QuyenZi Dang Pham, Jessie Stafford & Nicki Sun are the trio that make up the hit podcast Messy Sexy Me. Having recently completed their first season, they talk about their adventures as women navigating hectic lives in LA.
QuyenZi Dang Pham
“I was born in Vietnam, raised in Iowa, and now thriving in Los Angeles. I Founded and am Head Assassinista at QR8 Group, a boutique multicultural advertising agency. I’m an Advisor to several CPG & Tech companies; invest in Crypto and start-ups, on The Governance Team (the youngest of 3 females on a team of 18) for Kena.Ai, and was Head of Marketing at Gold House during its early stages of launch; and provide pro-bono services to non-profit organizations that advocate for empowering women, underserved communities, and minority founded businesses. Wanderlust is a must, in my spare time I seek out travel adventures like hunting for white Truffle in the pitch-dark forests of northern Italy or haggling for one-of-a-kind rugs in the kasbahs of Marrakesh.“
“I’m a mixed Korean-American military brat from Indianapolis. By the age of 15, I’d lived in six states and two different countries. I came to LA in 2001, where I found my talents in modeling, acting, producing, and consulting. I launched my own event production agency in 2017, JSLA Events and produced film premiers, music showcases, community fundraisers, financial and sporting events. Since Covid, I’ve branched into real estate, where I’ve harnessed my producing and consulting talents to build in this new community that I’m truly inspired by. My passions are singing, acting and being a huge mental health advocate to communities and individuals wherever I can support through my own brand, “Mental Vitaminz”.
“I’m a Bay Area native now living in Los Angeles and I’m here to disrupt Hollywood. A full-time nerd and professional hype woman, I’ve worked both in front and behind the camera for 12+ years as a freelance host, director, cinematographer, producer, editor, and content strategist. From hosting red carpet premieres, being the official NAB Show Spokesperson, directing galas, making my directorial film debut Love in the Time of COVID, to launching my tech & filmmaking channel TechNicki Speaking – I seek to educate, empower, spotlight, and amplify marginalized voices and create inclusive spaces.”
How did all of you meet? How did you become friends?
Q: My agency, QR8 Group, booked Jessie as talent for an ad campaign and she was on 3 billboards in KTown and MidWilshire. We became friends and created Asian Bachelor on the Clubhouse App; and I met Nicki at Jessie’s birthday. Listen to our first episode! We have the full intro ; )
J: Yesss to all the above on what Q shared about our friendship / business journey together. Nicki and I met through a mutual friend and have ALWAYS wanted to work together. We finally produced a non-profit event together in 2020 which solidified that I not only love Nicki’s soul but respect her work ethic as well.
N: I can confirm that I remember it just how my partners do! My friend, Minji Chang, brought me as her +1 to a private tasting, in which Jessie was the event coordinator. We then worked on an event together, and I met QuyenZi at Jessie’s birthday party in 2021 and had a high-key crush on her.
What are your backgrounds?
Q: As a Vietnamese refugee, I came from very humble beginnings. My family came to America when I was one years old and I grew up in a small town called Perry, in Iowa. We moved to SoCal in my tweens, and while I excelled academically in school, I was bullied and pulled into gang fights in my youth. I pivoted many times in my career; from Public Service, traveling to Vietnam and starting a clothing line, Advertising Sales at Hearst Corporation, Communications for The Art Institutes, working at Ad Agencies, then finally owning my own company now. At one time, I was a single mother trying to leave a toxic relationship and struggling to make ends meet. I’m currently divorced (and on dating apps in my 40s)! I’ve always been a rebel with a heart – a Super Empath who wanted to be The Fairy Godmother in the story, not the Princess – which is why I choose an abundance mindset over a scarcity one.
J: I’m a hapa who’s home has always been where my heart is. Being a major tomboy who was raised by my single father has played a role in my interests such as playing trumpet at the age of 10 in Kentucky, becoming varsity captain of my soccer team at the age of 15 in Texas & has given me the courage to skydive & bungee jump in California & Ecuador. Coming to L.A at 16, I was faced with many family tribulations while pivoting numerous times in my career which has given me the innate ability to maneuver and problem solve quickly in life. My superpower is having a rare ability in helping / guiding / understanding people and situations through unique dual perspectives which comes from my colorful past.
