ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Jimmy Lee
A warning: Cockblocking can be hazardous to your health. Especially if your college fraternity brother is now a writer on the hit TV show you’re starring in, and he thinks you got in his way when it came to getting the ladies. It’s one possible reason why Sendhil Ramamurthy’s chiseled features were on the opposite end of a fist so often on Heroes.
“I’ve never seen anybody get punched in the face as much as Suresh did. I mean, he got manhandled,” said Ramamurthy, referring to his character on the now-defunct NBC series, last July at Comic-Con. “I think he enjoyed just pummeling me, and bloodying me up.
“I was like, dude, I was not your problem,” the 37-year-old remembered telling his frat friend. “As flattering that you think I was the problem, it wasn’t that.”
Now on the hit USA Network series Covert Affairs,” Ramamurthy gets to do some of the pummeling. “Oh, it’s coming, don’t you worry about it. I just did a scene last week where I ….” He paused before continuing. “Yeah, it’s coming.”
Keeping secrets is just a part of what the son of Indian American immigrants does as CIA operative Jai Wilcox, in addition to wooing women and killing bad guys. And there’s one thing his new character has in common with Suresh: an air of mystery. What Jai’s motivations are and who his allegiances are with (maybe the show’s star, Piper Perabo?) have been kept under wraps. But expect some revelations during the second season’s second half, which began in November.
“You can expect Jai to do whatever he needs to do to get what he wants. I look at him as quite Machiavellian,” said Ramamurthy.
Though Ramamurthy is probably done stealing away any more women — he’s now married with a daughter — it sounds like Jai is not done wooing hearts.
— Jimmy Lee
A week off your relationship? A celebrity one-night stand? A mutually agreed upon hall pass may sound like an easy A, but columnist Paul Nakayama reminds us why that’s just cheating.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: The Awful Truth
STORY: Paul Nakayama
Recently, I chatted with my editor at Audrey’s Fashion Night Out. It was nothing too cerebral, since I can’t speak intelligently about politics, the economy, science, literature or really anything besides video games or comic books. (How is a geek like me the relationship columnist, you ask? A steady delivery of cupcakes to a certain office in Gardena helps.) Nonchalantly, she turned to me and asked, “What do you think about hall passes?”
“Do they still use them in school?” I asked.
“No, you know, where you get a week off from marriage and live the single life,” she said.
My jaw dropped. “Your husband is right there!” I gasped. I mean, flattered, but I still gasped.
“What?! No, not with me! I mean as your next topic for the column!” She exclaimed, wide-eyed and likely offended.
I nodded understandingly. Oh. Right. Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking, too. I took the awkward silence as an agreement on our new topic. And so here I am, the single guy talking about the troubles that married couples face.
In the 2011 movie, Hall Pass, by the Farrelly brothers, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are unhappy with their married lives, so their frustrated wives give them a guilt-free week to party like single men. Essentially, they’re authorized to bang anyone if they can pull it off. I don’t know about you, but the premise alone sounds like entrapment. They might as well answer their wives when asked if they look fat. But that’s how the movie goes and, like any predictable comedy, they learn the error of their ways and learn to appreciate their marriages. Of course, in the real world, a story like that can only end in UFC- style beatdowns, dismemberment and the splitting of assets.
But for the sake of adding a few hundred words to the column, let’s explore why a Hall Pass might come to be. I know a lot of married couples and, while they shall remain nameless, the number one complaint I get from the husbands is that sex is all but gone. They say they masturbate more now than when they were single, which means you should never shake hands with a married man. Either you’re too tired, she’s too tired, the kids won’t leave you alone or whatever the reason, sex is rarely as passionate or spontaneous or even available as it used to be. For some men, that’s like being the benchwarmer on a Super Bowl-winning team … they’ll eventually ask themselves, “Why am I wearing this ring?”
