Due to boredom with quarantine during the Coronavirus pandemic, social media influencer Sarah Roh remade her old cheer shirt into a dress, and that was the beginning of her spotlight. Reaching over fifty thousand views overnight, her audience only grew day by day. Whether she was giving her mom a makeover or showing multiple outfits for different styles, one would think that she was born to be a star. Today, with all of her social media combined, she has over 500,000 followers and even recently signed with one of the most notable modeling agencies, One Management. When judged by her externalities, one would think that Roh has always had confidence. Although it is true that Roh is happiest in front of the camera, she always emphasizes how she is also a normal teenage girl like everyone else.
Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood in Arizona, Roh, one of the only Asian girls in her neighborhood, was judged for her Asian features and skinny figure. This resulted in her spending long hours in her room. Roh naturally developed a love for art, as it was the only form of expression available to her. Since elementary school, Roh spent most of her day in her room painting on canvases. Her desire for self-expression naturally led her to fall in love with fashion.
For someone who has always been insecure with her naturally skinny figure, the variety of colors and range of fabrics that fashion provided gave Roh the confidence to portray her inner thoughts. “Art and fashion are incomparable. Both, in the end, are things that I adore. Art helps me to express my voice, while fashion brings me confidence. Whether it is through styling myself, or painting on a blank canvas, both fashion and art are essentials that I would never be able to live without,” said Roh. Nevertheless, she never believed her hobby could grow into a career. Like many others, she once imagined becoming a Youtuber and always had a social media presence. However, her thoughts began to change as her influence on social media began to grow. “I gained exhilarating energy from being heard by an audience of over 300,000 followers, and allowing the public to view an intimate expression of myself sparked confidence in me as an artist,” said Roh.
“I finally found a purpose in life,” said Roh when describing how one of the biggest joys of her life is when young Asian girls message her saying how they finally feel represented and confident, because until a few years ago, almost all influencers were Caucasian. Roh herself genuinely believed her height and Asian features would prevent her from pursuing a modeling career. “Although I have not achieved much yet, I hope that other girls will believe that they can achieve anything that they wish to pursue if they truly have a heart for it and work hard,” said Roh. She does not wish for her influence to stop on the screen, but to continue outside of the virtual world.
Off-camera, Roh describes how she is a normal teenage girl just like teenage girls across America. “Although I may look happy on screen, I am definitely not only filled with smiles,” said Roh. She explains how she began to find herself scrolling through her Instagram account only to compare herself to others, or scrolling through the comments section only to get hurt by offensive comments. On top of this, like many other seniors, this past year has been especially turbulent as the college process was all done virtually. Yet, as an incoming first year this September 2021 at University of Southern California as a Fine Arts Major, Roh is looking forward to learning more and to expanding her knowledge, as she plans to implement her studies when starting her own fashion brand. During our interview, Roh constantly emphasized,“My situations may have changed, but I’m still the same person: Sarah Yerang Roh.”
During our interview, Roh constantly emphasized,“My situations may have changed, but I’m still the same person: Sarah Yerang Roh.”