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Atypical Asian

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Atypical Asian Photography Project

This project focuses on Asian people from all walks of life who have volunteered to share their personal stories, experiences, and perspectives. It involves doing an interview and to have their photograph taken preferably in their element or wherever they feel most comfortable.

The purpose is to bring to light and celebrate the diversity of Asian people. It aims to do away with stereotypes and for people from all backgrounds and cultures to connect on some level by the stories told and to learn from one another.

The concept was created in 2019 and it stemmed from questioning the term people of color. At the time, it seemed the media applied the term to mostly Black and Hispanic people, while the Asian community seemed excluded from the conversation.

The project further evolved after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought with it an uptick of anti-Asian hate crimes with Asians racially discriminated against and thought of as the cause of the virus, while some further denigrating Asians as being a virus and not a person.

Asia is a huge continent with many rich and diverse cultures within. In general, by taking the time to learn about a person for who they are instead of judging their exterior, perhaps we will eventually come to an understanding and to live peacefully with one another.

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Sarah Ha

Sarah is a passionate leader, educator and activist driven by her own personal Why. Recounting past traumas and difficulties growing up,...

Debbie Nip

A great interest in traveling and international development led Debbie to a fulfilling career in working for government in the USDA in...

Marie Li

A: Who is Marie? Tell me a little about yourself. M: I am a people person, easygoing but aggressive. I like to enjoy and have fun but I...

Vincent Li

I was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. by myself when I was 24 years old. My family had a small apartment in Hong Kong...

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About me

My name is Addy Balajadia and I am the creator of Atypical Asian photography project. I was born in Quezon City, Philippines, and grew up in Queens, New York.

I am a creative at heart but professionally worked as a licensed practical nurse for over 20 years and also have a master's degree in Art Therapy. You can view my drawings and paintings on my website and on Instagram addybpaints, my photography website at

Atypical Asian is ongoing and I aspire to include people from all of Asia. If you or someone you know would like to participate in this project, please contact me at and tell me why you think you would be a good fit. Only serious inquiries will be considered.

Disclaimer: The participants of Atypical Asian photography project is voluntary. There is no monetary compensation at any time, and in whatever form it is published. The creator retains the rights of this project.

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