Lily Jang is the CEO of Lily Jang Real Estate, a 5-star white-glove real estate group based in Houston. She also created, launched, wrote, produced and hosts a 30-minute weekly TV show on KPRC2+ called House 2 Home. The show features everyone from contractors to plumbers to lenders and inspectors, all the while showcasing beautiful homes and educating its audience. A Texas Guide recently had the pleasure of interviewing this 49-year-old powerhouse about her experiences living and working in this great state.
Nice to meet you, Lily! Please tell us about your background and what made you want to get into real estate and television?
I was born in Saigon and came to America as a baby during the Fall of Saigon. We were refugees. My parents/grandparents worked hard so I could live my American dream. In 9th grade, I knew I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. I became a journalist and was a News Anchor in various cities (Seattle and Houston) for 21 years. In 2017, I was dealt a blow. New management cleaned house and I was let go at the end of my contract. It was that very year that I had to pivot and figure out my next chapter. I passed my real estate exam and never looked back. Being trilingual means I grew up with traditional parents and an unfaltering work ethic.
What do you love about Texas?
Texas has my heart. I grew up here in Houston, graduated from UT Austin, and drove my Honda Civic 12 hours through this great state to start my Journalism career as a News Anchor in Amarillo at the age of 23. I loved being able to hike Palo Duro Canyon and experience the Panhandle. This state has raised me and shaped me. I’ve lived in small, medium, and big cities in Texas and I have love them all. I embrace the diversity, the sunsets, the Hill Country, the various cultures, and most importantly, the dynamic food that is unparalleled!
What for you is special about Houston and where you live?
I live in Montrose and I love everything about it. It’s close to the best fine dining and shopping. I love the diversity. I love the arts. I love the people.
What would you tell outsiders or people considering traveling here or moving to Texas?
We are a little bit country, but we’re also very worldly. I have traveled the world through and through and we have some of the best Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Indian food I have ever had. Go to Fort Bend County and you’ll hear over 100 languages. According to US News and World Report, Fort Bend county is the fifth most diverse county in the country.
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How sets Texas apart from other states?
We have pride like no other! We are proud to be Texans with the most beautiful lakes and rivers, hills, canyons, national parks, and yes, we want to keep Austin weird.
Why did you stay in Texas as opposed to moving away?
I did move away to pursue my career, but I always knew I wanted to come home where mom and dad lived. My parents lived in the same house for 40 years. It’s easy to live here. And I love the real estate!
What are your top five places to visit in Texas?
The Hill Country, Fredericksberg, Austin, Dallas and the Palo Duro Canyon.
What are your top 3-5 restaurants and why? Any favorite dishes?
My favorite sushi spot is Uchi Sushi, which is also found in Austin and Dallas. Bori Korean has the best cuts of meat you’ll ever have in your life. Hai Cang Harbor in Asia Town has the best Chinese food. Kizuki Japanese ramen in Katy’s Asia Town is great. And last but not least Musaafer Indian – get the 72 hour cooked Dal Makhani.
Any favorite weekend getaways you’d like to mention or, to put it another way, what is your perfect weekend?
My perfect weekend is boating on Lake Travis, dinner at one of Austin’s many world-class restaurants, and spending a night under the stars. The skies are so wide in Texas!
Any other things about Texas or yourself that you would like people to know about?
That we are a diverse people who are world travelers, we are multicultural and multilingual, and no matter where we travel in this big world, we choose to come home to Texas, where the heart is.
What is your favorite offbeat experience in Texas?
I loved working in Amarillo because we had such eclectic art and life there. I took everyone who visited me to The Cadillac Ranch, right off Route 66, where about 10 Cadillacs are buried head first into the ground in this art display. So fun! I’d also take everyone to a restaurant called The Big Texan Steak Ranch. It’s world famous. If you could eat an entire 72 ounce steak, you’d get it for free!
What are your favorite places/neighborhoods to shop in Texas and why?
It’s hard to beat the shopping Houston and Dallas have to offer. I’m a big fan of boutique stores (not chains) and we are so very lucky to have so many like Saint Lo (Heights), Hemline (City Center) and Intermix which is my favorite place in ROD. We have all of the luxury stores and restaurants and Fig and Olive Restaurant is one of my favorite stops when I hit the Galleria!
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