Culture & Fashion: An Interview with Estelle Lee and Brian Shu

Asmee Shitoley, Bear Hub Staff

The auditorium was pitch black as the show lights came on, ripping through the darkness like a knife. Everyone applauded,and a giant banner reading, “ASIAN NIGHT” hung high above our heads. The cheering only increased as every familiar face popped on stage, embracing their culture and interests in their own unique ways. I saw a familiar friend on stage too, Estelle Lee, who strutted a pose with Brian Shu to kick off the fashion show.

A burst of warming laughter filled the room as friends and friends of friends collectively cheered everyone on. This was a community– the community that Asian Night has created for so many students at East Brunswick High School.

When meeting to interview Estelle Lee and Brian Shu, I really wanted to focus on the importance of fashion within their lives and how this connects with their culture and interest in Asian Club. Although a niche connection, its predominance has impacted many within the community as they reflect opinions quite similar to theirs. When asked if this was out of their comfort zones, Brian replied, “Yeah, typically we’re just observing, but after this, we may prefer being on the other side of the auditorium.” Estelle nodded her head in agreement and added, “ It’s also our senior year, so we wanted to incorporate something interesting where we challenged ourselves and did something we wouldn’t normally do.” I could tell by the tone of her voice that this was a positive experience that she was happy to participate in.

Speaking of senior year, it only seemed fitting to ask about their future plans. Estelle will be going across the country for college, and I know creating a new community from the ground up is not an easy task. I asked her how she planned to pursue this interest in college, for both Asian Club and fashion. Estelle laughed and replied, “I’m already looking into similar clubs at college. This really inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone and connect with friends on a deeper level through similar interests and backgrounds. It makes a big school feel a little smaller.” She began fiddling with her ring with a touch of nervousness in her voice, “I really hope to continue this at college, which will be even bigger.”

Asian Club is a unique club that not a lot of schools offer, and Brian emphasized how much the club has shaped their high school years, “Asian club not only expanded our knowledge and understanding of different Asian cultures and holidays, but also allowed us to make connections with different types of people.” Estelle agreed and added, “We also put a lot of time and effort into these events and it taught me a lot about productivity and time management, as well as taking charge when needed.”

I wanted to understand their connection to fashion and what positive experiences they’ve gained through it, to which Estelle explained, “I think for me, personally, it helped with my fear of stage fright. It just made me more confident and willing to do things like the fashion show again because it makes me more excited to put myself out there in new situations that I would’ve never normally participated in.” She beamed while saying this, reminiscing over the personal growth she has experienced over the years. Brian added on, “It also affects the way I present myself. It can set a positive tone for the day.”

These niche interests are what allowed Estelle Lee and Brian Shu to click, and it’s exciting to see that some high school clubs can impact their futures at college, their circle of friends, and their interests and hobbies. Especially with graduation right around the corner, it’s nice to reminisce about the unique experiences throughout our high school careers.