Shuyue Amber Yin. Credits: SAY

Shuyue Amber Yin. Credits: SAY

Media dialogues: Shuyue Amber Yin
Founder & Media Producer of the leading production company PunkMoon Ltd, partner of China Central Television (CCTV), Xinhua News Agency and Alibaba Entertainment Group
24 May 2024

This article is part of a series of interviews with people who work in the media to provide the news and views that shape our perceptions of world affairs. Shuyue Amber Yin, Founder & Media Producer from PunkMoon Ltd, spoke to UN Today about her life and career in media.

What is your professional background?

As I sit here today, reflecting on my journey, I can’t help but marvel at the twists and turns that have led me to this moment. I may be classified as a Gen Z by society’s standards, but my professional odyssey spans nearly a decade, guided by the subtle hand of fate.

It all began auspiciously with a traditional Chinese ritual, where I grasped a microphone during the ‘Zhua Zhou’ ceremony, meant to forecast a newborn baby’s future career. Little did I know how prophetic that moment would be.

My first taste of paid work came under the spotlight of the stage, as a child actor in a local theater troupe. Even then, during school breaks, I eagerly embraced every opportunity to perform. But as the curtain fell on my acting endeavors, a new chapter beckoned—one of words, stories, and the power of the press.

In a twist of fate, I stepped into the shoes of a media journalist, interviewing directors, actors, and musicians became my daily work, each encounter fueling my passion for the media industry.

It was during this time that I realized my desire to make an impact on the international world. So I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Film at University College London (UCL), where I ventured into the realm of social media, collaborating with a local talent agency. What began as a humble endeavor, blossomed into a vibrant platform, boasting over 100,000 subscribers and affording me opportunities to rub shoulders with the elite at London Fashion Week and prestigious film festivals worldwide.

But the allure of new horizons beckoned, leading me to the picturesque Switzerland, where I worked for the United Nations Office at Geneva. Here, amidst the tranquil shores of Lake Geneva, my worldview expanded, nurtured by kind-hearted supervisors and colleagues who provided invaluable guidance and opportunities to delve into the intricate web of international media affairs. It was a transformative experience that ignited a profound sense of purpose within me.

Today, as the founder and media producer of a thriving company, I find myself at the intersection of creativity and impact. Our collaborations with esteemed partners like Hunan TV, Xinhua News Agency, Alibaba Entertainment Group, Tencent News, and talent agencies in Hollywood are testaments to the bridges we’ve built across the continents and industries.

In 2023, our achievements were recognized with the Superior Honor Award at the prestigious 17th ‘Chunhui Cup’ Overseas Chinese Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, an accolade bestowed by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. This recognition symbolizes our unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on a global scale.

What’s the best interview you’ve ever done?

If you close your eyes for a moment, let me transport you to a sunny afternoon in Beijing, where the air was alive with anticipation and the promise of storytelling magic. Picture me, as a budding entertainment journalist, standing on the doorstep of Yuxin Liu’s studio. She was a celebrated figure in the Chinese film industry, just back from the Cannes Film Festival, and had already captured the hearts of audiences with her work in period dramas.

Yuxin Liu welcomed me with open arms, her warmth and candor instantly putting me at ease. As we delved into conversation, I found myself enchanted by her candor and authenticity. She possessed a rare gift for uplifting those around her, sprinkling sincere praise like confetti and sharing snippets of her stories with a truly inspiring spirit.

Together, we explored the depths of her latest film project, diving into the intricacies of her character and swapping tales of on-set adventures. As someone who once trod the boards as a teenage actor, I felt an immediate kinship with her dedication to her film and her steadfast commitment to her professional ethos.

At that time, I don’t know, our meeting would plant the seeds of a lasting friendship—one that would continue to bloom over the years. Today, Yuxin Liu stands as a successful film producer and investor in Hollywood, a testament to her talent and tenacity, while I continue to carve my path in the media industry, every step forward is a lesson learned and a story to tell.

Throughout my career journey, I’ve been fortunate to encounter many individuals who have offered their invaluable support and guidance, while settling in various countries and mastering six languages along the way. For me, being a media professional isn’t just about reporting the news—it’s about delving into the tapestry of the human experience, uncovering the extraordinary in the everyday and bearing witness to the myriad adventures that shape our collective narrative. And therein lies the true magic of this remarkable profession—a journey of discovery, connection, and endless possibility.

What is the interview you’d like to do but haven’t been able to yet?

One person that comes to mind is Nicole Shanahan. Born to a Chinese mother and a white American father toiling in low-income jobs, Ms. Shanahan’s early years were colored by the struggles of her family, particularly her father’s battle with mental illness.

