Audrey’s Women of Influence | Alex Wagner, Host of MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner

Article: WOMEN OF INFLUENCE
ISSUE: FALL 2013

Influence comes in many forms, from high-profile advocates who are shaping ideas on an international stage to local heroes who are breaking barriers and defying expectations in their own communities. In our inaugural series celebrating influential Asian American women, Audrey Magazine highlights eight newsmakers, activists, leaders and trailblazers who encourage us to pursue our dreams, explore the unknown, and stand up for those without a voice.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ASIAN AMERICAN INFLUENTIAL WOMEN!

by Ada Tseng

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 8.18.40 AM

ALEX WAGNER
Host of MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner

If two Fulbright scholars from Burma have a daughter, and this progressively minded woman, who worked at the historic nonprofit American Association of University Women (AAUW) to empower young girls, procreates with a top U.S. political strategist who worked on Ted Kennedy’s and Bill Clinton’s campaigns for president, you might just end up with someone like Alex Wagner, the host of MSNBC’s daily political opinion program NOW with Alex Wagner.

According to Wagner, her interest in journalism started “in utero,” and she worked on her school newspapers from elementary school all the way through college. Politics also runs in her bloodstream, and early memories of her father include him coming home every night from the Ted Kennedy campaign, immediately picking up the phone and asking for the poll numbers of the day. “When I was little, that’s how I learned to answer the phone,” says Wagner. “I’d stand on the chair in the kitchen to pick up the phone, and I’d say ‘Give me the numbers!’”

There was always a healthy amount of debate at the dinner table, a skill that would prove helpful many years later when she launched her own show. In addition to showcasing a young, diverse female voice, NOW with Alex Wagner values Wagner’s unconventional broadcast background: she worked on music and cultural magazines before becoming the cultural correspondent for the Center for American Progress; executive director of the advocacy organization Not on Our Watch, started by the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon; White House correspondent for Politics Daily; and then a contributing analyst to MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

NOW highlights issues close to Wagner’s heart, including income inequality, social mobility, immigration, surveillance and national security, but it’s important to Wagner to make news interesting and accessible to a wider audience — whether it’s having openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn come on to talk about how even conservative New Yorkers are congratulating her on her marriage, or booking untraditional guests like Questlove from The Roots to talk about his reaction to the Zimmerman verdict. “We are all part of the national dialogue,” says Wagner. “It’s just that some voices are heard more than others.”

In 2012, Wagner was given the opportunity to sit down with Burma’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, as part of Amnesty International’s Rights Generation town hall event in Washington, D.C. Wagner’s family on her mother’s side are Burmese exiles who were granted safe passage to the U.S. when her grandmother was hired to head the East Asian books department at the Library of Congress. Decades later, Wagner was able to take her 96-year-old grandmother to meet the iconic pro-democracy leader.

“I don’t want to take away from the fact that it’s a difficult time for Burma,” says Wagner, “but just the fact that Aung San Suu Kyi was released [from 15 years of house arrest], then the fact that she was in the U.S., and then finally that my grandmother could be in the room, alive, to see her gain freedom and have her granddaughter interview her — I never imagined it in my wildest dreams.”

Wagner credits her grandmother, who used to take her to Burmese Democracy Movement protests as a kid, for gifting her a passion for activism and advocacy early. “She was always trying to get arrested,” says Wagner. “Nowadays, more people know about Burma, but this was a time when unspeakable atrocities were being committed against ethnic peoples of Burma, and nobody was paying any attention. My grandmother was out there waving her signs, and she got arrested when she was 84 or 85.” Wagner laughs. “I remember my mother was so indignant, but my grandmother was completely unapologetic.”

It’s this type of political spirit that Wagner wants to inspire in her viewers. “I hope the show is a reminder of the importance of politics, service and democracy, and that it will encourage more people to believe in the process and participate,” she says. “It’d be great if someone thought, ‘I want to make a difference in that issue, so I’m going to run for PTA to get involved in these questions of education, I’m going to march against this cause, or I’m going to get involved in a death penalty case.’ I hope we promote awareness and optimism about the power to change.”

