Why I Made the Decision Not to Change My Name—Twice
Names have always been doors into identity...
Thao is a creative dilettante, jumping from writing (including an ill-fated romance novel based on The Bachelor franchise) to designing and coding websites to cooking her mother’s recipes to sewing twirly dresses for her princess-obsessed daughter. She exhibits great energy and overconfidence in all her creative ventures, especially the ones that don’t pan out. You can read more of her writing at thaowrites.com or follow her on Instagram @thao_writes.
Where do you live? Columbus, Ohio
What's your day job? Design Director at an ecommerce company
Cupcakes or cashmere? Cupcakes—if I wore cashmere, it would be perpetually covered in cupcake crumbs, which really is the most elegant way to wear cashmere!
✨A Few Questions! ✨
What’s playing on your Spotify right now? I started a playlist called “Sappy Love Songs” and it’s full of the cheesiest ballads you can imagine. We’re talking: multiple instances of Phil Collins. I used to feel sheepish because my music taste is so un-evolved and juvenile; but now, I love wallowing in the emotion of those songs. There’s something about just feeling those big, cliché feelings.
One thing you never leave the house without? I’m basically a vending machine. I think it has something to do with my immigrant parents, who did not believe in ill-preparedness when it came to hunger. It also has to do with my having a young child, for whom food remains a powerful bribe. At any given time, I have Goldfish crackers, fruit leather, granola bars, gummies, and a bag of cut fruit in my purse. Once, a friend opened my glove compartment and found three kinds of jerky that I’d stashed for my half-hour commute to the office. Just in case, I insisted. I’m telling you: you’ll never regret packing a snack.
What are your favorite things to talk about? I really like hearing about people’s first-ever memory. Most of the time, they happen around the age of four or five, the age my daughter is now. I often wonder what her first memory will be and marvel at the way history feels like an ocean we all dip into at different points in time. Those first memories tell us so much about the version of self we carry with us throughout the years.
⚡️ Lightning Round ⚡️
Favorite food: A homestyle Vietnamese dish called thit kho (braised pork belly and egg in caramel sauce)
Favorite item of clothing: A rose-printed tea dress I sewed, because it matches the mini version I made for my daughter.
Cat or dog: I have a cat’s soul: reticent and observant. Prowling. Selectively affectionate.
Beach or mountains: Bring to me to the water, leave me in the waves.
One word friends would use to describe you: Sensitive
Favorite book of all time: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Favorite show right now: Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi