Meet a Maker: Mykou Thao
This month's Maker highlight goes to Mykou Thao the author & founder of HmongBaby.com. She is a mother, musician, and entrepreneur. Read on to learn more about the founder herself who started her own online shop providing you with flash cards and books to help you teach Hmong to your kids!
1. What are the three qualities that got you to where you are today?
2. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
Being a painter.
3. What inspired you to start doing what you do now?
Seeing how beneficial it has been for me as an adult to be bi-cultural and bilingual. After having children, I wanted to teach them the value of being bi-cultural and bilingual as well.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
From my girls.
5. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Singapore. It's such a unique place filled with so much beauty and culture.
6. If you were home on a rainy Sunday afternoon, what movie would you most want to see on television?
I don't have a television, but I'd watch Coco. They do such a beautiful job of bringing culture and modernism together. It reminds me a lot of Hmong culture and helps me to appreciate family and our history even more.
7. What’s your favorite time of the day?
4am - 7am. It's when I get ready for the day by journaling, meditating, and listening to music. The rest of the day flows from how my morning goes so it's extremely important for me to have this time.
8. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
9. What skill would you like to master?
10. What are some small things that make your day better?
Meditation and reminding myself that I get to choose how I live my life, starting with the smallest decisions.
11. If you got a free check for $5,000, how would you use it?
It's boring, but I'd pay for my school debt.
12. Who inspires you to be better?
My husband. He is my better half and makes me better just by being with me.
13. What’s one thing that you are especially good at?
I definitely have a natural eye for aesthetics, so design, decorating, and pretty much anything that has to do with aesthetics comes pretty easily to me.
14. What’s one thing that you are especially bad at?
Paperwork. I hate paperwork! I'm not necessarily bad at it, but I just don't like it and therefore, I am bad at it because I usually push it to the side until I really need to get it done. So...in that sense, I'm bad at it.
15. If you could compete in an Olympic sport, what would it be?
Volleyball. But I'd have to actually be good which I'm not!
16. What’s a favorite book of yours?
Stargirl. It's a book for young teens by Jerry Spinelli, but it's poetic and beautiful. It's a book that reminds us to stay authentically ourselves. Even as an adult, I go back to its simple truths.
17. What do you like most about where you currently live?
There's a lot of Hmong and Asian restaurants and stores everywhere. I can walk down a couple of blocks and get some really good Asian food!
18. If you could live in a foreign place, where would it be?
China. I would love to learn Mandarin and to teach my children the language. I want to expose my children to a different culture so that they can see that the world is made up of people who are so different, but are still so similar.
19. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Take the time to figure out what your values are, and don't let fear of failure or fear of people sway you from who you authentically were created to be.
20. What change would you like to see in the Hmong culture?
I would like to see the Hmong community come to a place where they place value on Hmong women. Things are changing and there are some Hmong women doing some pretty awesome things against all odds, but overall, Hmong women are still seen as second class citizens.
21. What is your favorite thing about being Hmong?
I love how it gives me a larger perspective on what it means to be human. It helps me to relate with those who grew up similarly with me, immigrant, second generation, Asian American, poor. I can relate with them and sympathize and connect with them. It also gives me the confidence to connect with those who come from a completely different background than me because I have something beautiful and unique to offer to the larger community as a whole.
Check out our shop to find some of her books!