N – I’m an ABC (American Born Chinese) and the eldest and only daughter, which shaped the early parts of my identify as a caregiver to everyone around me. I was a tomboy and late bloomer, who actually resented being a women because it was associated with weakness. Oh, how that could be further from the truth! Always having been a part (and the only female) of several male-dominated industries in filmmaking and technology, I’m now learning to embrace my divine feminine while paving the way for women, particularly young girls, by being the representation I always wanted.
How would you describe each of your personalities? I listened to your last episode about your zodiac signs. How do your signs work together?
Q: Love that you tuned in to this episode, it was so fun to record. I’m a true Taurus, Tiger, Wolf – strong, fierce, loyal, entrepreneurial; my animal astrology reading states that I also have a penchant for fashion, travel, entertaining, and advertising, which are all very true. I am great at saying “no” and setting boundaries while finessing the art of saying “yes.”
Taurus and Cancer signs are great matches for creating together, whether it’s business or a party – the creative and execution strengths are so strong, which is why Jessie and I work well on projects. Nicki, who is a Capricorn, has so many similar personality traits as Taurus. As a Taurus, I am very protective of my two sisters, my chosen family – and true to my sign, love supporting and giving them gifts of gratitude. And we all love charcuterie (my love language).
J: Q explains perfectly above!
N: Haha, while I don’t fully believe in astrology (which is apparently a Zodiac trait according to Santuary World), it’s quite entertaining and hilarious when we each resonate with them. As a Weaver Finch, I tend to let my co-hosts take the lead and listen way more than I’m used to as a Host on several other shows I’ve created and produced. I enjoy watching QuyenZi and Jessie step into their power and share their personal experiences. It’s all so inspiring hearing different perspectives from mine.
How do you come up with the topics that you talk about?
Q: We are very intentional, we plan out topics and want to make sure that we have real life stories, experience, and take-aways from our discussions. But once we start recording, it’s all free-style. We are so open and honest with each other, that we don’t need to rehearse what we say – it’s just a deep and honest conversation between women who share space, love, and support.
J: Q explains perfectly.
N: The only thing I’d add is we are also intentional to balance out our topics. For instance, if we have an emotional episode where we’re pouring out our hearts (ie: Episode 3: Enough is Enough) aka our “Messy,” we like to follow that episode with another topic that is more “Sexy.” Balance, baby!
Who is your target demographic?
Q: Everyone! I mean, our tagline is “Don’t Tune in If You’re PERFECT. On the real though, we are marketers, producers, and hosts, so we do have actual metrics/stats/etc. See below.
How do you market the podcast?
Q: Right now it’s all word of mouth. We have our website and social media, but wanted to let our first season be about organic growth. Each of us, as hosts, have our own platforms where we do outreach to our unique audiences. Season 2 will include infamous guests, educators, celebrities, comedians, and more. We plan on producing and hosting live events as well.
J: Q shares perfectly.
N: Tuesdays are the busiest days for me, personally. Our newest podcast episode drops Tuesdays at 9am PST on all platforms, including our website. And then I’m getting ready to do my live tech show, the same day #TechTues, at 7pm PST on Amazon. I definitely find every reason to promote our show whenever I can. This is definitely a podcast I wish I had growing up. We all have so many different sides to us. And I’m more than just a tech enthusiast. I’m grateful to have a platform to share the other parts of my being, while connecting with listeners around the world!
What are some of your favorite episodes to record so far?
(We’d like to share some of our favorite episodes so new listeners have more of a personal, background story!)
Q: Oh, this is so hard, because all of them slap differently. We have such a great mix of happy, sad, mad, and love stories for everyone. My favorites are: WTF Do WE DO? (for a Living), Surviving Bullying, Enough is Enough, and Pick Up Lines That Land (or Crash and Burn).
J: Odd Jobs was so hilarious to record. Surviving Bullying / Enough is Enough / Exes – were episodes I didn’t anticipate I would share the stories and memories I did. Listening to Q & Nicki describing their memories triggered many of my suppressed ones. I’m glad I did speak my truths because it’s been the ultimate healing experience of my life.
