Benefits: SPF 20, cream-to-powder formulation with built-in Air-Buff brush. Primes, mattifies and moisturizes with buildable coverage. Vegan-friendly, paraben-free, cruelty-free.
Review: We tried the Linen Glow shade, which is a medium beige with golden undertones. First off, the design of the packaging is pretty genius. The cap comes with its own pop-off “Teddy Bear” hair brush, a dense flat top brush that buffs on the BB cream perfectly. It’s a cream in the tub, which turns into a powder on the face, leaving a very matte, very Photoshopped finish. Just swirl with the brush onto your face, pressing or stippling on areas that may need more coverage. This really does give a flawless, full coverage finish, without feeling heavy. I didn’t need any makeup, or any powder for that matter, after I was done. Just apply and go. For my light to medium Asian skin tone, the Linen Glow was perfect. If you’re very pale, go with Cream Glow. For deeper skin tones, Nude Glow would work.
Glamorous stars, stunning (sometimes shocking) fashion, blinding lights and a seemingly mile-long red carpet.
The Oscars? Cannes? Nope, it’s Opening Night at the Busan International Film Festival. And this time, the stars garnering the screams from fans are some of the most beautiful people from all around Asia.
Since its inception in 1996, the Busan International Film Festival (formerly, Pusan) has grown into arguably the biggest, most important film festival in all of Asia. Located in the seaside city of Busan, about 200 miles south of South Korea’s capital of Seoul, the film festival (also known as BIFF) draws thousands of film execs, media and international stars from around the world.
Aaron Kwok in a Longines ad.
This year, the 18th annual BIFF, sponsored by prestige cosmetics line Artistry, kicks off this Thursday, October 3, with a red carpet screening of Vara: A Blessing, the third feature film by director and Bhutan priest Khyentse Norbu. Taiwanese mega-star Aaron Kwok is set to moderate the opening ceremony, and throughout the 10-day festival, we can expect to see luminaries like Ken Watanabe, who’ll be starring in Japan’s version of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven; and Vietnamese American actor Dustin Nguyen, whose film Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, which he directed, with have its international premiere.
Other highly anticipated films screening at BIFF include Joon-ho Bong‘s Snowpiercer, starring Kang-ho Song, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris; the controversial film Moebius by Ki-duk Kim; Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate about Julian Assange; and The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
I grew up in an age where the women in power believed in a 1970s sort of feminism: be hard-core, don’t let a man control you, fight back at every turn. Under their tutelage, I believed that was the only way to be a feminist. Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to accept that feminism is not so … difficult. I embrace being an equal professionally, regardless of gender, while at the same time, embracing the joys of not having to be a man. In fact, sometimes being a girl just feels damn good.
Looking to get your girl power on? Be inspired with these recommendations on screen and stage that will appeal to the many sides of your complex female self.
Leave it to East West Players, the nation’s leading Asian American theater troupe, to take on an all-Asian cast production of the classic play (turned movie) “Steel Magnolias.” I’d never seen the play before, but I loved the movie … from what I could remember: pretty much Julia Roberts having a diabetic seizure as Sally Fields did what she does best (freak out) — that was the extent of it.
But what I saw at opening night this past Wednesday was so much more — the electric dynamic of six strong women, the Asian faces in a very Southern setting, the hilarious exchanges (Hiwa Bourne excelled as beauty parlor owner Truvy, played by Dolly Parton in the film, and Lovelle Liquigan’s Annelle was brilliant in all her awkward glory), and most of all, the intimacy of watching something on stage. Not only was it a reminder that truly good theater could never be replaced by film, it reaffirmed to me that a compelling story always works, regardless of race or ethnicity.
I am not ashamed to say that I am a huge Jane Austen fan. Sure, some may wonder how a 19th century, practically “chick lit” British author appeals to a 21st century Asian American woman, but I tell you, when I first read Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t believe how much the social mores and cultural norms of 1810s England sounded just like those of my religious Korean immigrant upbringing. (Read Persuasion and I dare any 30- to 40-something single Asian American woman not to feel the plight of poor Anne Elliot.) Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since.
So naturally, when I heard about Austenland, which premiered at Sundance, I had to go see what it was all about. Keri Russell (of Felicity fame) stars as the awkward Jane Hayes, a 30-something woman obsessed with the Colin Firth version of Mr. Darcy (from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice). Her entire apartment is decorated — creepily — in Regency Era teapots and porcelain dolls, and the lord of the manor is a life-size cardboard cut-out of Firth. When she gets the chance of a lifetime to spend her vacation at Austenland, an English-themed resort where you get to live out your Jane Austen fantasy, complete with cute actors in costume, hilarity, as they say, ensues.
Now, I’m not gonna deny that the film will appeal mostly to those familiar with Austen’s work. But the hilarious Jennifer Coolidge (perhaps best known for being the MILF in American Pie), playing the rich, ignorant American who goes to the resort solely because she thinks she’ll look great in those “wench dresses,” will make up for any inside jokes you may miss.
Oh, and did I mention that the soundtrack was done by Hong Kong-born Chinese hapa Emmy the Great?
Emmy the Great.
Austenland is in select theaters now.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
It’s almost here … the Joss Whedon-helmed television series following Agent Phil Coulson and his agents of the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, aka S.H.I.E.L.D. As we told you in our Fall 2013 issue interview with actress Ming-Na Wen, The Joy Luck Club star kicks ass as Melinda May, an expert pilot and martial artist. But she’s not the only Asian American doing us proud on the ABC series. Chinese American hapa Chloe Bennett stars as Skye, a mysterious computer hacker genius, while Thai American Maurissa Tancharoen is a producer on the show. All I can say is based on the reviews, this is one show you’re not going to want to miss.
