Courtesy of Haley Pham

The popularity of podcasting and vintage-vibes is unquestionable, and trendsetter and influencer Haley Pham is no stranger to either. Since the end of 2019, she launched her own clothing line, Retro Reprise, which currently features a bold and bright “Your Favorite Collection” inspired by vintage fashion, and a podcast called Call Me Candid where she and her best friend and fellow influencer and young entrepreneur, Lilly Ann, talk about life, business, and life advice.

With all of the going on, you’d think Haley is more than busy, but she’s also stepping into the TikTok excitement and preparing to launch something entirely new on her channel inspired by her passion for real estate. We talked with Haley about where she plans to take her brand in the future and how Call Me Candid has become an on-going phone call with millions of BFFs.

Showstopper Magazine Online: Tell me a bit about Retro Reprise and what you’re planning to do with it in the future.

Haley Pham: So, we have a new collection coming out hopefully this spring, but as for now, we’re just focusing collection by collection and making each one of those the best and, you know, that’s our plan for this year, so far.

SMO: Are you sticking with the 80s/90s aesthetic that was featured in the first Retro Reprise collection or do you see yourself and the brand branching out into other definitions of “retro”?

HP: Yeah, we’re mostly going to stick with that, but I honestly don’t have too much of a good construct of what it should be. Our next collection, the shirt that’s coming out doesn’t have that pattern on it, but the accessories do. So, I’m also branching out to items that are kind of like regular clothing items that don’t even have the pattern on them.

SMO: What do you think will make Retro Reprise stand out as a collection and more than a merch line?

HP: I think our next line is really going to show that it’s a clothing line because it’s an actual clothing piece, and I think a lot of people think of crewnecks and joggers as merch because you can buy blanks for them even though we have cut-and-sew custom pieces. So, the next items are going to resemble more of a clothing line rather than similar items that we’ve done before.


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SMO: Where did the name “Call Me Candid” come from?

HP: We [Haley and her BFF Lilly Ann] originally started out with “Call Me” because we wanted it to feel like you were just on your phone with friends in the car. Then we were like “Ok, Call Me–what?” I love alliteration, like using the same letters, so we were thinking about a bunch of ‘c’ words, and we really want the podcast to just be a very candid way for us to talk about things that we don’t talk about on any other social platform, so that’s what we came up with.

SMO: Why an advice podcast?

HP: I love advice-based podcasts. I listen to them all the time. We’re definitely not comedians or anything, so that’s just [off] the table and we thought we’d try our hand at trying to give people advice. We’re not super qualified, but I think we’re doing an OK job so far.

SMO: How do you think people are receiving the advice? 

HP: So, we’ve only done that one time which was [in “Advice on staying motivated, bullying, and getting engaged?”] which just went up. We don’t have any specific callbacks about what happens when we gave the advice, but in terms of, on the other podcast [episodes] when we’re just giving general advice, we see people post on their stories about it…which is really really really exciting.

SMO: One thing that’s really interesting about Call Me Candid is that you have created a relationship where you and Lilly are both vulnerable. You even talk about your own weaknesses in the first episode which most influencers wouldn’t necessarily want to address or draw attention to. What is that relationship like?

HP: I think it’s really easy to want to make people think that you’re perfect, but I think when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, people like it even better because, I mean, everyone has their downfalls, and if you can just admit them, it makes people feel like you’re actually human which is a very difficult thing to communicate through a screen. So, I feel like, at first, even in my real life, it’s a little more difficult for me to be vulnerable, but teaching myself how to do that, I’ve only seen really positive results with that. So, yeah, only positive feedback, so I’m trying to do that more and more.

SMO: How does that vulnerability come into play when you look at reviews? Most podcasts don’t read their reviews or directly acknowledge what people say about their podcast on the level that you two do. What is that like? 

HP: I think podcasting is a really interesting platform, especially for me, because I’ve only known YouTube and Instagram. With podcasting, it’s not like there are comments on each podcast. It’s only really the reviews that you get to see what the feedback is like, so we’re really really really paying attention to what people are saying. We try to give shoutouts to someone, every podcast, who does leave a review because they mean a lot and it’s the only feedback that we can gauge what should we do more of or less of and how can we improve.

SMO: That seems to connect with the overall message of your podcasts. In pretty much every episode, regardless of topic, you circle back to productivity in some way. In one of the episodes, you mention that you’re focusing on doing work you’re proud of this year. How does that connect to the message you want to be sending to your fans with the podcast overall?

