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Love Is The Secret Ingredient

With Cathlyn Choi

Published on: Jul 20, 2018

When you put love into everything you do, you’ll enjoy it more. Even with the food, Korean food ambassador Cathlyn Choi says love is the secret ingredient and it will taste better when you cook with love. Love and dedication are two of the most important things that helped shaped Cathlyn’s life. Having traveled around a lot with her parents, Cathlyn was never afraid of being treated differently. She says it’s all about who you are, whether you’re confident, social, feel at ease, and adapt quickly wherever you go. Her dedication into everything she pursues is evident by the accomplishments under her belt. Cathlyn has always believed that if you have something you want to accomplish, then make the plan and start learning things. She takes us through her journey from Saigon to Brunei to Korea and to the US to show that when you commit and work at your goal daily, you will succeed much sooner.

Love Is The Secret Ingredient with Cathlyn Choi

Each week, we hope you find examples of being seen, heard, and understood, so that you gain more courage and confidence to live your life with the power of freedom and choice. Have you ever wondered what is the secret for success? Is it pure luck or is it a combination of many hours of dedication and commitment? Our guest for this episode has the answer to this question. Cathlyn Choi is the television producer, a show host, a chef, an author, and a community activist. She was dubbed as the Korean food and cultural ambassador by the Korean and US media. She has twenty years of experience as a TV show host. She has produced and hosted Cathlyn’s Korean Kitchen and Asian Voices. Kathleen is a writer, product reviewer and blogger for Huffington Post, Korea Herald and Henning magazine. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Culture and Media Alliance, ACMA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Cathlyn received the appreciation award in 2011 from the former first lady of Korea Yoon-ok Kim and a humanitarian award in 2017 from the Fil-Am Humanitarian Foundation. Here she is, Cathlyn Choi.

Welcome to the show, Cathlyn. I understand that you are the first generation of Korean-American here?

Yes, I am. Thank you for inviting me on your show.

You’re welcome. Please share with us your story growing up in America as an immigrant. Did you feel different or got treated differently because of your skin color?

I am a first generation, but I moved to the US after I got married to my first husband in 2000. That’s when I moved here. I came here as a grown woman, so I did not grow up here. When I got here, everybody thought I was naturally born here and grew up here because they said I didn’t have any accent. Some people said, “You have a California accent,” and I have no idea what a California accent is. I said, “I feel flattered.” I have learned English growing up. I used to live in a country called Brunei that is a small country on the island of Borneo and Southeast Asia. I grew up there for twelve years. I went to a British Catholic school there. That’s where I learned my English and initially, I had a very strong British accent, but I had to change that when I went back to Korea to further my studies. I went through two years of high school and then four years of university there. I had to adapt to the Korean way of speaking English with an American accent. That’s why I’m speaking with an American accent.

You did not notice any different treatment because you are very good in your accent and people might thought that you are born here. You are not an immigrant and therefore, they might treat you differently.

No, I was never afraid of that growing up. I’ve traveled around a lot with my parents through Southeast Asia, through Europe and when I came here, it’s all about the person, who you are. If you seem very confident and social, I’m very social person, I felt pretty much at ease wherever I go, and I adapt very quickly. Although I went through a little bit of a culture shock myself when I came here. It took me about six months before I overcame that barrier of a culture shock. It’s mainly when somebody is not comfortable with the language at the place where the person is. I was fortunate enough to be fluent in both Korean and English and I also have a passion for learning foreign languages growing up. Wherever I go, I try to learn that language, at least basic conversations so I can get around.

When I first landed in Los Angeles, I was very surprised that there were not a lot of Caucasians there. It was like a country with a lot of diversity. I saw African-Americans, Middle Eastern people, and Asians everywhere. That was very interesting for me because I had no idea. I was only looking at some of the television programs and you know how TV shows are. That was a little bit of an interesting perspective coming from Korea for the first time in the US and there were a lot of things culturally that were different. Wherever I went for the first time and whenever I’m experiencing something for the first time culturally, whether it’s language or profession, I always let people know that I am ready for any changes and that I am always willing to learn. I always tell everybody, “If you don’t know, ask.” That’s the first advice I want to give anybody. Some people may be intimidated, some people might be a little bit embarrassed to ask some questions. There is no such thing as a silly or stupid question. You have to ask. If you don’t ask, you will never find out the answer. That’s my first advice.

