SuChin Pak Is All That and a Bag of Chips
Believe it or not, there was once only one channel where we could watch new music videos, hear celebrity gossip, and catch stars like Mariah Carey give private tours of their luxurious homes. This might be before your time, but for journalist and Add to Cart host SuChin Pak, MTV was the launching pad that jump started her career. She joins Ricki and Kalen to talk about starting off in the industry as a teen reporter, becoming the first Asian-American and only woman correspondent at MTV News, and landing the sweet gig narrating MTV’s Cribs. Plus, SuChin reveals her secret connection to The Ricki Lake Show, and bonds with Kalen over the pressures of being a “relatable” person of color in a predominately white industry.
Please note, Raised By Ricki contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
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Ricki Lake, SuChin Pak, Kalen Allen
Ricki Lake 00:10
Hi there, everyone. It’s me, Ricki Lake and I’m back for another episode of Raised by Ricki with me and my friend Kalen Allen.
Kalen Allen 00:18
Oh, look, I’m that’s how I’m gonna see who was gonna say it.
Ricki Lake 00:22
Do you have a preference? Do you have a preference of how? You don’t care? I don’t care either. Okay, I’m just glad you’re here. All right. Okay. So everyone has been including myself been obsessed with your journey to launching Beyonce tickets. It’s been really hilarious. And I actually feel for you, because you, you weren’t sure how it was gonna happen. Have you had any success?
Kalen Allen 00:45
Ricki Lake 00:48
Wait, how did you get them?
Kalen Allen 00:50
Okay, so this is what happened. So originally, I thought I was going to only be able to get into the general sale. I was not in any of the pre-sales, I kept getting wait listed, or I didn’t have a city car, this any of that it just wasn’t working out in my favor. And then there was a Verizon sale. And I realized that my cousin had Verizon. And I was like, I can use my cousin’s account to get into the tickets. So I called her and I was like, can I please use your Verizon account from so I can buy these Beyonce tickets? So she said yes. So she gave me the login. And then I logged in and then I was able to get into both New Jersey concert so I bought tickets for both night.
Ricki Lake 01:27
For both nights and I mean, I saw something online. Did you really pay four grand for a ticket?
Kalen Allen 01:33
I paid. Okay, so listen, yes. And I actually pay more than that, because I bought the second night too. So in total, so cringe worthy in total, I pay around $6,000 for the Beyonce tickets now let me tell you why. Because I do want to because you know, people be like, that’s crazy to charge that much for a ticket. But let me tell you why the ticket was that much. Okay. So when I got into the sale, because mind you there already been like two pre-sales before this. Right. So the tickets I wanted, which were club Renaissance, which are 750. Right? They were gone.
Ricki Lake 02:06
Okay. Spit in the eye and kind of seat.
Kalen Allen 02:09
Exactly. So like the second best was the beehive pit, those were gone to the only VIP for like right in front where you could feel her sweat the only seats available, what the on stage risers. So the reason why they were they were around 3750, I think. But then frickin Ticketmaster charged me a service fee of over $500 on top of that, but the seats are in the state. So they are in the state in the front. And so I just went ahead and bought those because I was like, I don’t have time for this. So I bought those. And then for the second show, when I got in there, they didn’t have club renaissance, but they did have the beehive pit. And I was like, okay, well, I’m gonna get the beehive pit for the second show and I’m also good can’t seem to take it but that one, I’m gonna get club renaissance because I think I got a better chance of getting in.
Ricki Lake 03:02
You’re gonna have a different experience with each of these concerts.
Kalen Allen 03:05
Correct. Each show will be a different experience.
Ricki Lake 03:08
Okay, I mean, what about these prices? Who can afford that?
Kalen Allen 03:11
It’s insane. But that’s why you know what I mean? I have seen Beyonce, like, I think probably like 10 times, right? And the thing about it is and that’s why we always joke and say we have a Beyonce emergency fund. You know what I mean? Because it’s like, we just got like, some money on the side so that when stuff like this comes up, because you can buy much cheaper tickets, you can but it’s about the experience, Ricki.
Ricki Lake 03:41
You’re going alone, right? You’re gonna go alone, so you won’t know anybody that’s..
Kalen Allen 03:44
I don’t need to know anybody around me.
Ricki Lake 03:51
And do you make friends with the people around you?
Kalen Allen 03:54
We have a one night only kind of groove down. Okay, who’s next to me, honey, we will be living off this live. Listen here, you know, and that’s why you don’t because we were always talking about like, remain humble. I’d be like, honey, it’d be awesome. I don’t care who’s next to me. I don’t want don’t put me in no sweet. I don’t want to be up there with the rich people in the little sweet eating his shit. I don’t want to do that. I want to be in front in the general admission with everybody else living my best life turning that.
Ricki Lake 04:19
I love it. I can’t think I’ve ever had this kind of like love affair with an artist like this ever. So I’m living vicariously through you. I love her. Because you love her, you know? I can’t wait. So when are these dates? When is this happening?
Kalen Allen 04:35
Oh, so the show is in June. So it’s in June. I think it’s June 29 And June 30.
Ricki Lake 04:42
Okay, okay. And it’s Kansas City happening before that or after that? Okay, okay. I mean, I’m gonna I’m not gonna work hard to try to get a ticket but if it falls into my lap.
Kalen Allen 04:56
You ain’t never had to be fan girl and off and nobody because she was going to your damn house, eating dinner with Elton John shit.
Ricki Lake 05:05
That is that is true back in the day. But he doesn’t talk to me. Okay, so we have I’m so excited about our guest today. SuChin Pak. She’s amazing. She hosts their own show on Lemonada called Add to Cart and you talked about your recent favorite purchase, Beyonce tickets. You want to know what my favorite purchase? It’s called a bird buddy. Have you have you heard about it? I bought it on Kickstarter. And it finally arrived like a couple of months ago. And it’s basically you need to Google it. It’s like a, it’s a bird house that has a camera attached. And so it takes pictures as the birds land and eat the food it tells you not only does it shoot this amazing pictures and video of these birds, but it also tells you exactly like all things about the bird the sound effects when it’s calling, bird buddy and I am having so much fun with it. You know, I live in Malibu. There’s so much like amazing wildlife. There’s so many different types of birds and squirrels that are finding my birdhouse and that’s my favorite purchase of land. Okay, so on that note, without further ado, I think I hear a doorbell.
SuChin Pak 06:21
Ricki Lake 06:27
Pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for doing this.
SuChin Pak 06:30
Of course we’re all family now.
Ricki Lake 06:32
It’s incestuous. Lemonada Media, I feel so lucky to be a part of their roster of really special talent special shows. And you are certainly one of them. So SuChin, how did this podcast come about? I’m just curious, like, I know how my origin story was went with lemon on Kailyn. But what’s your story with them?
SuChin Pak 06:58
Well, you know, I’d like to come up with something that’s more intelligent. But this is the truth. Because I know you guys, this is what this is what we do. It’s honesty zone. But when Kulap who is my co-host came to me and was like, and she’s had a long history with podcasts. And she was like, I want to do a podcast. I was like, thinking about it. And I was like, I do not want to do a podcast that has anything to do with something important. Sad. I don’t want to talk about the news. I don’t want to talk about current events. You know, this is my life. And I was like if I’m going to do a podcast, I want to do something fun. I want to do a podcast about shopping. I want to do a podcast about all the things that you’re buying and why you’re buying it and if I should buy it you know we kind of laughed about that. And I said I just want to have like a light hearted hour long conversation with a friend and like we do when we sit around brunch or whatever. And we’re taking out our serums and talking about you know all the latest gadgets, the crap we don’t need the crap we desire, that fills this dark hole.
Ricki Lake 08:12
I can’t relate. Can you relate to that?
Kalen Allen 08:19
I do like shopping.
Ricki Lake 08:21
Like swag, right like swag?
Kalen Allen 08:23
SuChin Pak 08:25
I mean free stuff is that’s the best brand around.
Ricki Lake 08:30
I used to go to those like sweets, those, you know, I go and I always felt icky. And I stopped going.
Kalen Allen 08:37
I almost felt like they weren’t legit.
Ricki Lake 08:42
You go to that special. You gotta take the pictures and you feel, I don’t know you feel taken advantage.
Kalen Allen 08:50
Because then they posted it and they use it as marketing like you’re endorsing it and like you don’t have a clue what it is. I remember I went to the Gladys Knight birthday party and I think I left with like a trip to Thailand or something. I never went though.
