on all day about this question. Travel is by far the number one thing I’m most thankful for. I got lucky that my parents were world travelers and my dad is a first generation immigrant who speaks nearly seven languages. So when you grow up seeing all these cultural interactions and my dads ability to communicate with anyone in almost any neck of the world…its pretty inspiring. Travel definitely helped mold my character but then again it helps solidify who I was and the kind of person I wanted to be…after awhile you start to realize the more you travel that it just makes sense to be exactly who you are and what’s natural to you…we’re not chameleons, we are who we are. But then again, going to places you see that your way isn’t the only way…and there’s no ONE direction in anything. There’s so many people in this world doing so many things, it’s overwhelming honestly but the more you travel you realize how alike we all are…everyone wants to be happy, safe, to love and live for something. Whether you’re in Austria or Brazil, people are people. After I’d come to this realization, you just sort of start doing more of what you love, surrounding yourself with people like you, treat others well, and following your intuition really brings all the pieces together. It’s not necessarily about finding your passion, it’s living passionately.

9. What advice do you have for other 20-somethings who are trying to find their passions?

Follow your gut, ruthlessly. Try things, take risks, reflect, don’t be lazy, and be good to yourself…it’s not supposed to be easy.

10. You found your dream job, now what? How do you keep the passion alive for that particular job?

Everyday is a new day at work, there’s always obstacles and something to be learned, with that being said, I’m not sure how I could ever be bored. Also, I love the people I work with and when you make a little family at work…it doesn’t really feel you’re going into “the office”. I come hang out with my friends and just so happen to be getting important, and more so, creative things done in the meantime.

11. What would you tell yourself if you could go back to the beginning of your career journey?

I’d tell myself to do more of what I love, whatever seemed interesting, and less of what I thought I was supposed to be doing.

12. Who has been the most inspirational person in your life to help you discover your passion?

My family, hands down. My parents have pushed and pushed us (my brother and I) to follow our dreams, no matter what that meant. My brother was jumping off mountains and I was buying one-way tickets to foreign places. They are our number one supporters. I remember my dad just yelling, “live your f*cking life.”

13. How can you relate to the Shy Town Girls characters? Bobbie Bertucci in book 1 left her job at the modeling agency to follow her dream of going to law school, will Eloise Stewart have a similar epiphany in book 3?

I think it’s obvious that Bobbie is a spin-off of myself and not to spoil it for everyone, but yes Ella will definitely experience something similar. I really hope for Book 3 that I can transform a young woman who is utterly uninspired and bring her to LIFE.