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Follow Your Passion, Love And Story

With Asian Hustlers: Andrei Garthoff, Vickie Gould, and Ani Wey

Full of inspiration and pride, this episode is a special gathering of three Asian hustlers who have been thriving and making a name for themselves here in America. Inspiring how there are no limits to what we can do if we only pursue our passions, Kimchi Chow brings together an Asian country singer in Tennessee, a storytelling marketing and book coach, and a love, mindset, and manifesting coach. They are Andrei GarthoffVickie Gould, and Ani Wey. In this very engaging conversation, they take us across their journeys and what made them do what they do. Learn about making a place for oneself in a seemingly different community from Andrei; find out the beauty in sharing stories and inspiring people through them from Vickie; and allow Ani to remind you that finding love always begins with the self. All of these and more great wisdom in this episode.

Asian Hustlers: Follow Your Passion, Love And Story With Andrei Garthoff, Vickie Gould, And Ani Wey

Kimchi: Our guests are a love and manifestation coach and a singer and songwriter. You will learn about their journey and what made them do what they do. Let’s get started. First, Andrei, share with us who you are, where you’re from and what led you to do what you do now.

Andrei: I’m Andrei and I am an Asian country singer in Nashville, Tennessee. I was born in Hong Kong and was raised there for nine years until we moved to the States. I do what I do too to create more jobs for Asian people in the entertainment industry.

Kimchi: That is so unique. What about you, Vickie?

Vickie: Thank you so much, Kimchi for having me on. I appreciate it. My name is Vickie Gould and I am a storytelling, marketing and book coach. I am a first-generation Taiwanese-American and I was born in Canada. My parents immigrated there in the 1960s. What I do now is I help people to share their stories, bring voices to what their journey has been so that those stories can then help other people throughout the world.

Kimchi: What about you, Ani?

Ani: Thank you so much, Kimchi, for having me. My name is Ani and I’m a love, mindset and manifesting coach. I mainly help women become an irresistible version of themselves so that they magnetically attract their soulmate and create a long lasting relationship. I realized when I was working at a corporate job that I’ve always wanted to help people. Love was one of those areas where I’ve always focused on in my life. I’ve had so much experience with it and in that area helping myself and my friends. I decided, “Why not jump in, take the road and go for it?” Since I’ve done it for myself, I know how to help others do the same.

Kimchi: After this interview, people will tap on you and say, “Ani, I need your help.” Andrei, it’s very interesting that you do what you do, a country singer and songwriter, especially Asian. What led you to do that?

Andrei: About 2010, I listened to a country song for the first time and I was like, “That’s country?” That led me to do a Google search of country musicians and I was into guitar at the time. What happened was I found Brad Paisley and Keith Urban. I started learning these songs and liked the singing and songwriting of it. That resonated with me to start writing myself.

Kimchi: I can relate. When I came here, I listened to country songs. It depends on what country song I was listening to. A modern country song is touching our hearts. A country song is speaking the normal way of living and how we experience things and it’s more true if we listen to the words, and the lyric of what the songwriter is trying to communicate. Andrei shared with me and he said, “I’m going to give you guys a gift.” We’re going to have a treat from Andrei. What about you, Vickie? What led you to become a book coach?

Vickie: Back in 2009, I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease and people are usually surprised because they see me as very energetic. I travel all around the world to speak. I’ve been featured in a lot of things, but they don’t realize that back in 2009 when I was diagnosed, I thought life was over. The doctor turned to me and he said, “Vickie, your body is that of an 80-year-old, suck it up. You’re going to live out the rest of your life this way.” I wasn’t even 40 yet. I remember calling my sister and saying to her, “You have to promise me that if Lyme disease takes me, you have to tell my children what I wanted for them.” I was spending 16 to 18 hours in bed.

I couldn’t function, I couldn’t do things. I felt like a loser mom, loser wife who couldn’t show up to things and my little boy would come to me and he’d say, “Mama, can you go to my school party?” I looked down at him and go, “I can’t. I’m sorry.” He would climb into bed and cuddle with me. I felt there was no good life left. All the things that I told myself to do later, I felt later wasn’t going to come. I realized at some point that even though I felt I wanted my life to end, I didn’t. I had so many things to do and people to see and places to see. I wanted to see my grandchildren one day and be able to play with them to do stuff.

