In 2014, first generation Asian-Americans Vicki Ho and Kathleen Tso launched Banana Magazine, a lifestyle magazine dedicated to Asians that explore both Eastern and Western cultures. This week, the creative duo is on track to release its third annual issue of Banana, which includes pieces grappling with topics like Asian-American identity, as well as a guide to New York City’s Chinatown and a look at different takes on the traditional Asian hot pot.
“Kathleen and myself are still trying to figure out our identity as well learn more about Asian culture, as we build each and every issue,” says Ho. “We by no means are experts at Asian culture or history or anything like that, so it’s really cool, ’cause we get to discover all these things at the same time that our readers do.”
By day, Tso is a strategist at a digital media agency and Ho works at a fashion PR company, but they are both extremely hands-on with Banana. While most of the administrative tasks for the brand are handled internally, the majority of the content comes from an external network of contributing writers, artists, and designers.
“We work pretty seamlessly together, and we even share that one email together, to make sure that we’re both signing off and agreeing on things together,” Ho says. “I’m more business-oriented, so I do more of the operational things—I take on more of a managing editor role. [Kathleen] takes more of a creative role, she works closely with our art director who’s designed our last two issues.”
Issue 003 of Banana is available to pre-order now. Tso and Ho will also be hosting a pop-up shop for the zine and an “All Things AZN” marketplace at Canal Street Market in New York on April 29 and 30. Learn more about what the co-founders have in store for us in the interview, below.