THE DREAM IS IMPORTANT // My life has been a crazy dream. But also incredibly real. From being the oldest Vietnamese child in my community, first generation immigrant and holding that responsibility, the first of us to graduate with a university degree, to moving across the ocean at 17 and creating a new life here in New York, to building a performance company that is now globally recognised, to raising awareness for girls in Ethiopia, to changing the modern women’s narrative, to shaving off 45min in my 2nd marathon and qualifying for the Boston Marathon 2019, my path has been indeed a crazy one. I’ve always said: let’s shoot for the moon and why not land next to the stars. 

Want to know my next crazy dream? To break the marathon record of 2:45 for Vietnamese women. To show Vietnamese girls and women that they can forge their own paths in the creative and athletic fields. To run and represent women of colour in all possible spaces. To create and pass forward opportunities. To create access to the health and wellness industry. To stand up for women’s and children’s rights. To lead as an intersectional feminist. To build community wherever I am. 

New York taught me that everything is possible and it’s only crazy until you do it, so #justdoit — What is your crazy dream?

Such an honor to see my energy live onwards in this beautiful city as you all prepare for the NYC Marathon this Sunday. So great to be next to @traco4@ettong1979 @drewpelli @jentlife in this inspiring film. Thank you @nikenyc for being part of my crazy dream #projectmoonshotnyc — TIME TO SHINE FRIENDS! ✨
#nycmarathon #nikenyc 
#keephuyenstoked #marathon#nikerunning #thespeedofdreams#thedreamisimportant

The words above are the ones I used for my Instagram caption about a week ago, when I saw what my friends in New York were talking about. It was Thursday afternoon, early evening in Berlin, I had just left my french class and was headed to the train station when Victor hit me up, talking about the current energy in New York and that when I returned, “we would have to kill it”. Of course, I was excited but confused, what exactly did he mean and where did he see me?

Shortly after, these text messages hit:


In that moment, I had to stop in the middle of the street and play that video. Nike NYC had just put me into their newest Just Do It campaign for the NYC Marathon 2018, next to so many others of my friends, and damnnnnnn what an exciting surprise it was!

Indeed. I had to replay a couple of times.. and after a long week of school and a roller coaster of emotions, to see this was incredibly encouraging. And this is why:

  1. I decided to create my own path: this year has been packed with tremendous changes. Although scary, they seemed necessary. From leaving my former running team to making a move in my career to packing my bags and landing across the ocean, 2018 has been a full on adventure with lots of highs but also lows and seeing this, seeing me, and being recognised as simply: Huyen, hit really deep. Just earlier that week, my friend and me talked about how it is always challenging to step outside of the comfort zone, to leave a group and to forge your own path, but that no matter what, you have to continue with your mission (with or without them) — which brings me to the next point.

  2. Representation: I recall a moment in the spring, when my friend Mekdes and me ran to Soho to see her campaign with Glossier on a massive screen on Houston Street. She said to me, and I saved those words in my notes, “I need to reclaim what Soho represents to me.” To see us as women of color, as black and brown women, as children of immigrants on such big screens, meant that so many more and other girls and women will be able to see themselves. This meant that we are redefining what ‘being part of New York City’ looks and feels like. That we are being seen and that we are being heard. That they are being seen, and that they are being heard. That they matter. This is changing the narrative and we are challenging what it means to be a woman, a model, an athlete today in 2018.

  3. The Dream Is Important: From that very first time I visited New York in 2011 — now 7 years ago — I would have never imagined this. Like what the actual heck?!!! This is a reminder to: never stop dreaming! Anything is literally possible! So continue the hard work and keep at it friends!

  4. Energy is real: and I keep saying this. Wow!!! Energy is real and it does live on — whether or not we are physically present — I thought about it.. because at the end of the day, yeah even at the end of our lives, isn’t this what we want? To see our energy, our spirit live on and outside of us? As you watched this video now, you see me, smiling, laughing, cheering you (or in that specific moment the film crew) on. Cheering on all the runners who raced this past weekend. Yeah, I admit, I was a bit sad to not be in New York for the weekend, but I was so happy to see those images and receiving all the supportive messages from you meant the world to me!!

It was definitely a dream come true — so massive thank you again to the Nike NYC team to making this happen!

Also, I am continuously amazed on how the universe works… hard work and kindness do pay off, and this is such a great reminder and motivation to continue pushing forward, to keep working so that all of you can shine.

A quote from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, politican, educator, and activist, youngest woman to be elected to Congress in the United States recently on her Instagram:

“I also think about how I never got to see anyone like me on any magazines growing up. I never saw a version myself in leadership, or on TV, or anywhere really and think, “That could be me.”

I think of that saying, ‘be who you needed when you were younger.’ When I was younger, I needed to see myself in others. I needed mentorship. I needed an example. I needed to believe that I could. Knowing that gives me the courage to overcome the doubt, the fear, and anxiety: the idea that if I do this, then maybe it will help someone else.
It’s hard feeling like I have a whole movement on my shoulders. But I also know that’s not true - movement means we’re ALL in this together. I happen to have one mic to amplify the work and causes of others, but it’s not the only mic. The goal is to keep pushing so that LOTS 👏🏽MORE👏🏽 champions get the shine they so deeply deserve. That means to everyone out there - your cover is next.”

Thank you to every single one of you and the beloved running community for making this happen. Thank you for trusting and believing in me. Your support is everything and I cannot wait to see you all in New York again. Love and miss you!!

Back to work it is :) cause there is so much more to do! Especially when I want to break that marathon record of 2.45!

Big big hugs and speak to you very soon,