Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany Interviews (And Gets A Kiss From) Tom Hiddleston

Story by Taylor Weik.

As if you couldn’t be any more jealous of Tiffany, one of the members of the global K-Pop sensation that is Girls’ Generation, another bullet point makes the list: on October 18, “Mnet Wide” released a 13-minute video of Tiffany’s interview with the British swoon-worthy actor, Tom Hiddleston.

While Hiddleston was in South Korea promoting his new movie, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World in which he plays Thor’s deeply complex brother, Loki, Tiffany took the opportunity to interview the star about his role in the film while also showing him around the cultural spots of Seoul.

The pair wandered around on a rainy day in Seoul arm-in-arm with umbrellas while Tiffany introduced him to locations like the N Seoul Tower (“Do you find this really romantic?” Hiddleston says) and the observation deck where thousands of love locks hang off the side.

“[I’ll remember Korea] with enormous passion and affection,” Hiddleston says at the end of their interview, before promising to return to Korea “real soon.”

Watch the interview for yourself below:

Yunjin Kim to Help Bring Korean Drama Remake to ABC

Story by Y. Peter Kang.

A developmental deal to bring a popular time-traveling Korean drama to ABC is being spearheaded by former Lost actress Yunjin Kim, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Kim, who is playing one of the lead characters on ABC nighttime soap Mistresses, will be working with production company Fake Empire to develop an American version of Nine: Nine Travels, a 20-episode serial that aired on Korean cable channel tvN earlier this year.

The actress will serve as executive producer alongside three others.

The show will be written by Derek Simonds and focuses on a man who has nine magical sticks that allow him to travel to 20 years in the past, where he tries to prevent a murder that destroyed his family.

 

 

This story was originally published on KoreAm Journal.

Flashback Friday: Sleep Deprivation Links to Higher Risk of Breast Cancer?

Story by Kanara Ty.

I was always considered the night owl in my family. Ever since college, my sleeping patterns consisted of multiple nights burning the midnight oil (in addition to a couple of all nighters). Simply put, my body was pretty programmed to function better at night because it was the time of the day where I was least distracted and I could be very productive. However, a couple of months ago, I decided that I needed to improve my quality (and quantity) of sleep by adopting a normal sleeping schedule (aka, sleeping earlier and waking up earlier). It’s definitely helped with my mood and skin (well, I think it appears better).

However, I’m sure you all know there’s health benefits to getting more hours of sleep daily, but apparently, according to this NYT article, six or seven hours of sleep is still not enough. The article states that poor sleep does quite a number to your mood, productivity, and physical health (including your metabolism and weight control — this could add up to 10 pounds in a year!), among some factors.

However, one of the more alarming things that I came across in the article for women? A higher risk for breast cancer:

The risk of cancer may also be elevated in people who fail to get enough sleep. A Japanese study of nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79 found that those who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who slept longer. The increased risk may result from diminished secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. Among participants in the Nurses Health Study, Eva S. Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School found a link between low melatonin levels and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Hear that ladies? Keep the hours of sleep you collect daily in check – and your boobies will love you!

 

This story was re-published in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to find out more about the “Asian Women Don’t Get Breast Cancer” Campaign.

(Source)

Heartwarming Friendship Between Grandmother And Cat

Story by Taylor Weik.

It doesn’t get much cuter than this. After graduating from the Nippon Photography Institute in Japan in 2002, Miyoko Ihara began taking daily photographs of her grandmother, Misao, to document her life.

One day, Misao walked into her shed to discover a small white kitten with heterochromia –– one eye a warm amber, the other an ice blue. She named the kitten Fukumaru, and the pair have been inseparable ever since.

Ihara captures the growing friendship on camera as the duo work in the fields, munch on watermelon and take naps together. Although both Misao and Fukumaru are hard of hearing, Ihara is able to clearly portray their strong connection to one another. She has since compiled her photography into a book titled “Miyoko Ihara: Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat.”

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(photo source)

Bribery Scandal in Miss Korea Contest?

Story by Steve Han.

Miss Korea, South Korea’s national beauty pageant, was hit with a bribery scandal after a participant’s mother allegedly paid off a judge to put her daughter at an advantage, according to TV network MBC’s investigate journalism program, Sisa Magazine 2580.

The program claimed that the mother offered money to an employee at the Korea Times, one of Korea’s oldest daily newspapers that also hosts the event, and that other contestants gave luxury goods to judges, such as pearl rings and other bribes.

The scandal is fueling fire to the already controversial event, as many Koreans have criticized the event for awarding contestants based on superficial values.


“One of the senior staff of the contest told me to buy off two judges,” an anonymous contestant from last year told the TV program. “He gave me a bank account and told me to wire money to that.”

The TV program also suggested that it has been an unwritten rule for a contestant to pay 500 million won ($470,000) for first place, 300 million won for second and 100 million won for third.

The Korea Times issued an apology and promised transparency in its future events.