N: I have been most scared to share about my personal life, including the loss of my father, in Episode 3: Enough is Enough. But in sharing, so many listeners reached out to me and let me know that sharing my truth helped them through their most difficult times. And I’m grateful that when we share these deeply, vulnerable moments with each other, raw and unfiltered…we hold each others’ hands in the process to help us through the retelling of some of the most painful parts of our lives.
And then Episode 13: Odd Jobs is probably one of my favorite episodes because I finally got to turn a traumatic job-application- gone-wrong experience into one that I can actually laugh about. Hindsight is 20/20!
How do you achieve higher consciousness?
Q: I don’t think I set out to achieve this, but I do live life to the fullest and for me, being a forever-student of life is quintessential for growth. Travel, books, the arts, technology and good old fashion conversations with brilliant humans has always kept me on the course. Building community and legacy with start ups and mentees is something that I find empowering and truly fulfilling.
J: I constantly place myself in scenarios where I can grow & challenge myself. My high threshold for mental & physical pain has allowed me to step back out of my comfort zone and experience the lessons that are in front of me to see what is really happening and not just what I may be projecting or forcing to happen. I constantly go on self care adventures whether it’s in nature, traveling, reading books, taking on new hobbies, working with friends on their personal development. I constantly allow myself to be uncomfortable so that I can learn the deeper meaning to experiences so it may expand my mind and consciousness. Also shrooms always help once in a while when I’m transitioning in my life.
N: After the loss of my father, I realized that nothing is guaranteed. Accepting that mortality is inevitable has weirdly, but profoundly, changed the way I live my life.
Why is gratitude so important?
Q: Because without out, we have no purpose. It’s the greatest gift you can give to others and yourself.
J: It reminds you where you come from, where you’ve been and how much much more there is to go. Humbles you in realizing this is your one life, don’t waste it.
N: I believe in manifestation and practice #gratitudeattitude daily. Through times of struggle and hardship, I practice gratitude even more because if I cannot see that being gifted the opportunity to overcome hardships and the grace in how to get through them, how will I prepare myself for bigger things coming by way?
One’s reality is achieved through the thoughts one believes in their head. How do you take a thought and manifest it into your dreams?
Q: I am 100% intentional about saying what I mean, and meaning what I say. I listen, learn, strategize – and then I put my words into actions. I’m not really a dreamer, I’m a believer in visions. I state what my vision is, and then I make this into a reality.
J: I like to work backwards, visualize where my happy places are and what I need to do to achieve them. I def have my dreams that stay as dreams bc realistically I only have one life with limited time to fully live it. With the dreams I want to manifest, I truly look at the bigger picture and work my way to creating the atmosphere I want, to harness the energy I need to make it happen.
N: As stated before, I believe in manifestation. The mind is a POWERFUL tool. I trust the process and that whatever is meant for me, will be for me.
Everyone has a past…sometimes, it can be quite dark. How would you suggest letting go of your past so that you can achieve great results for the future?
Q: I think that darkness is necessary for light to shine through. No one should ever be ashamed of their past, because it is part of our journey forward. For me, self love, regret (which is reflecting on your past actions with accountability), receiving love, and giving love with an open heart and mind, and a little mischief – are all necessary for the path to healing and growth.
J: I accept my pain bodies were all different lessons for growth that I must work through, understand and let go. Many times a lot of the weight I carry isn’t mine to hold which took me years to understand but as I grow older I have learned to release much of it. As you go through the dark times it truly shows you what you’re made of. Then you look back and realize what a badass human you were to be so resilient through it all. It then becomes easier to realize why it all happened and release it. Trust the process.
N: I’ve learned to accept the reality that not everybody you meet in this journey called ‘life,’ is meant to be with you til the very end. I used to be so sad about that, but that’s the former ‘people pleaser’ in me. Sometimes you have to let go of someone who is not serving you, or your energy, to make way for those who do and are deserving of it. Trust, you’ll gain so much clarity (and time back!) not trying to guess where the other person stands in your relationship or life.
What is the best way of connecting with someone?