Ricki Lake 09:03
That’s different. You want to hear okay, wait, I know I’m going off topic. It’s so embarrassing. It’s one of it’s one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I did it. I went and got to the swag gifting suite. And I got a free lasik eye surgery. And I didn’t need it and I had it done.
Ricki Lake 09:29
Because it was free?
Kalen Allen 09:32
It was just like, I’m gonna go get lasik eye surgery.
Ricki Lake 09:34
Okay, can I tell you the story? It was just so funny. So this was I don’t know 2007, my sons were little at the time and they were very into the Lakers and into NBA basketball. They still are but they’re not Laker fans anymore. But okay, so I go there and there’s a big basketball. This guy named Rip Hamilton. He was not a Laker but a big NBA star and he was there with a patch on his arm. You know, he had just gotten surgery he had gotten the free gift to probably somewhere. This was like the doctor that does did […]. Anyway, that’s probably one of the worst decisions I made because I really did not need the surgery and went through with it anyway.
Kalen Allen 10:13
Why are you wearing glasses today?
Ricki Lake 10:16
That’s my point. You can only get lasik once, and I blew my wad when I didn’t need it. And now I do need it. So I can’t see, I can’t see my phone.
Kalen Allen 10:25
I too had lasik. And clearly, it’s worn off for me too. And it’s very rare. But I already had an astigmatism so like, it can wear off. And so like after five years, I noticed that my vision started to get bad again. Now I can take these off, and I can still see but if my eyes get too dry or something like that, then it’s really really blurry.
SuChin Pak 10:47
You have promised perfect vision.
Kalen Allen 10:50
I had it for a couple of years. I had it. And then it was gone with the wind.
Ricki Lake 10:55
And the honey, you’re only 27. So it only gets downhill from here. I hate to tell you, I’m 54 and my eyesight has gotten worse. But it’s all good.
Kalen Allen 11:03
So my question is, I know you spent a lot of time at MTV and had the opportunity to interview so many celebrities. What was your favorite moment at MTV?
SuChin Pak 11:14
I mean, you know, MTV, at the time. Kailyn? Do you even know what MTV is? Okay, okay, because there have been times I’ve been on podcasts with younger hosts, where I have to kind of explain what it used to be like, how do you explain?
Ricki Lake 11:34
How do you explain what MTV used to be to someone that doesn’t know?
SuChin Pak 11:37
And then and then wait, how do you explain to them that it was the only place you could watch music videos? How do you explain what VJ is now? Because they’re like, what? You know? So by the time you get to it, I’m like, oh, brother, like, I’m so bored with..
Ricki Lake 11:56
I’m older than you so I’m explaining a rotary phone.
Kalen Allen 11:59
Yeah, I know what a rotary phone, is my mama, oh, you gotta remember I grew up in Kansas.
SuChin Pak 12:07
So they still had them. You were 10 years behind. We stuck in the parents. He saw Stranger Things. So he knows what a rotary phone is. But yeah, so yes, TRL all that stuff. And for the younger listeners, you can Google it. It was time. It was a moment. And I think in a lot of ways, you know, I listened to your guys’ show. And it’s like, Ricki, you started your show in 93′. Right? And I started at in 2000. So there was like, a little bit of overlap. I’m 47.
Ricki Lake 12:48
I’m 54. But you were also 25 when your career launched. I was 24 when I started in turn 25 right away. And yeah, yes. I mean, I think it’s a great age. Actually, I know we are on the younger scale of people breaking out into hosting their shows, but I had a small sense of who I was, you know, I wasn’t a kid. But I was still weird. And you also did MTV Cribs. Now Kalen just told me this before we were prepping to see if this is true. Are these really not the real houses of the celebrities? Because that’s gonna fuck me up.
SuChin Pak 13:20
Okay, so I can’t tell you the real answer to that. They keep that in a vault. Okay, number two, I do the voiceovers. I see the footage on a computer. I’ve never been to a crit. Like I’ve never been to a shoot. So my guess is, I would say, way back when it was probably most authentically their homes. And I would say over the years, it’s probably like a 50/50. But I think they keep it pretty legit. Really? I think yeah, I think it’s more legit than you would think but Kalen maybe you have you have some inside scoop that I don’t have.
