Sissy Trinh is the founder and executive director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance. Before joining last May’s Zócalo/Goldhirsh Foundation LA2050 event, “Can We All Live in the Best Version of Los Angeles?,” she joined us in the green room to share her favorite L.A. park, Nancy Silverton’s sticky buns, and joining the BTS ARMY.
Where's your favorite place to go in Los Angeles?
That's a hard one. Because it depends on a lot of different things. Am I looking for food? Am I looking for relaxation? Am I looking to meet friends and family? I've been going a lot to Everson Royce, because my pandemic hobby has been wine, and it's my neighborhood wine shop.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be Bono. I have no musical talent whatsoever, though. So clearly, that did not happen. But I wanted to be a rock star.
What’s a hidden talent of yours?
Baking bread. I do bread, pastries, cakes.
Do you have a favorite recipe?
Nancy Silverton’s sticky buns. Fat, carbs, and sugar. How can you go wrong?
What’s your favorite park to go to in Los Angeles?
I like going to Alpine Rec. Center in Chinatown. It's a tiny neighborhood park that's less than an acre. But I just like all the different things that happen at that park—all the different users, the ways in which the space is utilized. I feel like big park spaces can hinder community connections, because they’re almost too big, you know? There have been times where I've tried to meet up with friends at the State Historic Park, and it's like, where are you? You spend all this time trying to find each other. With Alpine, I know a lot of residents, students of ours, who if they have nothing to do will just go down the park, because they know they're going to run into their friends and catch up and play basketball or gossip or whatever. I like watching the seniors play Mahjong, and the kids doing their after-school programs, and teenagers doing, like, martial arts; it's such a mix of uses for such a diverse population. I think that that's what a park should be. A lot of parks, they're focused on the folks who have the ability to get there and to pay the park registration fees and stuff like that, and that's really sad to me.
What’s one piece of pop culture that you love?
I have become a member of the BTS ARMY. I've known them for a number of years, but I think what got me really deeper into the mix was basically what ARMY did in 2020 in light of the George Floyd uprising. The fact that the band donated a million dollars to Black Lives Matter, and then ARMY matched it within 24 hours. The fact that they like took over the “white lives matter” hashtag with BTS fan cams, which was awesome; it was so much fun.
For Halloween, you had your students cosplay to be their own social justice advocates. Who would you cosplay as?
I'm a nerd. So it would probably be one of the nerds in the Avengers. Maybe Bruce Banner—someone who kind of likes managing the logistics and strategizing.
What’s your favorite fandom?
I grew up watching Doctor Who.
Do you have a favorite doctor?
David Tennant. And my favorite companion is Catherine Tate.
What's your favorite community that you've chosen to be a part of in L.A.?
It’s hard to answer that question because my life can't be divorced from my family, right? Because I didn't come here as an adult by myself; I came as part of a family, and so much of the community I work in is family, whether it's biologic or it's created. Neighbors becoming family.