HP: I really am really focusing on that this year. I think it’s really easy to be looking at what other people are doing and then compare what you are doing and seeing what got views and what you should be doing to also get those views, and then when you take a step back and realize that that’s not fulfilling at all and “What do I actually want to be creating?” and “What is my own voice?” I feel like that can be applicable to anything whether it comes to college applications or what kind of field do you want to go into–just to kind of put the blinders on and stop looking at everyone else and just think about “What is actually fulfilling to me?” and “What do I want to do with my life?”

SMO: Is it hard to give people advice about being productive and successful without crossing that boundary you and Lilly talk about between encouraging them to learn from hard work and telling them what to do and how to do it? 

HP: Oh, yeah. I think what we’re trying to express is that being productive is going to look different for everybody, but just making sure that you’re just waking up in the morning and doing what you set out to do, being able to accomplish those goals, even though everyone’s goals are gonna look different, that’s really the only important thing, that you’re actually making strides to get there.

SMO: Do all of the topics come from fans?

HP: We definitely ask them what they want to see, and a lot of them, especially Lilly’s audience love her because of her productive Instagram stories, so I think we get a lot of inspiration from that and from her audience as well. But we, a lot of the time, have a general idea, and as soon as we start talking to each other, we just start bouncing off all these ideas, and it kind of turns into the topic of the podcast which is kind of why I love Lilly so much as a co-host because it’s just that energy where as soon as we start talking we can just spiral into all of these different kinds of conversations, and it’s really fun.

SMO: How does hosting with your BFF help you achieve that “candid” relationship with your listeners?

HP: People read energies really well, even when it’s just through a screen, so if you’re thinking something, they can pick up on it really easily, and so I definitely made sure that who we made a podcast with was going to be super genuine. I knew from the very second we became friends–it was like that from the start–so it’s been such an easy transition, and I think people can really tell that it’s genuine.

SMO: What has been the most challenging part of podcasting? 

HP: Right now, what’s difficult is that we’re long distance. So, we have recorded two episodes now over FaceTime, so there’s always a delay there, so editing it is a little more difficult, and obviously, whenever she does come into town, we have batch content and we really have to stick to our schedule. We can’t just be like, “Oh yeah, we can film something this week” because, being long-distance, she can’t just come over to record. We really have to plan and be trustworthy to each other.

SMO: Changing directions: You mention dance a few times in the podcast. Even though you don’t really dance anymore–aside from TikTok–how does your dance background influence you now? 

HP: Obviously the dance background helps TikTok so much which is really funny because I never saw dance, growing up, as something that would translate into one of the most relevant apps now. Dance has taught me so much. It has taught me how to move my body, and anything that I do now, whether it’s CrossFit or ice skating, people always talk about, “Your form is good” or, it’s just kind of natural for me because I feel like dance taught me so much about body placement and mind and body connection, and so it’s translated so nicely to almost anything physical that I do.

@haleyphamMY 1ST ONE TAKE LETS GOOOOO ##supalonely ##dancer ##dance ##fyp @zoifishh

♬ Supalonely – BENEE

SMO: Now that you’re invested in TikTok as a platform, do you feel like you’ve gone back to dance a little bit?

HP: Honestly, TikTok is a little bit exertive on your body because you’re kind of just standing in one place, but it definitely makes me use that brain in my muscle again from learning dances really quickly which I really like, and it’s really hip-hop-y I would say which is something I never did when I was a dancer. I did it, but it wasn’t my forte, so now it’s interesting to see how TikTok is mostly those kinds of moves, and that’s what I practice now.

SMO: How do you think Call Me Candid fits in with your other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok?

HP: My presence is very different on every social media platform, but the core essence of who I am stays with all of them. It’s just different sides. So, with my main channel, it’s kind of, this creative, high-production side, and then TikTok is more goofy and more dance-based, and the podcast is where you get to see that more brainy side of me where I get to talk about business and advice and all those sorts of topics.

SMO: You mentioned in your “Building My Tiny Dog a Tiny House” video and the podcast that you want to do a high-production series of your journey learning how to flip houses and reinvent your brand in that direction.

HP: So, we are bringing on a videographer and an editor very very soon because the whole vision I have is for decorating apartments and houses. I really want to have that kind of HGTV, TV episode feel, and something I love on YouTube is when people make series and it really does feel like a TV show that makes you want to sit down with all of your friends and grab a snack and watch it, and that’s the feeling that I’m going for with these next videos I’m going to upload soon.

SMO: What do you think that journey is going to be like? 

HP: It’s really scary to try something new, especially with YouTube, because I’ve been doing the same-old-same-old for so many years, but I am excited for it because I want to switch it up all the time, so it’s very exciting, but it’s also very nerve-wracking. Who knows if it will turn out well, and who knows how the audience will receive it, but I’m just really excited to be pushing my own boundaries because I feel like that’s something I have not done in a while.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.