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EP#12 Beyond Labels: Embracing Multidimensional Identities

Embracing Multidimensional Identities

In this episode of You Did That!, I welcome Ryan Alexander Holmes, a Chinese and African American actor and content creator who is bringing mixed ethnicity identity to the mainstream. He believes that it’s crucial to opt-out of the mainstream narrative and to embrace one’s unique qualities. We’ve been on some panels together, so I know this is going to be a great episode. 

 Main topics discussed:

  • Looking Beyond Appearances
  • Overcoming Fear
  • Identity Crisis
  • Finding Your Voice

When did you start publicly fully embracing who you are?

Ryan: It came from a lot of pain and trauma from BLM and Stop Asian Hate. When BLM happened, there’s a lot of Asians, a lot of people of all colors and creeds marching in the streets that I felt very empowered. And then when Stop Asian Hate happened, it’s almost like  a lot of the anti-blackness in the Asian community started showing its face again.  I saw both my communities fighting each other and I saw the media sort of perpetuating it. So I felt like I had to say something and it was very raw and emotional.

I really didn’t expect for it to be viral or to get any. I just wanted to express myself. I didn’t even think that they would approve it, but they did approve it.  So seeing all the support that I got made me think my voice matters. I never really thought that my voice mattered or my opinion mattered or people would get behind that. And so that just started me on a course of just making content. 

I felt even more empowered because along the journey, there was like I don’t want to be known as just a Blasian guy, but what I realized is when I started embracing who I was, like the black and Asian, it’s like,  yes, this is a part of me, and I love it but that’s not all of who I am. I have so much more than that. But I’m so glad that I’m able to embrace that every day.

What would you say is your favorite thing you’ve learned about yourself through this discovery process?

Ryan: I think that my favorite thing that I’ve learned is that I used to be very quiet, I still am very scared of public speaking and also just being the center of attention. And I did a panel in front of 400 people, a couple of weeks ago, and I got on stage, and I was literally shaking. I don’t think anyone noticed. But what I realized is, the thoughts that I used to have of, “you’re going to mess this up, or don’t say the wrong thing,” those don’t exist anymore. 

I’m ready for the question when it comes, and I’m just going to answer it how I always have answered it. Because I think once you have the experience of doing it all the time and also going through the fear, your body will tell you, I know what I’m doing.

It’s never easy. You just get stronger and better at what you do.

What would your younger self think if they saw you today?

They’d be happy in the sense that you hang out with other black and Asian people I didn’t even know existed.

Learn more about Ryan:


I hope you enjoy this episode and the whole season!

If so, please leave a rating and review wherever you listen to your podcasts.