LuckyStrike_AudreyBanners_0713_720x90

WEB EXCLUSIVES

On how her parents met

My mother is a Burmese exile. My grandfather was involved in the Burmese government before the military coup, things became very difficult for my family in the early 1960s, and they needed to get out of the country. Both my grandmother and grandfather had been Fulbright scholars who came to the US in 1950s, and my grandmother had done her master’s in Library Science at Catholic University in Washington DC, so they contacted their circles to see if they could get assistance getting out of Burma. The US Library of Congress actually needed someone to be the head of their East Asian Books Department, so they arranged all the papers and necessary visas for my grandmother and uncle and mother to get safe passage to the US. But it took 3 or 4 years for them to get out of the country, and in an absolutely stunning move, the Library of Congress kept the position open for years so that my grandmother and family would have a place that they’d be able to come in the US. My mom and uncle went to college in US, and my grandfather eventually joined them a few years later. My mom was very politically-minded in college and eventually ended up in DC working for Teamsters labor union, and my dad was person who hired her.

On starting NOW with Alex Wagner in 2011 in the midst of the presidential campaigns

[MSNBC president] Phil Griffin is kind of a maverick. He is just went for it. He said, “Let’s just do this thing at noon.” He was upfront. “You’ll probably suck for first six weeks and the first six months, and then you’ll figure it out.” [laughs] He had a very open and adventurous attitude toward it, and since he is the president of the network, if he has that attitude, it’s contagious. You think, let’s give it a shot!

On some levels, it’s harder to start a show during a presidential campaign, but in other ways, it’s easier, because it’s a pre-determined set of stories. Now, we’re in a different period, so the way we go about picking stories is like developing a different muscle group. In some ways, it’s scary and difficult, but if you’re curious about world, it’s a very fortuitous time to be in news.

On learning to share her political opinions on air

There’s a difference between having your point of view in a discussion with your producers and saying it on the air, and it’s taken some time and experience to figure it out. Sometimes I have said things that perhaps were not the most thought-out, but as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the medium, my producers and I have become more comfortable showcasing my opinion and writing scripts that are reflective of my point of view. But at same time, it’s important for us to allow room for debate and discussion that gives ample time to people who have different points of view. As much you may hear my opinion and understand where I’m coming from, I try not to make it so that I’m litigating my point of view — that my view is the only view. Preserving that is a really important part of the show.

Who influences you?

Nelson Mandela is a huge inspiration. I was just looking through biographies of him a couple months ago, when we thought he might pass way, and his life is so incredibly extraordinary. His perseverance and belief in a hope unseen. That’s the story of Mandela that I think everyone should carry with them at all times.

BUY THE FALL 2013 ISSUE FEATURING OUR WOMEN OF INFLUENCE HERE.

 

Audrey’s Women of Influence | Madhulika Sikka, Executive Editor for NPR News (with Web Exclusives!)

Article: WOMEN OF INFLUENCE
ISSUE: FALL 2013

Influence comes in many forms, from high-profile advocates who are shaping ideas on an international stage to local heroes who are breaking barriers and defying expectations in their own communities. In our inaugural series celebrating influential Asian American women, Audrey Magazine highlights eight newsmakers, activists, leaders and trailblazers who encourage us to pursue our dreams, explore the unknown, and stand up for those without a voice.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ASIAN AMERICAN INFLUENTIAL WOMEN!

by Ada Tseng

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 3.28.21 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF NPR/DOBY PHOTOGRAPHY.

MADHULIKA SIKKA
Executive Editor for NPR News

Every week, 26 million people tune in to National Public Radio programs and NPR Newscasts — more than the total circulation of the top national newspapers — and since January 2013, Madhulika Sikka, an Indian American woman born in England, has been responsible for setting the agenda for the entire news division.

On any given morning, her team could be placing equal importance on the Detroit bankruptcy, President Obama’s economic tour, the golden age of television, new methods to engage their audience in an honest discussion about race, and Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, a.k.a. the royal baby.

