This is part of an on-going series of interviews by Yinsey Wang with East Asian voices around the globe. The series aims to introduce perspectives from different walks of life.
Cynthia Luo is a contributor to URBANEBLOC.com, a Toronto-based lifestyle and fashion blog. A self-proclaimed “tech-junkie”, she enjoys bargain hunting and occasionally dabbles in a bit of hoarding. Pursuing a major in Biology, Cynthia is about to graduate this coming Spring. Relentlessly hardworking, and armed with a passionate love for science, she has worked with SickKids, Princess Margaret Hospital, The Peer Project, and other similar organisations.
Charitable and socially conscious, she is especially drawn to not-for-profit initiatives that help children develop positive perceptions of themselves. She is looking to broaden her career angles by pursuing a PR certificate next year. For now, she’s working part-time as a bartender and high school tutor to save up for her graduation trip plans.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background, and your love of sushi.
I am a young-ish city girl born and raised in downtown Toronto (represent!). When I’m not digging through a pile of science books, I try to scope the city for different experiences. I love my mom’s home-cooked meals, teetering in platforms and bear hugs.
Although I am Canadian, my Chinese roots are an important part of my being and influence my everyday. I’m currently perfecting my Chinese so I can order Hui Guo Rou flawlessly when I visit this summer. I joke, I kid, and I laugh a lot. Did you say sushi? There is no doubt that I am capable of mass raw fish consumption.
Cynthia, as a contributor to URBANEBLOC.com, what do you think is the most important thing when creating quality content?
Whenever I write, it is always with sincerity. Only my honest opinion gets published because fake doesn’t cut it. You have to constantly be aware of your audience but never lose your personality because it’s what sets you apart from the other thousands of voices.
At Urbane, we are constantly editing and processing the good and the bad. The time we commit to creating content really speaks for itself. Oh, and you’re/your, who’s/whose irk me to no end. Must. Always. Watch. For. That.
Tell us a bit about the origins of URBANEBLOC.com and how you all got started.
Urbanebloc started as a side project in university for our editor, Gloria Chik. She created the blog to share her personal interests and people started to take notice. Since 2007, it’s been blossoming beautifully and now a go-to spot for coverage of Toronto’s hottest media events. Most of the ladies that write for Urbane have backgrounds in graphic design, PR, etc. and contribute as a hobby. We do it because we have something we feel is worth sharing.
As the DIY Contributor, what has been your favourite post so far?
A definite favourite of mine would have to be my collaboration with major online merchandiser boohoo. They had a blogger DIY project in the summer to promote their festival line and reached out to me. I was asked to create a unique look appropriate for a music festival with one of their simple black maxi dresses. Without any design experience, it was certainly a challenge but I’m quite proud because I managed without a sewing machine and the pictures turned out great!
What’s it like working as part of the URBANEBLOC.com team?
Always a wonderful learning experience. These girls are so talented and genuine. We bounce ideas off each another to ensure that the posts we produce are top-notch. It’s always a treat when we meet up for brunch to discuss upcoming content and catch up on life. You can never go wrong in a room full of bright, well-dressed women.
Tell us about your personal style. Who’s your style icon?
Hmm, I find that my style is always evolving. I dress based on my mood for the day and forever encourage change. I’m not scared to wear something completely out there, my outrageous polka dot dress in Grade 9 is proof of that. I don’t necessarily have a style icon but I admire anyone who looks incredibly comfortable and in control of whatever they have on.
What’s your typical blog day like? How do you plan your stories?
Everyday is pretty different depending on the topic of my next post. If I am working on a DIY, I’m usually at home taking pictures and sketching out ideas. If I’m planning an #ootm post, I make sure I’m looking pretty and a photographer is available for a shoot well ahead of time. If I have a preview to attend, I’m out running across downtown asking strangers for directions, it’s so fabulous. I don’t blog everyday because I’m also balancing work and school but I’m always looking for inspiration and keeping up with the trends.
You’re a novel junkie. Tell us about a book you’ve really enjoyed up to date.
The last book I read was Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. Wonderful and talented satirist that produced this great read and even greater head-scratcher. A novel that has stayed with me is Kite Runner. I stubbornly refuse to watch the film adaptation because the book painted such a vivid picture in my mind.
What’s your relationship with blogging – what does it mean to you and why do you feel the inspiration to share?
As a Biology major, I felt bogged down with all the reading and lab work. I was limited creatively and in desperate need to share my interests with like-minded people. By sharing, you are creating a community which I believe is incredibly important because it connects people. Personally, blogging is the perfect way to test myself artistically. I’m growing with every post I publish and with every word I write. It’s such a mind opener.
Who’s your favourite blogger?
Oo, so tough to pick just one. My blog-at-first-sight was Fashiontoast. I stumbled upon her Google-ing food and fashion, and could not leave her site. Each page was like crack. The whole blogger network is amazing and soon I discovered Songofstyle, theblondesalad, Stop it right now, etc. Probably my all-time favourite is Margaret Zhang who runs Shine By Three. Big, big inspiration, she can do no wrong.
Visit URBANEBLOC.com to find out more.