Ricki Lake 14:05
What did you find out?
Kalen Allen 14:06
I think there are some homes on MTV careers where you can be like, I don’t know, specifically, but I’m just saying in general. You’d be like, yeah, they don’t live here. You know what I mean? Are you gonna be like, yeah, they definitely live there. You know what I mean? Like, you can look at a house and tell if it’s been lived in. You know what I mean?
SuChin Pak 14:22
Yeah, I mean, I get it though. You know, it’s like you do, you want the opportunity to do it right. You’re an artist or celebrity but you don’t want people in your actual home.
Kalen Allen 14:32
Your actual house right?
Ricki Lake 14:38
I don’t want them in my drawers. But I love showing my house.
Kalen Allen 14:42
What was your favorite crib?
SuChin Pak 14:46
Okay, I know mine. Okay. A mine, I think has to be oh gosh, there’s so many obviously Mariah Carey. Amazing. But how about Method Man and Redman? Do you remember that?
Ricki Lake 14:59
Can I tell you something that’s totally a little bit off topic, but it reminds me did I tell you Kalen I may have said this before, forgive me if I’ve said this before, but I we were such Laker fans back when my kids were little that I heard from a friend that Shaquille O’Neal was selling his house, and I pretended to be interested and they had to send my financials to prove that I could afford the house. And then my son and I walked through and like we’re trying on his jerseys and his shoes, and the basketball court with the big S. And it was like, I think it was like a mother of the year moment for me, because, not cribs exactly scamming your way into Shaquille. We got it. I was in his closet. I was everywhere. It was so funny.
Kalen Allen 15:44
How much was the house?
Ricki Lake 15:46
Oh, this was a long time. So my kid was little this is probably like in 2005 and 2006. And I think it was like $12 million, or something like that. Something like that.
Kalen Allen 15:57
Yeah, I’ll see how rich Ricki is.
Ricki Lake 16:02
Maybe less, maybe seven? I don’t know. I don’t remember. But like it was expensive. Okay, we have to take a really quick break right now. But we will be back before you know it.
Ricki Lake 16:34
How did you get this gig? Like, how did you end up being like on MTV?
SuChin Pak 16:39
I mean, in the most traditional way, I just went in I auditioned and I and I did that sort of thing. I mean, I was, you know, I think also a little bit similar to you. I started doing TV when I was 16. I was doing news as like a teen reporter, you know, San Francisco, the teen beat. And so, you know, by the time I was 25, I had been doing this for a while and Serena Altschul had just left and so they wanted a female. You know, one female in the newsroom. One female out, one female in.
Ricki Lake 17:15
What year is this now?
SuChin Pak 17:17
- Cuz my first really big news story was 9/11. I went from summer of like, I think it was like some anniversary was like MTV 25 I don’t know, some big birthday. And shenanigans and then straight into that hole and living in New York. That was crazy.
Ricki Lake 17:39
I’m really interested in that because I also was there and live through 9/11. You were working, where were you that day?
SuChin Pak 17:47
I’m heading to work. I was in my apartment sort of getting ready to go to work because TRL was an afternoon live show. So you know, usually I had kind of like my mornings off. And that sort of thing when it was my turn to be on the news that day. And I was living with my brother at the time who was doing an interview on Wall Street. And so he left for the subway. And I remember looking, you know, watching you know, I was probably watching New York one as I always do, just getting ready. And I was like, whoa, what is going on? There’s a fire. You know, it’s kind of chaotic. You know, as news is, as it’s developing. It’s like, you don’t know what’s happening. You just know something terrible. And all I the only thing I kept thinking was like, my brother’s gonna be trapped in a subway train or something, you know. And so for me, it was more of a frantic of like, how do I get my brother, you know, back home. And so it was just hysterical crying to my parents in California of trying to I was just in such a panic, you know. And then he finally came in, and he was like, there’s something going on, because he had been in the subway trying to, you know, get out. So he didn’t really he never even made it down there. Like they had pretty much shut it down. And so when he came home, we both sat and watched the news. And I was living on the Upper West Side. And the news room was in Times Square, and people were being evacuated. And we’re trying to figure out what was the story, but it was still in the middle of it. So a lot of the producers who were living downtown couldn’t go home. And so they all just walked to my apartment. And so after a while, throughout the day, there was probably a group of like, 20 of us sitting around in my tiny studio apartment trying to figure out what was happening.