That’s not to say that the lack of sex is the biggest issue leading to a Hall Pass-destined marriage – it’s just the most common complaint I’ve heard. I’ve heard it so much that I’m starting to doubt the reasons why married men want man-caves. I’d assumed it was used as a mecca for video games and beer, but the truth might be closer to it being a den of rampant, desperate masturbation.
Part of the draw of the Hall Pass is the fantasy of it all (while the other part is having sex with other people). The grass is greener and all that. Isn’t that why every couple eventually has a what-if talk about their celebrity hall passes? You know, where you each choose five celebrities that you’re allowed to sleep with if the opportunity ever presents itself. But, of course, it’s never supposed to happen. If anything, the celebrity hall pass is a device by which a couple can gauge how much they love each other. For example, let’s just say that Anne Hathaway was all like, “Take me, Paul. I know I’m on your celebrity hall pass list because I read Audrey.” I would have to politely decline and say, “I’m far too happy with my girlfriend to recreate my favorite scenes from Love and Other Drugs with you, Anne.” Because I choose my partner and because I value living.
And vice versa, how would I feel if my girlfriend met Ryan Gosling at a party and he saved a puppy from a burning tent and then asked her, “I need to work on my incredible abs that even men can’t resist. You in?” I mean, at first, yeah, I’d be flattered that Ryan Gosling had the same taste in women as me, but then, I’d be like, “Wait a second ….”
The celebrity hall pass is supposed to be a hypothetical that never comes to be. It’s a game. Otherwise, Hollywood celebs would have celebrity hall passes, too, right? Actually, I just checked TMZ, and I suppose it kind of seems like they do. They call it “dating.” All right, new rule. I’m only talking about us regular folks.
Here’s the thing, though. I know married couples secretly do want a Hall Pass, of some kind anyway. How do I know this? Easy. I’ve been to a little place known as Las Vegas, the Hall Pass Capital of the World. At bachelor and bachelorette parties, do you know the craziest, rowdiest bunch? It ain’t the bride or the groom or the strippers, I’ll tell you that much. It’s the married folks. This is their vacation from marriage. Even if their lives are perfect with a giant home, perfect job, darling little kids, there’s something that becomes pent up inside of every good husband, wife, father and mother. Behind every puking bachelor/ette is a married person that wanted to get their drink on and party like they were single again. I’ve seen it. It’s terrifying.
Now, I’ve given you the reasons why I think Hall Passes could happen, but I should be fair and also give my reasons why, even as a single bachelor trying to live the life, they’re a bad idea. It’s not often that I allow myself to be cheesy in print, but I’m skeptical of Hall Passes because marriage is about building a life together with the things that matter most, and that’s got to be more important than one week of sex with Anne Hathaway. (Maybe … still thinking … no, marriage is more important.) Marriage is one of those promises that take so long to find and so much work to make that breaking it just doesn’t make sense to me. You break the rules once, and you’ll probably break them again. It’s kind of like quitting cigarettes — every now and then you’ll want a stick when drinking. And I want marriage, should I ever find myself in one, to transcend that sort of thing. Unlike comedies, I’m certain that most people can’t recover from a Hall Pass.
I think most married people forget how much it sucks to be single. They’ll say it every now and then, but it’s not a true recollection of the loneliness and desperation. Masturbating a lot as a married man? Please. That’s because you’re keeping count. Being single means always trying to find someone to share things with, and yes, those things include your penis or vagina. Ironically, despite the complaints about the lack of sex in marriages, the strikingly lonesome thing about being single is not the quest for sex; it’s the hunt for companionship. And that hunt can take years, so why ruin it for a week of fun?
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Anna Park
Mt. Tam hiking experience.
Ever since we got married, I haven’t opened a single birthday gift from my husband.
No, he’s not a cad; he just treats me to my preferred way of celebrating another year gone by — jetting off to some remote part of the world for a two-week holiday. For me, no gift is better than traveling and experiencing something new and amazing.