“I’m a big believer in satisfying your wonk and your whimsy,” says Sikka, who previously executive produced NPR’s newsmagazine Morning Edition. “It might have something to do with my own personal news ADD, but I just think that we’re curious people, and we’re curious about lots of things. It is no accident that we have a program called All Things Considered.”

Neal-Handel-728x90-Leaderboard-Ad

Sikka is extremely pleased with NPR’s global health and science coverage that other broadcasters don’t cover as thoroughly — exploring tuberculosis outbreaks around the world and incidents of polio coming back — but she also wants to make sure her listeners are prepared for lighter water-cooler conversations around the office.

“We have two extraordinary female correspondents that covered Syria as well as anybody, and I’m proud of that coverage because it’s vital to our mission,” says Sikka. “But I’m also proud of the enormously great coverage we’ve done on cultural issues, like this summer’s series on the different kinds of media that kids are exposed to.”

But being multifaceted in content is not enough: it’s also very important to Sikka that NPR News continually evolves with technology and that there’s a fluid relationship between all platforms, whether it’s radio, digital tech, multimedia or social media. “None of us could have imagined the incredible range of ways we get to tell our stories now,” she says. “It’s really incredible the things we can do, the tools that we accrue, and how technology allows us to be in places that might have been completely out of reach before.”

Next year, Sikka will be publishing her first book, The Breast Cancer Alphabet, a collection of personal essays she wrote when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and went through treatment in 2011. “There’s kind of a mythology around breast cancer that’s very pink and fluffy and positive,” she says. “And that is not the experience the whole time, so I felt like I gave myself permission to not feel that way. It ended up being an alphabet — starting at A for Anxiety, H for Hair, M for Mastectomy, ending at Z — and I hope it will be of use to other people going through it.”

Whether it’s providing “4 Tips To Help A Foodie Get Through Chemo,” penning a Daily Beast article about her late mother’s bravery (“As I wrapped her body in a red sari for her funeral, it dawned on me that her refusal to dress in Western clothing was more pioneering than anything I had ever done”), or slipping behind the scenes to study how best to engage her growing NPR audience (an intellectually curious group that hungers for, above all, interesting stories), Sikka wants us to open up our minds in terms of how we view the world.

“I think our primary goal is to provide information so they can be informed about the decisions and choices they make,” says Sikka. “If [our listeners] learn one thing that they didn’t know before, then we’re doing pretty well. An informed democracy is a more healthy democracy.”

 

WEB EXCLUSIVES:

On why she’s wanted to be a journalist since she was 16

I wanted to be able to shed light on things that were happening around the country and around the globe. I grew up in England watching the BBC and being impressed at their ability to be everywhere, to open a window to places and issues that I might not have otherwise thought about. And I thought that was a wonderful thing to do.

On the difference between working on Morning Edition vs. being Executive Editor of NPR News

When you produce a daily news show, it’s very focused. You’re responsible for filling two hours every day without a break, so producing Morning Edition helped me hone the skill of working fast and being decisive — which is what a deadline does to you.

[Being Executive Editor of] NPR News is different. I’ve been a news person my whole life — that is what runs through my blood system, and that’s hard to eliminate — but now, to have a hand in discussing broader coverage, and even coverage online, is a really exciting new prospect for me. How can we move, how can we react, what’s appropriate for each particular outlet? For example, when the President came out unannounced [to speak about the Zimmerman verdict and reactions in the African American community], I realized it was a pretty extraordinary thing to hear a President speak that way, so we were able to get together very quickly and talk about what we’d do in next hour, the next morning, the morning after that, what we’d do online, etc. And that’s really what you come in for.

LuckyStrike_AudreyBanners_0713_720x90

On her first book, The Breast Cancer Alphabet

I never thought I’d write a book, and I certainly didn’t think this was the book I’d write if I was going to write a book. When I was getting treatment, I was just writing a little bit for myself, because I had things I needed to get out. A lot of people encouraged me to write and then talking to people helped me hone a concept. My agents and publishers are excited about it, because they think it’s a different kind of cancer book.