Ricki Lake 19:32
And so okay, so then you have to do what has to be one of your first very first stories on this. How did you how did you stay composed? How did you get it done?
SuChin Pak 19:41
I think there’s a bit I don’t know if because I was living in New York at the time, but for me living in New York at that time. It was a kind of context that may be come if you were a news reporter flying in from another city, you were flustered or no you were So grounded in the minutiae of what was happening to the city and your neighbors and your friends, that when you were reporting and looking at it, it wasn’t from the outside in, you know. And so there’s this sense of like, urgency, there’s a sense of purpose. And there’s a sense of connection, when you’re living in a new story. Like, I don’t know that that no, that’s never happened before. Or since it was the only time that I that I’ve ever reported on something as it was happening as I was living it. And so I think in that way, I just remember that being really crystal clear about just and, and for us to be able to say, like, living there being like, no, right now, I just heard from a friend of mine, they’re posting up names, you know, in Grand Central Station, we have to go Hmm, so like, wow, we were there, you know, what I mean, and in touch with what was happening? And so reporting on it, in some ways, was very easy.
Kalen Allen 20:55
Did you go to journalism school?
SuChin Pak 20:57
I did not. I always thought I was going to be a lawyer, or a school teacher, you know, and but I, like I said, I started doing this when I was 16, and doing reporting. And so for me, I felt like I was already in grad school. You know, and I never really stopped working. I didn’t make like a true living until I moved to. That’s not true. I didn’t make a true living till much later, you know, but I was always kind of, you know, around the newsroom. I was always that annoying kid that was like, oh, let me pick your story. Let me you know, go out there and talk to kids about, you know, whatever the topic was. And so that was my degree was just like, in the field.
Kalen Allen 21:42
So what was the difference? Because I’m in journalism school right now at NYU. So and also like working at Ellen for so long. And that being a different type of reporting versus like newsroom. What was different about specifically like MTV News in comparison to like a CNN, or just like a local news station?
Ricki Lake 22:03
SuChin Pak 22:04
School should have gone to that. All right. You know, what’s interesting is, before I started an MTV, I always thought, I’m going to be the next Connie Chung. You know that for me. When I was growing up, there was one person that looked like me that did the news. And that was it, Connie Chung. And I thought that I would work my way up local news. And you know what I mean, on the nightly news, and then I got to MTV, and then after that, I never ever wanted to be on news again, in that traditional way. And so, to answer your question, you know, MTV News, the newsroom was very much run like a newsroom. Like, they were very serious. Fact check. I mean, like, it wasn’t like, we weren’t partying, we weren’t invited to the after parties. I mean, we were a bunch of nerds like really doing trying to do journalism. And so and we took that job very seriously, like the voice of young people and trying to, you know, give them the news that was relevant.
Ricki Lake 23:07
Hey, I was also the voice of young people, but different.
SuChin Pak 23:11
So much cooler. So much cooler.
Ricki Lake 23:17
Your voice is so like recognizable. You say people like they recognize you from your voice, right?
SuChin Pak 23:25
Especially when I was doing cribs on like a weekly basis, I would call AT&T, you know, for my cell phone. And every once in a while, someone would be like, are you in cribs? And I just think that was so funny, because I, you know, I don’t have a particularly, you know, unique voice. But I think it was so constant during a certain number of years with a certain demographic that I think that my voice was recognizable to some degree. Wait, Ricki, I have to tell you my Ricki moment. It’s not a big one. But I was. I’m like, oh, when I when you guys called, I was like, oh, I finally get to tell this story. I was an intern in the publicity department that did your show. And my job when it was my first internship at a college was to write the blurbs for TV Guide. And that was my job. And so every, you know, every week or whatever, I would get a big file, transcripts, everything I’d have to read through all of it and come up with the three or four sentences. And let me tell you this phrase, Kalen, I don’t know if you have ever heard this phrase. Nowhere have I used this phrase more than in a Ricki Lake Show, which is […] she’s all that and a bag of chips.
Ricki Lake 24:48
What the hell does that mean?