I started reading these books about people with Crohn’s and cancer and they’d overcome so much and I thought, “Why can’t I do that too?” I did a lot of research. I became a master herbalist and lo and behold, I also did things that I didn’t tell my doctor I tried. The good days started to outnumber the bad. What I realized through that process is so many people have these stories to share with the world and they give hope and inspiration. They let people know that they’re not alone and they let people know that you can defy the odds. You get to define your life. You get to define you.

Nobody else gets to tell us, whether it’s your parents who said, “You should do this when you grow up.” From that, I realized so much that our stories matter. Had I not read those stories, I wouldn’t have been inspired to get better and search on my own and I may not be here. That’s why it’s so important now for me to help other people write best-selling books. I’ve helped a hundred others do that. I have ten of my own and it fills my heart to be able to help them share those stories to create impact and positive change in the world.

Kimchi: That was emotional sharing. Thank you, Vickie. What about you, Ani? I know that you tried it to help your friends. When I look back, I used to be a matchmaker. The way I did that was I check out their animal sign, both signs in the Chinese way to make sure that they are compatible before I introduce them. That was my old way of doing things. What led you to do what you do?

Ani: I noticed that a lot of my friends come to me for relationship advice. They always talk about their love lives with me. After a while, I’m like, “I’ve been coaching my friends for free for so long and they’re happy after I finished coaching them.” It’s been happening pretty much my entire life, even when I was young.

Kimchi: Does it mean that you attract a lot of guys? Do you have a lot of people who want to date you?

Ani: Humbly said, I’ve been pursued.

Kimchi: Sometimes people are born with that insight before they have their own experience. Let’s move on. What was the biggest challenge that you have faced and overcome in your life, Andrei?

Andrei: I would say so far in my career, which is a big part of my life, the biggest thing has been being an Asian person in a genre that doesn’t have any Asian people. That’s been the biggest challenge because how can you overcome people seeing other races doing country music other than white. What I’ve had to do is make my shows more interesting, write songs that are above the standard of what a country song should be. People are like, “Asian people can do country music,” instead of, “This is why Asian people don’t do country music because they can’t.” It’s been interesting to create an experience in a show that people can enjoy and see that other people can do anything.

Kimchi: You shared that you are adopted. You don’t live in a typical Asian family. I’m not quite sure you have the same experience as us who have Asian parents and who have to follow certain standards. Do you have anything like that?

Andrei: I have certain standards and my parents were still strict on different curricular activities that I did, but they were always very supportive of what I was doing.

Kimchi: How about you, Vickie?

Vickie: I feel I’m older than the other guests on this panel, so I might have a few extra struggles through life. I already talked about my Lyme disease, but what comes up for me is when I left my home. I left home during my senior year of high school when I was seventeen. That was a hard time, but it also was an exciting time for my life. I finished out high school. I got accepted to the University of Michigan and came up here for school, but I had to grow up. I had to find out how do you even get a car insurance on your own when I was seventeen because everything now was up to me. I remember at that time I got this apartment, it had no furniture. A friend of mine gave me a mattress and we put it on the floor. I ate dinner on the carpet, like a picnic every night because I didn’t have anything. That time, although it was hard financially, it helped me to grow and to learn so much about being able to take care of yourself and saying, “No matter what, I’m going to survive and I’m going to make this work.”

Kimchi: It’s perseverance. How about you, Ani?

Ani: Probably my biggest challenge was overcoming my anxiety. Years ago, when I was dating this guy and he was stringing me along, not telling me the whole story and basically lying to me and making me feel I was the crazy one, even though I totally suspected things were happening. I was extremely anxious. Whenever he didn’t text me back or whenever I see his post on social media, my whole inner world was in turmoil. It was going crazy. I couldn’t sleep because my mind was racing all the time, all night and it was affecting me health-wise, mentally, emotionally. It was going to a point where I couldn’t live my life. Now I feel so much more peaceful, more than ever. A monk came up to me and was like, “There’s a lot of inner peace within you,” and that’s a huge compliment from a monk.

