We had the good fortune of connecting with Mei-Ling Mirow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mei-Ling, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Ever since I was little I feel like I have always been the one to test out the waters, some could call it break the rules, but I saw it as taking thought out risks! Fear is something that holds back a lot of people from really discovering all the potential they have and I use to let fear control what I did and didn’t do. Over the years of trying new things and not always succeeding I learned that failing at something doesn’t mean you yourself are a failure. In fact I see myself as someone who never gave up on myself and really trying to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. There are so many things that I have accomplished and so many moments where I grew as a person because I took a risk weather that was me saying yes to something that was unfamiliar or me saying no because I knew that there was too much on my plate already.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A little back story, I was adopted when I was 16 months old and brought back from China and have lived in California ever since. I also have dyslexia, which is very common but call effect everyone differently, for me I struggle with reading and memory retrieval. This made school so much harder and nothing came easy for me other then art and music. I never felt that insecure about me being adopted but I use to be bullied a lot for being Asian. There would be comments about me being smart or people would say just ask Mei because she’s smarter than us, she’s asian. Little did they know, because of my dyslexia, I had to work 10x as hard just to understand something that usually would only take 1 or 2 times for someone else to pick up. But, all this being said It pushed me and taught me to never just coast on something. I built up so much perseverance and patience with not only things I did or people around me but also with myself and with anything I decided to take on. That is how I got through the bullying and toxicity in high school, thats how I got through academically struggling through college, and that is how I am getting through getting my MFA in Graphic Design! One of the most important things I have learned is self respect and how absolutely important it is to have that for yourself. My favorite thing to remind myself and others is “How you say something, really determines what you are saying” and this goes for what you do as well. Your actions can speak louder than words and if your actions don’t align with who you are and your values than why are you doing it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend from out of town I think I would start early everyday and go to one of my favorite restaurants, Swami’s Cafe, and take it to go and eat on the beach. I would want to try different areas every day and experience something new. One day maybe go down to Pacific Beach, Mission Bay and go on a bought and maybe try wakeboarding if its summer time. I definitely would want to take them to Balboa Park and spend a day there walking around and going to the museums! I would want to take them to Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy in downtown San Diego because the nightlife is so cute! Another fun place I would take them is Carlsbad Village to walk around there and maybe ride bikes on the board walk and also travel up to Oceanside to also ride bikes and see the pier! One place I would bring them for sure before they left is Double Peak Lookout on San Elijo to watch a 360 view sunset!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The love I have for everyone who has supported me, helped me and grew me as a person is immense! The first couple people I will shoutout every time is my family, thank you to my mom for always pushing me because I am strong and independent because of her. Thank you to my dad for always supporting me as an artist and teaching me the unconditional kindest that this world needs more of. Shoutout to my sister for being my best friend and the one person I can always trust. In college I worked as a graphic designer at Associated Student Inc. and everyone on my team and who worked in that department has a special place in my heart. ASI was my second home and a place where I grew not only as a person but as a graphic designer, creative, media coordinator and so on and so forth! Another person I would love to shoutout is my mentor Karen Ogden who I work closely with for a non-profit. She has been one of my biggest supporters and rocks, letting me develop and really experiment with new opportunities to grow! Also Shoutout to my best friends, you know who you are, for being on of the many reasons I never give up because I just want to make ya’ll proud!
Olaf Zielinski Ryan Callanta