Zozi just made my husband’s job easier. The travel company, touted as a “local experience and adventure marketplace,” offers bite-sized adventures ranging from abalone diving to cycling wine tasting tours, from manning a plane to a wilderness training course. And don’t think it’s one of those über pricey, chi-chi adventures; packages start
around $20. Spring for a $60 sumo-suit wrestling session, or splurge on a $2,800 great white shark diving trip.
A recent Cornell University study found that “experiential purchases,” versus consumer goods, may make people happier because positive experiences help shape our personalities. Sure, a Chanel 2.55 may be an ego boost, but think what it’d do for your self-esteem to conquer Everest. Details Zozi.com.
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
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
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: Plugged In
STORY: Melody Lee
A mother-daughter duo, Fabienne and Ellie Wen, came together to write and produce the much buzzed about film, White Frog. The story centers around a teen with mild Asperger’s syndrome, played by BooBoo Stewart, living in the shadow of his “perfect” brother (Harry Shum, Jr.) who tragically dies in an accident. Directed by Quentin Lee, the film features an all-star Asian American cast, including Kelly Hu, B.D. Wong, Manish Dayal and Joan Chen. We got a chance to speak with the Wens about their project, due out in 2012.
Audrey Magazine: What got you started on this film?
Ellie Wen: There’s been a lot of progress in terms of Asian American roles in the media, but I wanted to do my part and create media roles that aren’t racially specific. Even though White Frog is centered on an AA family, it has nothing specific in it that’s stereotypical AA.
AM: Since it’s your first time collaborating, how has it been working together?
EW: I feel very fortunate working with my mom. She treats me as an equal and that makes the process easier.
Fabienne Wen: I honestly have to say I learned more from Ellie than she did from me. I grew with her while writing this.
AM: What was your inspiration behind the story?
FW: Some close friends of mine have died at a very young age, while still struggling with issues of identity and alienation. So I wanted to write about self-acceptance and connection, about finding our own catcher in the rye.
EW: I was involved with this writing program that worked with Hispanic immigrants. There was a lot of heavy stuff that they wrote. There was an 8-year-old who had to serve her landlord because her parents didn’t have enough money. The kids dealt with a lot of hardships, but they emerge from it.
AM: What message do you hope to send through this film?
EW: Tolerance. Encouraging people to be more accepting of each other and to embrace diversity.
FW: Like Margaret Cho said, “I am the one that I want.” The number one thing is loving yourself.
— Melody Lee
Sarah Yeung had it all — education, career … and an obsessive need to control her weight. After more than a dozen years of battling an eating disorder, she shares how she went from denial to recovery.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: My Story
STORY: Sarah Yeung
296.3 Major Depressive Disorder (Recurrent). 300.3 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 300.4 Dysthymic Disorder. 307.1 Anorexia Nervosa. 300.02 Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 307.5 Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. — Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV).
Age 27. I spent much of my first-ever therapy sessions “instructing” the therapist what she may or may not write on my chart, “proving” that I may have “some issues” but definitely not clinically diagnosed diseases. “Do not put me down as anorexic or depressed. I am not. I know the criteria in DSM IV and I do not meet them. I’m a little confused, a little sad, and I don’t want to be fat — but that’s normal. I am not crazy. What are you putting on my chart? I don’t want anything on my record!” My primary concern was not getting better — of course, if you are not sick in the first place, you don’t have anything to get better from.
My eating disorder symptoms started when I was 14, a year after my family moved from Hong Kong to the U.S. As an eager-to-please child living with high expectations, I took perfectionism to the extreme. I felt like I had to be good — preferably the best — at whatever I did. The message I internalized was, “Be the best! Must not fail!”
I remember always having a huge fear of going crazy and of being fat. Growing up, I only knew one person with a mental illness. One of my aunts had some sort of schizoid disease. The family didn’t talk about it. By the time I was born, my aunt had been medicated for years and I never experienced her hallucinations and delusions firsthand. But I knew “something was wrong” with her. She was “weird” and was obese. She was many other things, but those two stood out for me.
