Personalities | The Next Great Crossover Star: Jin Akanishi

ISSUE: Spring 2012

DEPT: Personalities

STORY: Courtney Hong

Get ready, America. Japanese superstar Jin Akanishi is set to take over with his U.S. debut album, Japonicana.

Singer, songwriter, producer and actor Jin Akanishi is remarkably focused. The 27-year-old groundbreaking artist has been working hard (often with no time to eat) on his highly anticipated U.S. debut album, Japonica (a reference to the great influence that Japan, the U.S. and Spain have had on the singer), which drops March 6. Akanishi describes the album as one that “has no boundaries … a collection of music and sounds that I love,” including club, dance and pop. It’s a project that “really allows me to be creative and true to myself.”

Akanishi, who grew up in Japan, is used to crossing boundaries. He was the lead vocalist for the Japanese boy band KAT-TUN, which had multiple number one hits on the Japanese national charts and became the first group to ever perform 10 consecutive days at one of Japan’s most notable venues. But Akanishi stepped into unknown territory when he left KAT- TUN to pursue a solo career, without a record company’s support, in order to fully utilize his creativity.

So far, Akanishi’s risk-taking has paid off, with the release of his number one iTunes single, “Test Drive” featuring Jason Derulo, and a deal with Warner Music Group. After a number of solo shows in Japan, he toured the U.S. in 2010, performing at sold-out, 2,000-plus seat venues. “It was an amazing experience,” says Akanishi. “It was the first time I did anything like that in the U.S.”

Akanishi returns to the U.S. with a five-city tour starting March 9, and will be making his big screen debut as a wandering samurai alongside Keanu Reeves in the period film, 47 Ronin, opening on February 8, 2013. Though he’s newly married, expect to see a lot more of the superstar. “L.A. has become a home away from home,” he says. Lucky us!

–Courtney Hong

Girl About Town: Having Fun on a Fun-Employed Budget

Being fun-employed is fun up until you realize that every time you go out, you’re dipping into the precious little life savings that you’ve managed to save up (god knows how) and you’re still not employed. Boo.

For those of you who are on a tight budget, I’ve put together a quick list of ways to enjoy the last bit Indian summer without spending too much.

Tan on your driveway.

Sometimes, the beach is too far. And the gas money it takes to get there should be saved towards something important, like new headshots because yours make you look like an overweight preteen. And your friends might be too busy doing important things like working and making money to hang out with you. So why not work on getting some color back into your pasty self? Grab a towel and last year’s suntan oil and lay out on your driveway. Give it a couple of days, and you’ll be a nice buttery brown color. That’ll show your friends to neglect you.

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Personalities | Boy Wonder: BooBoo Stewart

Multi-talent BooBoo Stewart may be just 17, but his résumé is already as long as the rest of his career promises to be.

ISSUE: Winter 2011-12

DEPT: Personalities

STORY: Melody Lee

At just 17, Booboo Stewart, born Nils Allen Stewart, Jr., is not short on talent. Stewart, who is of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Scottish and Native American descent, not only acts but sings, dances, writes and draws comic books, and is a martial arts champion. He started out acting and doing stunt work on television, while balancing a music career, touring with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Disney’s T-Squad. His career got a major boost when he landed the part of Seth Clear- water in Eclipse, the third installment of the popular Twilight series.

For Stewart, who tries to watch at least one movie a day, being involved

in a big Hollywood production like Twilight “has been like a dream come true.” He remembers one time on set, “it was freezing cold, but the fans didn’t care. I was waiting downstairs in the [hotel] lobby and this huge group of girls was screaming outside — it was insane.” It’s something the good-looking teen will probably have to get used to now that he gets more screen time in the final two films in the series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, in theaters now, and Part 2 out November 2012.

Stewart is currently shooting the upcoming independent film White Frog as the lead, Nick Young. “A lot of people, say, were in a bigger movie and they hear about this smaller film and they’d be like, ‘I don’t really want to do it,’” he says. But he saw the role — a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome — as “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” He admits playing the part took a toll on him, but “the set was the happiest set I’ve ever been on. Everyone was just having a good time.”

Stewart stays busy with a number of other projects in the works, including the animated feature Guardians of Luna, and a new album with his sister, Fivel, expected to drop later in 2012. Don’t be surprised if you also see a comic book with his name on it. BooBoo Stewart, apparently, is just getting started.

