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09.07.2018

mien pham





Meeting with the coolest person in Saigon.




Mien is a personality in Saigon. It is impossible to describe what she does in only a few words: she dances, does theater, acts in a music video-clip, models on-screen, interviews off-screen… Mien rarely says no when the creative gang of Saigon offers her to participate in a new project. And during the day, she works for Grab, as a brand content editorialist. Mien took the time to meet us several times, for our great pleasures.




@Presque

Open-mindset, ultra-positive dynamic, thoughts on life… Interview with Mien Pham.



Let’s start by the beginning! Where are you from?

There is a world between my childhood and my life now in Saigon! I was born and raised in Hanoï, north of Vietnam. I am an only child, with parents who always expected from me to stay close to them all their life, as tradition requires.

For that matter, until 2015, I always thought that moving to Saigon was just a trend. It took me some times to realize and accept the fact that there were a lot more opportunities there – as the economic capital of Vietnam!


« I am an only child, with parents who always expected from me to stay close to them all their life, as tradition requires. »



What made you change your mind and come to Saigon?

I think that the turning point was the 4 months internship that I did in the US in 2010. It was the first time I was leaving Hanoï and I was 21 years old. I picked up on US culture very quickly. It was when I came back that I had a cultural aftershock! I realized that I was not meant to live in the same city forever, that I would eventually go round in circles.

« I picked up on US culture very quickly. It was when I came back that I had a cultural aftershock!  »


I stayed 5 more years in Hanoï, leaving my comfort zone to question all the principles of my education. I wavered between jobs that fit me, and others that didn’t: executive assistant wearing skirt and high heels on a daily basis? 2 months was enough!

In 2013, I had the opportunity to assist the editorial team of FWD, first underground magazine of Hanoï. I liked it and so I wanted to follow this lead. In 2015, I applied for an editor position for Barcode, a lifestyle magazine in Saigon and I got the job.





How did your parents take it ?

In less than 3 weeks, I announced them 3 news that would put their conception of life upside down - especially as I am an only child. I told them that I was moving to Saigon, renting an apartment with my boyfriend and going there in a motorcycle road trip of 10 days. You need to understand that this kind of news is a very big deal over here. Parents have a strong traditional view on life: children have to stay close to their parents to take care of them.

They didn’t want to have an actual conversation during 6 months. But I kept calling them, to show them that we could love each other in a different way. A long distance relationship between parents and children can bring something else to the table, something very interesting.

Once you arrived in Saigon, what did you do?

After a few months and one break-up, I started to embrace the energy of Saigon. I dive in the hurricane! Over here in Saigon, everything goes fast. People talk, want to collaborate with each other, skills are crossed… Everything is put in motion so that each idea comes alive. The boom of Saigon is happening on a daily basis, with numerous experimental projects going on. There is this ambient chaos that I love, with healthy competition. For example,  there is this community called 42 the hood: they are ready to wear designers who all have their own brand. And yet they are all friends, and have this common Instagram account that they feed together. And they organize common sales and events. It is only one example amongst others of the collaborative energy that we can experience in Saigon!

 
@42 The Hood

« Over here in Saigon, everything goes fast. People talk, want to collaborate with each other, skills are crossed… Everything is put in motion so that each idea comes alive. The boom of Saigon is happening on a daily basis, with numerous experimental projects going on. There is this ambient chaos that I love, with healthy competition. »



What is your current outlook on social networks?

I spend a lot less time online than before. I prefer spending more time on off-line projects! I realized when working for Barcode that social networks give you a lot of information, which are most of the time useless. Someone can have a ton of followers and at the same time offer a poor content. And, social networks encourage us to develop a lazy curiosity: we scroll without end to see things that Spotify, Instagram or Facebook choose for us because “you might like it”… Where is all the fun and the free exploration in that? We don’t spend hours looking for blogs that are far from the first pages of Google results to discover new artists anymore and I find it sad. Just like we spend more time online than offline building projects with others. So, I kind of re-focused myself on what I do offline during my free time.


« Social networks encourage us to develop a lazy curiosity: we scroll without end to see things that Spotify, Instagram or Facebook choose for us because “you might like it”… Where is all the fun and the free exploration in that? »



How do you find the right balance between your professional and your personal life?

I am lucky for having found a job that I like, in a well-structured company that offers me a certain security. And I am lucky that I can still have free time to nourish my creativity! I need these 2 aspects in my life. I think that everyone can fin their own balance, if one’s take the time to listen to one’s own need.


What kind of creative projects are you working on?

On almost any kind of projects as long as it is new to me! I dance, act in theater plays, model… I rarely say no. For example, I was one of the characters in the last videoclip for the song “Distance” of Isaac Delusion.




@Isaacdelusion


Another example is that I modeled for the brand Mignonne.

@dear cuteness-lovers


« I am looking for free explorations only! »



@Mien Pham




And what’s next?

I want to stay in Saigon for the moment. I love this surrounding chaos, my pace of life, the people around me… Even if I have to admit that I miss Hanoï sometimes. Especially the lakes: the only place where you can really catch your break, surrounded by a calm atmosphere!

















A special thanks to Mien and Florian  for always being there for us during our whole trip !

Mark
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