David Yi, Founder of Very Good Light
1. First of all, what is the “coolest” thing about you?
The coolest thing about me is that I whistle through my teeth. TBH I don't know what "cool" even means any more. But if I was to say what that is it's probably that I'm deeply spiritual and live my life spirit-driven. It's very woo-woo (as Oprah would say), but being able to channel your spirituality is immensely powerful and completely cool.
2. What is the least “cool” thing about you?
That I can whistle through my teeth.
3. If anyone knows the ins and outs of editorial, it’s you. You took a successful career in house at publications and then translated that success into your own venture, Very Good Light. What do you feel has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in your editorial career thus far?
The hardest lesson that I've learned is to be patient and to trust the process. I know this is trite and literally uncool to say, but I think it's really true. In the beginning, I couldn't wait for the day I'd have millions of readers and followers. But it takes time. And that's okay – that's actually amazing. Slow growth is powerful. After all, slow and steady wins the race, and we're taking our sweet time to be thoughtful.
4. No matter how successful you are, launching your own venture is never easy (every time I put something out into the world I spend like ¾ of the time just trying to get rid of the thoughts that “I’m not qualified” or “I don’t deserve success” etc. etc. (TMI? TMI) What scared you most about launching Very Good Light? What scares you most now?
I was so scared of disappointing my friends and family that I actually lost a lot of sleep. I was also super scared that no one would care – that this would go unnoticed and become but a little blog by some random person. But thankfully, we've had many supporters since! What scares me now is being completely authentic and transparent to our readers. I want to them to know that we're always going to speak the truth even if brands or people aren't onboard with that. The truth matters. And we're going to keep promoting that ‘til the very end.
5. In the US, men’s beauty is still a weird topic. In some places, it’s totally embraced, and in others (I’m from Wisconsin and know that it’s definitely not ~mainstream~ there) it’s where it was decades ago. How do you, personally, cope with societal stigmas about this area & have you ever personally felt the effects of problematic prejudices? It's important that we take other people's perspectives into consideration.
Not everyone has your upbringing, your environment, or your story. We need to be completely open to people's ideas — though they might not understand. That being said, we're changing perspectives by being powerfully ourselves. I think that's completely transformative and will continue changing the world.
6. Big picture question here: what would you say is your biggest insecurity in life right now? My biggest insecurity at the moment is seeing myself as my friends and family sees me.
I admit, I have imposter's syndrome, and it's something that I'm actively trying to get through. I want to continue practicing self-love and worth and respect.
7. What insecurity — personal or career-oriented — are you most proud of overcoming in your adult life? How did you overcome it?
I'm very proud that I was able to forgive those who've hurt me in this industry. It's taken so long for me to do so – but by letting go and sending love, I was able to move on and become more powerful.
8. If you could tell someone who wanted your life but thought they weren't "cool enough" just ONE THING, what would you tell them?
Being "cool" is so subjective. And by chasing "cool" you'll never be "cool." Being cool means being authentically you – whatever that is – and being able to shine your truth from the inside out. When you find that very good light it transforms not only you, but the world.