Juliet Dang is a “scientist, artist, and mother” based in the Greater Seattle area. With 4 degrees from the universities of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Washington, Dang’s artistic pursuits marry well with her academic background – though she wasn’t always sure she’d take up a career as an artist! Since deciding to do it all, Dang has won a world research award for HPV research, created her own fashion line (house of juju), walked in NYFW, traveled the world, become a mother, published a magazine (Vietology), and is currently in production for her own short film and working on her fertility journey memoir. She advises young artists to “be fearless and reach out to those in your network to help support you.” Read on to learn more about Juliet Dang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Juliet Dang
Heritage: Vietnamese, Canadian-born
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Current City: Greater Seattle
Current project: Vietology Magazine and working on first memoir
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
I have produced multiple fashion editorials where I steered the creative vision and modeled. My favorite productions are the ones with couture gowns. From my art work I have created a fashion line called house of juju. My favorite part is seeing my pieces on the runway. There is an energy emanating from the music and the models who make my clothes come alive.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Yes, just go for it. Be fearless and reach out to those in your network to help support you.
How did you get your start?
For Vietology magazine, it was a one-WOC show. I built my team from scratch – I need graphic designers, an editor, a development person, and a social media person. At first I had 5 members and over time that dwindled down to 3 members which were the most integral – the designers and editor. I carried the weight of fundraising, social media production/execution, distribution, etc. As for my art, I was fired from my first corporate job (the CEO was basically insane and super toxic) so I needed to do something with my time as I applied for new jobs. I began creating art for my house, which led me to where I am today. It took me an entire year to get down my own recipe for my fluid media and I strived greatly to set myself apart from the other fluid artists.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
I was in Santorini, Greece taking pics during a most epic sunset when a woman came up to me and asked if I was juju dang. She told me she recognized me and that she follows me on IG and loves my work. She was also from Seattle. I couldn't believe that I had an actual fan recognize me on a different continent! I was so excited about the interaction I asked to take a photo with her to solidify the memory.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
I feel like I have been fortunate in all of my endeavors and projects. Even if there is a challenge or hiccup, I usually find a way to solve the problem and I understand I can't mull over things I can't control. There are development opportunities in everything you do and that's the whole beauty of the journey. Each time you get better emotionally, physically, financially, and more wise. Truly, other people can be difficult and if you are working with a team that isn't fully supportive of each other, then that's when the house of cards will fall. I have learned to not take things too personally and the ones who want to see you succeed will be evident from day one.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I did a genetic test and apparently am 5% Polish (I thought I was only Viet and Chinese).
Who do you admire?
I admire those who continue to develop their skills and become the expert.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I am academically trained as a scientist and have 4 degrees to prove it.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
I never did know this, I always thought I had to be a scientist. Now I know I can do all of it at the same time! Well, kind of. Having a toddler takes up a lot of your time.
Is where you are now where you thought you’d be?
Kind of, I am a go-getter so I knew that the sky's the limit. I didn't think I would accomplish so many things by the age of 40. Some of these big achievements were: walking in New York Fashion Week, publishing my own magazine, producing/directing/acting/writing my own short film, winning a world research award for my research on HPVs in head and neck cancer, traveling the world, being a mother, building my own house, being an artist who actually has sold their work to numerous customers.
Do you have any other “special skills?”
I took piano lessons from the age of 6-18. I mean I am quite out of practice and I have a lovely baby grand piano but I can't play anything well right now so .... Also, because I am Viet that means I sing karaoke too.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
Currently working on my fertility journey memoir, my publisher is Quill Hawk Publishing and my book will hopefully be completed by the end of this year. I have a bunch of book ideas, I just have to write them.
If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
When I was young I remember watching my dad write and create his own Vietnamese magazine. He would distribute it out to his friends and folks in the community. I never realized it until now but I believe I received my creative and writing skills from him. I guess this is a "monkey-see monkey-do" situation.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Nothing. Everything occurs as it should.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Communication skills are essential. You have to speak to your clients, your team, sponsors, vendors, contributors, etc. It is essential to be clear and concise in your requests. Networking is also key in having your work supported and community is integral to the success of your projects. You can create a product but if no one is out there to appreciate it or share your work, then there is a lack of visibility. Social media is also extremely important to get the word out there and showcase your project.
Where did you study at?
Bachelor of Science at U of Winnipeg, Degree in Dental Hygiene at U of Manitoba, Master and PhD in Oral Biology at U of Washington.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Being a scientist, artist, and mother all at the same time.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I am working on my pregnancy memoir so that is the next big project for me. I am also developing my career in medical affairs and my goals are to lead a great team.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love creating. I have a ball of energy inside once I get an idea and its execution is necessary. Seeing the result of your project/product is the best and a great feeling of accomplishment.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I don't believe in mistakes or failures. Everything is a learning lesson.
How do you deal with performance anxiety?
I am a performer naturally so I rarely become nervous but if I am ever nervous I think to myself, well it's the best I can do and hopefully that's good enough.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane? What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic?
I think yoga is a good practice to remind your body to breathe deeply. I make dates with my friends so I can have some fun catch-up time with them without my husband and child. I think during the pandemic it was evident that self-care was essential to your mental and physical well-being. I make sure that I am making time for myself even if it is brief.
How do you prepare for a role you consider difficult personally, whether it hits too close to home or goes greatly against your personal beliefs?
I landed a few acting/modeling gigs with Amazon and I am not a fan of this company. The unethical and toxic working environment is just abhorrent to say the least. I accepted the jobs because I was getting paid well and I still had student debt to pay off. Sure, I did not have to take the jobs but would I be doing a disservice to myself because of my opinions of the company? It isn't always black and white but the ads turned out to be super awesome and really showcased my talents well. I guess I went in and knew I would kill it and I did!
If you’ve crossed the table from performing to being on a creative team, what made you take the leap, and how did it change your way of thinking?
I wanted to create my own editorials to be published in fashion magazines. I felt like there weren't many editorials that highlighted models of color or worked with designers of color. This was basically my mission, to elevate talented people of color. Being a producer and steering the creative direction takes a lot of management skills, thus these were terrific development experiences for me.
Do you have a favorite book/screenplay/script?
I try to purchase books from Vietnamese authors even if I may not get the chance to read it right away. I feel very strongly about supporting my own community especially in the world of creative writing and other arts.
What inspires you?
Music and music videos inspire me. There needs to be more funding for high quality music videos and I really appreciate artists who put much thought into translating what their song symbolizes or the message they are trying to convey.
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
The most catastrophic event that I have so far endured was the death of my mother. It was very sudden and there was no warning. She had a brain aneurysm and her brain basically drowned in its own blood, which sent her into a coma and she was put on a ventilator. I never imagined that I could ever lose my mother to this type of event. In fact, I thought she would outlive me for some reason. I regret many things for her. She will never be able to meet her grandson, she was not at my PhD convocation, she can never visit me at the house I built, and I will never be able to take her on nice vacations to repay her for bringing me into this world. Everything that I do is to commemorate her and demonstrate that her unconditional love and support was everything to me.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I just did the Insights Discovery personality test and I lead with the color yellow and red is super close behind. The observable traits for yellow are: sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, and persuasive. For red: competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed, and purposeful.
To find out more about Juliet Dang, please visit her at:
Instagram: @juliet_dang and @viet.ology
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