Twenty-year-old Isabelle Hum (@izzysings) is a college student, aspiring singer, and wants to see the world. Born and raised in Potomac, Maryland, the quarter-French Cambodian American is majoring in communications through the University of Maryland, University College program. Upon graduation, she wants to pursue a career working for a digital media company. But her real passion is music.
Hum first began singing around friends and family at home and in school. She joined school choirs and singing groups, and as her comfort level grew, she began to perform for senior citizens at local nursing homes. “Singing puts a smile on my face,” Hum told Khmerican. “I like all music — from American pop like Taylor Swift to Khmer contemporary like Laura Mam.” She is currently planning to launch a YouTube channel to expand her audience and take her ambitions to a new level.
In addition to her love for music, Hum emphasizes her growing interest in Khmer culture and the Cambodian community in the greater Washington, D.C. area. For the past three years, Hum has actively participated in the local Khmer New Year festivities at Watt Buddhikarama in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. She walked in Angkor fashion shows and participated in the Mak Theung play, and in the summer of 2014 became a contestant in the Miss Cambodian American Pageant in Washington, D.C. Although she did not take the crown, Hum did receive the title for “Miss Photogenic” and hopes her experience will inspire other Cambodian-American girls to learn more about their culture.
“It is good to learn about your own heritage,” said Hum. “Being involved with the community has made me more appreciative of my dual identities; both cultures are near and dear to my heart.”
Five years from now she hopes to continue to help her Cambodian community and to travel more. “I caught the travel bug when I first visited Cambodia and Angkor Wat in January 2013,” said Hum. “I would love to see more Asian countries, and Italy, Australia, London, etc.”