(Founders of The Cosmos)

Cassandra Lam and Karen Mok connected over a Facebook message. An afternoon coffee and conversation later, they recognized the need for a place where Asian women could be her full authentic self; this was the start of The Cosmos.
The Cosmos is a community for Asian women and gender non-binary creators to flourish and thrive. Through intentionally designed experiences and a digital community, the community creates and advocates for authentic representation and empowerment.  
What inspired you to start The Cosmos? 
The Cosmos started with a mutual friend connecting us over Facebook message in late 2017. We were both working on different creative storytelling projects at the time, and at first, we were just excited to meet another Asian woman tired of feeling invisibilized and not having a place to talk about all the confusing identity questions. We bonded over how tired and lonely we felt at the same time. We had a hunch we weren’t alone. So we started a Google Doc, which became this Medium post: “Who is the Asian American Woman? An Open Letter to our Community.'' Hundreds of women wrote back to us. We knew we had to bring people together, and when we did for our first retreat, the community made magic. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since!
What does it mean to be an Asian woman today?   
Navigating complex internal and external identity questions. We intentionally created The Cosmos to be a space for exploration and curiosity. We’re works in progress. We’re trying to figure out the in between of our given and chosen families; our American and Asian identities; our dreams and our cultural, familial, or societal expectations. That’s a lot for one person to try and handle on their own. So we hope within The Cosmos, being an Asian woman or gender non-binary individual can also mean feeling supported and lifted up by a community.
What has been the biggest lesson you learned in starting your own business?
Ask for help! We’re self-aware that we, and many of our community members, didn’t grow up with a culture that normalized asking for help. Nothing’s been more supporting to our unlearning than seeing our community support one another in small and big ways every day. 
The Cosmos is hosting its first summit in Brooklyn on August 25th. Tell us more! 
The Cosmos Summit on August 25th is the first large-scale experience made for and by the Asian women and gender non-binary community! We chose the theme Home-bound because we wanted to create a space to explore the experience of feeling in between and searching for a sense of home in ourselves and our community. 
Eight workshops, crowdsourced from the community, tackle issues often stigmatized or considered culturally taboo like “Write Your Pleasure: Exploring Sex, Pleasure, and Intimacy through Erotic Writing ” by author Thien-Kim Lam and “Real Talk on Mental Health for the Asian Community” led by Ivy Kwong, LMFT. We’re excited to partner with mission-aligned brands Bumble Bizz, Papa & Barkley, Covry Eyewear, Three Gems Tea, Orce Cosmetics, and Wonton in a Million to create one-of-a-kind experiences that provoke reflection on home, community, and belonging. 
GA and Cosmos Market Tickets (for allies!) are on sale here!
How would you describe your style? 
K: Relaxed, vibrant vintage. I love wearing unique pieces that tell a story so half of my wardrobe are pieces from my mom’s closet from the seventies. I mix the vintage pieces with relaxed, but vibrant pieces and accessories made for a woman on the go. I love pairing the Lyra Coral with a vintage silk camisole for a relaxed, but vibrant and fun look. The best part is I don’t have to think about them once they’re on because they fit so well on my nose bridge! 

C: Gemini as hell with a side of pragmatism. Which is to say I draw inspiration from every facet of my life! My deep curiosity for experiencing (or at least being open to) everything in life feeds into my multidisciplinary interests and style. I’m having a hard time summarizing my style into one word, so I’ll share what I love: bold colors, classic silhouettes that can be jazzed up with trendy accessories (#sustainability), and the tension between edgy and soft. What I love about the Carina is that the cat-eye frame suits every one of my moods and outfits!
We created Elevated Fit® so that we could smile with confidence and feel comfortable in our own skin. What does confidence mean to you?
Accepting and loving every part of our identity. 
Anything you learned recently that blew your mind away?
Twenty-eight members of the community are meeting at Mission Chinese the night before The Cosmos Summit!! Four people maxed out their reservation limit to make it happen. And we had nothing to do with it. Just seeing people come together and find each other every day in the community blows us away. 
Three things always in my bag? Tinted lip balm, Airpods, Swiss army knife 
Song of the moment? Benzo by Blood Orange
Best advice I received? "Kindness breeds safety and safety breeds confidence." -Steven Yuen
Emoji that best describes me? Me: 👸🏻 The Cosmos: 💜
Three things always in my bag? CBD oil, chapstick, and a scrunchie
Song of the moment? Good as Hell by Lizzo
Best advice I received? The most important voice to listen to is your own.
Emoji that best describes me? 😸