Hi. My name is Rebecca. I saw a need in my own life and am currently trying to meet it, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. I am a Jewish-Salvadoran-Angeleno Woman. A Californian, an American, a global citizen, a long time New Yorker (but really, Brooklynite) recently returned to Los Angeles. Also, Viennese, German, Brazilian…. I am each of these and all of these plus more.
I have always been interested in the range of cultural identities and how they shift across contexts and intersect with each other. And then I met my dude and he’s a brilliant, kind, generous… white guy. We have so many things in common. But I was pretty anxious because I would be the first person in my family marrying someone who was not Jewish (and not planning to convert) and not only not Jewish, but not from an immigrant family.
As we planned our life together (and our wedding), I searched online for models or resources but everything was so, howdoyousay, Deathly Boring and UnInspired. I found pieces of advice and useful tools here and there but no one really got it. And it wasn’t just me! I realized that I was constantly talking to all my friends about how we were each navigating this mixed marriage thing, whatever the mash-up of cultures. We gave each other advice and just rolled with laughter regaling each other with the culture clashes that come with this territory. (Pro-Tip: you must have a sense of humor about this.) I learned these clashes don’t go away, but you can develop tools to deal with them.
So then I was like, WAIT! No media company or marketer or whatever understands that while I am a woman and a public radio nerd and a hip hop lover and a Jew and an American and a Salvadoran, it’s also possible to be all of those things at one time. No one was slicing the pie this way and I knew there was an opportunity to do this: reflect this cultural shift and provide a service to people.
Nine million people checked multiracial on the 2010 census, up 32% from 2000. Over 22% of Americans have family in mixed-race marriages (soaring to 34% with Americans 18-29). 45% of marriages are interfaith. Yet representation in media is limited, providing a distorted popular view of people from “other” cultures and creating deeper divides in an already politicized country. Lifestyle resources for how we should manage the conflicts are even more scarce. The problem is, there is no platform that frames these emerging cultural issues as an opportunity.
You know when you read about a new invention or new app or just someone’s take on the world and think, “Oh, I totally had that idea!” Yep. That’s normal. This time I realized that I didn’t want to wait for someone else to do it. So I called my friend Amy Choi, a brilliant woman, journalist and Korean-American married to a Mexican/Colombian-American (plus a new mom!) and she was like, “YES. PLEASE.”
My goal is to help people navigate mixed identity life in America. I want The Mash-Up Americans to reflect all of the hilarious stories and hybrid cultures we see in our every day lives. I know people are seeking out guidance when they are coming up on big milestones such as weddings, babies and death, and I hope to provide really practical tools. Think: questions for the newly engaged!, what/how to name your kid!, what to eat at holidays!, etc. I also know once you start to see the world through this lens, it’s addictive. You start to see Mash-Ups everywhere: food, music, news, humor, sports. My dad now calls me every time he hears the word Mash-Up, whether related or not.
I have always had one Big Job, and now I am taking the time to work on this and making a living through consulting as I build a business, which is basically twice as much work as just one job. Managing content creation, audience development, a developing business model, SOCIAL MEDIA (kajhdf;lkadfsklj) and constant pivoting, is absolutely terrifying. It’s also thrilling. I have an extremely supportive husband who believes I am going to change the world (and buy us a really sweet house on the beach) with this idea. I believe that we are on to something great and that there’s a real business opportunity here.
To sum it up, for the first time in my life I am putting my idea out into the world for people to engage with and it’s a helluva a lot scarier than doing a job within a company. Every day I wake up and think, “WHAT AM I DOING??” And then I realize, I am making things happen.
And if any of you know how to suddenly have 1,000,000 Twitter followers, call me.
Photo credit: Duane Fernandez