DJ SOSUPERSAM breaks cultural, career expectations

Samantha Duenas as DJ SOSUPERSAM. Photos by NextDayBetter & TFC

The new docuseries Intersections features SOSUPERSAM, a child of Filipino immigrants who overcame rock bottom and broke cultural expectations to become a world-renowned DJ, artist, and entrepreneur.

Intersections is a NextDayBetter Original Series that explores the untold stories of who Filipinos are becoming across the diaspora. It is aired through The Filipino Channel.

Samantha Duenas, who goes by the stage name SOSUPERSAM, felt the pressure of her mom wanting her to be successful in fashion PR. For Duenas, that wasn’t the dream. After being a back-up dancer for Miley Cyrus and many more, and living off 3 for $1 falafels every month in NYC, DJ-ing was the unexpected path to success.

“My parents just wanted me to do well in school, and get a good job, and have health insurance,” Duenas said in Ep 005: Rock Bottom.

Sought-after DJ known for her versatile style.   
Children of Filipino immigrants are taking risks and overcoming failure, says Ryan Letada of NextDayBetter.

On her website, Duenas recalls her early years “consumed by piano lessons, dance classes, musical theatre, and choir.”   She eventually made her way into entertainment industry as a professional dancer, supporting the likes of Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, and Kelly Rowland. As a dancer she has appeared in numerous music videos and live television.

She became a DJ sometime in 2008 after she purchased her first set of DJ equipment. It’s been years, and she is now a familiar name in the international music circuit known for her versatile range and genre-bending mixing style. She has performed her original music in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Honolulu.

According to multiple research, some Asian American parents push their children to succeed, pressuring them to get into careers that they may not be interested in. This pressure negatively affects Asian American students’ mental health.

“Many children of Filipino and Asian immigrants are going against the wishes and cultural expectations of their parents to become medical or legal professionals,” said Ryan Letada, CEO and founder of NextDayBetter. “They are taking risks with their creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, oftentimes, feeling alone or unsupported by their families.”

“Intersections invites viewers to reimagine who we are, the challenges we face, and how our experiences connect us more than divide us. SOSUPERSAM is a ‘possibility role model’. We wanted to reimagine a narrative where children of Filipino immigrants are risking and overcoming failure to break through,” he said.

NextDayBetter is a new media company that tells the stories of migrant communities and provides technology-enabled pathways for them to take action.

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