Kelly Mi Li’s Hustle To Create A Bling Empire Has Its Limits

For most of her life, Li has put work and economic success above all else. “At a younger age, I realized that I couldn’t really depend on people,” she says. “If I want something, I have to really work for it.” She moved to the U.S. from China when she was about 10 years old. “It was a lot of struggle,” she recalls, adding that she remembers going from a “nice, comfortable lifestyle” in China to a $200-a-month apartment in Chicago. Like many Asian Americans, she grew up convinced she was going to be a doctor like the rest of her family. Then, she went to high school. “I started biology and I realized I’m really, really bad at science,” she recalls. “There’s no way I could be a doctor.” So, she recalibrated. “Sometimes you have to take small steps to find your passion and find what you are eventually meant to do.”

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