“I strongly believe that trials and tribulations lead to higher callings and that we can all be resilient to whatever life throws at us if we can keep perspective and find gratitude in both ordinary and extraordinary moments.”
Please briefly introduce yourself.
I am Sydney Hyunah Oh, a southern gal at heart but a New Yorker in my soul. I’ve been a publicist for the last 13+ years and recently started my own consultancy to manage talented multi-hyphenate creatives. I am also a ceramic artist behind Milk and Clay.
What is a typical day like for you?
Generally, I love to work out in the mornings, wash up and make breakfast and tea, matcha, or decaf coffee. I then check emails, and while every day looks a bit different, most of it consists of meetings, pitching, strategizing, and now learning the ropes of building a business. I’ve been making an effort to cook more meals. If I have time, I’ll make pottery at home or at my studio after work and/or on weekends.
“I often think, how do we build bridges to create more love, empathy, and compassion so that brands open up to individuals who they think may not 'be on brand,' but in actuality, they are if they look past the surface."
How has your background and experience shaped the person you are today?
I’m an Aries sun, Capricorn moon, and Libra rising. I feel it perfectly captures my passion for life and mellow personality, insane work ethic, and desire for justice and all things great design when it comes to aesthetics for the home, beauty, and fashion. I’m also Korean American and the oldest daughter of immigrant parents who divorced when I was young, so seeing my mom work really hard set a great example for me. I strongly believe that trials and tribulations lead to higher callings and that we can all be resilient to whatever life throws at us if we can keep perspective and find gratitude in both ordinary and extraordinary moments.
Does balance play a role in your life?
The libra rising in me says it all, considering the symbol is a balanced scale. I do believe in fairness, morality, and justice. I definitely like to consider all the sides before I make any really big decisions, which in turn also drives me nuts but helps balance me out in terms of my otherwise impulsive and fiery nature for things I find less so.
What are some tips on maintaining balance and taking care of your well-being?
When it comes to work/life balance, I really lean into tea and pottery to help me stay grounded. During my wellness/healing journey, I have come to learn that working out actually helps me the most. I feel strong, and on top of the world, so that’s a great foundation to start my day on as long as I have the energy for it.
How has your perception of beauty evolved over the years?
In hindsight, it was hard not seeing a representation of other Asians in American pop culture while growing up. In turn, I really leaned into my Koreanness with KPOP and K-dramas along with Korean and Japanese fashion magazines. Outside of the superficial, I find having confidence is when I feel the most beautiful. Admittedly, fashion is what helps me be at my most confident, optimal self. It makes sense because women are judged by their appearance, and that affects our bottom line per a study I learned while working with a former client and now friend, Sali Christeson.
Are there any beauty tips from your culture that you can share?
I really enjoy staining/dyeing my nails with flowers, called bongsungah, as regular manicures get easily ruined while making ceramics. You can make a paste using smashed balsam flowers with alum and wrap your fingernails overnight to get a beautiful orange hue that’s all-natural. It is a practice that dates back centuries in Korean culture. Luckily for me, it’s available in powder form and much less time intensive by adding water which I appreciate. I often add a clear coat of nail polish to help it look brighter. I’m actually planting seeds to grow balsam flowers now that it’s Spring, as the traditional experience really appeals to me right now.
What are your beauty and wellness rituals?
I have many, but the ultimate way for me to decompress is a nice bath while masking. I got into at-home facial massages over the pandemic after my friend, Olivia Lopez, introduced me to them. I also enjoy cupping, acupuncture, pilates, and Iyengar yoga, and really love Solid Core.
What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
My mom always encouraged me never to wear makeup as a young teen and to always wash my face before going to bed. I’m so happy I listened to her. Until this day, I don’t feel the need to wear foundation or tinted moisturizer as I purely focused on my skincare regimen since I was very young. The “no makeup, makeup” look for me is quite literal since I just focus on my eyes, eyebrows, and blush to keep it simple and quick.
What Superegg product does your skin love the most?
This feels like a trick question, as I genuinely love all the products that it’s hard to keep in stock. But lately, the hero of my skincare regimen has been the Phyto Bounce Eye Contour Solution. Not only is the packaging beautiful, but the design of the tube is so thoughtful for application. The texture of the gel feels like a serum and is perfect for me; it absorbs quickly and feels light while hydrating. It also doesn’t get into my eyes like other eye creams.
What are you reading or listening to that has made a lasting impression on you lately?
I’m currently working through The Artist’s Way with my friend Cathaleen Chen who gifted it to me while life felt very dark during the pandemic. After a really horrific case of burnout, which manifested into health scares and physical complications, I lost confidence in my own ability to be creative along with my personal self-worth due to a lot of trauma. I feel grateful to have recovered and been able-bodied again, so I’m utilizing the tools in The Artist’s Way to help me rediscover my sense of self-worth, especially as an artist, on this healing journey that I’ve been on for a couple of years now. I’m happy to say that after a much-needed social media break, I’ve relieved the pressure from myself on building a brand to just focus on having fun with clay and finding joy in it again since the practice requires a lot of labor, time, and physical strength.
What conscious decisions can we make to help the environment and our planet?
I’m a big supporter of implementing sustainable practices daily, but the reality of the circumstances is at the helm of our governments and other countries and the dismantling of systemic issues that a single person cannot fix alone. A big one on my mind right now is stopping The Willow Project. Being organized and joining hands with communities to create larger-than-life movements seem to be more effective to me than just recycling.
Conscious consumption is another great way we can make a change on an individual level since consumer behaviors can really help make shifts in demand toward a more sustainable, circular economy. On a personal level, I really try to stay away from fast fashion and invest in the quality of my belongings or shop vintage, but it’s possible for me due to the perks of working in the industry. I totally understand the appeal from a socioeconomic perspective for anyone that chooses to buy fast fashion or shop on Amazon, so there is no shame in this.
What is your personal or professional mission?
My mission with my management and PR consultancy is to elevate diverse perspectives while leveraging the creator economy and helping talents build their own brand to obtain more agency and equity for themselves. My personal mission is financial freedom while at it. I’ve worked with over 60 brands of all calibers during my career as a creative and strategic publicist, and know what brands want and what editors need for media coverage.
During the height of the racial justice movement, my perspective of what “on brand” means shifted after checking my unconscious biases. For example, AAPIs make up only 2% of the entire PR category per a Harvard Business Study, and naturally, I was often the only minority in positions of leadership. Recognizing that the way I was trained was from a lens that didn’t always serve BIPOC communities, I realized that the only way I can make an impact is if I have my own back, reporting to myself to save energy on emotional labor and focus on the actual work that’s needed.
I’m excited to partner with brands and individuals who are genuinely aligned with my inclusive values. I often think, how do we build bridges to create more love, empathy, and compassion so that brands open up to individuals who they think may not “be on brand,” but in actuality, they are if they look past the surface. It’s a constant question for me, but I have a much better grasp of my approach now than ever before.
What does being a Good Egg mean to you?
Feeling good in my own skin, trying not to chase validation or acceptance, and currently, and most importantly, being okay with delayed gratification.
Make a wish for your future self.
I wish to never take no for an answer and keep conviction as I do the work in building my business, while living life to the fullest. I also hope to one day accomplish my dream of becoming a full-time artist when I’m ready.
Follow Sydney's journey at @ohsyd and @milkandclay.