Laughing with Laparasian, TikTok's French-Chinese Meme Icon


Laughing with Laparasian, TikTok's French-Chinese Meme Icon

The answer to who is Stephanie Cheng, also known as Laparasian on Instagram and TikTok, often begins with a story, as the influencer recalls in an interview.

“I’m a French-born Chinese,” Stephanie told The Beat Asia, “growing up in Paris, studying momentarily in Shanghai, and working in Hong Kong.”

Calling Toronto, Paris, and Hong Kong home, switching between all three cities for work, family, and fun, Stephanie has nurtured a significant following online, aiming jokes at her multicultural French and Chinese background, life with Canadian influencer and partner Jack, and documenting her world travels and eating.

Known to her fans as Laparasian, a portmanteau of La Parisian (the Parisian in French) and Asian, Stephanie moved to Hong Kong in 2017 after finishing her master's degree in France and saw herself fall in love with Asia again.

“I worked for a French marketing agency in Hong Kong for about two years. I loved my experience here, from the culture, the people, the food and also met many friends.”

The comedian explains that meeting her partner Jack in Hong Kong, a Canadian-born Hong Konger living in Toronto, her long-distance relationship prompted her to create videos online. “As the long-distance relationship was hard, we started to create videos for each other through dares and challenges in order to spice up the relationship, and we wanted to keep those precious moments.”

When she finally joined her partner in Canada, she noticed a lot of cultural differences between Canada and France, yet they both connected through their Chinese roots. Stephanie and Jack began to document the differences between French and Chinese dining customs, politeness on the streets, language confusions, and how foreign Hong Kong can feel for outsiders.

“We were just noticing a lot of funny stuff [between our cultures], for example, that animals have different accents between French, Chinese or English, or the differences between French and Cantonese idioms and tongue twisters."

"Through our conversations, we were shocked to notice such cultural differences and thought it would be interesting to share them to the world as we believed other people in-between cultures would relate. That’s how our content creation began!" 

Stephanie recalls that her perspective as a Chinese French woman in Hong Kong pushed her to rediscover her Asian ethnicity and share her discoveries and cultural differences on Instagram and Tiktok with her boyfriend starting in early 2020.

“It was interesting to live in Hong Kong, because physically, I look like a local, but I grew up in France, so I faced a lot of culture shock at first. I feel like with my Chinese background, I also had to adapt fast. I began to hang out with French people, seeing Hong Kong with a greater Western perspective, but then, little by little, i wanted to be more local, eat more local, and incorporate more Hong Kong habits into my life.”

“I love Hong Kong because I just found the city to be the perfect place with the perfect balance, with both cities in the middle surrounded by beautiful scenery, nature, and mountains; that was the perfect combination for me to be there.”

Interviewing with The Beat Asia in Toronto, Stephanie is keen to chart her path to return to Hong Kong with Jack. “I still have Hong Kong in my heart, as I envision myself living in the city in the near future. It just makes sense for us to settle down there."

Reflecting on a year of success, jokes, and gaining hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide, Stephanie is still speechless about her online growth. “I never expected to blow up online. For myself and my partner, creating memories together and showing our funny side was personal at first.”

“It was a pleasant surprise to see that people liked watching our videos and enjoying our content. I am so proud and thankful that I can bring some laughter, especially during difficult times such as the pandemic.”

She says her return to Hong Kong won’t change what comedy-based material she posts on Instagram, with her recording of daily observations, adventures, snack testing and skits a constant and main interest to her fans in Asia and beyond.

“When I travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand I received tons of support from followers all over. I did not expect that and I can’t wait to connect more with my audience from Asia." 

The influencer has grander plans when she returns to Hong Kong. “I want to share my adventures through longer video format, and I also want to have my own makeup brand. My partner dreams of creating his own sports brand clothing and nutrition collection. ” Stephanie says. 

As for her followers, of which Stephanie charmingly calls “snacks” in homage to her food adventures trying snack products from all over the world, and as an internet slang compliment meaning “cute and sexy”, she is ever grateful for where they have brought her today. 

“It makes me so happy when people reach out to me saying that watching my videos feels like they are hanging out with their bestie. I also feel like a big sister and good friend, I am forever grateful for all the support and love I receive from my followers."

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