Humans of Haas: Emily Li
Emily is a senior studying Business Administration and Film Studies. She’s from the Bay Area but has also lived in China for eight years. On campus, she’s involved with Alpha Kappa Psi, Business Careers in Entertainment Club, and imagiCal. She’s passionate about all things entertainment and hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of business strategy and creative storytelling.
How has Haas/Haas resources shaped you?
The biggest impact that Haas has had on me is helping me develop an entrepreneurial mindset. I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, but I never had the confidence to actually pursue it. At Haas, I’m always surrounded by driven, passionate people working on different projects and startups. There are also electives and Decals that give me the opportunity to connect with company founders and learn from their stories. Being able to have insightful conversations with my friends about their latest projects and meeting successful entrepreneurs really inspired and motivated me to one day start my own venture as well.
How has starting a YouTube channel been?
It has been difficult and rewarding at the same time. Maintaining a YouTube channel is almost like a part-time job, because filming and editing a 10-minute video takes at least ten hours. I try my best to be mindful of the type of content I create and be protective of my excitement for the channel to avoid burnout. The last thing I want is to feel frustrated and tired of something I’m so passionate about. At the same time, starting my channel has allowed me to make new friends and reconnect with people I haven’t talked to in a long time. When I see people comment on my videos or swipe up on my story to tell me that they loved my video, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever, and that’s what makes it all worth it.
Where do you think you’re going to go with the channel in the future?
Just personally, the channel has been a great outlet for me to relax and express my creativity. Obviously, at the same time, I want to grow my channel so that I can reach a wider audience with my content. I treat starting a YouTube channel like starting a company. You pour your heart and soul into it, but you’re not exactly sure where it will go in the future. And that’s okay, because you’re really passionate about the idea and you believe in it. Hopefully, in the future, I can use my channel as a platform to connect with more creatives, whether they are content creators, filmmakers, or writers. I want to use my voice to bring more diverse storytellers into the entertainment industry. But even if my channel doesn’t grow, I still appreciate this opportunity to entertain and bring value to those around me with my content.
Has your channel made you realize anything?
I’m fluent in English and Mandarin, so I try my best to make my channel bilingual by speaking in both languages and adding subtitles. At first, I thought no one would be interested in this type of content or would find subtitles annoying, but some of my most popular videos are actually the ones where I spoke Mandarin or “Chinglish” in. People have also messaged me saying that they appreciate this type of video, because it helps them learn Chinese or that it’s relatable to them as Asian Americans. I started to realize that there is an audience for this seemingly niche content. This revelation is super exciting to me, because it proves that culturally specific content does have a unique value and can connect with a wide range of audience as long as it comes from a genuine, personal place. Even though I’m just a tiny creator on the Internet, I hope I can contribute to adding more diverse and underrepresented perspectives to the media we consume today.
Do you have any advice for anyone navigating Haas right now?
My one piece of advice would just be to take your time and explore. Berkeley and especially Haas can feel very fast-paced and competitive at times. Everyone is trying to figure out what they want to do after graduation; everyone is searching for that answer as soon as they set foot on campus. When I was a freshman, I thought I would have everything figured out by the time I’m a senior, but honestly every time you enter a new stage of life, you’re always going to have more questions. So why not take your time to explore all the different opportunities, internships, and clubs on campus? We have so many resources, and it would be a waste to not take advantage of them. So allow yourself the time and energy to try new things and get to know yourself better.
Favorite films: Lady Bird, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, In the Mood for Love
Favorite Shows: Fleabag, Succession