— Melody Lee


Unforgettable: Daniel Henney, Sandra Oh and more

That’s my best friend, Sandra Oh. You know. The brilliant, award-winning superstar actress on one of ABC’s biggest hits, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

OK, fine, so maybe she’s not my best friend. In fact, that photo was taken literally two minutes after I met her for the first time. But from the look of the photo, we could be best friends. Sigh. I only wish. She was soooo cool. And soooo gorgeous.

So what’s the story behind the photo? Well, some of you may know that Audrey Magazine was started by our publisher, James Ryu, back in 2003. What you may not know is that James started a different magazine, KoreAm Journal, which celebrates the Korean American experience, back in 1990.

Well, every year KoreAm Journal throws a big gala event called “Unforgettable,” and this year it truly was.

Not only did mega Korean and Korean American stars come out last Saturday to show their support for the premier Korean American magazine now in its 20th year of publication, but KoreAm also handed out achievement awards to some Korean Americans who’ve made an impact this year. Included among this year’s honorees were actor Ken Jeong of NBC’s newest hit “Community,” former publisher of “Us Weekly” Janice Min, and actor Daniel Dae Kim of ABC’s mega-hit “Lost.”

Yes, it was a night of the warm and fuzzies for the community. But for me personally, it was extra special because I had the excuse of having to update Audrey’s Blog every waking moment. Which meant, of course, that I had to stalk every celebrity in the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Like Sandra.

But it wasn’t just Sandra I stalked. No, no … what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t stalk every name worth mentioning? No, I also got photos of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”‘s Justin Chon (he was at the premiere earlier that week):

… as well as honoree Daniel Dae Kim, who showed off his musical skills on the London stage this past summer in “The King and I”:

… and of course, an Audrey fan favorite (our readers are absolutely in love with him) and starring in the new action flick “Ninja Assassin,” actor Sung Kang:

Actor C.S. Lee of “Dexter” (one of my favorite shows) was there, sans wife (he just got married):

And of course the ever-lovely Di Quon, whom we’ve featured several times in Audrey. I didn’t recognize her because she had just gotten bangs that day at the salon — doesn’t she look great?

From left: Editor in chief Anne H. Kim, actress Di Quon, and me at KoreAm Journal‘s “Unforgettable” event.

News flash: Di just finished up shooting the Adam Sandler film “Grown Ups.” It was amazing hearing her stories about working with such a talented cast which included Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock, among others.

Last, but certainly not least, I would be remiss to Audrey readers if I attended a function and did not at least try to get Daniel Henney in our pages.

The Korean American model-turned-actor who shot to stardom in Korea starring in Korean dramas, is now a regular on CBS’s “Three Rivers.” Look for him in Audrey Magazine soon!

And congratulations to Andrew Oh and his cast and crew for winning The KoreAm Drama Fo’ Yo Mama video contest. Andrew is a filmmaker on the rise and you can be sure we’ll be following his career very closely. Check out the hilarious short called “Gochu” here:

From left: Filmmaker Andrew Oh; writer and actor Shane Yoon; producer Annie Kim; actor Jun Kim; and actor David Lee Kane.

Audrey’s Did You Know? | History of Asian Bond Girls

French Cambodian-Chinese actress/model Bérénice Lim Marlohe as Sévérine in the latest Bond movie, Skyfall.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise and the tenth Asian Bond Girl (French Cambodian-Chinese actress Bérénice Lim Marlohe) who’s featured in Skyfall, we’re going to take a step back into history and give you an overview of every single Asian actress who has shared screentime with Ian Fleming’s iconic secret agent (and arguably the world’s most famous) spanning the last 50 years. Some of these names may be recognizable to you – while others may be of surprise. Click and read on!

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Battle Hymn of the Yoga Mother | Patty Chang Anker

Patty Chang Anker and her immigrant family knew one path to success — the academic one. So when she discovered her adopted daughter had special needs, she learned to step back, let go and just breathe.

ISSUE: Summer 2011

DEPT: My Story

STORY: Patty Chang Anker

“I’m not going to college,” G de- clares. She is 9 years old.
“What?” My voice sounds calm, but I’ve stopped breathing. “Why?”
“I’m not going, and I don’t want to talk about it.” She walks away.
“Oh, yes you are!” I want to shout after her. But I don’t. Instead, I let the flood of questions, worries and heartache come.