I would say I wasn’t treated differently at all. As a matter of fact, I learned that a lot of people thought I was either Hawaiian sometimes because I tend to get very dark skinned when I’m out in the sun. Unlike a lot of Korean ladies who don’t want to be exposed in the sun to get sun spots on their faces or their bodies, they tend to be very pale in comparison to me. I love the sun because I was born in the month of August and I’m a Leo. I like to go out and soak in the sun and get a nice tan. A lot of people thought I was from Hawaii. As you grow older, after I reached the age of 40, I thought, “I need to be a little bit more careful about being out in the sun for too long because I start getting sun spots and wrinkles on my face. My mom’s always telling me not to do that and now, I’m taking a little bit of her advice. We all do need the vitamin D and E every now and then, so we do need to go under the sun. Make sure you put on some sunscreen right on your face and your hands and whatever is exposed.

As beautiful as you are, your skin is much darker than most of the Korean ladies that I have met or known. You’re very different. Who or what have shaped you to become the person you are now and what were the lessons you have learned from that?

That’s a very broad question because since I was a kid, I started very early working and making money. I was only less than eleven years old when I first started performing live on TV. I used to play the electric organ. We have this little show for children, Bintang Brunei. That’s like Stars of Brunei. It’s a live TV show where they feature children from anywhere ages six through fifteen. I was featured on live television. I was performing, and I enjoyed it. The first paycheck that I had gotten from that TV station in Brunei was $150 back then. I’m like, “This is pretty good.” As you know, live TV shows are a little bit more challenge and prerecorded shows. I really enjoyed it. I don’t know why, but one of the reasons why I enjoy live versus prerecorded back then and even now is that you’re done within a shorter period of time. If it’s prerecorded and you have to do different takes and it takes a lot longer. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like that.

From age eleven onto when I was fifteen, I was working as a musician, as a dancer, as a fashion model in Korea and I was making a lot of money. At the same time, I was still going to school full-time because I went to a Catholic school called St. George’s and it’s a co-ed school. Very strict. We all wore uniforms but back then, we were all proud of wearing our uniforms because our school was the top in the country. Whenever we went out to town or somewhere, we never took off our uniforms because we want people to know which school we went to. That was very interesting. I was just that way. I was a little different from all my other siblings growing up. I was born in Saigon in Vietnam. My dad and my mom, they were there with my older brother and sister. My older brother, one above me or two years older, he was conceived already. My parents moved in 1966 to Saigon when my dad was stationed at the Foreign Exchange Bank in Saigon.

We were all there and I always joke about it. I was made and born in Saigon. Wherever I went, a lot of Vietnamese people when they look at me, they think I’m Vietnamese. I do get along very well with Vietnamese people and I always say, “Yes, I’m your half a sister or brother.” I love the culture. I loved the food and even though I don’t speak the language, maybe someday I will get to learn the Vietnamese language, that’s what happened. My whole family had to take refuge because of the war that broke out during that time in the late ‘60s. I was just a baby. I can’t remember anything, but my parents have had to move back to Korea via Southeast Asia. They live there for six months before they could move back to Korea for some reason.

Growing up, I lived in Seoul, Korea until I was six years old. When I was six, my dad received a proposal from a Japanese businessman to do business in Brunei, a place where nobody has heard of, but my dad had a choice whether to move to a branch office in the US, somewhere he didn’t know where. It was one of his dreams to live in the US or start a new business. He’s always wanted to do his own business. He’s always been an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s what I take my dad, from the business side of things. My dad thought this is a chance of a lifetime. He will never get this opportunity and he was very adventurous. I said, “Yes, let’s move to Brunei.” The whole family moved to Brunei in 1974.

