All posts tagged: LGBTQ

Lao Diaspora of the Week: Saengthong Douangdara

This week’s featured Lao diaspora is Saengthong Douangdara, better known as Saeng. Saeng was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and grew up in Southern Wisconsin. He currently resides in California and is the founder of Tie Theory, a company that sells hand-crafted bowties and pocket squares to benefit social causes. What is Tie Theory? How did you come up with idea of starting up something like Tie Theory? Before Tie Theory was created, I developed several small businesses on the side to help support myself through college.  The entrepreneurial mindset was always with me. When I moved to California, I took up sewing so I could tailor my own clothes. I was able to teach myself how to sew in a few weeks despite having never used a sewing machine before. Surprisingly, I discovered a new passion. In a few months, I found myself tailoring my friends’ clothes and making costumes, dresses, suits, and bow ties. Not too much later, Tie Theory was born. Tie Theory is a social brand that infuses social …

Transforming beauty and identity: Mayline Manivong

Maybe it’s your hair, maybe it’s Mayline. Most likely it’s Mayline. As I rushed across a crowded Nicollet Mall to the cozy Studio 52 hair salon, the first thing Mayline Manivong wanted to do was my hair. “Why…do I look that bad?” I was embarrassed for the poor excuse of a hairdo which looked like a bird’s nest on top of my head. “Let me cut and style it. I need to warm up to you!”, she insists. I plop myself down in her chair and we chit chat. “I’ve never done an interview. I’m a little nervous”, she tells me. With each strand of my hair meeting the shears, I felt her nervousness shed. For over 20 years, Mayline has been passionate about hair. Some say her hands are like magic to their hair nightmares. “What I love about my job is I always make my clients look better than when they came in. Not just better, but transformed”. A true Lao at heart, Mayline is a lumvong (Lao dance) fanatic, who enjoys kicking …