This is a new weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
Happy Friday, Adolescent readers! Our newest Adolescent Member Crush is Nhi Nguyen, a 20-year-old based in Toronto. Originally from Vietnam, Nhi got her start by editing Justin Bieber x Selena Gomez YouTube videos—and quickly progressed on to true filmmaking, directing everything from commercials to short films to music videos. Interestingly, she just picked up photography last year and has an extensive background in computer science. Read below to learn more about Nhi’s love for London and the early 2000s!
Adolescent Content: You mention on your site that your work aims to transport viewers to the early 2000s. Why that time period specifically?
Nhi Nguyen: Growing up in Vietnam definitely gave me a different [perspective than most]. I was privileged enough to have cable and internet, though, so as a kid I spent most of my time binge-watching TV shows and exploring every corner of the internet. That really helped me understand pop culture and use it to adapt to my new life as a Canadian immigrant! I virtually live through this fantasy of being a Western kid during the early 2000s, so a lot of the concepts [in my work stem from that].
Adolescent: You just started taking photos a year ago. What sparked your choice to dive in to photography?
Nhi: In middle school, I joined a lot of clubs and competitions for filmmaking. I got my first DSLR in the summer of 2017, and I did a lot of videography work as a hobby. I started photography because I was getting busier during the school year and thought taking pictures would require less work. I started off posting pictures of my friends, and I didn’t expect people to actually like my work. I started to shoot and network more after that, and I’m loving the experiences I’ve gained so far!
Adolescent: I found it so interesting that your background is predominantly in computer science and cognitive science. Do you ever feel like the creative and scientific sides of yourself clash?
Nhi: One of my biggest goals right now is to somehow apply my knowledge at school to my artwork—to force the two to interact. I think science explains a lot of our questions about how we feel and act, as well as our purpose. I just find it interesting that everything in life actually connects! In both art and mathematics, there [are patterns].
Adolescent: So you started out making YouTube videos—how, if at all, did that inform your style as a creative?
Nhi: I started making YouTube videos in middle school, but it was mostly just random fandom edits about Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s relationship! As silly as that might sound, it taught me a lot about editing... I also gained a sense of community. Because I enjoyed making those videos as a kid, I now try to include music and a lot of visual effects in my work.
Adolescent: What’s your favorite project you’ve ever made?
Nhi: My work with Mina (@minaxxbell) in London. I was there for an internship last summer, and I wanted to explore the city during my free time. Thanks to the photography community on Instagram, I’ve met a lot of amazing people and gotten to explore different parts of the city and share my life story with them. I DMed Mina about maybe collaborating, and we ended getting along pretty well. We did our first shoot in Regent’s Park, and the pictures turned out amazing! I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach as I edited them—I couldn’t stop smiling. We collabed a second time during my last morning in London. I was dragging my luggage around this abandoned park, the birds were chirping, and the weather was warm. I think I enjoyed that shoot because for a moment, I felt content being alone, I was grateful for my time in London, and I was excited for what was next for me in Toronto.