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    This Bicoastal 28-Year-Old Went Viral For Comparing His 1-10 "Attractiveness" Rating On The East Vs. West Coast, And Now I'm Reevaluating My Own Experiences

    “I feel like, on the West Coast, not to be conceited, I’m a solid eight or nine. Then I’m over here visiting, and I feel like a six.”

    This summer, while walking back to his hotel in New York (and sweating), Jon Luigi Caña decided to quickly “talk some shit” about Asian American beauty standards on TikTok. And before he knew it, he was popping up on his friends’ For You Pages.

    selfie of Jon Luigi Cana in a hoodie

    In a video that’s since been viewed nearly a quarter million times, Jon (who goes by @jon.luigi on TikTok) amusingly admits to feeling like a six out of 10 on the East Coast, whereas he usually feels like an eight or nine out of 10 on the West Coast.

    “Beauty standards for Asian Americans on the West Coast versus the East Coast: Let’s talk about it,” Jon begins the video. “I feel like, on the West Coast, not to be conceited or anything, but I feel like I’m a solid eight or nine. That’s just how I feel. That’s how I feel when I’m on the West Coast. Then I’m over here visiting, and I feel like I’m a six.”

    screenshot of TikTok wherein Jon is speaking into the camera

    He then reveals that he brought those feelings up to his friends — who are also Asian American and from the East Coast — and they shared his experience. “One of them said that they feel more seen on the West Coast, and the other person made a really interesting comment that Asian Americans on the West Coast are not seen as second-class citizens the way they are on the East Coast,” he says, before adding, “That was really eye-opening for me.”

    screenshot of TikTok wherein Jon is speaking into the camera

    And according to countless comments and stitches, Jon and his friends aren’t alone in their feelings. Asian Americans — including those from the South, Midwest, and Hawaii — opened up about their experiences with differing beauty standards across the US.

    comments from TikTok agreeing with Jon

    To talk more about this, BuzzFeed spoke with Jon, who immigrated to the US from the Philippines as a child. “I moved to New Jersey when I was 12,” he explained. “I lived there for three years, and then I moved to Sacramento, California.” Now, as a 28-year-old, he travels back and forth and, arguably, has pretty solid experiences with both coasts.

    Jon at a restaurant

    “I was completely surprised,” Jon said of the reception to his video. Though he’d written down a script, he ultimately decided to record himself on the fly to share his experience. “I was not expecting anything. You can see in the video that I’m just walking back to my hotel. I was like, ‘You know what? Let me put this out there and see how it’s received.’ And it sounds like people are echoing the thoughts. I’m really happy to see people resonating with the thoughts that I shared and surprised to see how prevalent it is. We don’t talk about it, but actually, it happens, and we all kind of experience it in a similar way.”

    comments from TikTok with theories as to why beauty standards shift across the US

    As for what made him feel like his “rating” went down, Jon revealed, “I will say that I’m speaking from an experience specifically within the gay community. I was in a club, and I was noticing that people weren’t looking at me the way that I’m kind of used to on the West Coast. And so that made me feel like my rating went down.”

    Jon standing in sunlight, leaning against the side of a house

    And though some viewers found his video to be a fun, facetious, apolitical, or superficial hot take on beauty standards, Jon acknowledged that the root of these feelings has a deeper connection to the overall Asian American experience. In fact, many comments pointed to the size of the Asian population and priority of values (like race versus class or old money versus new money) in different regions as reasons for the varying beauty standards and perception of Asians across the US.

    sign of Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles, California

    “I go back to this notion of critical mass,” Jon reflected, in response to the theories in the comments. “Having come from the East Coast to the West Coast, and seeing — specifically speaking to the Filipino American experience — such a long history of Filipino American contributions to society, there’s a little bit more recognition, and that recognition translates into the way that we’re perceived and into our social status. However, on the East Coast, you don’t learn much about Asian American contributions.”

    Philip Vera Cruz helps Cesar Chavez, who is weakened from a 21-day spiritual fast, walk to attend a mass in his honor

    He continued, “I feel like on the West Coast, having that 1) larger population but also 2) more recognition of historical contributions to society definitely impacts beauty standards. It’s interesting to connect it to beauty standards, and I don’t have the right words to draw that connection, but I feel like it’s there.”

    In the end, Jon hopes viewers take away that seemingly superficial conversations can actually have deep, underlying meanings. “From the onset, me feeling like a six [in New York] might seem really superficial because I’m used to feeling like an eight or nine [in California], but in reality, that is a reflection of our experiences,” he said. “We might not want to say it out loud at the risk of sounding uncool, but I’ve learned that people do feel this way, and that everyone experiences it to a certain degree. I think we just need to talk about our experiences more in all aspects.”

    profile of Jon outside

    “Don’t be afraid to sound superficial,” he concluded, “because at the end of the day, it’s still a reflection of your lived experience.”

    To see more from Jon, check him out on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.