“Ah, Saigon,” Huynh Thuan, also known as Tố Tố sighs. “For me, Saigon is a stylish lady, forever embodying the spirit of the early 2000s, like the song ‘Sài Gòn Cô Tiên Năm 2000,’” Tố Tố smiles, as in love with this city as the rest of us. Right now, Tố Tố is a boundary-breaking, non-binary Saigon model and tarot reader.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
But the fashion industry still seems so caught up in gender norms, we say. “I don’t think it matters, I think we should forget the norms and just remember we’re all artists,” Tố Tố muses romantically, “and to me fashion and art are the same thing – they’re beyond definition, and something you must feel.”
“Art is created through genuine emotions – when inspiration strikes you, an artwork is born,” Tố Tố, who’s modeled for brands like MAC Cosmetics and Shu Uemura, adds. “Like when I did my wedding photos series. It came from a desire to be loved, and to marry and settle down, and that’s still my favorite series.”
Saigon features prominently as a backdrop to Tố Tố’s photos. “I feel like this city is like a big jigsaw puzzle,” Tố Tố says, “with all these interlocking pieces to explore.” So, we sat down together to get Saigon non-binary model Tố Tố’s spirited guide to the town.
Describe Your Saigon In One Sentence…
For me, Saigon isn’t that flashy, beautiful place, with perfect people – it’s a city I view with a wider lens, full of hard-working, industrious people.
Where Should We Go For The Most Beautiful View Of Saigon?
I like to experience the dreamy and charming side of Saigon, and watch the world go by from a coffee shop like Katinat at 91 Dong Khoi or the Phuc Long nearby at 43 Ngo Duc Khe. The flow of bikes and people going past captivates me.
I even like it when it rains while I’m there. Somehow the showers reinvigorates my mind too.
Where Would We Find You On A Friday Or Saturday Night?
Actually, I’ll probably just go for a walk. Every weekend, I go to Nguyen Hue, Saigon’s bustling pedestrian street that’s right in the heart of District 1.
Alternatively, there’s Anh Sao Bridge, sometimes called the Starlight Bridge, in District 7’s Phu My Hung area. It’s a real escape. I just love the calming atmosphere around there.
Do You Have A Favorite LGBT+ Friendly Bar Or Club?
Absolutely. The vapcucda.sg people. They’re a collective who put together some amazing events, and music and art projects. They’re empowering the community here, and the youth in general.
Then, other events and places that spring to mind are the GÁI NHẢY and HAI BÀN TAY parties. Then, there’s Frolic Bar, which is open every week, Thursday to Sunday. And the drag scene is pretty strong here too, so you can go find The Venus Drag Team and dance with them.
What Do You Like Most About The LGBT+ Bar Scene In Saigon?
I’m such a curious person. I love to explore new places in Saigon. For the gay scene, and its bars specifically, I feel everyone is so communal, welcoming and friendly here.
Personally, gay bars are not only for parties and entertainment, but they’re also somewhere to chill out and wind down. Most importantly, they’re places where you can really be yourself.
Where’s The Best Place For A Date?
I like Eros Cocktail Modern Bar. It’s a cocktail bar on the 5th floor of The Alcove Library Hotel, in Phu Nhuan. I like its stark color palette – red and black. And there’s lots of touches like roses, candles and curtains. You get to customize your drink based on the scent of 12 different perfumes they have. It’s really interesting, and perfectly romantic and intriguing to talk about during a date.
Can You Share A Secret Place In Saigon With Us?
I don’t really have any secret places – maybe a hidden coffee shop. There’s one I know, called Quan Trong, that’s hidden in a cozy alley that’s full of flowers. It’s so peaceful. And it’s where me and my lover had our very first date.
Where Do You Go When You Need To Get Out Of Saigon?
Whenever you get too fed up with Saigon’s dust and endless traffic, fill a backpack and head off for a few days. I really like to go up to Dalat. Or to Phu Quoc, where I’d stay at Fusion Phu Quoc. Both places fill me full of peace.
Danang is nice too. The city fills me with inspiration, and you can escape the town for Hoi An and places like Blush Beach Club Hoi An. From any of those places, I’ll return to Saigon full of energy and ideas.
Finally, What’s The Strangest Place You’ve Been To In Saigon?
OK, this might blow your mind. But there’s a place called Ho Da in Thu Duc’s University Village. It’s a beautiful place to take some photos. However, there’s some couples who use it for, how can I say…other purposes?