I don’t know how much my fears were related to my aunt; the media and our culture certainly didn’t help. I irrationally believed that if I went crazy, I’d be fat, too, so if I didn’t get fat, then I can’t be crazy. Either way, my conclusion was that I definitely did not want to be crazy or fat. My aunt was yelled at, shamed, ignored, made fun of and pitied, all of which, even as a young child, I knew I didn’t want to experience. I don’t know when, but I think I subconsciously determined early on that I would never allow myself to be crazy or fat. That just wouldn’t happen — not to me — as if those were things I could actually control.
It was a very difficult transition to American middle school. I felt lost, lonely and out of control. In addition to the usual teenage turmoil, everything I knew became ambiguous as my two cultures clashed. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, how I felt, and ultimately who I was. I was having an identity crisis. I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit in. I spoke with an accent. I looked different. The wish to be happier, more popular, more in-control morphed into a relentless focus to be better and thinner. My belief that I could handle it myself, while trying to cope with confusing and painful emotions, ignited a destructive war within me.
The frequency and severity of my eating disorder behaviors fluctuated throughout the next 14 years. It would subside for month or years, and then peak again, particularly during transitions. For a long time, I got by under the radar. Undiagnosed. Untreated. Unlabeled. The worse the eating disorder got, the more strongly I tried to evade detection and treatment — not a surprise since denial is a prominent feature of eating disorders, making the disease even more lethal.
It is scary how easy it is for people, even those close to you, not to realize something is very wrong when you “look normal” and “are doing well.” After all, how bad can things be for a 27-year-old with two Ivy League degrees, a nice condo, a fancy car, a promising career, and a seemingly good relationship? Aren’t people with serious mental illnesses unemployed and living on the street? She has it all — she is just stressed. While some people were dying to be me, I was dying — literally. And, dangerously, I didn’t mind.
Some say you need to hit rock bottom before you are forced to change — I supposed that is true in my case. The bot- tom led to a four-and-a-half month inpatient treatment at the Renfrew Center, where my journey of recovery began.
Recovery is such a strange process; it’s not intuitive, especially when I was fighting against myself. The “getting better” part just couldn’t happen when I refused to accept that there was something to get better from. At first, I fought the diagnoses and was ambivalent about recovery. In my mind, those labels described “really crazy people” who obviously were not me. I wanted to be far, far away from the stigma and judgment I associated with having a mental illness. I wasn’t sick. Besides, nobody around me had mental diseases. Nobody talked about it and everyone seems normal. What would people think? Will I still get promoted at work? Who is ever going to date me? Will my parents think I’m a failure? I was terrified that if labels were written next to my name, the diseases would become me.
Letting go and being willing to be diagnosed and treated freed me from the fear of being labeled. Learning to accept who I genuinely was, the good and bad, was critical in letting me just be. I never found out what exactly was written on my charts. Gradually, the details didn’t matter. I learned to treat them as just words and categories — like numbers on a scale. They do not define me.
With nearly five years in recovery, I now have a life I enjoy. And I enjoy living, despite and along with the long list of mental diseases I had or have. It’s not easy. I sometimes wish I didn’t have to deal with them or that there would be a “quick fix.” But I have learned to accept and continue to get the treatment I need to maintain my health. I have learned to love my body, accept and integrate the diverse pieces of my life, and continue to discover and value my worth.
I have learned that I am not alone and there is a supportive community available to help. Now, it is important for me to help raise awareness about and increase access to treatment for eating disorders and mental illness. I want to help fight the secrecy, shame and stigma that perpetuate myths and deter people, including me, from getting help. I have learned that recovery and living well with mental illness is possible. And I have learned that, even when it may not seem like it, there is always hope
BLOG SPOTLIGHT: CAKIES
Get to know blogger Rubyellen of Cakies.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: Cultural Collage
STORY: Janice Jann
Even my [husband] Ben is creative and surprised us with a PappyCakes breakfast, where we all made silly pancakes together.
About the Blog
A place where I record how I enjoy God through loving my family, vintage pretties, making things, and the dailies of our life.