Who influences you?

I wrote about my mother and her death in an article that was published in the Daily Beast.  It took me a while to come to the realization that she was a very brave woman. She got married when she was not quite 18, left her family behind and moved to England in 1960s.

I think that there’s a different measure for our modern interpretation of a brave woman, but it’s kind of extraordinary to think about that generation of women in the Indian diaspora and the idea that you’d have three kids with a stranger in an arranged marriage and raise them by yourself with no family around in early 1960’s England, which wasn’t the most hospitable place in the world for people of color, all without the benefits that we have today. I can’t go a week without calling my family in England, but Skype wasn’t even around when she was alive.

So are there amazing pioneering women in journalism? Yes, of course, and also in other spheres of life, but when I actually took the time to think about what my mom did, it’s pretty remarkable.

 

BUY THE FALL 2013 ISSUE FEATURING OUR WOMEN OF INFLUENCE HERE.

 

Audrey Magazine’s Women of Influence | Keli Lee, Executive VP of Casting at ABC Entertainment (with Web Exclusives!)

Article: WOMEN OF INFLUENCE
ISSUE: FALL 2013

Influence comes in many forms, from high-profile advocates who are shaping ideas on an international stage to local heroes who are breaking barriers and defying expectations in their own communities. In our inaugural series celebrating influential Asian American women, Audrey Magazine highlights eight newsmakers, activists, leaders and trailblazers who encourage us to pursue our dreams, explore the unknown, and stand up for those without a voice.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ASIAN AMERICAN INFLUENTIAL WOMEN!

by Ada Tseng

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 8.39.45 AM
Photo by Narith Vann Ta.

KELI LEE
Executive VP of Casting at ABC Entertainment

For everyone who’s grateful for the recent rise of minority faces on American television, it’s important to note that behind every Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy, every Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Jorge Garcia and Naveen Andrews in Lost, is a casting director responsible for pairing these actors with the unforgettable roles that will go down in television history.

Keli Lee, an executive who has been casting TV shows at ABC for more than 20 years, was on her way to law school when she landed a fortuitous college internship that introduced her to the entertainment casting industry. In her first week working for Phyllis Huffman, who often did casting for Clint Eastwood’s films, Lee operated the video camera that captured the auditions for the Academy Award-winning 1992 film Unforgiven. From there, she eventually worked her way up the ladder, and as Executive VP of Casting at ABC, Lee now has a corner office with a view and spends her days looking for the next new star.

Born in South Korea, Lee moved to the States as a toddler, and whenever her father stayed in Korea for work, her adventurous, road-trip-loving mother would move her young kids to a new state every six or seven months, depending on her whims. “Up until I was 13, I never started or finished the same school, so I met thousands of people from around the country,” says Lee. “It forced me to socialize and understand people, and ultimately I think that’s how I got to be good at what I do. I’m searching for people and learning about their emotional core.”

For Lee, more important than finding a good-looking specimen or skilled thespian is determining whether the actor is authentic. “I think within the first 10 seconds of meeting someone, you can get a sense of a person,” says Lee. “You know whether you want to continue to watch them.”

Twelve years ago, Lee started the ABC Casting Department’s Talent Showcase with the goal of providing more opportunities for minority actors who either don’t have representation or aren’t even aware of the opportunities available. Since its inception, 14,000 people have auditioned, and 432 actors have participated in 30 showcases, with winners earning mentorships. Beneficiaries of this program include Liza Lapira (Crazy Stupid Love,Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23), Carrie Ann Inaba (Dancing with the Stars), Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, 21), Archie Kao (CSI), Randall Park (Larry Crowne, The Five-Year Engagement), and Janina Gavankar (True Blood, The L Word).

In the upcoming fall season on ABC, TV audiences can look out for Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Wang Bennet in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Liza Lapira in Super Fun Night, Ginger Gonzaga in Mixology, Summer Bishil in Lucky 7, and Albert Tsai in Trophy Wife.