SuChin Pak 24:51
All that and a bag of chips. That was like dying. That is my biggest, biggest funniest memory about being Raised by Ricki which It’s hilarious.
Ricki Lake 25:01
I love that you read the transcripts like you probably did more homework coming up with your blurbs than I did for the show.
SuChin Pak 25:06
Oh, yeah. no, because it was, Are you kidding me? Would you know an internship, you’re like, your life is on the line, you know, and like they would either hate it or love it, but you get in a groove. And I was like, by the end of the internship, I was the Ricki Lake TV Guide queen. Like I could churn out those three, four minute blurbs about the show. That’s funny.
Ricki Lake 25:26
Did you watch? I mean, I know it was your job. But did you watch my show? And other shows for fun? Not just for the job? I mean, like, what were the shows that you were drawn to?
SuChin Pak 25:35
You know, I remember the last episode that you guys did when you did the whole the hair weave. Those moments those like crazy outlandish things. But what I remember too, is we had said I had started MTV when I was 25. And we’re all relatively young, you know, especially to do news, right? Like when you’re, you know, interviewing presidential candidates, like you look to your left and your right, they’re 50-60 years old, you know what I mean? Like, there’s no, there are no kids. And so you sort of pave the way for people to take young people seriously and to take youth culture seriously. And so in a lot of ways, like because of you, there was already a kind of legitimacy that as young people, we had the right to be here. Not only that, but that the people that we were talking to this audience has a right to be here to have the right to be counted. And so yeah, so I watched the show I was intern, I mean, truly Raised by Ricki is I think it’s like the perfect title. Because growing up in that time, you sort of, and TV, you know, what people don’t understand TV was, that’s who raised you like you and there were three channels, you know, and I mean, it’s not like it was today. I mean, if you had a show on TV on one of the networks, that was that’s the biggest plot. I don’t know that there are bigger as big platforms today, because you just didn’t have options. It was that or nothing.
Ricki Lake 27:09
It’s time to take a break. Don’t go anywhere, we’ll be right back.
Kalen Allen 27:24
What were your experiences in regards to like race with working as such, you know, like a high volume of being in so many different places.
SuChin Pak 27:33
To where your talent wasn’t just enough, like you should have just been, like, I’m doing my job. I do it. Well, I come here every day, that should be enough.
SuChin Pak 27:33
I mean, I, you know, I was the first Asian-American in the newsroom, I was the only female. For me, I think those two can’t be separated. I you know, I don’t know, when I felt it was because I was a woman or because I was Asian-American Dean or anything. Like oftentimes, it was always, there were a lot of moments when you just felt like, why do I have to fight so hard for the thing that this guy is just throwing away? You know, why do I have to come so correct. Every single time and this guy? I mean, this is clownery. Like, what is that? You know, and so, there was a lot of kind of double standards, you know, like, everything I wore was scrutinized. And like debated pictures are sent the guys just like, that’s so I don’t know that anybody ever talked about any of it? You know? And so all that you’re so used to it, you don’t know what as it’s happening, but when you leave, and you look back with some experience, then you realize that’s really fucked up that I had to sit in these wardrobe meetings, as if I was my role was reduced to like this visual presentation of myself and I, if somebody had told me that then like, what are you doing? You should? I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have understood that concept. You know what I mean?
SuChin Pak 27:51
Kalen, when you did Ellen, did you have any sort of pressure to look a certain way or they let you just do you
Kalen Allen 29:02
I think that was the plus that because it was Ellen, you know, and like she was already the outcast? You know, it’s like the gay like, they let me do whatever the hell I wanted to. Do you know what I mean? So it was just like, every time I was on that show, I was doing whatever the hell Calum wanted to do, you know, and I didn’t give a shit. And that’s just the way that it was there, you know, and it was so different from everywhere else. But I do think from the outside world, there was a lot of critique there was a lot I think now I notice it more now that I’m not at the show. Like, like, for instance, like doing like Food Network, right. And being on shows this is like, personally, I feel a lot of times is that the I don’t fit in with the audience there. You know what I mean with like, the core audience, cuz it’s very middle America. And it’s just like, you know, these chefs, it’s like, I love all these chefs, but they are very just chefs. You know, they aren’t personalities. You know what I mean? So I come in with all my […]. And it feels a lot of times like, I’m too much, you know, or people don’t. Or they consider it trying that they’d be like, oh, he’s trying too hard. And I’d be like, you only say that because nobody else here is trying at all. Because they don’t have to, you know what I mean? It’s like, who I am. And so I think I live in a space. And I’d be like, Well, where do I go, that it works where it fits? You know, I mean, like, Ricki, we’ve had the conversation about people that even comment in the comments about this show, you know what I mean?