“We feel moral responsibility for failing to prevent that,” the spokesperson said. “Our company will make all-out efforts to make the judging process more transparent and cleaner in the wake of this case.”

Yoo Ye-bin, this year’s Miss Korea winner, denied the accusations that her parents had paid off the judges.

“I was just an average student and my parents don’t have that kind of money,” she said. “One contestant bribing a judge shouldn’t be rationalized. I hope people understand that the judging process of the event is indeed transparent.”

 

This story was originally published on KoreAm Journal.

 

Jee Kim Designs Bags for Men on the Go

Story by James S. Kim. 

Men and Their Baggage
Designer Jee Kim, founder of Peasants & Travelers, creates stylish and functional bags for men, who were actually quite the bag innovators a few centuries ago.

 

It doesn’t take a fashionista to understand the relationship between women and bags. Synonymous, symbiotic, or both—it just takes a quick walk down the street of any downtown urban center to spot these two going hand in hand, or perhaps, on the shoulder or across the chest. Purses, totes, carryalls and clutch bags and more make up the diverse world of women’s bags.

It’s hard to imagine now that men once dominated the bag scene. But that’s where Jee Kim, designer and founder of the San Francisco-based men’s bag company Peasants & Travelers finds inspiration for her work.

Jee Kim. Photo by Narith Ta.

Jee Kim. Photo by Narith Ta.

“Back in the 18th century, it was the peasants who carried their owners’ belongings in makeshift satchels during travel. It was also the men who traveled long distances alone before women could, thus making them the first true carriers of ‘bags,’” she said.

Her company, as well as its name, pays homage to these early bag innovators.

Peasants & Travelers looks to bring together the oft-mutually exclusive qualities of fashionable and functional in men’s bags. Pay no heed to the jeers of “man purse” and the like. There’s something else for men besides the standard backpack or briefcase. Despite what many may think, there is a growing market for men’s bags, and Kim has built a solid footing for herself as a designer and businesswoman.

Kim, who grew up in Maryland, said she had high dreams of being in fashion and running her own business.  After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a merchandising degree, she secured a job with Gucci, the first of several brands that she would eventually add to her resume.

For over 10 years, Kim worked at brands that included Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic and William Sonoma. Her work took her all over the world, but it was her travels in Asia, specifically Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, that kindled her artist’s spark.

“I’ve always had a fascination with bags [and] their function,” she said. “A good shoulder bag [for example] frees your hands for multitasking. I noticed that men [in Asia] utilized bags as a fashion statement. The bag was a prominent part of the outfit. They didn’t seem to peg the bag with a gender, but embraced it.

“It was only a matter of time before American men would follow and expect more stylish bag options.”

Kim acquired valuable operation and production experience during her years in the fashion industry. The concept of Peasants & Travelers came to fruition and felt conceivable, she said, with the experience she had gained.

The company officially launched in August 2008, and Kim found herself initially running nearly all aspects of the company. Tapping her former colleagues in China, she was able to find partners in product development and design, and she would travel there for two to three weeks at a time to pick out fabrics, trims, zippers and whatever materials she would need. After finalizing the products, she would take the samples back to the U.S. herself, then haul them along to trade shows to showcase them to retailers.

The first collection shipped in March 2009. The 12-piece collection, which featured various bags, totes and carryalls in three different color waves (olive, brown and navy with black accents), began garnering attention in fashion media, including Urban Daddy, Thrillist and the New York Times. Notable retailers such as Urban Outfitters began carrying Peasants & Travelers products.

None of them, however, gained as much acclaim and popularity as Kim’s reimagining of the classic doctor’s bag.

“It put us on the map,” she said.  “It was versatile enough for work and/or for the gym. I [still] get emails requesting them.”

The bag takes after the classic doctor bag with the split-handle design on the top. However, Kim’s modernized interpretations are sure to draw glances with its unusual fabrics like cork, as well as the fine leather trim and the addition of shoulder straps.

“I think in the fabrics and the trim we use, it definitely updates the bag,” she said. “The strategy is modernizing a classic bag and making it comfortable for a guy who wouldn’t normally consider carrying a doctor’s bag, making them consider it and easing them into a style that is a bit more out there.”

Kim in her workshop. Photo courtesy of Jee Kim.

Kim in her workshop. Photo courtesy of Jee Kim.

She noted that cork is a material often used for shoes, and people don’t expect to see it in a bag. “That’s an element of surprise,” she said.

Unfortunately for potential buyers, the doctor’s bag has been sold out for quite a while, but they can look forward to a revamped, sturdier version in the spring 2014 collection.

The collection continues Kim’s vision of “fashionable and functional,” led by the weekend/gym bag, which features a separate shoe compartment and enough space for a weekend trip.

“As a creative person, you always have a storage of things that you like in the back of your head,” Kim said. “You always kind of are looking at things in a visual way. I think one of the strategies going in was, when a guy is carrying a bag into work and he’s also travelling, what are some styles that are classic but haven’t yet been interpreted in a modern way?”