“My goal is to change the face of television,” says Lee. “When I came to the U.S. at age 2, there wasn’t much diversity on television, and now, it’s such a different time.”

GET THE FALL ISSUE FEATURING OUR WOMEN OF INFLUENCE FEATURE NOW!

 

WEB EXCLUSIVES:

On how she ended up in the casting industry

Like most Korean American families, entertainment [as a career] was not an option. It was the stereotype: are you going to be a doctor or a lawyer? So, I had planned to go to law school, I was studying philosophy at NYU, and I was a hostess at Caroline’s Comedy Club, so it was the comedians who introduced me to the world of entertainment. I actually fell into this business. I got an internship in casting and worked my way up, while I went to school full time at NYU. First, I worked at Warner Brothers, and then I went to ABC, where I’ve been for 21 years.

On starting ABC Casting Department’s Talent Showcase to find diverse talent

12 years ago, we were talking about diversity and thinking about how we can provide more opportunities for diverse actors, so I started this showcase program to give exposure and training to actors who either don’t have the representation or aren’t even aware of the opportunities that exist. After my team auditions the actors, we select the top 15-20, and we put them through this training program. Usually you have material, and you find people to play the characters, but this is the reverse: we find the right actors and then try to find the right material for them. Some of the actors who’ve gone through this program that we’re excited about are: Liza Lapira, who was on Don’t Trust The B—- in Apt 23, Jorge Garcia from Lost, Dania Ramirez from Devious Maids, and Jesse Williams on Grey’s Anatomy.

On their first digital talent competition this summer

This is new. We’re the first network to launch a digital talent competition. We had over 14,000 submissions, we’re having a public vote, and the winner will be announced August 30. The winner gets $10,000 and a talent option hold with ABC. Just based on the submissions, I’m excited to be able to find new faces. These are actors from around the country: there’s coming from everywhere from Florida to Alabama, and it’s really great to hear some of their stories.

On the Latino and Asian Outreach Initiatives

This is international. We started this program last year. For the Latino Outreach, we targeted Mexico, Latin America and Spain, and I’m excited to say that one of actors we found in first year of the Latino Outreach Initiative, Adan Canto, was cast as series regular in Mixology. The Asian Outreach Initiative started in India, and we just expanded to the Philippines this year.

Asian faces to look out for in the 2013-14 ABC season

Aubrey Anderson Emmons in Modern Family
Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Wang Bennet in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ginger Gonzaga in Mixology
Liza Lapira in Super Fun Night
Sandra Oh in her last season of Grey’s Anatomy
Yunjin Kim in Mistresses
Summer Bishil in Lucky 7
Albert Tsai in Trophy Wife
Griffin Gluck in Back in the Game
Naveen Andrews in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Tim Jo in The Neighbors

Who influences you?

I have an amazing circle of really strong, smart, successful female friends, and we feed off that positive energy and help each other out. That’s part of what I do in my profession: I’m helping people realize their dreams, and that’s what we do for each other. I often have these conversations with my girlfriends, where I wish I had women as role models or mentors, so now that we’re in our positions, we think, how can we help empower other women and be role models for them? All these female pioneers paved the way for us, so how can we pave the way for other women?

 

BUY THE FALL 2013 ISSUE FEATURING OUR WOMEN OF INFLUENCE HERE.

LuckyStrike_AudreyBanners_0713_720x90

 

Wong Kar-wai Made Tony Leung Fight a Real Martial Arts Champion in The Grandmaster

After a successful run in China where it was released earlier this year, Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster opens in the US today, August 23. The story about Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, most famous in the West for training Bruce Lee, stars Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Cung Le, and Song Hye-kyo.

Director Wong Kar-wai is known for his intense, free-falling style of filming, where the actors often don’t even get scripts beforehand. (At The Grandmaster‘s Academy screening in July, Wong joked that people think he doesn’t have a script, but really, his scripts just aren’t finished until the film is done.) The Grandmaster, which took four years to complete, is his sixth collaboration with Tony Leung.

Leung says this was the first time, in all of his experiences working with Wong, that he actually understood his character prior to shooting — only because it was based on a real person.