Kimchi: That’s a big transformation. We can always tell somebody by just the way they look. If the person who has total peace and who has a lot of chaotic insight. I can tell by looking at them with the way that they show up. That’s wonderful. Thank you and congratulations, Ani. What do you know now that you wish you knew five or ten years ago? For Vickie, it would be ten years. For Andrei, maybe 3 to 5 years.

Andrei: I think it’s acceptance. That’s something that’s taken me within the 5 or 10 years of who I am and what I do. It took so much time. For the longest time, I was contemplating plastic surgery to not look Asian because that might help in the entertainment industry. If you look less Asian, you might be accepted more. What I wish I knew back then was, you’re fine no matter how you look or who you are, what you believe in and to accept that of yourself to share it with others.

Kimchi: I’m glad that you did not do that because if you change how you look, you will be a typical country singer. There’s nothing unique about you. What I would recommend is to embrace who you are and how you look, because that’s what makes you unique. I see myself as, “I’m not perfect either. I’m too small, my nose is too short and I have crooked teeth,” or whatever. What makes me unique is the whole thing, the whole package here. It’s either you like me or you don’t include my personality too. Be who you are. Be unique because you are the only one in this world. 

I don’t buy into the cosmetic things because that industry is booming, especially in Korea. It’s a personal choice. There’s a certain thing that we can benefit from cosmetic surgery. There are certain things that when we are abusing it, it’s not helpful for us. It shows our insecurity. The more people try to fix the inner world by the way they look or the thing they wear or the material things, the more it showed that. They are not confident about who they are. They have a lack of security and confidence. I’m glad you are who you are. You are handsome as ever, Andrei. Vickie?

Vickie: Andrei reminds me of my mom growing up. She would pinch my nose to try and give me a bridge. She would say, “You guys are lucky because somewhere in our heritage we had eyelids,” the creases in the eyelids. She would always want dimples and she pinched my cheeks and stuff like that. Often we forget that we are made unique and that we are beautiful no matter what we look like. Thanks, Andrei, for sharing that. For me, I would say ten years ago to myself, I would’ve said, “Vickie, stop putting yourself last.” Women so often have this idea that we’re going to be martyrs and we’re going to constantly put everybody before ourselves and we’re going to go last.

Asian Hustlers: Often, we forget that we are made unique and that we are beautiful no matter what we look like.

We’re the lowest person on the totem pole. I watched my mom do that growing up. She always put us, kids, first. She never did anything nice for herself until we were all grown. I started doing the same thing. My friends came to me. I would rearrange my schedule all the time. I was considered a superwoman, supermom before I got sick. When I got sick, I was like, “What if I never have the chance to do those things that I told myself I was going to do?” I had to flip my mindset about thinking, that’s selfish. We’re taught that that’s selfish. You’ve got to put everybody else first. You can’t do anything for everybody else if you’re drawing from a dry well. You have to take care of yourself and wanting to do things is not bad. It’s good for you. We should definitely say more often yes to ourselves. As time has gone on, that has been a little bit more of my motto in that I look at things and I go, “Am I going to regret not doing this now? Am I going to regret later on by pushing it off?” Let’s say yes more often to me because I’ve said yes to enough people in my life.

Kimchi: I totally agree with you, Vickie. I had that revelation when I was in my 50s. I started to see things and say, “Wait a minute.” Constantly, my siblings keep telling me, “Kimchi, you’re selfish. Why don’t you show up in the family gathering?” I said, “Because I don’t like it. I don’t want to go.” I have other reasons I don’t want to. In the past, I would go along with what I’m obligated to because I feel that if I don’t go, I will ruin the party. If I don’t show up, I will ruin the party. People were missing me. Later on, starting in my 50s and maybe stronger in the mid-50, I said, “No, this is my stand. I have to live for myself and put myself first.”