That’s where I grew up and went to the school. I worked in the TV station while I was studying. As a kid, I always wanted to do something that I wanted to do. Some people say, “How did you learn your English as a kid? Did you just go to school?” I said, “That’s another question that is very important for me to answer because when you want to do something so bad and be good at it, be the best at it compared to other people you work hard.” I still remember when I was a kid, even before we start going to school, I heard a song playing in the car in the radio and it was beautiful voice and it is from Karen Carpenter. I love Karen Carpenter songs and her voice. I thought, “I want to sing like her, but I want to also learn how to speak and read and write in English very well before I start going to school.” I was six years old or something and I begged my parents to buy a cassette tape. They bought me one and I listened to the whole tape over and over and over. I memorize the music. I don’t know what the songs mean, but I memorized the whole song. When I sang it, everybody said, “Wow.” They thought I could speak English very well, but I had no clue what it was.

When I was a little older and when I went to school, I got access to a dictionary. I started looking up all the words that I wrote from the song phonetically in Korean and I would look up those words to see what they meant. Then I thought, “Now I know what I’m singing about.” It taught me how to have a good pronunciation as well as learn faster as a kid. I was in the top of the class as a kid. When I went back to Korea after when I was in high school, I told my parents, “I want to go back to Korea and learn about my culture and also go to school where all the other students are going in my age.” I enrolled myself in all girls’ high school. That was a very interesting and one of the most challenging experience for me in a lot of ways because as long hours of school and some people hear my friends’ kids, they complain about school so much homework. Somebody like me who have experienced high school, junior, and senior high school in Korea, that was nothing here. That’s what I think.

The Secret Ingredient: Health is the most important thing you need to consider because if you lose your health, it’s hard to achieve things.


I’m sure it’s getting more difficult here now. For me, I had to go prepare four meals myself and I was only sixteen years old in Korea. My parents were still in Brunei, but I was living with my grandmother and my older sister and brother who are going to colleges. I had to do what the other like the other students were doing. I had to get up at 4:30 AM and make myself four meals. I had to bring my dinner box, is what they call it. Then I had to take the bus at 5:30 AM and I would arrive in the school before 6:00 AM through the gate because I always liked to be the first inside the gate. It was pitch dark and I would go to my classroom and I would start the day and you will see all the students coming in and our first class started, it was a long time ago. It was in the ‘80s, even now it’s the same thing. We would start the first class at 7:10 AM. If you’re late, you’re going to be outside the classroom with your hands up. You’re being punished for being late. The normal school hours don’t finish in high school until like 6:00 PM. That’s long hours. Then you can’t go home.

They keep you in the school until 10:00 PM. We do have cafeteria and everything, but it gets expensive when you go there to buy food. That’s why I have to prepare four meals and then bring to school because you get hungry. Even after the 10:00 PM, I didn’t go home. I went to the library for two more hours to study. Nobody asked me, forced me to do that, but I had to push myself because I didn’t want everybody to feel that I’m a special student, that I’m getting special treatment and privilege, and that I am going to work harder than anybody else because from 60 students in my class, after the first year, I was in the top 30 and on the second year, I was in the top ten. I had to memorize all the fifteen subjects that we were taught in the high school. In anything you learn in life, whether it’s technology related or culture or anything, if it’s difficult, try to record your voice and repeat over and over. Repetition is the key and you will be able to learn anything you want. Even now to this day, I’m doing the same thing, just repeating and listening it over and over and I memorize it.

You had about four and half hours of sleep every night.

I was very young. I never felt like I was tired, or I didn’t get enough sleep. All the way through when I was probably in my early 40s, I was used to sleeping three or four hours later. When I moved here, maybe five, six hours. These days, probably six, seven hours. As I age, I get a little bit more tired, but I’m still doing a lot of things. I’m multitasking and doing so many different things. When you enjoy something that you like to do, you look forward to the next day because every day is new. You have to embrace what you have because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s another thing that I would like to tell everyone out there, whether they’re women or men. No matter what kind of difficult situation you might be in right now or any challenges, think of it as you’re not alone. There are other people who might be experiencing something a lot worse.