“I was very confident on the first day on the set, because I know who I am, so I can respond to different situations,” says Leung. “Before [in previous films], I always had [only] little hints about the character… so I would feel very insecure and frustrated. Also, [this time around,] I always felt very positive and optimistic, and I never had this feeling of calm and peace [on a Wong Kar-wai film] before.” He laughs. “Maybe because all the characters [I played] when I worked with him were very dark and suppressed – very different from this one.”

tonyleungposter

Ip Man not only had the physical skills of martial arts, but he also possessed the wisdom and the desire to leave a legacy that earns him the title of a grandmaster. To prepare for the role, Tony Leung learned kung fu for the first time at age 46, spent four years training, and broke his arm twice in the process.

He calls the opening action sequence in the heavy rain the most difficult scene he’s done in his acting career. It took 40 nights to shoot, and they shot during winter.

“We were shivering behind the camera every night after midnight, and we had to keep ourselves wet all night long,” says Leung. “We couldn’t even change our rubber-soled shoes, because if the camera sees [the dry shoes], then [the shot] would be no good.”

cungle

Cung Le, a mixed martial artist and former International Kickboxing Federation Light Heavyweight World Champion, makes a memorable appearance in that scene, though he says that by the time he showed up to the set, the team had realized they should at least provide him with a wet suit for the bottom half of his body.

“I didn’t know that at the end, I’d have to fight a real champion,” says Leung. “Here’s a guy double my size, a real champion, and I was like, ‘No….’ But Kar-wai said, if you can handle fighting him, you can handle fighting anybody.”

His training paid off, which was confirmed both by Le and co-star Zhang Ziyi, a frequent star of martial arts films herself, on the red carpet of the Los Angeles red carpet premiere at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood.

zhangziyiredcarpet

“I couldn’t tell that it was his first time doing [a kung fu film],” says Zhang, who also trained for eight hours a day and had three different masters teaching her various kung fu skills. “He’s such a great professional actor, and he made everything easier.”

“It was a really demanding and exhausting journey,” says Leung, who is proud of the team behind the film. “Everyone [did] their best.”

 

The Grandmaster is currently playing in Los Angeles and New York, and it will be released nationwide on August 30.

Check Out Zhang Ziyi’s Chanel Red Carpet Fashion at the LA Premiere of The Grandmaster

When asked what made The Grandmaster different than other martial arts films she’s done in the past, Zhang Ziyi responded: “I have no weapons in my hands.”

Check out Zhang Ziyi’s red carpet look:

A Chanel Fall 2013 black dress with a pearl-accented leather belt

Screening Of The Weinstein Company's "The Grandmaster" - Red Carpet

Fuschia lips and side-swept waves

zhangziyiredcarpet

Black and gold Casadei pumps

zzyshoes

Chanel handbag

zzipurse

Diamond earrings

zzyearrings

Rings

zzyrings

Add it all together, and you get a Grandmaster of red carpet style!

zhangfashionlook

 

 

 

 

Fall ’13 Fashion Extra | Chatting with Stylist Sima Kumar about Kristin Kreuk’s Cover Shoot

BUY THE FALL ’13 ISSUE WITH KRISTIN HERE!

Sima Kumar, on why it’s fun to dress Kristin: We’re both yoga junkies, and that’s part of what makes her fun to dress. She has an organic sense of her body, so she can carry off so many different looks and really be a chameleon.

When she was just about to turn 30, we talked about how interesting it’d be to change up the proportions of her style. She’s so fit and thin, so it’s easy to put her in tight clothes, especially since she comes out of the CW and is so pretty. But people have noticed that I’ve started draping her in looser things with different proportions in a way that’s more interesting and brave.

I always look at [fashion] as an opportunity for other people to see [Kristin] in a way that’s different than the way she’s marketed for her shows. You get so stereotyped when you’re on a series, [for example,] as the girl who’s always crying or heartbroken, so it’s just another opportunity for us to shake it up. It’s a playful way to express parts of her that the public doesn’t usually get to see. And she likes the intellectual process I go through styling, in order to try and create a story.