Vickie: Often, Asian women especially, Asian men probably as well too, we have a very high sense of duty. We have a very high sense of family and don’t shame and don’t whatever. No is a complete sentence. We don’t have to give a reason all the time, even though a lot of times, we feel compelled to justify why we made a decision. You don’t have to justify. It can purely be because I don’t want to, I don’t feel it. I don’t like it or whatever.

Kimchi: What about you, Ani?

Ani: Thank you, guys, for sharing that. It’s very powerful. I can totally relate to that. What I wished I knew maybe 3 and 5 years ago is don’t take anything personally. Have fun. Enjoy everything. Because when you’re in the situation, you have such a narrow view. You think, “The world is going to end.” A couple of years down the road, you see the whole big picture and you’re like, “Everything worked out the way it’s supposed to. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to see that.” For me, it’s don’t take anything personally, have fun, enjoy the journey. Everything’s going to work out the way it’s supposed to.

Kimchi: I enjoy it so much from your lessons so far, and I know that our readers will benefit from your wisdom. What is your personal motto, your personal quote or your personal mantra? Explain to us why it is so important to you.

Andrei: My motto would be I believe that no matter what background we have, we’re the only ones who get to decide who we are. That’s been important for me sharing that with other people. A lot of people are expected to do things because of the way they look or expected to be in a certain career, expected to do certain things that they aren’t supposed to be.

Kimchi: That’s a beautiful motto and it’s so liberating. Vickie, how about you?

Vickie: A lot of things come up for me. My motto right now is jump before you look. It is the title I want for my next book.

Kimchi: That is so contradicting. What do you mean? When I walk, I need to look down and make sure I don’t walk on the ditch because it can hurt me. Tell us, why do you say that? Why is that so important to you?

Vickie: Growing up, my mom would always be like, “You’ve got to think about it. Quit thinking you can do all these things. You can’t do that.” When we’re young, we have huge dreams. We think we can be Superman. We think we can jump off the roof. How many kids have broken their arms because they thought they could fly? You see the little kids in the grocery store with Superman costumes and whatever. You would never tell a little kid, “You can’t do that.” Somewhere along the line, as we got older and older, well-meaning friends, family, parents, teacher said, “You need to not be so risky. Stop thinking about that.” I wanted to go to art school. My mom said, “No, you’re going to be a starving artist. You can’t do that.” I did a good Asian thing and I got a mathematics degree.

I got an actuarial mathematics degree, but every part of me, every time I had a job, I also had a side hustle because I needed to be in the arts. I did jewelry, soap making, cards, and cakes. I did everything because I needed that part. It was cutting off part of my body not to have that, but it was too risky to do that. The funny thing is I worked for Comerica Bank as a statistician, mitigating risk for them. All my life, all I did was mitigate risk. I’m not being fulfilled this way. Sometimes when people tell you, “You’ve got to think about the entire thing before you do whatever it is, the entrepreneur thing you want to do.” I’m like, “No.” I’ve heard so many people tell me that ignorance was bliss when they became entrepreneurs because had they known everything that they know now, they might not have done it. Sometimes it’s a lot better to jump before you look because the other side is a lot better than you might imagine up in your head.

Kimchi: Thank you for that explanation. I still can look where I walk? 

Vickie: Definitely don’t trip and fall in a hole.

Kimchi: Ani, how about you?

Ani: My motto is whatever you think about yourself, you are right. Why not find a more empowering story to tell? Oftentimes we get so caught up in our negative thinking and our negative stories, but it all comes from us. We’re the ones that are making things up in our minds. Our mind is so powerful. Once we’re able to shift that from negative to something that’s benefiting us, a lot can change, our perspective starts to change. We’re like, “Maybe everything’s okay.” Even our mood starts to change.

Kimchi: That’s very appropriate. I follow that too. You live based on the story you are giving. Vickie can relate to that. Ani, you know that. Andrei, you probably know that too. It’s your own story that you are creating. What is your proudest moment?

Andrei: At the moment is being able to do over 100 shows a year across the country and be like, “This is an actual thing and this is a career. This something that’s real and this is happening right now.”

