We had the good fortune of connecting with Cyndi P. Obasi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cyndi P., what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was incredibly frustrated with the lack of employment options and opportunities available as a person with a hearing disability. It was next to impossible to find a job that I could do or gain experience from.
What I was able to find was a lot of internships or “entry level employment” with start up “fashion” brands. I didn’t like that I was constantly being overworked and undervalued as someone who is helping these companies get their brands off the ground.
Now, starting my own, on my own, without any help is my only option now.
Recently, on May 22, I was featured as a designer at the 10 year anniversary event for Empowered Hands where we celebrated deaf and disabled talents. Zibora gave me the platform to present, to bench out and get noticed. It was like a small voice given a megaphone. Hopefully, I will be able to take Vi Yan Re Co to the next level.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art. I should have at least thought about it 30 years ago, in order to have a definitive answer.
My art is all over the place because I have an interest in practically every form of art. I can’t seem to stick to just one type of art. I tend to indulge in everything, be it painting, writing, fashion, dancing, metal art, pastry art, whatever. I love it all. Creativity is inspired and driven by many devices; to be limited to just one is like restricting yourself to many possibilities and pleasures. I open myself, mind and my being to possibilities. Opportunities. It comes in all shapes. Therefore, it’s best to seize it.
But of course it wasn’t easy. It was fun, but exhausting. I had to constantly, still do, push myself to be good or decent at anything. I always felt I had to make up for it because I am deaf. And we all know the stigma surrounding deaf individuals. I guess I feel like I have to prove society wrong. It’s extremely exhausting. It is ok to not have to prove anything to anybody. You are under no obligation to do so. You go your way and do yours. For me, the outcome is worth it. Why? Cuz I got skilled, daling.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Best friend? What best friend? ���
But since you asked…
If there’s a budget, then we can hit the Galveston beach and fawn over beautiful people and weather.
No budget? Daling, we are going to Bali, Bora Bora, or Bruma, business class; stay at a 5 star, eat a 7 course at a rizzy restaurant with mimosas and martinis coming our way. Talk about crazy things and everything. Then hop on a plane to Taiwan because I want to see a Jiro Wang concert and the Taipei 101. Hey, don’t fault me. Ok? Because that dude got a voice and catchy tunes. I love “listening” to it while it’s on full blast. After that, if bestie is into BTS, then we are going to see BTS in Korea. Then see the cherry blossoms. Yes. Then sit back at a high end airbnb and binge on some popular show on Netflix. Relaxation and a good time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Zibora Gilder of Empowered Hands, my sister and my mum. And maybe the teachers at Houston Community College Fashion School?
Without full on, annoying, encouragement, I probably would have started Vi Yan Re, Co. much much later when (if, actually) there was a more stable or secure finances. It would have been late, or never. So I decided to max out a few credits. Ehhhh.. Ha. Regardless, I appreciated the encouragement. It means that these people saw potential in what I could do.
Instagram: @viyanreofficial and @cccyndi_o
Deaf photographer Hung L Truong.