 

Kristin Kreuk by Dexter Quinto3

Sima Kumar: I’ve styled so many musicians, so this look was inspired by rock ‘n roll. There’s the furry vest with long slip dress underneath, which has kind of an off-duty model/rock star girlfriend vibe. I think she pulled it off really well.

 

Kristin Kreuk by Dexter Quinto4

Sima Kumar: This is more of a fun, bohemian look. I know she’d never wear this in real life, but I pulled it for the shoot because it photographs beautifully. We’re mixing prints, and this outfit shows her love of travel and other cultures.

 

Kristin Kreuk by Dexter Quinto2

Sima Kumar: This look is inspired by Devo. [laughs] It’s almost like one of those ’80s videos.

 

Kristin Kreuk by Dexter Quinto1

Sima Kumar: This look was more about the different textures: the jeans are metallic, the sweater is cashmere, and the blue necklace is handmade by an amazing designer, Elke Hechler. They’re made of Austrian hand-blown glass beads that are woven and knit together.. It’s a very basic outfit — a comfy sweater, jeans, and necklace — but it shows her bumpy side, her soft side, and her shiny side. The multiple layers of her personality.

 

Kristin Kreuk by Dexter Quinto5

Sima Kumar: This was a hot outfit; she had ankle boots, leather shorts, a T-shirt, and a chain nail vest that’s designed by Alana K’akia. So this look is about how we’re always protecting ourselves. Our armor is very complex and intricate, but she’s exposing it. And the dog belongs to Dexter [Quinto, the photographer]!

 

For Sima’s blog post about what it takes to put together a shoot, check out New Culture Revolution.

 

 

 

5 Swoon-worthy Tony Leung Commercials To Get You Through Your Work Day

Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up, a reminder that all it takes is a smile (from Tony Leung) to brighten up your day. But it’s not like you can pop in In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express or Happy Together in the middle of work, without ignoring your responsibilities for the next two hours while your eyes are glued to the screen.

But taking a break to watch some YouTube videos can’t hurt. Just one or two. Or five.

Enjoy this blast from the past from a man who makes everything from Chevrolet Malibus to Xerox printers look good.

 

Tony Leung’s latest film The Grandmaster will be released in Los Angeles and New York on August 23rd and nationwide on August 30th.

 

Celebrating Chennai Express: Shah Rukh Khan’s Best Movie Looks (in GIFs)

In honor of Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film Chennai Express, out August 8, here are his best looks:

 

1. The “I Know I’m Here For Your Wedding/Engagement Party, but You Know You Love Me” look.

shahrukhkhankkkgshahrukhkhankkkg2

2.  The “I’ll Save You From the ______” look.

…Fire

shahrukhkhanfire

…Tiger

shahrukhkhantiger

…Overbearing Father

srkddljfather

3. The “Oops, I Got Stuck to You, but It’s Not Creepy because This is How You Realize I’ll Love You More Than Anyone Else in the World” Look

shahrukhkhan2 shahrukhkhan1

shahrukhkhanredcarpetshahrukhkhanredcarpet2

srkstuck

4. The “Don’t Think You Can Escape Me, I’m Always In Your Heart” Look

shahrukhkhanveilshahrukhkhaneating

shahrukhkhanbackground

5. The “I’m Acting Like a Spoiled Brat, So Your World Can Be Even More Blown When Upcoming Lessons in Humility Turns Me Into The Perfect Man For You” look.

srkkkhhshahrukhkhanshutup

 

srkmtg

6. The “I’ll Catch You When You Fall” Look

shahrukhkhanfall1shahrukhkhanfall2

7. The “Now I’m Just Showing Off” Look

srkmhna

srkmhna2

srk1srk2

srk3srk4

8. The “I’m Not Ashamed to Cry” Look

shahrukhkhancrysrkkhnh

srkcry2

srkcry4

srkcry

9. The “I PromiseYou. Everything Will Be OK” Look

shahrukhkhanok

srkddlj

shahrukhkhanchaiyya

And of course…

10: The “I Will Love You Until The End of Time” Look

srklovesrklove2

srklove3

srklove5

The Voice’s Judith Hill dishes about her style

Judith Hill: Those are my own clothes! I actually found that fringe at a store in Sherman Oaks. It’s a fun, poppy, nice introduction. Because it was my first performance on The Voice, I wanted people to know that I’m into fashion, textures and patterns.

