We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaclyn Nishihira and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jaclyn, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I’ll paraphrase a little, but my favorite quote goes something like this, “Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head nor their criticisms to your heart.” (Original quote is by Lysa TerKeurst). I love this quote because it reminds me that no matter what other people think of me, whether they love me or hate me, agree or disagree with who I am or what I do, it doesn’t matter. My value comes only from God. What others think about me does not change my worth. This quote means a lot to me as an online creator because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of tying my happiness to outside validation. I’ve definitely been there before. To me, this quote is about staying humble and also about not giving other people power over the way you feel about yourself.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Something that sets me apart is that I am veganizing local Hawaiian/Asian recipes that I haven’t seen veganized before or at least not veganized in the same way. For example, I created a vegan shoyu chicken recipe and also a vegan tornado poke bowl recipe. I’m most proud of the fact that there are people all around the world who have tried my veganized local recipes. It’s amazing to be able to share the foods I grew up eating with someone halfway around the world. I’m most excited just to see where all of this goes one day! There are so many projects I’d love to work on, people I’d love to work with, and businesses I’d love to start. I am happy with where I’m at, but can’t wait to see what the future holds. I would say that I’m still very new in my vegan chef/video creator journey, but I’m a lot further than I was a couple years ago. I got to where I am today with a single choice to start. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I loved to experiment with vegan recipes. So I bought a camera and just started filming myself cooking. I also utilized TONS of free online resources. Seriously, I learned everything from how to adjust my camera’s settings, to how to set up my website, to tips for growing on different social media platforms just by researching on Google and YouTube. You learn and improve as you go. I still have a lot to learn, but the key is to keep going. Some of the most important lessons that I’ve learned so far are: 1) Consistency is more important than perfection. 2) Never underestimate the power of the individual. 3) No one is going to care about you or your dreams more than you. So if there’s something you want for your life, you and only you need to go get it. I want the world to know that the time to change is now and the power is in each of our hands. Never underestimate the power of the individual. One person going vegan saves approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year. The way I see it is, in this life, the only thing you ever have control over is yourself. Your actions alone would not be responsible for changing the entire world, but many individuals acting together toward a common goal CAN. You just need to focus on doing your part.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we had a week, I would start by taking my friend way up north to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. We’d definitely have to make a trip to the Grand Canyon as well, preferably riding the train on the Grand Canyon Railway. Next we could visit beautiful Flagstaff. There’s so much to do there! If it was winter time, we could snowboard on the mountain and if it was summer time, we could still ride the ski lift for a pretty view. A trip to Flag wouldn’t be complete without a visit to any of the breweries plus a night downtown. Sedona would also be a must for anyone visiting Arizona. We could go to any of the creeks to hike and swim then drive back to Main Street for some dessert at PussyCat Gelato. Then we’d work our way down to Phoenix. Two of my favorite places to take people to in Phoenix are Butterfly Wonderland and the Desert Botanical Garden. Of course I’m all about the food, so we could do a vegan food tour around the valley. Lately I’ve been craving vegan Mexican food. One of my favorite places is La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop. I’d also take my friend with me to try this place called Tacos Veganos that I heard great things about, but haven’t tried yet!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my amazing, supportive, always-willing-to-be-my-taste-tester boyfriend Ohi’a. I want to thank Ohi’a for always encouraging and supporting me. I would not be where I am without his constant encouragement and tough love when I need it. There have been many times when I felt like quitting. I was not recognizing my own progress and I questioned whether my content was good enough/interesting/helpful. I questioned my abilities, my ideas, and whether I, as a person, was good enough. Ohi’a is always there to remind me of how far I have come when I forget. He’s always there to listen and talk things out with me. He gives great pep talks. If he sees me procrastinating on editing a video, he makes me get off my butt and get to the computer. He sees my potential and believes in my dreams when I’m having a hard time doing so. I am beyond grateful to have him in my life.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.