Meet the Artist of Life, Aileen Xu
Aileen founded her blog, Lavendaire, a few years back with the hopes of inspiring others to build their dream lives from scratch. She used her own life as a model and logged her journey on YouTube. Several months later, she garnered over 100,000 followers on YouTube, filmed a short movie in Taiwan, and was invited to speak at TEDX. Her podcast, The Lavendaire Lifestyle, shares candid tips and tricks on how to build a dream life that's unique to you. I've had the pleasure of observing Aileen pursue her dreams from the moment she started Lavendaire, and now I have the honor of interviewing her. I hope you'll be encouraged by this wonderful artist and go-getter!
Me: What does Lavendaire mean to you?
Aileen: Lavendaire is all about crafting a life that is beautiful & meaningful to you. It is the journey of becoming an artist of life, one who fully owns her power to create and shape all the details of her dream life. The motto is: “Life is an art. Make it your masterpiece.” Once we become aware of this, we can really take our lives in any direction we choose: healing past wounds and crafting a brighter future for ourselves.
Me: Your committed followers will know that you're the queen of life hacks-- that is, finding the most beautiful parts about life and using it to benefit yourself and the world. For a woman who's still in her tender years, how did you gain so much wisdom?
Aileen: I love to learn, so I’m constantly reading books, watching videos or listening to podcasts. There was a period of time where I was lost and doing a lot of soul searching right after college. I did a lot of research on people I admire, watching all of their interviews and reading all the articles about them. After consuming so much information, you’ll notice the same lessons, stories, or exercises pop up from different sources, and so the good stuff will get ingrained in your brain.
I’d also say I’m a pretty observant person, so whenever I experience something in life or have a conversation with a friend, I’ll take note (either mentally or literally on my phone) of whatever insight I gained from that. I also journal really often, which brings out that inner voice of intuition. I feel like we all have that voice of intuition within, and if we listen to it more often, we’ll realize how much wisdom we already have.
Me: You began your journey on YouTube from scratch, and you now have close to 150,000 subscribers! What was the most difficult part of your YouTube journey?
Aileen: The most difficult part in the beginning was definitely convincing myself to keep creating videos weekly and stay committed when it wasn’t showing any growth for the first year and half. You have to develop the discipline to put in the work with the uncertainty that this might never go anywhere. And then you have to deal with the awkward situation of explaining what you do with friends and acquaintances in social settings. I was unconfident and afraid of being judged, because I was a USC grad with no “real” job, making videos on YouTube that no one was watching. It was a humbling experience and now I’m so grateful for it. It was the first time I’ve ever learned to truly take that leap of faith and commit to something for the long haul.
Me: What inspired you to keep pushing forward?
Aileen: When I started Lavendaire, I finally felt like this was a niche that I was truly passionate about and could see myself pursuing for the rest of my life. I LOVE personal growth and lifestyle design; I’m pretty obsessed with finding ways to improve myself and my life. It wasn’t long before I started to get positive feedback through comments & emails—even if my videos weren’t that popular yet, I would get handfuls of comments or emails from people thanking me for inspiring them or helping them in some way. Just the feeling of being able to help ONE soul is so fulfilling. I knew that this is what I wanted to keep doing.
Plus, I knew deep down that this was my dream job and dream lifestyle, so I was committed to making it work! My mentality was: “no matter how hard it is or how bad it gets, I’m going to make it!” I literally have had that quote written down in my phone since 2014; it’s really helped me stay committed.
Me: If you can craft a one-sentence advice for fresh graduates who feel lost in life, what would it be?
Aileen: Allow yourself the freedom to explore. Explore within yourself, and explore all the things that intrigue you in the world. In time, you’ll find just what you’re looking for.
Me: You're quite the avid reader (which is great news!), so can you recommend three life-changing books for us?
Aileen: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Literally those three books will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Have fun :)
Check out Aileen's new book, the 2017 Artist of Life Workbook for self-edification!