Continuing our series highlighting AAPI Heritage Month, we asked influencer Tina Nguyen what being a member of the AAPI community means to her. Nguyen is a member of the 24 Hour Fitness #FitSquad24.

24Life: What does AAPI pride mean to you?

Tina Nguyen: I did my first figure competition show back in 2013, after a year of training and prepping for it. Being an Asian American woman, it’s not within our culture to body build, or even just to work out as a hobby. I initially started training so that I could enter a pageant, yet I found bodybuilding to be my passion. It was not common for an Asian competitor to be on stage, and I was one of the very few. My family was not as supportive as I’d like for them to be, but my No. 1 supporter was actually my coach at that time. He is now my husband, and we still compete from time to time.

24Life: As a member of the AAPI community, how do you experience the fitness industry?

TN: My best advice to all, not just the AAPI community, is to always be yourself. It does not matter what you do in life or who you choose to be, as long as you’re being true to yourself, as that’s the alternative secret to happiness. Self-confidence is something we cannot train for. It is an internal reassurance: “This is who I am and who I will be,” mentally. Always do your best at anything you set your mind to. We can only regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we weren’t always successful at.

24Life: Any words of wisdom to share with other AAPI individuals who are interested in fitness?

TN: I may have gone through different phases of life during my adulthood, between not knowing what I wanted to go to school for, or where I even want to live. Things always evolve and as a person, you also evolve. One thing that has not changed is being who I am, knowing where I came from as my advantage, and it reminds me why I am unique.

Follow Tina Nguyen on Instagram @tinang13

Photo credit: Tina Nguyen