Elle Choi’s claims to fame? Discovering Justin Bieber — a feat she claims to have nailed back in 2007, during his kidrauhl days — and being able to write upside down. On JB, we choose to believe; on that second claim, we’d like some proof.
Being able to spot music’s rising stars — her faves include Elvis, the Jackson Five, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Tupac, Lee Brice and K-pop — will come in handy at OZY. And Elle also has plenty of other talents. This scuba diving and kite-boarding skydiver, for example, has managed to drive across the U.S. three times — in the first instance, without Google or even a mobile phone. Wait, no cell? What do you mean?
Belieber antics aside, if Elle can handle Wall Street, we reckon she can wrangle the Wild, Wild West. This New Jersey native picked up sticks to move to the Golden State not once, but twice. After attending Rutgers University for two years, she ventured west to enroll in the Academy of Art in San Francisco for a year, pursuing life as a starving artist. Finally ending up at Cal State, Sacramento, she graduated and became … a starving teacher. A couple of years out of college, Elle was lured back east by the hustle and bustle of New York City, for an 8-year gig as an office manager for a Wall Street securities firm.
Elle’s Korean parents — the hardworking source of her inspiration — landed in the U.S. in the 1970s with no money and no English skills. What they did have was faith in the American Dream, and they worked six to seven days a week, moving from shift work in warehouses to owning their own business, to provide for their three children.
Ultimately, the Big Apple didn’t hold quite enough adventure for this firstborn, and she headed west again, this time to Silicon Valley. Always up for a good adventure, Elle can be found jumping out of planes, driving bargains at flea markets, hitting it lucky at the poker and pool tables and hogging the karaoke mic. Always one to push boundaries, she steers clear of the status quo, preferring instead to do the unexpected.
So, any day now, we expect to find her in a one-handed handstand, pen and paper in hand, whistling “I’ll show you.”