Suburban Bananas: local high school students share their perspective through podcast

Ori Gal, Multimedia Manager

At the start of the pandemic, two students from Palo Alto High School and Gunn High School teamed up to create a podcast focusing on their perspectives as Asian-American teenagers living in Silicon Valley. Currently, the duo is continuing to produce podcasts on a bi-weekly basis.

Paly sophomore Sophie Yang and Gunn sophomore Jasmine Fan discuss building their podcast, Suburban Bananas, from the ground up, how they met, and their advice for teenagers interested in building a podcast of their own.

According to Yang, they were inspired to create the podcast because they felt that their voices were not heard by the greater Palo Alto community.

“I think mainly it was that there were a lot of issues that were going on during this time that really affected us,” Yang said. “Issues like affirmative action impacted us a lot… We felt like there was no one speaking out for our perspective.”

To hear more about their process of building a podcast, make sure to watch the full video below:


[00:08:18] The Paly Voice (TPV): What is your podcast about?

Sophie Yang (SY): Our Podcast is mainly about the perspective of kind of the world from an Asian teenager. We basically just talk about being like a minority teen living in California and our perspective on current events and like political issues that are happening.

Jasmine Fan (JF): And it’s also about culture and society.

TPV: What inspired you to start the podcast?

SY: I think mainly it was that there were a lot of issues that were going on during this time that really affected us. And there were certain issues like affirmative action that would impact us a lot. So we definitely were very opinionated on certain topics and we felt like there was no one speaking out for our perspective and what we thought we wanted to kind of be like a voice. And we kind of just want to tell people what we thought of certain issues and political topics that are going on.

TPV: How did you guys meet?

SY: Jasmine and I, We’ve known each other since elementary school, our families are pretty close. Like we travel around the world together. We go skiing in different States together. We traveled to different countries together. We’re kind of like cousins, almost kind of like family. So it just like worked really well for us.

TPV: What podcast episode are you most proud of?

JF: We would probably both say it’s our affirmative action episode. Cause that one we actually had to rerecord. So the first time we recorded it since we were really passionate about this topic like it came off very one-sided and so we tried to rerecord it and make it a little bit more objective. And now we’re just doing some discussions so that people get both sides of the argument.

TPV: Why are you called Suburban Bananas?

SY: We live in suburbia. So we’re suburban, but for those of you who don’t know what a banana is, a banana is — people in Asia, they’ll make fun of us ABCs or American born Chinese or Asian Americans as bananas. Cause it means that you’re yellow on the outside, but you’re white on the inside. You know, you look like an Asian, but inside you’re really white. Not a very pleasant saying. I mean, us Gen Zers, we have a strange sense of humor. We just always thought it was really funny. So we just like adopted the name and just like. Yeah, we are Asian Americans. We definitely do have this like Asian perspective, but we also have this Western perspective and I feel like that’s what makes our podcast interesting.

TPV: What advice do you have for future podcasters?

SY: You should find someone who is going to keep you accountable for your work. Hey, we need to come out with good content. We need to post these episodes or else the other person is going to be disappointed in us, and it’s not like toxic peer pressure, but it is enough to keep each other accountable for our work, motivates us to expand our platform, and to like do more, cause we always want to kind of like outdo each other almost.

JF: Yeah, I would agree. That’s good. Like definitely don’t do it by yourself. Like I understand some people want solo podcasts and that’s good, but I, I would say like find someone to help you out. I think the most important part is not the production, but getting people to listen. So Sophie and I just literally, we’re always like shooting our shot. Like I’ve gotten rejected by so many people, but I just like go and finesse myself like sponsorships and just market myself to everybody. So I would say, just remember that, like the listens trickle in very slowly and just don’t be discouraged.

If you are interested in listening to Jasmine and Sophie’s podcast, check it out here.