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Audrey Magazine Spring ’11 Cover | Olivia “OMFG” Munn

The Spring ’11 cover has arrived! Funny gal Olivia Munn is rocking the Shirley Temple curls. Inside, Munn dishes on Chinese mothers (she has one!), dating celebs and her loyal fans.

Not tootin’ our own horn or anything but the Spring issue is pretty solid.  And it’s about everyone’s favorite subject: television!

We have an in-depth report on teen television diversity and its influence on our teens, including a round table with actresses Jolene Purdy, Nikki Soohoo and Ashley Argota and profiles of TV stars Randall Park, Anisha Nagaarajan, broadway baby T.V. Carpio and the indie darling The Go! Team (amongst others).

Also in the issue:

  • Columnists Anastasia Kim and Paul Nakayama discuss cock-blocking and wingmans.
  • The juicy color orange is all over the runway. Get it from the catwalk to your closet!
  • Let’s talk eyebrows.

All this and plenty more! To purchase a copy of the Spring ’11 issue (or get yourself a whole year’s subscription while you’re at it), check out our shop here. It will be out in news stands and your mailbox early March!

Itching to read some of our old issues? Now you can at our Archives page.

What are your thoughts on the new cover?

The “Asian Women” of The Social Network

If you thought the new Facebook movie, The Social Network just consisted of a bunch of dorky white guys talking about the internet, think again!

The movie also has plenty of eye candy, namely pretty (Eur)asian girls, infiltrating the scenes. The blogosphere is already all a flutter over whether these ladies are acceptable or not, objectified or not, stereotyped or not.

Whether or not the females in the film are just useless sex objects conveying a misrepresented stereotype, we know the actresses portraying the parts are anything but useless.  Let’s get to know them a little better.

Brenda Song

22-year old Brenda Song is Christy Lee, a girlfriend of one of the main characters, Eduardo Saverin, in the flick.  Within minutes of meeting Christy, she is off in a bathroom stall, giving Eduardo some…special favors in a restroom stall – something that completely contradicts the Disney Channels princess image the actress is most known for, playing London Tipton on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Song, who is Hmong, has been in the limelight since she was 5 and has more films in the works, including the indie Little Sister and The Suite Life Movie.

Malese Jow

Another tween darling, Jow’s age makes us blush a little as she played Song’s friend, Alice who gives main character Marc Zuckerburg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) the same…special favors that Christy Lee was giving Eduardo. The girl is only 19! The Chinese-Native American Jow has taken on plenty of TV roles, her breakout one being Emma Roberts’ best friend in Unfabulous.  She was also part of The Vampire Diaries’ first season. We’re not sure where Jow will pop up next but with that striking face, we won’t be surprised if it’s sometime soon.

Courtney Arndt

Model Courtney Arndt is none other than our Fall cover girl!  Still a newcomer to the industry, Arndt (who also goes by Courtney Jane) plays the “Victoria’s Secret Model” on Napster founder Sean Parker’s (played by Justin Timberlake) arms. The 21-year old Korean-German-Irish-Native American was discovered in Korea and has been modeling in Hawaii but we really just need more of her hotness over here!

Buffing It Out At the Wi Spa

“I’m a dirty, dirty girl.”

I thought this to myself as I watched flecks of my own skin roll of my arms and legs.

I’m at Wi Spa, getting the ultimate Korean Spa treatment. Have you heard of it? Are you ready to hear about it?

‘Cause it can sound like a porno film. Or a cooking show… (weird, but you’ll get it later).

At this spa experience, pretty much all your shenanigans are done in the buff. You go to the jacuzzi pools in the buff, you get a scrub in the buff, you get massaged in the buff.

I headed there on a rainy weekday, wide-eyed for what I will encounter for the afternoon. Continue reading

Personalities | The Ethnically Ambiguous Hero: Jay Hayden

For Battleground dramedy leading man, Jay Hayden, how he looks is only half the battle.

ISSUE: Spring 2012

DEPT: Personalities

STORY: Courtney Hong

“Is it weird that I don’t feel like I have any culture at all?” says actor Jay Hayden. “Korean people don’t think that I am Korean. White people don’t think that I am white. I’m other…the ethnically ambiguous hero.”

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