Fuse is celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Asian and Pacific History before our eyes. Today we're looking at the impressive career of Charlotte Cho, author of The Little Book of Skin Care and founder of top K-beauty website Soko Glam.
Cho, a second-generation Korean American born and raised in Los Angeles, California, decided to take an international public relations job in Seoul, South Korea at the age of 22. Even though she had previously visited South Korea, living there permanently forced her to experience culture shock like never before. She says herself: "While I was Korean in Orange County, I was definitely American in Seoul."
Still, living in Seoul opened her eyes to the expansive skin-care culture that exists in Korea. Cho became completely enamored with Korean skin care—yet she saw how K-beauty was still such a mystery in the U.S. So, she decided to take a stab at closing that gap. With the help of her husband Dave, Cho launched Soko Glam in 2012 from her Seoul living room.
Since then, Soko Glam has become a place not just to buy essences and cushions, but a hub for sharing secrets, swapping tips and spilling knowledge about skincare.
With Soko Glam, Cho has firmly established herself as one of the most expert voices on K-beauty, helping South Korean beauty become a mainstay in North America. Cho works hard to demystify and break down the elusive Korean 10-step routine, which emphasizes the importance of cleaning, treating and protecting skin. Cho is able to meld these worlds together so expertly because she's balanced both cultures her entire life. In her book, she says:
"I grew up straddling both worlds. Spaghetti nights had kimchi on the side. We celebrated New Year's on January 1 and then again for Lunar New Year. I spoke English at school but Korean at home. During my weekly ballet class, I wore the classic pink tutu, but come Saturday at Korean school, I ran around in circles waving colorful traditional buchaes with all the other second-gen kids who were just like me."
Being the keen businesswoman she is, Cho saw a hole in the North American beauty market and decided to use not only her heritage, but her entrepreneurial spirit and affable personality to create an empire. Now, Soko Glam has a growing full-time staff based in New York City, its own exclusive products, and an active community of devoted K-beauty fans that are hungry for all the skin care expertise Cho has to offer.
Tune in to Fuse and come back to fuse.tv every day for profiles, videos, galleries and more on the individuals around the world who are creating Future Asian and Pacific History. Join the conversation with #FutureHistory and find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder. Below, watch Charlotte's best K-beauty tips for staying fresh during festival season.