Ricki Lake 30:36
What did they say?
Kalen Allen 30:38
More so like, people being like, Oh, wait, he talks in his gay, Black gay boy or something like that, or in and I’m always like, well, I’m Black and gay. That’s who I am. But like, what do you want from me? What more do you want for me? You know, and that’s why I do not allow people. That’s why I don’t like the idea of talking about, like, making someone to be relatable. Because I think sometimes the issue with that is that because of who we are, or where we exist within the spectrum of identity, or race, that alone will make us not relatable, you know what I mean? It’s like, what does that mean? Do you want me to be cookie cutter, you want me to fit into this box, and that’s just not who I am. And I’m not willing to change who I am or create an image just so that, you know, you feel like I blend in with everybody else.
SuChin Pak 31:28
You know, what, Kalen, you just blew my mind this word relatable. It’s such, it is so ubiquitous, especially in media, you know what I mean? Like, Oh, she’s so relatable, he’s so relatable, and make this content so relatable. And you kind of lose the meaning of it, you know, you just use a word so much, it becomes a euphemism for, oh, make it so most people get it, right. And you don’t even deconstruct it. And so Kailyn I just like, I think you just deconstructed that, in a way for me that I have never thought about it critically, like when someone says, oh, cuz to me, it’s such a compliment, right? Like, oh, you know, she’s so relatable. But when I look at it in that context, so when you asked me about my career and race, it’s like, my whole career has been about trying to be relatable, because I never felt like my seat was permanent, or earned, you know, I had to audition. I always felt like I had to audition every single day for my position. And I can tell you that they did not feel that way. I can tell you as singularly how I felt so I just for me, not speaking up smiling through the uncomfortableness you know, taking those comments that people said and it’s just a joke, don’t take it. So seriously, he was just trying to be funny, all of that. I internalize that because I had to be relatable. And so that’s really interesting, Kalen.
SuChin Pak 31:29
Yeah, it’s very interesting, you know, and you know, what’s so funny about it, because even when you talk about being relatable, it’s all rooted in like Whiteness, you know what I mean? Because it’s like a, for instance, like, a White person that is filthy rich, will be deemed relatable, just because they got on a t-shirt and some jeans, you know, but that doesn’t change the fact that they filthy riches is spending millions of dollars on stuff like that, you know what I mean? But if somebody that is a minority was to wear something that’s designer, now, all of a sudden, they need to be humbled, or they need to tone it down, or they can’t do that. You know what I mean? I mean, you don’t mean times that like, I’ve been in business class, and the white people looking at me, like, I don’t belong in business class, you know what I mean? But it’s like, if it was somebody else, you wouldn’t had no issue with it. You’d be like, Okay, it’s normal. This, it makes sense for them to be up here. But it’s like, well, why are you up here? You don’t? I mean,
Ricki Lake 33:51
You really feel that way?
Kalen Allen 33:53
All the time.
SuChin Pak 33:54
Kalen Allen 33:55
I mean, even it’s as simple as standing in line to get on a Delta flight for business class, and you would lie and people would just get in front of you.
Kalen Allen 34:09
They’ll ask to make sure. Even if even the people checking you in, will be like, oh, this is group one, or this is that? It pisses me off.
Ricki Lake 34:20
And you’re saying that happens to both of you?