I always like to look at CNN or learn about what’s going out there in those third world countries. In Africa, in North Korea, for example. We are so lucky and so privileged and if we have our health above all, we can do anything we want. If we don’t have our health, that’s unfortunate because when you get sick, what happens is you’re not going to be able to do anything right. You lose a lot of time. I don’t like the feeling of being sick or ill. I make sure that I eat healthy. I also think positive thoughts every day. I have my affirmations. Affirmations can be anything, but it’s your goal in life and it’s what you want to do to become a better person or reminding yourself of who you are and who you need to be at all times. I memorized my affirmations and saying it aloud every day, every morning. At least once a day in the morning when you first wake up, I say my affirmations so that I know that I will be the person that I’m supposed to be, and I am going to be in the future. The president is mostly more important in the future. Just reminding yourself of the valuable things in life. That’s very important.

Who were your role models growing up?

I always say I have a role model for my personal life, my business and then there’s something else that I enjoy, which is golf. Those three things and then something related to my passion, which is cooking. I lived with my grandmother when I was in Korea. She taught me so much. I will have to say my mom’s mom, she passed away, she was one of the most patient women. She had a lot of perseverance. She sacrificed so much for her family that I can tell you have never ever quite met a woman like her. She taught me so many things, that silence is golden. I know a lot of people have different interpretation about that, but sometimes it is best to be silent in any situation, if you need it to be. Otherwise, it sparks a something and it turns into an argument or upset somebody. Koreans in general, especially my mom and my grandparents’ generation, they don’t really talk much. They don’t express their feelings much. They are not verbal at all.

I’m so different because I do embrace both cultures. My grandmother taught me how to make the best, most delicious food with the most, simple basic ingredients. It’s just a couple of things, but the way she was making it blows my mind away. They taste so different than what my mom had made or the way I make it. I asked her what’s the secret. She’s saying, “When you cook, you have to be in the right state of mind to cook. If you’re angry, the food will not taste the same. If you are sad, they won’t taste the same. When you’re happy and you have positive energy and all this energy flowing in your body and through your hands, they are all delivered through your hands. If you’re in that state of mind and then to handle all the ingredients with care and think of happy, positive thoughts about the food that you’re making for your loved ones, then that’s the secret.” It is true. I’ve learned that from my grandmother and also my mom. She’s a very devoted, dedicated, and very strong woman in every sense.

I learned a lot from her because she went through two wars herself growing up. My parents are my role models. When I want it to include the business side of things, that’s my dad. My parents both went through two wars during the Japanese occupation and they went through the World War II and they went through the Korean War. They taught me to be humble and respect other people, elders, anybody else at all times. They were always checking on me when I came here to the US that every time I talked to them, they say, “No matter what happens, just stay humble and modest.” I always keep that in mind and not try to buy anything that I don’t need if I can help it. That’s some of the qualities that I have inherited. I do try to tell other people as well. If I have something a little bit leftover that I can spend on somebody else, I will do that. Whenever I go somewhere, and I see somebody, I feel bad that they’re homeless. I just have a passion for dogs, animals because they can’t talk. I can’t help myself donating a little money here and there for pets. I have two beautiful dogs of my own that I rescued from the shelter. They are lucky, but you know, if I could rescue all the animals in the world, I would.

My role model is my dad. He’s so positive at all times. I never saw him yell at my mom growing up or have an argument with her. She would get mad, but he would just be silent. He won’t say anything. It works all the time here. Let the person get it out. If you just interact with the person, especially in that moment when there’s tension and anger and stress, it doesn’t help. Sometimes you just have to listen. I have that quality from my dad of being a good listener. A lot of people, my friends or even strangers, they start talking to me and I listen, and I try to help them if I can. That’s why in Korea, I was a counselor at a church for the youth because I enjoy listening to people and I enjoy helping other people if I can at all times. Even now, that’s what leads to the fact that I started my nonprofit organization. I was inspired by my parents, my grandma. Growing up, I saw that with my own eyes and I experienced that firsthand and it’s just a good feeling to give more than to receive. I feel blessed about that and I enjoy helping people in need.

