Lei Nico is Too Loud (And We Love It)

Most #BadAssBabes do about a hundred different things, day-to-day. Lei Nico might actually do more than most. We caught up with her (after she modeled our new re//worked pieces!) to chat about her career as a freelance everything, and her YouTube channel, She's Too Loud.

Lei in the Ari Watercolor re//worked set.

Lei in the Ari Watercolor re//worked set.

AD: What's your name, age, and where do you live?

LN: Lei Nico! 25. East Village. I love it I love it.

Career

AD: What do you do for work?

LN: Right now, I freelance in literally anything. I’m a certified personal trainer so I privately train. I PA (production assist), I tutor. A lot of odd jobs, but in the fall I’m heading back to school! It’s a secret though ;) to be announced in the near future!

AD: Tell us a little bit about your Youtube channel and the work you do outside of your 9-5!

LN: Oh man, no 9-5. I realized after my first job out of college that a 9-5 was not for me. I worked on Wall Street in a very corporate environment. Thankful for the opportunity but I clearly didn’t take to it well. I left after about 8 months. 

I launched a Youtube channel called “She’s Too Loud” to provide clarity around issues like sexism, racism, and mental health stigma. It is shockingly common for people to oversimplify and mischaracterize social issues, which can further harm others on a systemic and psychological level. After years of conversations with well-meaning yet misinformed individuals, I decided I wanted to try and reframe these topics in a more approachable way as a means to combat harmful misconceptions and dangerous language.

Lei in the eponymous re//worked Lei Bleached Set.

Lei in the eponymous re//worked Lei Bleached Set.

AD: How did you settle on the name "She's Too Loud”?

LN: Naming the channel was a really fun process! I decided to call it She’s Too Loud for two reasons: 

1. I’m so loud. I sometimes get carried away when I speak and forget to modulate my voice. It’s a powerful instrument but the volume I’m capable of producing can be a lot. My family is loud and my friends are loud, and other friends get annoyed that I’m loud. It made perfect sense to me to name my channel “She’s Too Loud.”

2.  It’s also a nod to anyone, particularly marginalized groups, that have voiced their stories and have been ridiculed, ostracized, and silenced. I think it’s important that we make noise and be “loud” to encourage justice, equity, and inclusion. When I confront any of those things I do my best to speak my mind and dismantle harmful social structures that might make anyone feel in danger or unwelcome. Sure, it would be much easier to remain silent and leave the status quo intact, but I want to encourage others to not be afraid to speak their truths, especially if not doing so affects their quality of life or pursuit of safety and happiness. Speak confidently, speak often (when you have the energy to), and definitely speak loudly in the face of ignorant, misinformed, and privileged individuals. 

AD: If you had to sum up your career goals in one word, what would it be?

LN: On-screen. 

I know that I want to entertain and educate, and I know that I prefer to do that in front of the camera in any way I can. I’ve had enough experience doing production gigs and helping friends produce other projects to finally admit to myself that I am most invigorated when I am talent. I believe I should be talent. It’s a big dream to fantasize about being a star, but I’d rather dream big than wonder how far my potential could have taken me. Wish me luck!

AD: How did you get into making videos?

LN: I started making videos when I finally decided I wanted to start a YouTube channel at the end of 2017. I figured the best way to share my ideas was the way I had been sharing my ideas this whole time: through conversation. So I bought a camera, did some research, wrote a loose script, made a makeshift studio in my room, and filmed my first piece of content. I kind of just dove right in without any experience. You have to start somewhere, so I wanted to start attacking that learning curve as quickly as I could so I could produce professional looking stuff.

I taught myself the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop in about 2 months thanks to YouTube and the Adobe support team (I also had a lot of time on my hands because I had foot surgery at the end of 2017). Since then, I’ve developed my own signature style for my videos and have gotten way more comfortable talking in front of the camera. It’s amazing what you can learn in such a short amount of time when you really commit yourself to it and believe in your cause!

Lei in the re//worked Missy Linen Tie Top.

Lei in the re//worked Missy Linen Tie Top.

AD: What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

LN: Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."

I love this quote. It’s playful but speaks so nicely to the self-doubt that comes with pursuing a goal. Since I was around 18 years old, I’ve really struggled to find a passion— somewhere I felt I could demonstrate my version of genius. I would tell my 18 year old self to continue to believe there is a place for you that will feel right. So just keep searching for it. Try. Fail. Get rejected. Repeat. Keep doing that knowing that you have genius somewhere living in you. Don’t feel stupid or less or unworthy or behind. It will take a long time and you will feel sad and lost often. Resile and let this drive you. Eventually you will find yourself capable of far greater things than climbing trees. The universe will be like, “oh you wanted to climb trees? Nah, girl. You were made to scale mountains.” 

AD: Do you have anything new and exciting on the horizon for your channel? Any long-term goals down the pike?

LN: I took a short break from YouTubing to practice some self-care. Two months of self-care actually. I feel fantastic now! The best I’ve ever felt. EVER. Now, I’m gearing up to release more videos on mental health, the topic that received the most feedback and allowed me to connect to my viewers on a personal level. I’ll be exploring topics like therapy, medication, self-care, how to have difficult conversations about mental illness. Understanding self-harm is a topic I’m deeply passionate about so I want to take the time to develop a thorough report on that. Now that I’m re-energized I’m ready to put my all into getting my advocacy out there and hopefully helping some people along the way. The long term goal is always to touch a bigger audience and refine my on-camera skills. I’ll get there through different strategies like more guests and perhaps taking my show on the road!

Fashion

AD: How would you describe your style in one word?

LN: Movable. If I can’t bend, squat, chase, or twist in it, I most likely won't wear it. Or at least, I definitely won’t enjoy wearing it.

Lei in an upcoming re//worked bodysuit.

Lei in an upcoming re//worked bodysuit.

AD: What do you love about vintage?

LN: Vintage is like an old friend. It’s always been there. It has integrity. It has a history and it's seen some things. There’s a feeling of wisdom and familiarity when you wear it so you feel confident in it’s fit and quality.

AD: Do you have a favorite vintage find?

LN: My favorite vintage pieces are actually from my dad! I have an oversized, purple Tommy Hilfiger crew neck sweatshirt I throw on basically the entirety of the cold months and I have his old school Levi’s light wash denim jacket. The one with the big sleeves that were distressed, not by any tools, but by time itself. I love these pieces particularly because they came from my dad so in a way it feels like the pieces chose me, just waiting in the family until I decided to come along and embrace them.

AD: What's the worst trend you've ever participated in?

LN: So many. I’d say t-shirts made in Asia. Like the ones that have those misspelled English phrases that make no sense? Why did my mother let me go out of the house like that? I think it’s because they were cheap and you could buy them in bulk in the Philippines. 

Ariana DiValentino is Head of Social at Ver Co.