Today we’d like to introduce you to Araik Sinanyan.
Hi Araik, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in the Los Angeles city of Glendale in an area populated with many Armenians. I never realized what a luxury growing up among your own community was. Oftentimes, I would get frustrated and want to explore beyond my horizons. Eventually, I moved to rural Northern California for college. After college, I moved to the East Coast and lived in DC and Baltimore for work.
After moving back to my hometown of Glendale, I’ve been so much more appreciative of being around my community. I often talk to people from all over the States (and world!) who were not lucky enough to grow up in their ethnic community. Oftentimes, these people are jaded or are not sure how to navigate the waters of growing up outside of their homeland. They’re often assimilated beyond their liking or have a clear, defined separation between their “ethnic” self and their “American” self.
The lines are blurred when you grow up in an ethnic enclave. Since I grew up so near to my culture and people, I’m able to freely live “in two worlds.” I can be myself in both types of environments and I believe this is the most authentic way to live as a first-generation American.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The internalized racism I experienced growing up Glendale was one of the main hurdles I’ve had to overcome as it relates to my cultural identity. Since white supremacy is something that every American is ingrained with, I did not realize my viewpoints were aligned with the assimilation that every American is faced with — even those who think they’re “from” the United States. At some point or another, their ancestors also experienced the pressure of assimilation.
As an Armenian, my ancestors have resisted assimilation for millennia. Having lived under various foreign rules, our ancestors stuck together in order for the Armenian culture (language, religion, customs, etc.) to be alive today. It’s almost ingrained in Armenians to resist the strong pressure to become like those around you and forget where you come from, literally and metaphorically. That being said, there are Armenians all over the world and many of them do end up assimilating. Thankfully, growing up in such a strong Armenian community has allowed me and my friends to retain our culture and hopefully continue it beyond our time on Earth.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
After obtaining my college degree in Biology, I began to work in the field of clinical research. I worked on clinical trials for several years, which was a great career. Recently, I was laid off due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Although clinical research is both rewarding and profitable, I’ve come to realize that I’m a creative at heart. I had never considered making a career out of my passions before, but I am now able to do so because of my flexible schedule. I have been video-blogging on YouTube for the past few years and creating content on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Now is my time to shift my creative hobby into a career.
My work/art focuses on various topics such as cultural/social/political issues, spirituality, health/wellness, etc. My vlogs also contain how-tos, food & travel content, etc. I love discussing complex or controversial topics with my audience and opening up a safe space to dialogue for all. We are living in a climate of extreme binaries and many people are not willing (or given a platform) to meet in the middle. Examples of these types of discussions on my vlog include “I Hate Dogs” and “SEX WORK DOES NOT EMPOWER WOMEN…”
Another major reason why I vlog is to share tips, tricks and general information with people who can benefit from it in a practical way. This is exampled by my vlogs related to me getting fired (“I GOT FIRED”) and my process navigating the unemployment system (“SOCIAL SERVICES ARE NOT EASY TO GET & ARE MEANT FOR ALL”).
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
If you are interested in wellness, social justice, culture, political discussion, etc., feel free to follow me on my social media platforms. Let’s explore together!
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/ara_eek
- Twitter: twitter.com/ara_eek
- Youtube: YouTube.com/ara_eek
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@ara_eek