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Today we’d like to introduce you to Tommy Lei.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tommy. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
The beginnings were very quite humble and might be a familiar tale for some: Struggling publicist working to break the bamboo ceiling that kept me suppressed in the good ol’ corporate world. I was exhausted from the politics, the commute, and the uninspiring workload. As a Chinese-American, who grew up in a traditional household, and armed with an Ivy League degree from Cornell University, I found myself trapped in a system that only perpetuated this vicious cycle of despair and depreciation. It wasn’t exactly the future I had envisioned for myself.

That pure and intense exhaustion became the impetus for MYBELONGING. The site was born out of a desire to document and find meaning amongst my material investments – hence the name. Soon my retail therapy became a creative outlet for me. It was my escape from the daily humdrum of desk work. I then began to write about my intimate experiences with fashion, clothing, and style. That all intertwined to become what the blog and my social platforms are today.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nope, not at all. I’d be lying to claim otherwise. Despite the amount of early media attention and buzz I received, it wasn’t enough for me to convince brands and clients that MYBELONGING was a worthy investment. And this was around 2014 when Instagram influencers became an overnight sensation.

I truly believe it was because I didn’t approach the blog as a viable business prior to going full-time with it. The moment I took that giant leap of faith to truly transform and nurture the business, it made all the difference.

MYBELONGING.COM – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
MYBELONGING is a digital portal that is wholly dedicated to all things high-fashion menswear, modern luxury travel and lifestyle topics. The best part: I get to live my life and talk about how important self-expression is.

In a nutshell, I am a digital storyteller who specializes in creating compelling content through the lens of my photography and videography for a number of established and emerging clientele. Sometimes I am the photographer, sometimes I am the model or brand ambassador.

I am most proud of that the fact that I get to represent what it means to be a triple minority (Chinese, immigrant and gay) in today’s modern society, and I get to define it on my own terms. This is what also sets me apart from others — my roots, my heritage, and my individuality.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is the pursuit of living your own truth. The privilege of all time, to loosely quote Viola Davis, is having the opportunity to own who you truly are. It’s incredibly humbling to recognize that this isn’t something that everyone can afford to do, especially my fellow sisters and brothers that are oppressed, underrepresented and silenced for being in the minority. To be that beacon of hope for many others is success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Eric Hoshinoro, Mitch Dao, Dathias Godfrey, Kyle Hjelsemeth

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