Scarlett Hao on Inspiring Confidence in Women Through Instagram


Scarlett and I sat down to learn about her career in fashion, influencer marketing, and inspiring women every day to be confident in their own skin. She grew up in both Germany and China and now lives in New York City. Scarlett confidently told me about her story and style.

Scarlett, tell us about your diverse childhood experiences.

I was born in China. I moved to Germany when I was six, and I grew up there until the age of nine, and then went back to China. I moved to San Francisco when I was 18 for my senior year of high school. After that, I went to the University of Washington in Seattle for college and New York University for grad school.

What was your first job after college?

I worked in Los Angeles for a fashion PR agency between college and grad school for a year. Public Relations was my major.

What was it like living in multiple countries as a child?

I loved both Germany and China, and it was a great memory lived in Germany as a child. That made my outlook very western, but Chinese culture definitely had a big influence on me, too. Living in Germany changed my eating habits a lot. I am bigger than most Asians in my generation because of that, but the younger generation is the same as me because of how global exchange is so easy and fast. That’s also why I want to represent curvy plus-size Asian women nowadays, to change the social norm.

How did your career in social media start?

I always loved fashion since I was young. When I was in college, there was no fashion major, so I started a fashion club. I founded it in my sophomore year, and I started getting involved with fashion off campus. We would volunteer a lot at both small and big fashion companies in Seattle. I knew nothing about social media in the beginning, and I started posting about my outfits. I became a fashion influencer based on my hobby and have been growing my channel ever since then.

Tell us about your first experiences as a curvy influencer.

When I went to Fashion Week the first time, I was so excited and nervous, and I noticed no one shot me for street style, and I realized it was because of my size. Finally, one photographer asked to photograph me, and I was so excited, and he asked where I was from, and I said China and he said, “There is no way you are Asian, you are too curvy,” and it opened a new world to me about social stereotypes and the importance of body positivity. I started the activism hashtag #asiangotcurves on social media.

How do you support women on Instagram?

I want to inspire and help women feel confident and love themselves through my fashion style and pass on meaningful messages on Instagram. I started doing research and realized that the curvy women communities are so supportive, and also that there is no Asian representation, so I felt the need to represent the Asian community in the plus-size and fashion industry. I was working with the plus-sized companies and many of them never knew there was an Asian market. There are plus-sized Asians, and there is a need. And the population is huge, so there is a big market.

What do you want to change in the Asian community?

I want to introduce the amazing, diverse culture of America and body positivity message to China and Asian countries, where women are strong and beautiful regardless of size.  I also want to show the western community that not all Asians are just skinny and shy. Asian women can be confident, we have a voice, and we love to share our thoughts and ideas.

I want to tell other Asian women that loving our bodies is the first step to being mentally confident and beautiful. Today, I try to speak up for Asian women and raise awareness to break stereotypes.

What does it mean for you to be powerful?

Being powerful is knowing what you want to do, staying true to who you are, and believing in what you’re doing can have influence on others. It is so important to believe in what you do and speak up for what you do. Don’t let other people’s judgment get to you. Having a positive influence on others is powerful.

How did you know you wanted to start your own agency?

It was from my PR major and career background. I just fell in love, and it made me jump from the traditional PR and digital marketing. I think there is so much potential in this area. As an influencer myself, I could use my specialty to help my clients and promote their brands better. A lot of the brands I work with really want to work with influencers, but they don’t know where to start, so I wanted to create opportunities. Also, I always encourage them to change their sizes and work with diverse talents.

Follow Scarlett on Instagram!


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