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Conversations with the Inspiring Serein Wu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Serein Wu.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Serein. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My blog originally started in 2011 and was called Dress Yourself Happy. It was an online journal for me to express all I was feeling during my engagement to my now-husband. Through the years, I’ve used it as a brain dump, private and personal, never imagining anyone would actually read it. I didn’t even know blogging was a thing.

Many things have changed over the last eight years, and the blog has been not only a therapeutic space in which I could be myself but also a way to track how much I’ve grown since.

Looking back, I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life; I just wasn’t diagnosed till my early 20’s. Everyone around me called me dramatic and emotional. It probably didn’t help that I was a dancer and later on an actor. An added complexity, as a first-generation Chinese American woman, I was taught that open expressions of emotions are shameful and frowned upon within both my family and culture.

2012 was the beginning of a period in my life when I felt completely lost and broken. The career I’d worked so hard at since I was 14 was no longer fulfilling and I knew I had to make a change, but I also had no idea what I’d do with my life. This was the beginning of a period of sheer loss of identity and sense of self: a quarter-life crisis if you will.

I was depressed and frustrated and paralyzed by the unknowing. There was therapy and a lot of self-help books. There was anger and apathy and always a piece of the puzzle that was missing- and I wasn’t even sure of what that puzzle was. That feeling of lacking and not knowing was debilitating. I found no motivation and couldn’t move. If there wasn’t a meeting I had to be presentable for, I’d spend my entire day in bed.

Fashion and beauty were my ways out. I had always felt that they were the mediums for freedom of expression and self-love, and because they brought such joy to my life, I had every magazine subscription there was. Vogue was my literature and Sephora my haven- shopping with my mom was one of my favorite ways to spend my time. One by one, these little reminders of color and creativity grew until, on my mission to find more, I finally stumbled across the YouTube beauty community. Within moments, I realized that I had given up. I had stopped caring not only about my circumstance but especially about my body and in essence, my very self.

Amy Cuddy summarized it best: “Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” And I began to think… if I pay my body the love and attention it deserves, then maybe I can change the way I feel every day. And if I can feel right and happy within my skin, then maybe I can make change and pave new ways for success. And so I began to dress myself happy, and after six years of many ups and many downs, I can honestly say that I am.

In 2014, on a complete whim, I started a YouTube Channel and, along with the channel, the blog evolved to what it is today. While the blog (and I) has evolved through the years, it’s always been about motivating my readers to take care of themselves. My content has always focused on self-care because beauty to me means more than makeup and skincare; it’s about taking the time and energy to truly take care of yourself on all levels: physical, emotional, and mental.

My mission is to share that lesson: Dress yourself happy. Do it because you deserve it. Dress yourself happy because I did, and I have never understood myself better than I do now. My goal is to spread that message and to help you feel and look your best so that you can go out there and conquer whatever life has to throw at you. I want to inspire, motivate, and help you escape whatever troubles you might have because YouTube and blogging saved my life. I owe so many bloggers and vloggers for where I am today as a human being, and so if I can be that message of hope and love for anyone else, then I’ve done my very best.

At the end of 2019 I became a certified health coach and am currently studying nutrition through Precision Nutrition. Become of the loss of my mom in 2017 I went through my own personal health struggles and realized how poor the information we are taught about health and nutrition is in the U.S. While many influencers spout nutrition, health, and wellness advice, I wanted to make sure I was qualified to share my experiences and provide valuable information in an age of misinformation.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a rough road with moments of amazing opportunities. While diversity has come a long way, especially the last four years, it’s still far from where it needs to be. YouTube and blogging was a place to have more control over the content I wanted to produce and reach an audience that could relate. Being a minority, it’s still been hard to break through with certain parts of the industry. Running your own company was also never the plan but had to be learned along the way. Making tons of mistakes business-wise, but learning from it. I would say any woman who wants to start their journey should. It does not matter what, but if you think you are passionate and want it, then do it. You can always stop or quite, but you’ll never be able to know for sure if something is right for you if you don’t try.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Most know me for skincare, sharing professional treatments, and helping my audience de-stress. In 2019, I embarked on a “No Buy” journey that was highly received. Focused on slower beauty and quality over quantity.

Dealing with my own health journey online, grieving the loss of my mom, and continued battle with depression, I decided to become a certified health coach at the end of 2019 and am currently studying nutrition with Precision Nutrition. Beauty to me is all-encompassing and health how we feel is a huge aspect of that.

My mom use to always say “your health is the most valuable thing you have” I didn’t truly understand that till I didn’t have it.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
While this is slowly become not the case, I feel like women can be our own worst enemy. We grow up often pitted against each other. Judging one another vs. sticking together. Women tend to pick each other apart and often times not even recognize we are doing it because it has been the social norm for so long.

A huge issue I have are comments on appearances good or bad. We are more than that. If I had a daughter, I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking her only value in life is how she looks.

It’s okay to want to look your best and to want to feel beautiful, but I think being smart, innovative, creative, brave, strong, able to endure, fight, compassion, empathy, a problem solver is way more important than if her hair is to your liking.

Beauty is beyond physical appearances and not enough of the beauty industry is recognizing this.

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