Kimchi: What do you mean by the show? Is that you own the whole show or you show up to do a gig? 

Andrei: I own the whole show. I’ve done seven so far this year and I’m doing one a month in Nashville to not oversaturate the population here. I’m going to different states and playing with my guitar and sometimes with my band and other musicians.

Kimchi: You can share it on the Asian Hustler Network and maybe you’ll get connected to California and let us know how we can support you. I will show up in California to meet you in person and listen to you. Congratulations, Andrei. That’s your goal. That’s wonderful. Vickie?

Vickie: There are a lot of things in life that I’ve had proud moments and happy about. I would say now that my kids are older. My daughter is 23, my sons are 19 and 16. What I’m most proud of is that they talk to me. I didn’t have the best relationship with my mother and I did not want the same thing to happen in raising my children. My daughter now lives in California and I live in Michigan and pretty much we talk to each other every day. My nineteen-year-old is in Michigan and the sixteen-year-old is here too. I’m most proud that she wants to hang out with me. She wants to talk to me. She asks me for my advice. Sometimes she doesn’t take it, but she does ask me and even likes to show me off to her friends. I’m going to be in California in the first week of March and she’s like, “I want to come out to see you. We’ll drive out to see you but a couple of my friends want to come too because they miss you too.” That makes me the proudest.

Kimchi: I would say most women, most mothers, they look at that. They can see that that is their accomplishment. They have created a relationship with their children who love and adore them and vice versa. That is the most valuable gift that a parent can have.

Vickie: You never know how it’s going to turn out along the way.

Asian Hustlers: Don’t take anything personally, have fun, enjoy the journey. Everything’s going to work out the way it’s supposed to.

Kimchi: Congratulations, Vickie. Ani?

Ani: For me, it’s the bravery and the courage to do something that no one else around me has done before. It’s me starting an online business. Right now, I don’t know anyone who’s doing it around me in my immediate circle. I had to find other people throughout the internet to look up to them, find mentors. It’s that bravery of like, “I don’t know anyone that has done this. This is totally different from what everyone else does around me. I’m not going to be a doctor or work a corporate job. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to do something that’s true to me.” As Vickie says, I’m just going to jump.

Kimchi: Things happen when you make a decision and a decision has to be clear and powerful. That’s awesome. Share with us the three things that you suggest others to do or begin if they want to follow your footsteps.

Andrei: I would say the three things are acceptance comes first. Number two is discipline, which is if you own a business, you have to be very disciplined and the time you put into it. If you don’t work hard on it, nothing will happen. Three would be respected and supported by others in everything that they do. I think too often we see people try to claw their way to the top and they don’t care about anybody else. That happens especially in music. If you can respect and support other people, they’re going to do the same for you most likely.

Kimchi: Those are great suggestions. Thank you, Andrei. Vickie?

Vickie: I would say find something that you can be passionate about and love and want to do all the time. My business is constantly on my mind because I love it so much. Number one, you’ve got to jump before you look. Do it before you’re ready. Don’t wait until you feel ready because that’s never going to happen. Number two is to give it enough time. There are statistics that show that businesses go under within those first three years. A lot of time, it’s plain having the persistence to pass those three years that makes you successful. It’s so easy to look around and go, “They’re doing this, they’re doing that and I’m not doing well enough.”

If you look at things from a longevity standpoint, you’ll get there. Thirdly, don’t compare yourself to others because you are unique in your own way. When you show up to whatever you’re doing as you uniquely, you’re going to see all sorts of different opinions and people’s opinions of you are none of your business. You go out there and do you and your business will be more successful if you’re weird or quirky or a little strange or whatever because that makes you unique and that will attract people to you. It will definitely repel people but that’s good marketing when you repel people.

Kimchi: We cannot please everybody. We can only please certain people who resonate or who has the same frequency as us. I was thinking of the same similar mentality and philosophy in life. That’s how we attract. Ani?

