By the time Rachel Nguyen’s original fashion blog, That’s Chic, took off in the early days of the art form in 2007, the blogger-turned-YouTuber had already come of age on the internet. From hanging out on fashion forums to creating pixel art as a kid, Nguyen’s approach has always been diving headfirst towards her interests and finding community. As several generations of bloggers have already come and gone, this content creator’s holistic, personal storytelling and travel diaries have kept her firmly in the mix. The vlogger’s visual diary is as radically vulnerable as it is chic.
Written by: Roytel Montero
How has the pandemic affected the internet for you?
“I feel like the pandemic made the internet feel special again. For such a blip in time, the internet felt like what it used to—it felt nostalgic again, where people weren’t flexing and people were just being at home and trying to make bored content and just find any means of expressing themselves, no matter how dumb it looks, and I miss that about the internet, and people were doing that. It’s like what millennials were doing, but on TikTok, so it feels like nostalgic internet.”
How do you manage your time?
“I still create on a very weird basis. I don’t put myself on a schedule, but I create on what I’m feeling, and I put a lot of heart into my videos and would rather put quality over quantity. When I think about quality, to me that just means pour your heart into something with what you’re saying to an arch—a beginning, a middle, and an end—and that takes a lot of thought.”
You combine your lifestyle content on YouTube with some of your personal narratives that come together in videos. What’s it like playing back footage of your life this way?
“That’s hard for me to answer because I grew up on the internet with my whole life documented, but I find catharsis in being able to share my story because we all have unique perspectives, no matter how boring we think our lives are. But I think even being able to intersect my life and treat my channel like a journal, and then when I’m ready, to share it, I package it up in a creative project on top of a storyline of what’s happening. There is a balance, though, of how much do I share and what do I keep to myself and what’s precious, because it’s important to have something for yourself. But what I do share, I hope someone watching it can learn from my mistakes or imagine in their heads how they could do things differently, and I think those sorts of perspectives in storytelling are what can connect people to the human experience in ways that we don’t have all the resources for. I think that raw storytelling is really powerful.”
Do you feel the need to separate your online life from your real life, or is there no difference?
“Right now I feel like everything I’m consuming online is mostly on Instagram, and also staying on top of the news and staying updated as much as possible on current events. I actually love consuming TikTok. I tried my hand at a few and was like, I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not knocking it, but I don’t think I can do it. But I try to be mindful of that because that black hole is so fu*king real and so fu*king dangerous.”
What do you see for your future online?
“I like what I’m doing, and I feel very intuitive for what I like and what I want to make, and I haven’t felt tired of making videos yet. I think, in ways, why I started my YouTube and why it was successful in its own way was because I was challenging the idea that there was no video I saw that I wanted to watch as a twentysomething-year-old girl at the time. Now everyone has that format.”