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Meet Stephanie Chhang aka GUAPAN!E

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Chhang.

Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Honestly, I am pretty surprised to see where I am at today. I am graduating with a B.A. in Fashion Merchandising from Cal State Long Beach amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and I recently started my journey as a DJ. In retrospect, I am glad I am graduating with a major I am passionate about rather than choosing a career path that I would not be happy with.

Growing up, I had a vast curiosity for many things. I would do various DIY projects, played the violin, taught myself to play the ukulele, took up photography, and practiced dancing. At a young age, I began to sketch clothes and styled myself with my sister’s clothes. Throughout high school, I spent my free time going to concerts, art shows, and navigating my way through creative events exploring different career opportunities.

My early influences are Softest Hard, Mia Carucci, and Kronika. I started my DJ journey as a DJ intern with CSULB’s 22 West Media (shout-out to Dom and Charles!) and attended a workshop with DJ Kittens. About a year later, I attended the Academy of DJs in Santa Ana, which allowed me to develop my skillset and taught me more about the industry.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a roller coaster of emotions, but it’s a learning process. Many times, I’d wonder if I made the right decision choosing Fashion Merchandising as my major being that it’s such a competitive industry and if I’ll have a steady career. That fear goes for DJing too, it’s been a male-dominated industry for so long, every time I see a female DJ it’s so empowering! Nonetheless, when starting out there’s a level of insecurity, comparing yourself to other DJs, feeling intimidated by more seasoned DJs, the list goes on. But it definitely helps to surround yourself with people who help lift you up, support your passion, and give you honest feedback. Shout-out to Jade and GOODENOUGHCAMPAIGN for building a supportive network of creatives and bringing awareness to issues that they face. It’s also important to learn to love yourself and all your imperfect flaws, understanding that everyone is going at their own pace, and there’s always room for growth and ways to improve.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a DJ, I spin at clubs and lounges, and although COVID-19 has brought things to a halt, I have been DJing for brands on IG Live! My genre of choice is hip-hop and R&B, but I have been adding house to the mix lately. As a Fashion Merchandising student, I’m still finding my way through the multifaceted Fashion industry, but my desired plan is to work in the streetwear field and eventually start my own business.

Before getting into DJing and starting college, I was considered shy and reserved. I can still be a bit quiet, but I am so proud to see how much I have come out of my shell, I feel more confident and more comfortable to show my personality and who I am. It was a major transformational moment during my first public DJ performance which was in a room full of family, friends, and strangers. The leadership roles I took on in college also played a huge part in my growth and confidence. So I am a true believer of stepping outside of your comfort zone, it could lead to unimaginable results.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am very lucky to have a strong support system of family and friends. I would not be where I am today without the people in my life.

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Image Credit:
22 West Media, Derek Kim, David Chad Yu, Elizabeth Tran, Malike Sidibe, Matthew Ng

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