Ignite. Excite. Empower.

Why do you support the Cycle Initiative? (Why is it important to you / for you to empower women?)
I feel that femininity has long been socially considered the antonym to strength... e.g., think of quotes such as "wear the pants," "has the balls" or "be a man." Additionally, girls are often implicitly given the choice to either be girly and pursue fashion, etc. OR to pursue the math and sciences. It's almost as if we are given the choice to be pretty OR to be smart.

Hence, I think there is a lot of merit behind a movement that celebrates female qualities as powerful. We don't have to choose to either be feminine or to be strong: we can be both. I personally love fashion and baking just as much as I love chemical engineering and patent law.

Briefly outline your own struggles on your way to achieving success.
Without going into lengthy detail, I've faced many struggles in moving from China to the United States, growing up straddling two sets of conflicting cultural idealisms, and dealing with many other stumbling points along the way. At the end of the day, I've had to somehow integrate seamlessly into American society without losing my cultural identity.

Career-wise, I've gone from wanting to be a scientist when I was three years old, to being obsessed with all things chemistry in high school, to being torn between Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry so much that I ended up double majoring in college, to figuring out that law school (patent law) was a better fit for me in the end. All the while I've been running fashion projects on the side... from my first website venture that ended up on the pages of Marie Claire and on E! News... to the Stylish Sophisticate, which I've had the pleasure of working on with an amazing team of professional females, stylists, photographers, and interns.

In other words, I'm not sure if I've even come close to "achieving success" yet, but I've definitely have had my share of struggles! I have found that surrounding myself with others who massively inspire me and continuously picking myself up after I fail works wonders.

Can you describe the importance of social support structures / a tribe / a sisterhood?
I would not be here today if not for my friends and my family. Support networks keep us both inspired and yet grounded. Groups of human beings have accomplished much more together than alone: Culture, Discourse, and Marketplace all are made possible by tribes.

Diya Liu | Editor-In-Chief | Stylish Sophisticate Media LLC