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Former K-pop star Kiki Wong comes on the podcast to discuss her career in Nylon Pink, a successful girl band. Kiki could only get on stage if she had been drinking, which matched with the rock-star lifestyle she was living at the time. Now she is two years sober she has had some of the best creative experiences of her life and never wants to go back.
When I heard Kiki’s story, it made me think of the song “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.
Being on the road and touring and the isolation that comes with it. The expectation and demands placed on you to show up, perform and look like you’re having a blast doing it. Unrestricted binge drinking being a part of the norm.
That’s what she experienced. It got so bad, she couldn’t perform without having a few drinks or getting completely smashed first.
Even after she hung up her guitar for a bit, she drank just to feel normal in her own skin.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
Kiki grew up in a suburb near Sacramento, in a pretty traditional Asian family. Growing up, she was in love with musical instruments. First, it was the piano, but the guitar really appealed to her. The difficulty in learning it made her appreciate it more.
Her family had expectations that she would be a doctor, and she followed along for a while but made a switch in pre-med when she met her soon-to-be bandmates.
Being on tour is when the problem drinking started. Clubs and bars would give them free drinks and drinking in excess was accepted, welcomed and celebrated. Whether it was a good night or a bad one, it became so normal to have a few drinks before getting on stage to numb the pressure.
It continued to escalate, and even after she hung up her rockstar and her guitar and went back to civilian life, it got worse.
But she found something that changed her mind. Now she’s a sobriety advocate and her band pivoted into a travel, beauty, and lifestyle blog and she has a podcast dedicated to travel, wellness, and sobriety.
Tune in to the full episode to learn the ins and outs of her journey and what was the turning point that ended her drinking.
Not everybody drinks
It was easy for Kiki and me to bring our drinking habit wherever we went because everyone around us was doing it. Whether I was in a party city or she was the party, drinking was the norm and encouraged. But the truth is, not everyone drinks. Kiki’s two other bandmates were sober. There was a huge sober community thriving in the same party city I’d get blackout drunk in. But it’s difficult to see those things when you’ve given into the belief that everyone does it, so you’ll be the one weirdo who stands out like a sore thumb. You don’t have to believe that, because the reality says otherwise.
You’re better when you’re not drinking
There’s this portrayal of artists and creators that they are somehow tormented and drinking or using substances helps them create their best art. I have seen that the reality is these creators create their best art DESPITE abusing drugs and alcohol, and they’re much clearer, more connected to their art and much better artists when they’re sober.
Connect with Kiki
Kiki’s Book | 30-Day Travel Challenge
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