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Life & Work with Ally Gong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ally Gong.

Hi Ally, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I moved from Shanghai to the Bay Area when I was four years old. Chinese was my first language and China was my first home but I’ve grown to love California and eventually attended college in Los Angeles. Growing up, I continued to pursue creative writing, studio art, music, fashion, and graphic design through classes and in my own time. Although I didn’t formally study art in college at UCLA, I always felt motivated to take any kind of step towards my creative visions when possible. It was such a great way to expand my perspective and connect with interesting and talented people. I signed as a commercial talent my freshmen year to an agency in LA, which opened my eyes to many other experiences in the fields of acting, improvisation, and film. Now, I’m a full-time writer, Youtuber, and entrepreneur. So I’d say that art and creativity have always been part of my story, but it was only recently that it became my central focus.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely been an unpredictable road. One of the hardest parts is not knowing if I’m investing my time in the right skills or projects, and it can take a while before there’s any tangible feedback from these efforts. Connecting with mentors who have more perspective on what I’m looking to do is really helpful in these situations. As I’m building both an e-commerce business and a personal brand based around creativity, it can be challenging to prioritize and switch gears between different types of work. I take a lot of time to plan and design my work structure which helps with this. I think a key thing in these self-directed paths is to always test your ideas and then be willing to pivot if necessary, without taking it personally or seeing the time as a waste. It’s rare that one jumps into their final product or creative direction right off the bat – I think in most cases, it requires a patient chipping away over time. Mental health (especially during Covid) can also be a struggle, but it definitely helps that I can set manage my energy and set my own timelines accordingly. Since my work is often quite personal, and I’m mostly working alone (especially during the pandemic where it’s harder to collaborate or spend in-person time with other creatives) it can definitely be spiraling at times. The more I try to verbalize and understand my inner world, the better I am at helping myself create systems that are sustainable and work well for me.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I write poetry books (my debut novel, LA Baby, is about my college years in Los Angeles), run Babeboxers with my sister (our brand selling boxer shorts for girls), and share my daily life experiences on my blog and YouTube channel. I specialize in communication (written, verbal, visual), aesthetic curation and bringing creative visions to life. Although a lot of the work I’m focused on now is digital media-related, my core dream is to be a writer. I recently published my second book Isolation which is about the pandemic, mental health, and modern technology, and social media. It means a lot when readers connect to my writing and find the messages helpful or expansive in some way to their own life. I think what sets me apart is my unique set of skills and my internal vision. I’m sure music, art, film, and the written language will always continue to be part of the human experience, but the platforms and expressions of it are ever-changing so I try not to limit myself too much to one medium. Instead, I focus on creatively expressing my unique experiences and learnings in emotional and universal ways.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My family and loved ones have been so supportive over the years and have shaped a lot of my memorable adventures. My online community is amazing, giving me helpful feedback and general encouragement. I really appreciate all my friends in diverse creative fields who help me and inspire me, as well as close friends who give me feedback and perspective on my projects. Ultimately, I think people inspire me the most and I always want to give back the support that I’ve received from so many people throughout the years. Lastly, I’ve always looked to a handful of favorites artists, writers, and actors who have changed the status quo through their work. Being able to easily access their groundbreaking ideas and works is both inspiring and grounding, and has always been encouraging (especially when I’m doubting my purpose or dreams.) Famous artwork or books throughout history reminds me that in our ever-changing world, there’s a certain sense of timelessness and congruence in the human experience.

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Image Credits:
Prestigious Models & Talent Agency

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