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Image of Averie Bishop.

Image credit: Averie Bishop/ Deon Casey Photography.

Averie Bishop proudly celebrates her Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage as a popular content creator, legal expert and social justice advocate with empathy and humor. As the first in her family to graduate from college, she’s eager to break down AAPI stereotypes such as family expectations for high academic achievement, sharing positive ways to redefine success and be happy.

“If I can be vulnerable and help start these conversations specifically in the AAPI community, I’m hoping that others will feel more comfortable in failing forward rather than falling backward and perceiving it as something that is embarrassing or shameful,” Averie says.

We recently spoke with Averie about her upbringing in Texas, her current legal aspirations in New York, and her advice to anyone seeking to take control of their busy lives and make a positive impact — even without a 4.0 GPA. Using Adobe Acrobat tools, she even created a PDF Kit to help prep for any interview situation, from jobs to pageants and beyond.

How do you maintain balance with your current schedule, and how do you decide what new things you want to take on?

It’s all about prioritizing where I want to invest my time and energy and being comfortable with letting go and not being able to do everything at its fullest potential at the same time. I was raised in the Asian American Pacific Islander community where I was constantly pressured to do everything — and to do it all perfectly. Now, I feel like I’ve found a place in my life where I’m comfortable letting go of perfection so I can pursue my passions, content creation, pageantry and law school — without that shadow hovering over me all of the time that I have to be 100 percent every time I do something.

That’s some great advice. How did you come to the realization that we can’t do it all, 100 percent of the time?

During the pandemic, I was not getting the grades I wanted, and I was hard on myself for the longest time. I associated my self-value and my success on getting a 4.0 GPA, and then I finished my first semester of law school with a 2.7. I didn’t want to tell anyone at first because I was so embarrassed, but after that semester I had time to self-reflect and really ask myself, ‘What is the most important thing to you, Averie?’ I realized that nobody is going to ask me in five years what my GPA was, right? I have finally found the confidence to put myself first and prioritize what I want, which is a very important lesson to learn.

That does feel like an important lesson. What do you think others can learn from your experiences with your struggle for perfect grades?

I’m hoping that my experiences can help shift the conversation, especially for women of color. It’s like the whole world is against us and then we just make one mistake, one little failure academically, and suddenly chaos ensues and your confidence and the way you perceive yourself just goes down the toilet. But if we can just talk about it more, I think the conversation will grow and other people will hear about my experiences and feel more comfortable letting go of perfection, especially for immigrant communities or for women coming from immigrant communities, because it is pervasive.

What made you want to pursue law in the first place, and how has your life evolved as a result?

I went to law school, 20 percent out of absolute fear of not knowing what to do after undergraduate school, and 80 percent for my parents, and this goes back to what I was saying about being raised in an immigrant household. I also decided to go with law school because neither of my parents graduated from college. My mom, Marevi, comes from a family of 12 and lived in extreme poverty and didn’t even graduate, and my father never finished college, so I felt pressure to take on the responsibility of pursuing a profession that is perceived as honorable and valuable. In my current role at LVLUP Legal, I feel like I ended up in the perfect position where I am serving other people, serving my community by helping them navigate how they can build a small business for themselves.

Tell us a little bit more about your involvement in pageants. How did you learn about them and what keeps you interested?

I got involved with pageants when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. I grew up watching Miss Universe on TV, but the difficulty was that she was usually not a person of color. My mom was very supportive, and when there was a small local Asian American pageant called Miss Asian American Texas, she was like, ‘We have to do this!’ Through that experience I realized that I can be Miss Texas even though there’s never been an Asian American woman who identifies as Miss Texas. In 2019, I became the first Asian American woman to be named Miss Dallas, and those doors continue to open through pageantry. I am opening those doors — and keeping them open.

From academics to pageants, what are some of the most challenging things you’ve faced in your life?

I’ve always had a fear of interviews and even today, I still get nervous despite taking years of speech and debate classes and experience being interviewed for pageants. One thing that has really helped me become a much better interviewer has been preparation, and that’s exactly what my PDF kit is designed to help with. With these little worksheets, you can break things down into easy soundbites and I think they’re great for so many interview situations — jobs, pageants, life partners and beyond. I’ve also included a pre-interview checklist, because who doesn’t love checklists? Seriously though, preparation is just so important and it makes a big difference no matter what interview situation you are about to have.

Outside of pageants, content creation and your legal career, what other activities or hobbies do you love doing?

My big passion is helping others. I volunteer with the nonprofit that I founded with my mom in 2015 called the Tulong Foundation. We raise scholarship money for young girls in Southeast Asia to cover expenses so they can pursue their academic dreams without the financial burden. Since we created the foundation, we have had the opportunity to sponsor over 20 students.

What kind of tools do you find helpful to stay organized? What’s your process for creative planning?

Whenever I approach any sort of goal, I always try to be gracious to myself and allow myself time throughout the day to take breaks. The second thing I do is go to my studio space, sit down and break down these big goals into small bite-sized pieces, because when you look at the big picture, it’s scary and intimidating. So just break it down and take it day-by-day at a slow even pace, and you’ll get there eventually. This approach also addresses the issue of burnout for me. One of my favorite things is lists. I love lists!

I am also an overthinker, so when I approach content creation, I just keep it simple and make a one- pager where I just keep a running list of fun trends, content ideas I want to create, and I make it into a fillable checklist sheet that I can check off in Acrobat DC. Another feature I use all the time is getting everything signed when I am negotiating brand partnerships or starting a content project, it’s always through Acrobat. One of the best things about it, especially for students and young professionals, is the sharing feature of editing and being able to see each other’s comments. You can all collaborate in one document in real time, while you’re in different locations.

Quick-fire round

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would have to be a cup of noodles. Spicy chicken flavor if it’s available, but it’s usually sold out.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A zebra because they wear their stripes very proudly!

What TV show are you currently binging?

Season two of Bridgerton is on my list.

Do you have a hidden talent or a party trick?

I can do the splits, but I’m not going to whip that out at the dinner table at Olive Garden.

Finally, in one sentence, if possible, what are the words that you live by?

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

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ahmedaljanahy Creative Designer @al.janahy Founder of @inkhost I hope to stay passionate in what I doing

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