Good Light Founder David Yi on Inclusive Beauty and Cultural Appreciation

“Admire Korean cultures, stand with Koreans, and be an ally to us. As a lot as you like our magnificence [rituals], you higher love our folks, too.”

Souzan Michael Galway

Date Might 3, 2021

Multi-talented journalist, model founder and creator David Yi is a magnificence business powerhouse. With over a decade of expertise below his belt within the New York media house (the place he’s written for publications like WWD and Mashable), Yi launched his personal inclusive magnificence website, Very Good Mild, in 2016. His newest ventures embody a brand new genderless skincare model referred to as Good Mild and an upcoming e-book referred to as Fairly Boys (to be launched June 22).
Kicking off our collection of brand name founder interviews for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we caught up with Yi to talk all issues magnificence, together with why he’s launched not one however two inclusive magnificence manufacturers, and the way customers can respect Korean magnificence with out fetishizing cultural practices and rituals.
How did you make the transition from journalism to product improvement?
“I’ve been a journalist for over a decade, principally within the trend and sweetness house, working for locations just like the New York Each day Information, WWD and Mashable. Alongside the journey, I felt the sweetness house was so gendered. As an example, why are magnificence aisles so separated by the gender binary when there are, and have at all times been, extra expressions of gender than simply male or feminine? It additionally felt so alienating strolling down each aisles understanding that neither catered to somebody like me — a shopper who shaves but additionally likes to beat their face on occasion. One part is hyperfeminine whereas the opposite is hypermasculine, however I don’t assume most customers determine by both. It made me assume there was room for extra gender inclusivity and for the sweetness business to really be an area for all.”
How did you first get into journalism?
“I began in highschool at my college’s newspaper, The Lever. I at all times wrote about Asian American points or centred my expertise round being Korean American, which didn’t go down effectively with my editors. I keep in mind one white lady editor telling me that they may not publish tales on Asians as a result of they didn’t wish to be labeled an ‘Asian newspaper.’ The xenophobia is actual, folx. It made me notice that this particular person didn’t see Asians as Individuals — and I needed to battle for each single certainly one of my tales to be revealed. It was an uphill battle however I’m so grateful for these experiences that actually ready me for the hardcore journalism world in New York Metropolis.”
The democratization of magnificence is a serious pillar of your manufacturers. Are you able to inform me why that’s necessary to you?
“I grew up in Colorado Springs as one of many solely Asian Individuals in a predominantly white metropolis. I’ve at all times felt othered and as if I didn’t belong. There was additionally this notion that I wasn’t lovely due to my almond eyes, my jet black hair, or my golden pores and skin tone. As a result of I confronted racism early on, it was important for me to turn into an advocate and activist at a younger age — to battle for others in addition to for my very own folks. This early expertise allowed me to really feel an important sense of empathy in direction of others, and is the principle motive I grew to become a journalist. I wished to inform tales from all views and uplift others’ tales and their voices in order that they really feel empowered.”
What has it been like launching a model throughout the pandemic?
“It’s each rewarding and difficult. I used to be additionally concurrently engaged on my first e-book, Fairly Boys, which is non-fiction and a deep dive into the historical past of males, masc-identifying folx and their relationship with magnificence and energy. I additionally labored on our marketing campaign, BIDEN Magnificence, which was immediately viral and raised funds for the DNC. I used to be so busy and distracted with productiveness that I coped with my ache and anguish by means of suppressing it. I’m now decompressing, reflecting and in addition uplifting throughout this time. And therapeutic — I’m undoubtedly making an attempt to heal.”
You’ve stated earlier than you by no means felt represented within the magnificence neighborhood since you preferred sheet masks and make-up, but additionally facial hair grooming and so forth. Are you able to elaborate on that and the way Good Mild addresses that duality?
“Good Mild is a magnificence model that’s all about unleashing your personal good mild from inside. Firstly, it’s about self-actualization and love, self-worth and proudly owning your magnificence. If magnificence is within the eye of the beholder, be that beholder. Solely you may set the tone with regards to energy and company. I hope that Good Mild can proceed being a secure house to discover who you might be, your id and your energy. And we wish to create merchandise for all, regardless of your gender id, race, dimension, pores and skin tone, pores and skin texture, sexuality.”
What has it been wish to witness so many Korean magnificence rituals and practices turn into part of North American magnificence? Does it hassle you to listen to these practices be referred to as “tendencies”?
“It bothered me after I was youthful that Individuals would uncover different cultures and label them ‘tendencies’ as if we had been discoveries for them to uncover. In actuality, we’ve at all times been right here. We’ve at all times thrived. We’ve at all times been lovely; it’s simply that others had been sluggish to acknowledge centuries of our wealthy ancestry. Whereas I’m all about sharing cultures, I’m not for fetishization or objectifying anybody primarily based on their race or background. I really like that Okay-beauty is democratized for all — it’s as a result of Korean know-how is the world’s finest. However I’m additionally for appreciating cultures as effectively. Admire Korean cultures, stand with Koreans, and be an ally to us. As a lot as you like our magnificence [rituals], you higher love our folks, too.”
If Good Mild was round whenever you had been rising up in Colorado Springs, how wouldn’t it have modified your strategy to magnificence? What would a model like this have meant to you?
“It could have been so transformative. It could have been every part. To really feel like seen, heard and validated would have meant the world. Illustration issues — and I nonetheless cling onto Very Good Mild and Good Mild selfishly in occasions after I, too, want neighborhood.”
Rising up, what was your relationship to magnificence like?
“I grew up with a Korean mom and father who each emphasised magnificence merchandise. My father would groom himself by slathering his pores with essences, toners and lotions. My mom would do the identical, inculcating to a younger, impressionable me how necessary sunscreen is. I didn’t know this on the time however now after reflection, I perceive how that was their method of coping towards American racism and surviving by means of hardships. With each drench of their pores, they had been training self-love. 5 minutes each morning and night time was a routine only for them, the place they may quiet the world and be aware, current and within the second.”
What are your targets Good Mild?
“My targets for Good Mild are to persevering with championing range, inclusivity and understanding that we’ve a lot work to do! I’m rolling up my sleeves each day and seeing how I will help.”
What would you like the model to say to individuals who really feel like they don’t belong?
“I hope that Good Mild portrays magnificence past the binary. There’s a lot energy and sweetness on the market. We — collectively, all of us — are worthy and I hope this magnificence model reveals that sure, a model can provide a rattling!”


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