Editor’s Note: Eliza Romero is a Baltimore-based, Filipino-American fashion photographer and style blogger behind the website Aesthetic Distance, a blog critical of pop culture. The views expressed in this piece are solely her own.
Two weeks ago Lily Maymac was outed as a racist and a homophobe. So how the hell does she still have a job? As of today, her Instagram account shows her on a Revolve Clothing-sponsored trip to Turks and Caicos, where she is pictured lounging on the beach in designer wares (notably, For Love and Lemons, Grlfrnd Denim and Beach Riot) for the #RevolveAroundTheWorld social media campaign with other famous style influencers such as Rocky Barnes, Olivia Culpo and Raissa Gerona.
The fact that none of these high-profile digital influencers have spoken out against Lily Maymac and huge brands such as Revolve Clothing haven’t dropped her just proves that the fashion industry does not care about racism against Asians. By the way, is Revolve’s CEO and co-founder Michael Mente an Asian American man? IF HE IS, LET THAT SINK IN FOR A MINUTE. If you’re not familiar with Revolve, it is an e-commerce clothing giant that is popular among young women who are fans the gypset aesthetic (think Coachella’s VIP and Artist Pass areas). Not only do they sell many designer brands on their online store, they own several clothing brands under the Revolve umbrella such as Lovers + Friends, Tularosa and NBD.
So why did her story abruptly come to an end and how does she still have a job as an influencer? On George Takei’s Facebook page, where he boasts over 10 million followers, there were about 1.4k comments and 3.5k reactions, many from white people defending her “preferences” and completely failing to see just how contemptible Lily Maymac’s words and actions were. This also proves that we as a society have not progressed in our ability to understand and empathize with Asians, particularly Asian men.
Asian Americans need to be louder in their protests. So many of us like the idea of resistance and social justice. But when it comes to taking action and speaking publicly, many Asian Americans prefer to keep quiet. That silence has made us irrelevant to brands, fashion labels, Hollywood studios, and policy-makers. Without influence, we’ll continue to see figures like Lily Maymac go not just unpunished, but celebrated in the face of unmitigated racism.