Aileen Xu is an artist of life.
Her silvery lavender hair flows airily past her shoulders, and when she speaks, her voice evokes a soulful sense of calm.
“You and I — everybody is an artist of life, meaning we have the power to create our life in any way that we want,” Xu said in an interview with the Daily Trojan.
Xu is a lifestyle blogger, YouTuber, content creator and artist. Yet, she is not the quintessential beauty blogger. Her channel, Lavendaire, is a compilation of her creative and spiritual journey in spreading self-love, positivity and strength to over 138,000 subscribers. Xu embraces her role as a content creator; she features rising artists from her creative community while showcasing tips on personal growth, wellbeing and lifestyle design through videos, podcasts and blog posts.
Xu attempts to make life her work of art, through her interests in lifestyle design, organization and aestheticism. Although her channel represents years of carefully prepared artistic works, the roots of Lavendaire stem from her undergraduate experiences nine years ago at USC, where she pursued a degree in business administration.
Xu was one of many freshmen who entered their undergraduate years unsure of their career path.
“During those years … I was lost,” Xu said. “I didn’t really know what I was going to do.”
She immersed herself in a wide range of extracurricular activities in business organizations and professional clubs, but Xu also pursued performance, dance and music through hip-hop dance team Chaotic 3, her music YouTube channel and cultural shows with the Chinese American Student Association. Through the Marshall School of Business, she also completed a variety of internships in industries ranging from fashion to entertainment.
But she never felt like those jobs were meant for her.
In her semester abroad in Milan, Italy during her senior year, Xu had a moment of realization.
Xu embraced the challenges and small changes in lifestyle habits shortly after Milan that would soon evolve into her current channel and blog, Lavendaire. She began journaling, reading and spending time reflecting on herself.
Xu’s Milan trip, coupled with her involvements abroad in Panama with the Global Business Brigades program, helped shed light on her career. She realized that she did not only want to pursue her own passions; she wanted to help and give back to others.
“It’s like I got to reset my life and reset my way of thinking,” Xu said. “I think that was the time I really started to ask myself those questions: ‘What do I really want to make out of my life?’”
She describes Italy as a soul-searching period that prepared her to venture out after graduation to create a life and career that aligned with her dreams — not anyone else’s.
“I felt like I was the only one who didn’t have a set plan, but then again, [my peers’] set plans didn’t appeal to me,” Xu said.
The pressures of post-graduation took a toll on Xu, but she did not regret her definitive decision to explore her life’s passions. Shortly after graduation, she worked with a startup food festival, the 626 Night Market. During that time, Xu worked as the market’s spokesperson and media relations manager, but due to the job’s flexibility, she was able to pursue her own gigs and eventually establish Lavendaire in 2014.
“I always knew I wanted to be my own boss,” Xu said. “I saw the power [of social media] you can have nowadays — just as an individual — you could build an influence and do a lot with that.”
True to her word, Xu crafted her own brand and developed a following through her Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, Twitter and personal blog.
Xu sought to create a tight-knit online community as an influencer. She is a social entrepreneur, and her online platforms effectively market herself, her talents and her story.
Six months ago, Xu launched her “Artist of Life” project on her channel. In her first video of the series, she seeks to define her lifestyle as an artist of life.
“Life is an art — it’s the ultimate form of self-expression,” Xu says in the video.
This mantra reflects Xu’s perspective on life, using her creative works to convey this mindset. She recently sold out her 2017 Artist of Life workbook, a notebook that helps users plan out a successful and productive year.
She developed many of the life planning and organizational techniques over the years or learned them from others during her journey.
“I thought that I could compile it all into a book — something I wish I had when I was 20 or 21,” Xu said.
Despite her accomplishments, Xu has had her fair share of rejections and failures, to which she attributes her success. She describes her personal losses and failures as stepping stones to her current lifestyle — one that stresses upon self-improvement, love, positivity and well-being.