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Lydia Pang: On Goth, Heritage and Working at Refinery29

Hi Lydia, tell me a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

I'm a creative living in NYC, currently working as Creative Director at Refinery29.

How does it feel as a young women yourself to work at Refinery29, which is one of the biggest American digital media companies for young women?

It's incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by such passionate and smart women every single day. And to live and breathe the mission, which is to be the catalyst for women to claim their power, and know that my output, my work and my vision is contributing to pushing forward that message....'s kinda everything. It makes me feel proud and hopeful for change, and progress. 

What is the typical day of a Creative Director like? Or is there even a typical day?

Some days I'm pitching to clients, some days I'm on set, some days I'm brainstorming with my team, some days I'm running around sorting out process, some days I'm pulling moodboards, some days I'm writing up creative briefs, some days I'm doing a workshop, some days I'm in keynote all day, some day's I'm never at my desk running from meeting to meeting, some days I'm traveling, some day's I'm reviewing work, some days I'm managing people, some day's I'm at a conference... most days are different.

You define yourself as goth, and you are known for your unique style. When and how have you discovered your love for goth and what does it mean to you?

I am certainly very inspired by and see beauty in darkness, I've always been morbidly curious when it came to oddities, mysterious topics and incongruous tales. From a young age I loved the surrealists and specifically Man Ray's depiction of women which felt at once ugly and beautiful at the same time. Adore that quote from Breton's Nadja ' beauty will be convulsive, or not at all ' ... I suppose I'm drawn to anything that makes me feel a little uncomfortable and tense. And I like to feel challenged by my creative output, despite working in a commercial field, I do like to unpack cultural topics and touch on subjects that provoke dialogue around topics otherwise ignored.

Do you see goth and your half-Chinese heritage interlinked with each other?

I've never thought about this... I've always loved my Chinese roots, being HAKKA in family origin, they're people who were known for being nomadic, gypsies, outsiders, a little wild. And Hakka people are pretty rare to find now, which makes me feel proud. I have a tattoo on my finger of my family name to remind me of this history and what those roots represent for me. In some ways I think the meeting point of those two facets of my identity is problem the feral nature of both attitudes, a little badass. 

How have you experienced growing up with your British and Chinese culture?

My childhood was beautiful, super creative and set in the countryside of South Wales. But I was certainly a minority in that area. Both my parents are entrepreneurs and artists, my identity was celebrated every day through food, trips to HK to our village. I always felt proud to be different.

You seem strongly connected to your family, and we observe how you support the work of your sister and mother. What is your perception of the female experience in our society? 

I think women are incredibly powerful beings with the potential to shape, shift and save this planet. The only way we all rise is if we band together and lift each other up. My sister and my mum are two of the most inspiring people in my life, they're brave and eccentric and hold so much creative power. I see it as my duty to support them and celebrate them. It disappoints me when women compete against each other, when we help each other and not compete, we all rise. 

And the last question: which empowering advice would you give girls out there?

Find your voice, use it for good and don't let anyone take it away from you.