Despite the challenges that loomed over her home life, Nicole refused to let circumstances define her future. With unwavering resolve, she navigated through the corridors of college and ultimately got a J.D. degree from law school. But her ambition didn’t stop there, it soared to new heights as she ventured into the world of technology patent law research at Stanford and established her own company, carving out a niche for herself in the dynamic landscape of Silicon Valley.

And now, standing alongside Robert F. Kennedy as his running mate in the 2024 presidential election, Nicole Shanahan embodies the epitome of possibility—a living testament to the boundless potential that lies within each of us.

As an Asian woman in the United States, her experiences serve as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path for countless others who dare to dream beyond the confines of their circumstances. I yearn to delve deeper into her story, to uncover the secrets of her success. For in Nicole Shanahan’s story, I see not just the triumph of one individual, but the triumph of the human spirit—a reminder that greatness knows no boundaries and that our dreams are limited only by the extent of our courage to pursue them.

What is your view on the role of media?

Imagine a world without the vigilant gaze of the media—a world where accountability evaporates, transparency becomes a luxury, and the truth languishes in the shadows of manipulation. It’s a world people refuse to accept.

For me, the media isn’t just a tool for information dissemination, it’s the guardian of our collective conscience, a beacon of truth in a sea of misinformation. It’s a belief etched into the very fabric of my being.

I’ve seen journalists stand unwavering in the face of political pressure and vested interests, steadfastly upholding their duty to the public. They’re the unsung heroes who shine a light into the darkest corners of society, exposing corruption, injustice, and abuse of power.

Yet, their bravery often comes at a steep price. The recent assaults on journalists covering the Gaza conflict serve as a grim reminder of the risks they face daily. The words of UN Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres resonate deeply—”Without press freedom, we won’t have any freedom.”

And then there’s the remarkable phenomenon of citizen journalism—a grassroots movement that has given voice to the voiceless, empowering marginalized communities to share their stories with the world. It’s a testament to the democratizing force of social media, bridging the gap between continents and cultures, and amplifying the cries for justice from every corner of the globe.

As for me, whether it’s wielding the power of traditional media or harnessing the dynamism of social media platforms, I stand shoulder to shoulder with my media comrades.Together, we’re on a mission for truth, justice and equality, all in the pursuit of shaping a better future for society.

What is your vision of media 10 years from now?

In my vision of the future, I still believe in the enduring appeal of traditional media like printed newspapers, broadcasting and television. There’s something irreplaceable about the experience of flipping through a newspaper in your hands, or sharing laughter in front of the television with loved ones.

However, alongside this timeless tradition, I see a world transformed by technology. As the years unfold, I envision the rise of AI and XR—artificial intelligence and extended reality—as game-changers in the media landscape. My conviction in this future was solidified during my participation in the Filmmaker competition hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab earlier this year.

At the Filmmaker competition, I had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with peers from the production industry and professional tech teams. The screening room buzzed with excitement as we witnessed the fruits of AI-driven creativity showcased in awe-inspiring films. It was a moment of realization for me—How can we harness the potential of AI to amplify our storytelling capabilities, to transcend the limitations of traditional media production? It’s a question that resonates deeply with my background in filmmaking and one that I’m eager to explore further.

Could you share an impressive work-related story?

When I was a teenage actor, I got a chance to perform in a big-name movie. One day, while on set, I was confronted with a chilling proposition from the director himself. He brazenly suggested that I become his girlfriend in exchange for a more prominent role in the film. Shock and disbelief coursed through my veins, I stood firm, refusing to succumb to his manipulative advances. In that moment, I realized the harsh reality of the industry—a reality I never thought would touch me.

In that pivotal moment, I made a decision that would alter the course of my life. Instead of succumbing to the toxic culture within the industry, I chose to walk away, fueled by a burning desire to expose such misconduct and pave the way for change.

Armed with courage and faith, I seized an opportunity at a media agency that shared my values. A simple email to the CEO sparked a conversation that would shape my future, leading me to the media industry where I could amplify voices and shed light on injustices.

My journey has been anything but conventional, punctuated by a detour to pursue a graduate degree at University College London. Yet, through it all, my mission remains clear—to inspire others, especially the younger generation, to challenge the status quo, to defy expectations, and to forge their own path in the face of adversity. So, to all the dreamers out there, remember this: when the world presents you with a choice between conformity and courage, dare to choose the latter. For it is in the pursuit of authenticity and integrity that true fulfilment lies, and it is through our actions that we pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

* Julián Ginzo is a member of the Editorial Board of UN Today.
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