The Secret Ingredient: There is no such thing as a stupid question. You have to ask. If you don’t ask, you will never find out the answer.

Now, my focus is helping and empowering women, especially single moms or divorced women, and for them and then the youth. The underprivileged, underserved Asian-American youth for example. I’m trying to empower our own community to speak for themselves, to have a voice in our community and to achieve their dreams and goals. I teach them through the media and also financial education. That’s what my focus is. It’s come to that.

That’s a wonderful cause. What are your family traditions that you still honor and still practice until now?

Stay humble and modest. I don’t spend money lavishly whether I have it or not. I like organized thinking and planning. My dad has always been that way and he has always have had plans for everything at all times. One of the things that my parents always used to tell me, especially my dad, it’s like a proverb. “When you lose money, you have lost a little bit. When you have lost a friend, you have lost a lot, but when you lose your health, you lost everything.” They always emphasize the fact that health is the most important thing you need to consider because if you lose your health, it’s hard to achieve things. For example, one of the most successful billionaire, he had all the money in the world to do anything he wanted. He built an empire, Apple, Steve Jobs. He passed away at an early age, but what do you do? I know he left a legacy, but when I’m successful, I will probably want to spend so much time with people that I love around me more. Then you can continue on and on building an empire, but we always have to think about the simplest things in life that matters the most our family, our spouse, family, kids and our parents and our friends. People we care about.

I try to carve out some time of my busy schedule every week to spend time with my best friends. My mom is still in Korea, my family still in Korea, but I have my husband and my two dogs, and I have a lot of friends here who care about me as much as I care about them. I want to spend more time with them. Pretty much that’s it. Being patient and listen more. I always tell people to listen more. This is an advice that I give everybody, no matter what industry you’re in. Show and tell, don’t just talk about it. Especially in the media industry, it’s all about show and tell. Whether you have some outline or a proposal, it doesn’t matter. Anybody can write about things or ideas or proposals. You have to show it. When I started my cooking show, it’s the same thing. When I started producing Asian Voices Show, the same thing. The TV stations wanted to see what it is. You can tell them, “I have an idea of a great show.”

Then there comes sacrifice. It’s about your time and efforts. I don’t mind that at all because like I said, “I learned about sacrifice sacrificing myself,” my time through my grandmother. I wouldn’t say it’s so much a sacrifice but more of an investment in the projects that I really want to do. You don’t get paid, but you spend a lot of time and efforts in creating something to show the stations. I had to shoot three full episodes on my cooking show to show the station and when they liked it, then I had to produce the remaining eight or ten episodes. That’s how it goes. I would like to tell people, “Don’t just talk about it, do it, execute it.” That’s what I’d like to tell people. Unless you do it, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just talk.

All these things that I have done as a kid, I don’t know who taught me or told me. I was a special kid. I joke about it, but I think I am here for a reason. The other day I had an interview with Joshua as well and his radio show, but I was telling him that, “I almost died twice as a kid.” Once when I was six months old and then another time when I was like five or six years old. I almost drowned in the pool. I was struck by lightning twice. I’m like, “Yeah, but I am fine. I’m here now.” There must be a reason I’m here, to do something that matters to people. That’s why just embrace each day, each moment that I’m here and that I’m here for a reason. I’m always never afraid to learn new things. Everybody says, “I’m too old for this and that,” but I always say, “Age is just a number.” As long as you feel differently, you feel younger, which I do. I hang out with all the time to twenty, 30, 40. It doesn’t matter who they are. As long as you have a good time with people that I enjoy being around with, that’s what matters.