 

The Voice - Season 4

Judith Hill: That was for the Nina Simone song “Feeling Good.” To me, that song is one of the most powerful songs in music history. I wanted to feel like I was this woman that represented all women in the world. I could be from Asia or Africa or any part of the world. I wanted to be like Queen Aphrodite in a long dress with the Asian hair coming out, [singing] a down-to-earth, soulful, bluesy cry from the soul.

I loved the long neck coming up. I wanted it to feel very exotic and high fashion at the same time. That’s always my thing: runway styles interpreted in artistic ways. And then when I came out of the audience, spotlight on me, all a capella, I wanted it to feel like a hush came over the room and it’s quiet. But because it was The Voice, everyone was screaming. [laughs]

 

judithhillwaymakefeel-525x350

Judith Hill: This was the Michael Jackson “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Again, I wanted to strut that high fashion, structured look, but also have it be very fun, edgy and unique.  That hairstyle was something I emailed to the wardrobe department.

judithhillwaymakefeelhair

I saw it on the runway, and I really loved it because it was so avant-garde. There were these two circles. And that’ s my thing: I love shapes in fashion. I love weird shapes and weird cuts anywhere. Any time I see a circle or triangle, I’m excited.

 

judithhillthatpower-525x350

Judith Hill: [for her performance of "#thatPOWER"] That was the most epic. That thing was so hard to wear! It was made out of hard material that bendable but very tough. It was all silver feathers in a cape that went all the way down. We found it in a showroom. I told them I wanted this to very tribal. High-fashion tribal. I wanted to be the Queen of the Amazon jungle. I wanted to feel like I was a goddess that was putting on this crazy rock concert in the middle of the ancient ruins.

The hair came from a picture I found online of that exact thing with the cornrows on the side and a huge afro. This is actually more tapered down. The one I sent was even crazier. I figured it was also very tribal and African, but rock star at the same time.

 

judithhill-525x350

Judith Hill: This was my last week [on The Voice], when I sang “Sweet Nothing” with Michelle Chamuel. That was just a simple classy look. It’s my natural hair look, how I usually wear it, plus a simple structured suit.

 

And an extra photo from Judith Hill’s Facebook page.

judithbrother-525x525

Judith Hill: That’s me and my brother. He looks so much more Asian than me in this picture! [laughs] We look the same now. He plays the drums, but he’s an engineer. He’s the one in the family who decided to get a real job.

The Daily SHAG | John Abraham announces plans to launch fitness franchise

This week, Bollywood actor — and today’s Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy) — John Abraham announced that he is collaborating with British boxer/former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye to launch a fitness franchise in India that focuses on boxing.

John Abraham, who began his career as a model, has been celebrated for his body much longer than he has been appreciated for his acting. He may be most known in the West for his role in Deepa Mehta’s critically-acclaimed Water, but fans of Bollywood know him as the lean leading man that’s starred in everything from Dhoom, New York, Desi Boyz, and the recently released Shootout at Wadala.

But it was 2008’s homoerotic comedy Dostana that solidified him as a mainstream sex symbol for both women and men alike.

Abraham was actually not the first choice for the role, and in a 2011 episode of the talk show Koffee with Karan, Abraham was asked whether he minded being second choice. “Not at all,” Abraham replied. “When you see what’s onscreen, that’s what’s remembered. Will you remember who the first choice or the second choice was, or will you remember John Abraham getting out of the water?”

johnabraham1-199x300

johnabraham21-200x300

 

 

Dostana 2 is scheduled for release this summer, so stay tuned, as the sequel will also feature an equally SHAG-able Arjun Rampal.