Chloe Bennet as Skye, right, in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC Tuesday Sept. 24. Get psyched with cool video extras, including one especially devoted to how Agent Coulson recruited Melinda May, here.
When Audrey first wrote about BB creams in 2008, it was the latest thing in Korea. The oddly named “blemish balm” originated in Germany as a post-treatment cream for laser surgery patients and was later co-opted by Korean women to create the ssaeng-uhl (bare-faced look) coveted by the nation’s most beautiful actresses. (Even Korean men have taken to wearing BB cream.) Considered a staple in every Korean woman’s beauty regimen, BB cream is now sweeping the U.S., but thankfully for us, the newest iterations have a greater range of shades, coverage and textures.
When Harvard Business School grad Grace Choi first tried BB cream, she liked the finish but had trouble finding a formula that matched her skin tone, especially for different seasons. “I’m more yellow during the winter and more olive/brown during the summer,” says the 29-year-old Korean American. “Asian BB brands offer a very limited number of shades which do not suit the vast majority of diverse American women,” she adds. But she also found that many BB creams currently in the U.S. market didn’t give the same coverage and finish that the Asian BB creams were famous for. So Choi put her medical science background to use and formulated her own brand of BB cream. With 10 different shades, seven work for Asian skin: the Yellow line finishes more golden, while the Olive line has a more brown/tan undertone.
BB CREAM TIPS:
* Apply like you would a sunscreen. Put a dime size dollop on your fingers and spread evenly on face. The cream will sink in and adjust to your skintone.
* Apply with fingers, says Choi. “It’s much easier to control and spread than with a brush or sponge.”
* The right shade is important with BB cream. Use one that’s too light and it can look masky. Can’t find the exact shade or right texture in a BB cream? Because BB creams provide buildable coverage, you can mix and match for the perfect formulation. I like mixing a lighter textured cream in a more golden shade with a thicker one in a paler shade, like Estée Lauder with 3Lab, before blending on my face.
Here, we review the best BB creams out there (even one for men!).
Benefits: SPF 35, rose apple leaf extract and thiotaurine to protect skin from harmful environmental aggressors, oil-free, Skin Cancer Foundation recommended.
Review: The texture is great — super silky but still rich. The finish is smooth and perfectly glowy, not shiny — some powder on the T-zone and we’re good to go. The Medium is a great color for Asian skin tones, if a little bit dark for a light-medium skin tone. It’s actually quite nice for summer to impart some color. The only downside is the small size (we want more!), but it’s still an editor favorite.
Benefits: SPF 40 broad spectrum coverage, signature bio-engineered growth hormone and apple stem cell technology to regenerate cells and delay aging, a proprietary blend featuring a biomimetic peptide to inhibit melanin synthesis, pea protein to activate skin stem cells, ascorbyl glucoside stimulates collagen synthesis and inhibits melanin synthesis, Vitamin E, an herbal extract to soothe skin.
Review: This has a pretty rich consistency and goes on a bit thick, but it melts into skin fairly quickly and provides pretty good coverage. The 02 is on the light side, but the color does adjust well to light-medium Asian skin tones. The finish is very nice, not too shiny at all — you can practically apply and go. The accompanying mini roller is a fun little accessory.
Benefits: SPF 30, Vitamin E, goji berry extract, peptides, natural extracts to help promote cell health, paraben free, cruelty free, made in USA.
Review: Created by a former M.A.C and Bare Escentuals makeup artist, this BB cream is clearly made with a more diverse clientele in mind. The Light shade is a bit golden and perfect for light to medium Asian skin tones. The thick consistency goes on nicely and melts into skin fast. The only downside is the scent — our sample smelled a bit musty.
Read more BB cream reviews at Audrey’s ultimate BB cream guide here.
Benefits: SPF 15, Aqua Sponge Complex stimulates hyaloronic acid and collagen production for moisture retention, ginger promotes microcirculation for a radiant complexion, antioxidant-rich green tea and bamboo sap, oil-free, paraben-free, 8-hour time release.
Review: This has a much lighter feel and texture than your average BB cream, and the color is on the golden-pink side. It feels very moisturizing and it sinks in fast like a moisturizer.
Benefits: A mineral sunscreen with SPF 20 UVA/UVB protection, antioxidant olive oil, Vitamin E, germanium to revitalize skin and fight visible signs of aging, oak kernel and cork oak extracts that “lift” the skin.
Review: This BB cream has a moderately creamy texture that nonetheless sinks in fast. The 01 Natural Ochre seemed to disappear on the skin, without much coverage or evening of skin tone, probably because it is on the light side, though it is more yellow/beige-based than olive or pink. The 02 Natural Ochre was better, though still too light for darker skin tones. The finish tends to be shiny, and if you’re looking for a bit more than sheer coverage, but less than medium coverage, this may be for you.
Benefits: SPF 35, super anti-oxidant complex, oil-free
Review: A nice, creamy consistency that goes on relatively sheer, given the texture. The Medium is tad dark for light-medium Asian skin tones, but not too much so — it’s sort of like a bronzer, but more sheer and perfect for summer. I find mixing this shade with a lighter tone BB cream gives me a nice, believable golden (not tan) glow. The cream goes on well and sinks in well. The finish is not too shiny; it’s practically wear-and-go — not too much powder on T-zone needed.
Audrey Magazine is an award-winning national publication that covers the Asian experience from the perspective of Asian American women. Audrey covers the latest talent and trends in entertainment, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.