Another thing that I wanted to point out was that there’s a book. Write a book a month or however long it takes for people to read. One of the books that I relate to a lot is Think and Grow Rich book by Napoleon Hill. A lot of successful people have read it. I only read it a year ago. I didn’t know about this book, but after I finished reading the book. It took me only one week to read this book, but I realized, “It’s already in me. I have to keep doing things the way the book tells you.” At some point along the way when I moved to the US, I lost that. I know for whatever reason your life changes people you are with that are different, your work is different. Somewhere along the line, there was a gap in my life a few years ago that I lost touch with that part of me that has always been there inside me.

Even growing up, I always had this burning desire to do things when I was a kid and I achieved that. I make things happen, since I was little kid. Whoever’s here and haven’t heard of this book or read this book, I would say order it from Amazon, free shipping, and just buy it. If you don’t like to read, it’s okay. You don’t have to read the whole book in a month or in a week. It’s like you have it. I always have it next to my bed and read a chapter a day. I’ve been reading so many times, but every time you read it, it affirms that this is something that you need to do. Practice, execute everyday on a daily basis.

There’s an important quote, “Whatever the mind of a person can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” That is so true. If you have a goal, if you have a dream, passion, just think about it. Visualize in your head and try to execute anything, the things that are needed to accomplish that. You can’t think about it and fantasize about it saying, “I want to be a millionaire,” but if you don’t do anything about it, it won’t happen. You have to have certain goals and plans and have to execute those plans. Nothing comes for free. Then you have to give in order to receive. That’s so important. Start by writing your affirmations every day, read that or speak it out loud.

Number two, organize your plans and thinking. Start with daily plans and goals, weekly, monthly, yearly, and five, ten years later. I have all those goals laid out for myself as well, but daily is the most important thing. No matter what you do, before you go to bed, have a little notebook there and then write it down. I know I typed everything in my computer, but I always have a notepad right next to me because it’s different when you open the computer or before you open it, you just write the date and the time and then say, “These are the things I need to get done,” and cross off each one as you complete them. That’s so important and it also helps me organize things better and make sure that I am doing everything I need to do every day. That’s pretty much as far as the business side goes, business advice. I would like to tell people that.

What does the word ‘power’ mean to you?

To me, it means to be able to do what you want to do whenever you want to do it. That’s all it is.

What does the word ‘success’ mean to you?

Success, for me, is having to accomplish what I have done, what I am doing. There can be many successes. I am successful as far as my health goes because I’m taking care of myself. Physically and mentally, I am always doing things to nurture myself and nourish myself, my mind and body. I believe I am successful in that sense. Businesswise, am I successful? I have had tremendous success in the past. I am going towards an even bigger success to accomplish a bigger goal and dream. Whatever it is that somebody wants to get done, you have to set the milestones and plans and then the goals and then once you accomplish that, then I believe that’s success. Relationship-wise, I have a wonderful husband who supports whatever I do. We worked together 24/7 and we do things together. I’m very successful at accomplishing my goal of having a great, wonderful relationship. Success can be many things, but you have to be able to accomplish your ultimate goals and dreams that it’s the result of a success.

What will you not compromise or tolerate in your life?

I cannot tolerate people who are dishonest. I don’t like people who lie to themselves and to other people. Those two things I can’t tolerate, and laziness. I was telling you about my past growing up. I don’t tolerate lazy people that much. Laziness, lies, and dishonesty, those are the things that I can’t tolerate.

The Secret Ingredient: No matter what kind of difficult situation you might be in right now or any challenges, you’re not alone.

To look back at your accomplishment and achievement in your life, there are a lot. I see that. What are the top three things that you have that you are most proud of?

I’ve done so many things. If I were to select one from my days in Korea, I would say my business that I have started when I was a junior in college and I ran it for nine years. It was very successful, and I was the youngest woman entrepreneur to start my own business in Seoul, Korea and it was successful. When I moved here, I had to sell my share of the company. That was very significant. Then in the US, when I first moved here, I hosted, organized, and started the first International Wireless Symposium. We had over 500 C-level executives from over a hundred companies that participated from all over the world in San Diego. That was very successful. I did that for three years. It was a very big challenge for me because I didn’t know a lot of people, but I felt a need to have C-level technology symposium here in San Diego. I made that happen and I’m very proud of it. A lot of people who were there, I’m still in touch with them and they still talk about it.