I love getting emails from readers and have had a few from Australia, Europe, different parts of the UK, and even South America sent me a hello! It is amazing how the blog world really brings people together from all over the place.
Digital Photo Album
What started just as a craft blog has now also become a record of our family adventures and growth. I have not made any official photo albums yet, but I see my blog as just that.
Best Part of Blogging
The friends I made through blogging. Some of my closest friends are now bloggers!
Visit her at mycakies.blogspot.com.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: Mind & Body
STORY: Shirley Lau
Eyes are something we don’t think much about, but according to optometrist Arti Shah, OD, FAAO, we should be getting our eyes checked once a year. Since January is National Eye Care Month, I finally got my eyes checked out by Dr. Shah and she outfitted me with 1-Day Acuvue Moist, a vast improvement from my old-school one-a-day lenses. She also recommended some simple steps to keep my eyes healthy:
Our super-edited gift guide.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Anna M. Park
For the Trendsetter
1. You’re not just purchasing a scarf; you’re supporting empowerment. Based in India, Saivana sponsors a female child of every full-time employee in their primary school education, last year sponsoring 175 children.
2. Can’t afford Peter Som? Get his classic fall 2011 print in a clutch with his limited edition travel kit for Clark’s Botanicals.
3. Just like their shoes, Toms Eyewear continues the One for One model, with each purchase helping a person in need regain sight through the Seva Foundation (initially focusing on Nepal, Tibet and Cambodia).
For the Hostess
1. Bring the outdoors in with a home fragrance reminiscent of an evergreen forest. Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate Grove Home Fragrance Reed Diffuser.
2. Lucite in home décor is hot right now. Personalize this lucite tray with your favorite artwork or a memorable photo. Erin Condren lucite tray.
Why gift another trinket or gadget, when you can gift life. Global relief organization World Vision offers you the opportunity to bring clean water to a village, protect children from malaria with mosquito nets, or stock a school with books and equipment, for as little as $18. My favorite is the microloan to a young mother so she can start a business that will feed, clothe and educate her children. Once the loans are repaid, the funds are used for new loans to others, recycling your gift for many more for years to come. Details Worldvisiongifts.org.
For the Techie
iPad’ers are a hardcore bunch. They’ll love you for these accessories, especially the touch screen compatible gloves. From left: NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase bundle, Toddy Smart Cloth, Hercules XPS Diamond 2.0 USB speakers, Tokidoki for Hello Kitty iPad case, Grandoe Sensor Touch gloves.
Who knew John Cho, a pastor’s son, would break barriers playing a stoner?
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Janice Jann
What did happen was Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, released in 2004, went on to commercial success and launched Cho’s and costar Indian American Kal Penn’s careers to leading men status. “I was just happy somebody found it,” says Cho of the film, which centers on two lovable stoner buddies. “I found it was too unique a take and too ‘warm’ a movie for anyone not to like it.”
The third film is even “warmer.” “We think it’s our strongest movie,” says Cho. “The movies — as raunchy as they are — have a very sweet side to them. The humor is not malicious or crass or creepy.”
It’s the sweetness of the films that have made Cho’s father, a former minister, comfortable enough to accept. “Both my parents are also cognizant of how much ground this film has broken, how unusual it is we’re headlining a movie in the U.S. They’re definitely proud of that aspect,” says Cho. “Recently, I took my dad to the White House for a state dinner. We met [South Korean] President Lee and President Obama in one night. This movie is part of how we got there. So if you’re my dad, you can’t hate on the movie.”
Cho understands that there are some haters who say that he and Penn are poorly representing Asians in the media. To them, he says, “There was a time I knew every Asian in [Hollywood]. But now they’re everywhere. It’s a great feeling ‘cause you don’t want just one person to change the industry — you want a plurality of representation. One movie shouldn’t have the onus of representing Asians. We want so many movies that no one can point to one and say, ‘that represents Asians.’ As artists, we shouldn’t have that weight on our backs.”
— Janice Jann