Meet Cassandra Hsiao, the girl who inspired many Malaysian netizens for recently getting accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.
The student journalist, who emigrated from Malaysia at 5 years old, recently got accepted into top universities in the United States – Brown, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and Cornell.
WORLD OF BUZZ got in touch with Cassandra and found out that she felt honoured by the amount of Malaysians inspired by her story. She had this to say;
“Malaysia has always been a part of my identity, and I am proud to represent my home country on the international front!”
“I’m happy that so many readers were able to connect to my story, whether they related to the language struggles or the more subtle idiosyncrasies of being an outsider in an environment.”
She tells us that she attributes her success to constantly exercising her skills as a storyteller and writer.
“I developed my time management skills as I learned to balance school and my reporting life, where I am able to interview actors, filmmakers, scientists, authors, and motivational speakers at press conferences and junkets.”
Growing up, Cassandra said she definitely noticed cultural differences between her home environment and American society.
However, she did notice that it wasn’t only immigrants who experience this difference, as everyone conducts themselves differently in their private lives.
“Ultimately, whatever language we are speaking, our family communicates with love. My parents have always encouraged me to dream big by taking action.”
She has had the opportunity to attend high-profile press junkets and interview highly influential celebrities like Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), and Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana) just to name a few! I know, we are all dying from envy right now!
She is also a playwright and screenwriter, having written a play that was professionally produced by Playwrights Project at the Old Globe in San Diego earlier this year.
“I am in love with the food, the mix of languages and cultures, and the memories that I will always carry with me. I also miss my extended family–my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.”
Like anyone, Cassandra has also faced a number of obstacles on her way to the top as a successful student journalist.
“I proactively reach out to publicists and face many rejections. I have heard so many no’s along the way that they no longer faze me. However I can confidently say that persistence, coupled with hard work and preparation, pays off.”
“Even though I may be the youngest journalist in the room, I work twice as hard as the professionals around me to come up with questions that are relevant and haven’t been asked before.”
Aside from journalism, Cassandra is also deeply passionate about representation, particularly that of the Asian community in Hollywood.
“It’s tough to look at mainstream media and feel like your experience isn’t validated, simply because your stories aren’t being told.”
“That is why as a poet, playwright, and screenwriter, I strive for diversity, to give a voice to the voiceless, to show Hollywood that Asians are more than a monolith culture.”
She hopes that she inspires other people to share their unique experiences in society through her writing and storytelling.
Cassandra also shared some advice for young Malaysians looking to further their studies in good schools, saying,
“Never give up! Say yes to every opportunity.”
“If you never try, you’ll never know what could potentially happen. Also, find your passion and follow it with your full heart. Surround yourself with people who know you and your passions, and fill you with words of encouragement.”
Cassandra reached sent us an update, and has revealed that she will be attending Yale University later this year, and posted a video expressing how much Malaysians’ reactions meant to her.
Watch the video below!
We wish her all the best! We see a bright future ahead of her!
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