The third thing is having to set up my own nonprofit organization, which took a lot of my time and efforts and it is literally a nonprofit because I have been a nonpaid Executive Director for five years now. This is the fifth year of setting up my nonprofit, Asian Culture and Media Alliance, which is to create a voice of awareness and empowerment for the Asian-American community culture here in Southern California through the power of television, media, and film. That’s our mission statement and that is why I produced the first television show of its kind in English in the United States promoting and featuring the Asian-Americans and cultural lifestyle entertainment in Southern California. It’s aired nationally through various cable TV networks.

Adding to that, I didn’t want to not talk about my cooking show because that’s what led me to produce the Asian Voices Show and also set up ACMA. When I was laid off from my last corporate job in 2008, with the help of my husband, I produced and hosted the first Korean cooking show in English on TV. I produced four seasons of that and it was aired nationally on PBS and I’m proud of it. A lot of people recognize me as being the Korean food ambassador and celebrity chef and I do still go out there, get invited to be a judge at food events or I’m also doing culinary demonstrations at different cultural events throughout the year. I’m very proud of my cooking show.

What makes us at peace?

A lot of things. I think about my dad.

Is he still alive?

He, unfortunately, passed away. I was thinking about him and then I think about my mom and my grandmother as well, especially my grandmother. She didn’t talk much, but around her, she always makes me feel so calm and peaceful. I think about them and have all my friends who have passed away as well. I think about more people that I cared about but are no longer with me now. That gives me some peace. My husband’s grandmother who passed away last year, she was 95, but we used to go to her place until a week before she passed. Whenever I went to a place, she made me feel so at peace and calm. Those who made me feel that way when they were alive, but not a in this life anymore, I still think about them. Also, in the mornings and evenings, my husband and I take our dogs out for a nice long one hour walk around and I feel good. I feel relaxed and peaceful when I am with my family and my dogs. I listen to music and I play the piano. Sometimes I do that too, to really get in my zone. That’s a lot of things that I do or think about that make me feel that way.

What did you do for fun?

I love golf. If I could play golf every day, I would. I loved the mentality and the support behind that game. I started golf when I was 21 years old, when I was in college. That’s when I started my business and I found out that a lot of the businesses are done on the golf course with Korean businessmen. That is why I took off and I fell in love with it. It’s a sport that nobody can ever perfect. Nobody in the world can ever perfect playing golf. It teaches us to perfect ourselves, to strive for perfection, but it’s the challenge behind the game and the mentality that you need behind the game itself because you’re not competing against somebody else. You’re competing against yourself to better yourself and beat yourself at your own game.

That’s why I love golf and I love cooking for people more than for myself. If I’m by myself, I don’t cook. I eat whatever there is, leftovers, but I would make something ahead of time and I will not necessarily cook something new for myself, but since I’m with my husband all the time, I have fun asking him, “What would you like for dinner or lunch?” I will give him some choices and it’s like my own restaurant. He enjoys that as well. I love cooking for other people and then watching them enjoy what I make for them because I created the dish with love and care.

At my company at Ripple Impact Coaching, our promise to our client is confidence, courage, and inner peace. I show them how to be heard, seen and understood. What are your recommendations to Asian women if they want to be heard, seen, and understood?

I’m sure there’s a lot of different advice, but being a media personality, a producer, and a host of TV shows and then now I’m in the process of trying to produce feature films as well, speaking from that perspective, I would say that try to get out there more often and then maybe even try or start their own blogs and I’m sure everybody has Facebook but create a page for themselves, about their passion. Think about what they want to do, what’s their passion? Sometimes passion and their ambition, for example, my passion was music, but I am not a professional musician, but I did do something about it. If you have something that you want to accomplish, then make the plan and start learning things. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to learn about anything. You can go to YouTube or Google it and there are so much information out there that they can utilize free of charge.