Q: Listen to our Best, Worst, and Dream Dates or Dating App Profile Disasters and Masters. We talk about love language, body language/chemistry, and actual profile pictures that help us connect, fall and love, or become friends. But at the end of the day, communication and empathy are two key traits that are essential for me to connect with anyone.
J: agreed with Quyenzi’s description on this.
N: I’m all about energy and am very intentional in who I give my time and energy to. If it’s not a “fu*k yeah,” it’s a hard pass, “fu*k no.”
How would you recommend anybody to take their career to the next level?
Q: 1) Seek advice from mentors, but be prepared to offer your mentor something in return 2) Listen, learn, practice, strategize, plan, then execute 3) Always compete with you, and only you and after each goal is reached, set a higher one.
J: Q nails this one!
N: An open mind is a beautiful mind. Never stop being a student of life. I believe there’s always something new to learn every day. You may even find joy pivoting careers later in life. WHO KNOWS?!
What are your views on psychedelics?
Q: They are the future. I’m actually investing and advising on some groundbreaking start-ups!
J: The energy of psychedelics will call on you or just land in your lap. Make sure you’re with the right people and environment to receive the lessons and meanings to the journey. Even the badtrips teach you the biggest lessons so don’t block the energy that is meant for you. If you create the environment to trip and it’s not a positive energy before you do it, don’t do it. Let your intuition guide you.
N: I wish I recorded the first time I ever tried psychedelics. Apparently, I’m a brilliant and hilarious storyteller who can take listeners on an hour journey that comes back full circle.
Do you have any biohacking practices that you do?
Q: Mushrooms are the future my friend!
J: Shrooms / ayahuasca
N: Practicing Gratitude
Who inspires you?
Q: So many people. My mom, my son, Jessie, Nicki, all the brilliant Founders I mentor or invest in, my Mickey, and last but not least…80-year-old ME. She will be the woman I’ve always wanted to be, and she will have changed the world and will have created a legacy for future generations.
J: My father & my older sister Moon. My husband & my best friends. My sisters Quyenzi & Nicki. My list can truly go on and on as I have been blessed by so many inspiring souls that keep my heart flowing, my mind stimulated and growing.
N: My father inspired me to live life without any regrets. My mother inspires me with her strength to carry on and to continue giving selflessly despite the circumstances. Withnessing random acts of kindness from everyday people inspire the heck out of me. And I’m inspired everyday to be a better version of myself, thanks to so many chosen sisters in this life, including QuyenZi and Jessie!
What projects are you working on now?
Q: My ad agency is always working on advertising campaigns for clients, but I have several projects in the works: Season 2 of Messy Sexy Me – getting this onto YouTube; renovating/developing a casino/resort in the Northwest; supporting my man in his Mushroom ventures; a travel/love blog; creating an Asian American entertainment network. Every day I’m hustlin’!!!
J: Working on SOOO many Real Estate projects. Producing a 3 day film festival event in Hollywood in Oct for my clients in Japan. Launched a new lounge / nightlife event at our restaurant Intercrew in Ktown called IC After Dark on Fri & Sat. I just joined a womens basketball league to whip me back into shape & getting ready for Season 2 of Messy Sexy ME!
N: I’m a person who always has several projects going on at the same time, while being completely career-driven. I’m currently working to streamline my process in creating content for several tech brands, running my tech channel (and LIVE show Tuesdays at 7pm PST on Amazon), taking on more freelance hosting gigs, while also touring the world to teach video and content creation courses. I’m excited for Season 2 of our podcast, and think I’m finally ready for the biggest foreign project of all – finding a special person whom I can share life with.
What does beauty mean to you?
Q: A radiance that comes from love, happiness, and confidence from within.
J: Feeling good about yourself.
N: Like love, I believe beauty, and finding beauty in everything, is a verb. We all have the ability to make and leave this world, a more beautiful place.
How would you describe success?
Q: Long term: Achieving your dreams or visions while being a steward for change or making an impact for community and future generations. Short term: Defining your true worth; and being rewarded this worth as a result of your endeavors.
J: Never giving up on what matters to you. Letting go when scenarios or relationships no longer serve you.
N: Getting to share the fruits of your labor with those you love, while making a positive impact in your community, and doing so with joy and peace.
Where can we find you?
All streaming services (Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music)