ON THE SCENE X EMILY & JENNIFER SOONG
EMILY & JENNIFER SOONG
E: For me, we had one of our first more mature bonding moments when my sister was in college and I was working as a young professional in NYC. While celebrating the holidays with our family in New Jersey, I had taken Jen out to a new up-and-coming local restaurant for dinner. We had a genuine heart-to-heart catch up that felt like it lasted hours. I felt like I was getting to know my sister as an adult for the first time, and seeing her come into herself was a beautiful and proud moment for me.
Tell us about your favorite childhood memory together.
E: One of my favorite childhood memories was playing make-believe with Jen. My favorites were House and Restaurant. I’d like to think we were creative and resourceful from the very beginning! We used to create our own settings in the family room and use whatever rickety items we had laying around. As children, we ate out at restaurants a lot with our parents, especially on weekends, so it was always fun mimicking these scenarios at home in our own imaginative way.
J: Despite an eight-year age gap, I distinctly remember renting bootlegged VHS tapes from a local, family-owned corner store when my sister and I were young and staying up late in my parents’ bedroom to watch them. As children, we’d do things like play with each other’s hair as well.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
J: We do a Chinese-American Thanksgiving at my parents’ house: turkey, sticky rice, green bean casserole, steamed whole-fish with ginger & scallions, Asian crab cakes, brussel sprouts, bean curd, pie, etc. Emily does a solid blueberry cobbler too.
E: Family holiday get-togethers are one of my favorite family traditions, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. My sister and I always go home to my parents’ and dog’s house in New Jersey, and we’re usually joined by my aunt, uncle, family friends, and occasionally extended family, if they’re in town. The focus is usually around the kitchen and dining table, so FOOD is a big factor in all our gatherings, which is no surprise as we’re all big foodies. It’s a grand old time that usually lasts several days, and it’s just always a pleasure to see my sister and catch up with her then.
How would each of you describe your style? How do you style your Covry frames?
E: My style has changed over the years, especially as I've explored different parts of myself and experimented with how my outer style reflects my inner. Nowadays, I’d say my style is a mix between sporty chic (which really means a comfy pair of black Will Lane leggings or joggers, a basic top or sweater, finished off with simple kicks) and contemporary sleek (minimalistic, monochromatic tones, form-fitting tops & bottoms, and a good heel).
What I love about the Covry frames is that they can be styled both up and down. For our shoot, I went with a daytime sporty chic look. I wore our new WL Crew Jacket, over a white Everlane hoodie, with black metallic Will Lane leggings and black booties.
J: In my daily life, style has more to do with language than what I’m wearing. In both cases, it’s not what you say or what you wear, but how you say or wear it. And could these be made alike? Or be made to oppose one another? I’ll have to try wearing Covry frames extremely loudly while taking a relaxing walk at dusk, or try wearing them passionately while watching The English Patient. I’d like to be able to do that—to style Covry frames with and/or against cinema or nature or romance.
We created Elevated Fit® so that we could smile with confidence. What does confidence mean to each of you?
E: I think confidence means being comfortable in your own skin. Easier said than done, right? For me, comfort in one’s own skin means confronting all aspects of one’s self, being completely honest about what is reflected (both the good and not-so-good), and then owning up to all those parts. But it’s not to be confused with ego (big difference)!
When someone can be completely honest about who they are, their feelings and thoughts, the ups and downs, and where they are at that particular moment in their journey, that’s confidence to me! It’s completely inside-out, which is the ultimate sexy.
J: The word confidence evokes different associations, in my mind, that vary according to context. A good friend of mine Cate Mahoney, for instance, is currently writing an essay about confidence and the poet Frank O’Hara (who famously says, “just go on your nerve”). There, the meaning is about a certain literary transaction that involves trust but not intimacy between a writer and reader. In the context of economics, confidence may mean pursuing some action in spite of certain risks that are at stake. The phrase “smile with confidence,” actually strikes me as being quite specific in its meaning. Normally, when we smile in our day-to-day life—looking at a cute pet video, hanging out with friends, etc.—confidence isn’t a factor because smiling is involuntary. Genuineness seems to be more relevant there than confidence. However, “smile with confidence” seems to put us in a different context; here, confidence becomes an emotional and mental reserve necessary for a certain self-imaging or self-making in a social, exterior-facing context. In many ways, I think confidence means faking it until you make it and doing so with the knowledge that who we want to be is as much a part of us as who we think we already are.
Finally, the radical poet-activist Diane di Prima seems to offer a great example of confidence. In a video, she says that at age fourteen, she knew that she was a poet (not that she was merely “aspiring” to be one). She said she saw eye-to-eye with John Keats then, never for a minute thinking that he was this great literary figure and she, some little person. At that very moment of knowing who she was, though, she also knew what she wasn’t going to have, that she was going to be excluded from what she thought of then as normal human society. Knowing what you are but also what you aren’t seems like incredibly important part of confidence in that respect.