We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your organization?
Trans Defense Fund LA is an example of how sustainable mutual aid is. By supplying Black and brown trans folks with safety tools and self-defense classes, we empower people to feel safer and gain basic self-defense skills without having the financial burden of these resources falling on the community. As an ally, I believe it is up to us to do what we can to make trans folks feel safer, and it is not up to the trans community to un-oppress themselves.
Self-defense mutual aid groups look out for trans folks’ in ways that our government does not. My mission with Trans Defense Fund is to inspire more and more defense funds to start in other cities, states, and countries, and of course, to help folks feel safer.
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.
Currently, I am a Senior Marketing Coordinator at World of Wonder. This was a dream job of mine because RuPaul’s Drag Race is and has been my favorite show in the world. I definitely think my natural love for drag and the show is evident, so work doesn’t really ever feel like work and that’s something that means a lot to me. I get excited to wake up and be creative, collaborate with others, come up with ideas, and spread the message of these queens to the world.
Prior to this, I was working in the beauty industry and prior to that, I took on five internships and was a writer/editor while I was studying public relations and marketing in school. I think those internships definitely helped me so much! When it comes to a career, the most important thing to me is the people aspect of it all. Whether that is the community I’m engaging with, the people I’m around and working with, or what messages I’m sending to the world…it’s so important that I can be myself and be outspoken and honest, otherwise I would not be comfortable or happy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so Tacos Villa Corona in Atwater Village obviously is my go-to. But if I’m taking friends somewhere, I would get brunch at Edendale. They have great drinks and a very cute outdoor space. For lunch, I love Be U in Silver Lake, the one Vietnamese restaurant on the Northeast side that I absolutely love. Figueroa Street in Highland Park is great for everything but especially shopping. For drinks, I love Melody Wine Bar, Eszett, The Friend, and the High Low. For drag shows on this side of town, Exposure Drag and Send Noodz put on great shows at The Offbeat Bar, as well as Mi Corazon Monday nights in Silver Lake, and there’s a new show called Gutterball in Highland Park that I had so much fun at this month.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my partner Robert and my friends who believe in me and support me 100% of the way.