Ani: The first thing would be to follow what gives you the most joy. Follow your passion because it’s so important to be happy in life. When you’re not happy, you don’t feel doing anything. Follow the thing that gives you joy. The second thing is to work on believing in yourself. Because if you don’t believe that you can do it, you’re going to quit. You’re not going to do it at all. Before you do anything, believe in yourself. Work on that first. Once you address that, you’re going to go ahead. You’re not going to stand in your own way. The third thing is to build support around you. Someone that can uplift you. It can be your partner, your family or your friends. When you have that support system, you’re able to go ahead and dive in and persevere. When you don’t have that, you get down on yourself and then you stop. You quit.

Kimchi: I would add to your third one, be a support system. Sometimes your friends or your family members don’t support your goals and dreams. If you cannot find that support, if your family members or your friends that you are hanging out with don’t believe in your dreams, then seek out to a coach, to somebody who can support you and guide you. Somebody who has walked the path that you want to walk and learn from them. Look for the mentor or coach to follow and get the support from there. Andrei, he’s going to share with us the gift. Tell us what you’re going to share with us, Andrei.

Andrei: I’m going to sing a little bit of the song called Supposed To, which I wrote with two other Asian people in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re the only three Asians there who write country music. It’s all about we’re not doing what you’re supposed to do essentially.

Kimchi: Would you share with us the co-author of this song so that we can acknowledge them? 

Andrei: There’s Dawei Li, and Ian DePriest.

Kimchi: The lyrics are similar to what you have been sharing, the challenges that you have been sharing and congratulations for finding fellow songwriters who came from Asia, who are Asian to support you with that.

Andrei: Thank you so much.

Kimchi: If people want to reach out to you, what’s the best way to contact you, Andrei?

Andrei: Social media is probably the best way. I’m @TheAndreiMusic on all social media platforms. You can find me anywhere.

Kimchi: Thank you. What about you, Vickie?

Vickie: You could type in my name in Google and I’ll come up in all sorts of places. You’ve got to spell it right. It’s Vickie Gould. That’s the same as my website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, which I’m not on much, but if you type that in, you’ll find me.

Kimchi: Thank you. Ani?

Ani: I have a free gift for your readers so you can get my Single to a Loving Relationship with Your Soulmate Guide. It’s nine steps and tools and techniques to help you manifest your soulmate. It’s for free, of course. It’s from www.AniWey.com/soulmate. You can also check me out on Instagram at Instagram.com/ani_weys.

Kimchi: I appreciate you all so much and you inspire me and inspire other Asians out there to follow our dreams. I appreciate you and best wishes to your future and whatever you’re doing in the future. Thank you for being here.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes:

"The good days outnumber the bad."
"You get to define you."
"You can’t do everything if you draw from a dry well."
"No – is a complete sentence."
"You're fine no matter how you look or who you are."
"Sometimes it's a lot better to jump before you look because the other side is actually a lot better than you might imagine up in your head."

About Andrei Garthoff

Andrei Garthoff was born in Hong Kong, and adopted by American parents. He and his family moved to Concord, MA when he turned nine. Music has always been a huge part of Andrei’s life.

Andrei’s main instrument is the guitar, but he plays many more! He studied Songwriting and Professional Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is now a country singer in Nashville, TN.

You can find him at AndreiCountry.com and @TheAndreiMusic on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Vickie Gould

Vickie Gould is a first-generation Taiwanese American. Now storytelling, marketing and book coach, she received an Actuarial Mathematics degree from the University of Michigan. By learning her storytelling methods, Vickie’s clients grow their following worldwide, create more impact and legacy and write best-selling books that turn their readers into clients while they sleep.

Vickie has 10 best-selling books and has been featured in entrepreneur.com, HuffPost, Tedx UofM and Writer’s Digest.

You can learn more about her at the links below:

About Ani Wey

Ani Wey is a Mindset and Manifesting Coach who loves helping people magnetize their attraction so that they can manifest their dreams into reality. She specializes in helping women go from single and longing for a companion to manifesting a long-lasting committed relationship with their soulmate by starting from self-love.

She has taught hundreds of people to become an irresistible version of themselves, achieve their highest potential and live a life of love and joy.

You can learn more about her at the links below:

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