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Q&AZN: Banana Magazine & Derek Du Jour

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, editors Kathleen Tso and Vicki Ho of Banana Magazine are taking over Milk with eight different features, highlighting some of their community’s best and brightest creatives. Next up? Stylist and editor Derek Du Jour.

Derek Du Jour is a Vietnamese-American stylist and editor, on a journey of self discovery as they navigate a black and white binary world. Derek Du Jour identifies as a non-binary trans femme and is determined to educate through compassion. We’ve known Derek Du Jour for a while through the fashion industry and we were so honored to have them contribute to our recent issue 004 gender identity package because of their own personal experiences with tackling a very complex conversation.

Read more about how Derek Du Jour’s Vietnamese heritage plays a part in his identity.

What is your heritage?

I am Vietnamese-American.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? 

I grew up in Horsham, PA, a super typical cookie-cutter suburban town. It wasn’t the most diverse town. I now live in NYC, (thank goodness), Brooklyn to be exact! Now running on my ninth year in the big Apple. NYC is definitely home.

Who is an APA creative that you look up to? 

I honestly look up to the queer Asian Pacific Islander community in Brooklyn. I’m so thankful for collectives such as Bubble_T and Onegaishimasu for bringing us all together and creating an inclusive and non-judgemental space. We honestly needed it for so long, words can’t even explain! Seeing queer people like me, fearlessly and creatively expressing themselves has been such an inspiring and beautiful experience.

How has your heritage played a part in your passions and in your work?

As a queer Asian American, I’ve really committed myself to promote and use more subjects and talents of Asian Pacific Islander decent. We’re so underrepresented in western media and I want to help change that and show the world that we’re just as beautiful as every other race in this world.

When was the first time you realized, through your career or your passions, you connected with your heritage and felt that sense of pride?

It actually didn’t happen through my career or passions. It was when I went to Vietnam three years ago for the second time. The first being 15 years ago. I just love my motherland so much. I had the most wonderful time reconnecting with my paternal relatives and rediscovering my home country. Vietnam is filled with so much beauty from its people, food, and nature. I couldn’t be more proud to be Vietnamese. I want to help give back to Vietnam and am currently working on a plan to establish a business or partner with an organization there, till then my lips are sealed. So being there, gave birth to a new passion and I can’t wait to go back!

What are you gearing up for right now in your career? Plug in what you got going on right now!

As of now… I am now a life coach for the Ali Forney Center, an amazing organization for LGBTQ homeless youth. I’ve also been named the new fashion editor for DRØME, an awesome up-and-coming queer youth magazine. I have a few projects I’m styling/working on with them, which I’m super excited about! Then I have quite a few Derek Du Jour projects, features, and shoots coming up, which I’m also super excited for! Lots going on and I couldn’t be happier! I can’t wait to share everything with everyone!

Images courtesy of Yvette Aispuro

Stay tuned to Milk for more from Milk x Banana.

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