I always encourage women to say, “You are beautiful already.” If you feel beautiful inside, it will resonate on the outside. Work on your confidence a little bit more because confidence, if you build that confidence inside of you, of who you are, right, you will project it through the way you say it and the way you look and feel. Listen a lot to Kimchi’s podcast here and learn from what people say and then just try to apply those advices and experience and knowledge, whatever you learn to your actual life. Start with a podcast or even a YouTube channel and just keep doing that and then you’ll build confidence and then you’ll get your word out there. Anything that you are passionate about a certain cause that’s a great way to do it. Mine’s financial education and the media. That’s my cause for the youth and for women.

That’s the other thing that I’m doing is World Financial Group and another group called the WealthWave. If you want to learn a little bit more about financial services or about financial literacy, you can go to my website as well because there are a lot of things that you can learn from their, learning about how to take charge of your money and how to grow your money. Money isn’t everything, but it is a necessity. A lot of people feel more confident when they have access to certain amount of money or make certain amount of money each month. That’s very important. Financial service, your health, you’ve got to take care of your health, mental health and your physical health. I think having the confidence to do whatever you want. You think about it, dream about it, plan it, and execute and just do it whether you’re doing it through your social media or through your blog or to your YouTube channels. There’s something about it.

The Secret Ingredient: Affirmations can be anything, but it’s your goal in life and it’s what you want to do to become a better person.

Try to stay away from analysis paralysis. If our audience wants to know about you or your podcast, where should they go?

I have various websites. For example, my nonprofit organization, if anybody’s interested in learning more about my nonprofit, about media programs, we also offer free media workshop for Youth Ages between eighteen and 23. If you’re interested in that or getting involved with any of our projects or interested in learning about our TV show, Asian Voices go to ACMASocal.org. It’s a short for Asian Culture and Media Alliance and then Southern California. Then Asian Voices is AsianVoices.TV. Just Google it and you will see all those links and also my cooking show if you’re interested in it. I have all the past season episodes on YouTube channel. My handle is @CathlynChoi on Instagram, TwitterYouTube, Facebook. If you want to learn more about financial literacy education and how you can it can help you strategize for your future, making some wise investment choices or just to even learn about it, go to WealthWave.com/CathlynChoi. You can see my information there and contact me as needed.

Thank you so much for being here, Cathlyn. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I believe that our audience will get a lot of insights from this talk.

I hope so too. I am here to share my past experience and knowledge and anything I can to help empower those listeners. If I can help one person right in any way, that’s all I need. I hope it will help more people.

That’s the reason that we as Asian women unite to share power to share the power and to support each other to let the word know about us. I hope to have another chance to meet you and see you in the future.

I’m sure we can make that happen. We have to make that happen.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.

Thank you so much. Have a great day.

What are the two things that you got out of this interview? For me, it’s love and dedication. It is love because when you put love into everything you do, you’ll enjoy it more. Even with the food, it will taste better when you cook with love, like what Cathlyn said. It is dedication because when you commit and work at your goal daily, you will succeed much sooner. Let me know how you enjoy listening to these interviews. We want to hear your feedback. Until next time, live life loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

“If you don’t know, ask.”

“The present is more important than the future.”

“When you enjoy something that you do, you look forward to the next day because every day is new.”

“Golf is a mental game; you compete with yourself.”

About Cathlyn Choi

Cathlyn Choi, best known as Celebrity Chef / PBS Cooking show Host and Producer & Cookbook Author, Cathlyn’s Korean Kitchen | www.cathlynskoreankitchen.tv
Cathlyn Choi, Founder and Executive Director, Asian Culture and Media Alliance or ACMA | www.acmasocal.org |
Host and Producer, Asian Voices | www.asianvoices.tv
Financial Educator and Planner, Wealth Wave | www.wealthwave.com/cathlynchoi

Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin: cathlynchoi |
Facebook: cathlynskoreankitchen
Youtube for Asian Voices and Twitter: Asianvoicestv | Facebook: asianvoices,

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