SuChin Pak 34:22
All the time. I mean, not so much anymore. I think with age also, too, because Kalen, you are so young, too. So it’s a little bit of all those things. But when I used to travel with MTV, and I would show up in my pink converse, and my fire red hair, you know, and the Asian girl, you know, standing in business, and people are like, no, this is the business line. It’s like I know this is the business line, like, this is where my seat is. You know, if this made me think about and it’s not related, but also related about because Ricky you know, you talk about like, oh just happens all the time. It happens in the most inconsequential moments. And this is something I shared on my podcast of like, I was like, I’m going to remove from cart ordering everything on the menu. And what I realized one day very recently, I was like, What is this impulse for me when I sit at a restaurant that I order, the most expensive and everything on the menu, and I and I’m like, I’ve been doing this for so long, I don’t even know why I do it. And I kind of sat with it. And I realized, the reason I do it is because I don’t want to ever feel like the dirty immigrant that can’t afford to eat at this restaurant, you know, with a white male, you know, waiter, let’s just say I’m just using that as an example. And I want everyone here to know that I can order anything on this menu, and I can pay for it myself. And that comes from growing up, you know, with Korean parents who aren’t American, no money, I don’t even have a memory of eating at a restaurant with my parents. And so it was just really interesting how insidious and how we internalize that, even on the tiniest level. And I have been doing this for my whole adult life ordering just crazy. It drives my mother crazy. And we would get into arguments we’ve been going to she won’t go to restaurants with me, she thinks I’m ridiculous. And I was like, What is this impulse, I always I’m like, I pass it off. Like I’m such a foodie, I want to taste everything. I want a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But underneath that is this kind of dirty, dark place. You know, where like, no, I also do it. I also do it. Because I want everyone in here to know that I belong here. Yeah. And then another funny thing, when I was doing the podcast, I shared this too. I was standing in line I live in Santa Barbara, which is there’s not an Asian you know, grocery store. It’s a beautiful place to live, but you know, not very diverse. And three times a week, I would go to this restaurant and order an Asian chicken. I love an Asian chicken salad, and they stand in line. And when I was looking around and being like, I’ve been coming in here for months, the only Asian person probably within a five mile radius, ordering the Asian chicken salad. And so I kind of joked I was like my platform is I want to rename the Asian chicken salad. Like, I love to not I would love to order an Asian chickens Allah not feel kind of funky about it. But I feel weird.
SuChin Pak 35:15
Or like, I won’t eat fried chicken on camera, you know what I mean? Like, it’s like those little micro aggresses that we have to deal with that we have to be super mindful about. And it’s like, if you don’t live in a reality where every year everything you do has to be considered it you have to be very cautious about how you move in the world and what you do and what you don’t do. And I think What’s hard is the gaslighting when people are like, that’s not true, or that’s not the reality. It’s like, well, how would you even know? Because that’s not your reality? You will never have to worry about that. You know?
Ricki Lake 38:06
I mean, I learned some things you guys today. You’re so awesome. SuChin, thank you so much for talking with us. It’s such a pleasure. Of course. We can hear you add to cart is on Lemonada Media. and I’m happy to come on your show anytime.
SuChin Pak 38:22
Yes. I can’t wait to have you guys on our show.
Ricki Lake 38:27
Yay, we belong. She’s great. I really like her.
Kalen Allen 38:47
Oh, my goodness. I loved it. And you know what’s interesting is, what I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of people that we’ve talked to that I’ve met that have they got started in industry at round the same ages as I did you know, like she was 25 I was 21. So I think it’s so interesting that that for a long time, I felt like maybe it wasn’t possible for people to reach that type of success at such a young age. But I’m starting to realize that it’s actually pretty, you know, that’s the trend here just like you
Ricki Lake 39:17
Yeah, it’s and I think, do you think it’s easier now to be young and to have these kind of opportunities?
Kalen Allen 39:23
I think it’s a lot easier now.
Ricki Lake 39:24
With TikTok and like that kind of platform right? Yeah, no, she was really really cool, really interesting. And I’m gonna I want to listen to add to cart more and get some pointers on things I may need. Yeah, she was great. I hope you guys enjoyed listening to us talk to SuChin as well. If you did, please rate and review. We love hearing from you.
Kalen Allen 39:44
It would be very nice of you to do that.
Ricki Lake 39:46
And thank you again for listening and I hope you’ll come back soon.
Raised by Ricki with Ricki Lake and Kalen Allen is a Lemonada Media Original. This show is produced by Claire Jones and Nancy Rosenbaum. Our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Our senior director of new content is Rachel Neill, VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson and our executive producers Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and DeRay McKesson, and the show is mixed by Johnny Vince Evans. Music is written and produced by Jellybean Benitez, Jason Peralta and Jay Coos for Jelly Bean Productions.