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childhood photo of Angela with her dad and sister

How My Dad's Advice Fueled the Kim Girls’ Success as Asian-American Women

Written by: Angela Kim



Time to read 1 min

In honor of AAPI month, I am paying tribute to my father, who imparted a valuable lesson to my sisters and me.

This story illustrates how my middle sister and I each embraced different aspects of his advice, allowing us to express ourselves and confront injustice in our unique ways.

Growing up in Iowa as Korean-Americans, we faced daily microaggressions and stereotypes. Our father's accented English was often mocked, and we were ridiculed for our appearance.

In kindergarten, after being racially insulted and pinched by a classmate, I came home crying, and my dad advised, "Don't be scared—just pinch her back, Angie. If she does it again, tell the teacher immediately. Then, focus on being the best in your class. Success will always be your best revenge."

While I took my dad's advice to heart, I never “pinched back” and felt more comfortable succeeding at the piano, eventually becoming a concert pianist.

My middle sister, however, took to heart the "pinch back" approach; one day, she heard that my youngest sister had been bullied by a boy on our street.

She pushed the bully up against a locker and said, "If you ever make fun of my little sister again, I will punch you in the balls so hard. Do you understand?" He never made fun of her again.

True to our early tendencies, the Kim sisters addressed injustices in different ways through our careers.

My sister became a lawyer fiercely advocating for educational rights and founding inner-city NYC schools for underserved communities.

Meanwhile, I created Savor Beauty —founded, led, and made in New York by women. The brand not only celebrates our skin but also bridges my Korean heritage with my American upbringing.

As we celebrate #AAPI month, I am reminded of the importance of honoring our unique expressions and diverse backgrounds. My dad's advice to “pinch back” taught me to use my voice through my life’s work in the face of microaggressions and stereotypes.

Through our varied paths—one as a lawyer and the other as a skincare brand founder—my sisters and I demonstrate that there is no singular way to express our identities.

baby picture of Angela and sister

As Asian women, we were encouraged in the past to remain silent and conform. However, I'm encouraged to see these stereotypes fading, inspiring a new generation of Asian women to be bold and fearless.

angela jia kim

Angela Jia Kim, founder of Savor Beauty and author of Radical Radiance: 12 Weeks of Self-Love Rituals, lives in New York City with her teen daughter, mini golden retriever, and philanthropic partner. She embodies a radiance lifestyle through mindful skincare, Kundalini Yoga, mat Pilates, and chakra cleansing rituals. 💞