Men who may be hesitant about checking out bags because of any “man purse” label shouldn’t have to worry. Men have long used bags, and now, thanks to Kim, they have some stylishly functional options from which to choose.

This story was originally published in the October 2013 issue of KoreAm Journal.  

 

Kenneth Choi: Why Running Away Was The Best Decision of His Life

Story by Carol Park. 

For Kenneth Choi, becoming an actor was never about the glitz or glamour. Acting was just a way he could truly express himself.

“I was always kind of an emotional, expressive kid, and I always felt I was different and weird,” says Choi. “[Acting] is something that kind of breeds [expressiveness]. I get to express myself, and it’s just the most rewarding thing when you have this dream as a little kid and you finally get it.”

Another dream? Landing a starring role in a much-hyped new series. After mostly small parts in a long list of TV shows and films, including Captain America: The First Avenger, Red Dawn, Sons of Anarchy and Glee, Choi is set to star alongside Blair Underwood in NBC’s remake of the 1967 crime drama Ironside, premiering October 2. Choi portrays the cool and pragmatic Captain Ed Rollins, working alongside a group of detectives solving difficult crimes. Underwood plays the title character, who is relegated to a wheelchair after being shot.

“What attracted me [to the series] is there’s this sort of family element that’s threaded throughout the construct of this crime drama,” says Choi. “There’s a paternal relationship between Ed and the detectives. As the show progresses, you’ll see not only how the characters evolve, but how these individuals come together as a team and grow.”

Despite his recent success (Choi is also set to appear in the highly-anticipated Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, due out November 15), Choi’s rise to fame wasn’t easy. When he began his career more than a decade ago, he was broke, jobless and essentially estranged from his family.

“I had a very traditional upbringing, very traditional parents,” says Choi, who was raised in Chicago. “I asked my father once directly [about acting] when I was young, and he looked at me and he said, ‘I can’t believe my son would say something so stupid.’ Those were his exact words.”

Discouraged, Choi set aside his aspirations and went to college to study business. But it was during those years of freedom that he finally realized he had to pursue acting, no matter the cost. So he quit college, cut ties with his family, and moved to Los Angeles. He ended up sleeping on the floor of his friend’s 325-square-foot studio and living on a shoestring budget. And yet, “I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as that first year,” says Choi, “even now that I have a moderate amount of success. It was just the best year of my life.”

His newfound freedom gave Choi the chance to work on his craft and audition for parts. He landed roles on television shows like The West Wing and Reba. During this time, he avoided his family, but after five years, Choi could no longer stay away. One day, he decided to go home to Chicago.

The first thing Choi’s father did when he saw his son was open his arms — they hugged for five minutes. For two hours, Choi talked to his father about everything. “All this stuff came out and he just sat there and listened, and at the end of it, it was the most amazing thing,” Choi recalls. “He just said, ‘I grew up a certain way, my dad treated me a certain way, and that’s what I learned. That’s the way I learned to take care of you. All I wanted was to try and do my best. That was my best, and obviously some of it wasn’t good enough, but I always loved you.’”

Today, Choi and his father are close. Choi doesn’t regret the time he spent away from his family or quitting school. He believes it was the best thing he could have done not only for his career but also for his relationship with his father. “Find whatever makes you happy and go after it with everything,” says Choi. “Don’t let anything stand in your way.”

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Asian American Indie Band Swears Their Name Isn’t Racist

Story by Young Rae Kim.

The Asian American band, The Slants, have been unsuccessful in trying to trademark their name. For four years, the six-member rock band hailing from Portland, Ore., has been fighting with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which has denied approval, saying the name is disparaging for people of Asian descent.

Simon Tam, the founder and bassist of The Slants, responded by saying that the PTO has rejected their request on the basis of their ethnicity, while a Caucasian band would not be denied this name, NPR reported.

The group, which describes its sound as “Chinatown dance rock,” have already had several attempts shot down by the PTO.

In 2009, the group attempted to “reclaim” the racist term and applied for a trademark with the patent office. However, they were denied approval, to which the band responded by saying that the term holds multiple meanings. For instance, they argued that in their case The Slants referred to musical chords.

However, the PTO ruled that the “The intent of an applicant to disparage the referenced group is not necessary to find that the mark does, in fact, disparage that group.”

The band tried again in 2011, but with a different approach. This time they claimed the name has nothing to with anything Asian.  However, it was refused for the second time.

 

Yet again, the band a now trying another tactic and are now preparing to take the case to federal circuit court, where they are claiming that their right to free speech has been violated. It will be another tough battle because the PTO does not forbid the band to call themselves The Slants, it just does not allow them to trademark the name.

The band is hoping the courts see it differently, and if not, the national attention from the legal battle won’t hurt them.

 

This story was originally published in KoreAm Journal

Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac” Premieres in The U.S.

Story by Taylor Weik.

Audrey Magazine got up close and personal with the legendary Jackie Chan and actress Yao Xingtong to discuss the U.S. premiere of Chan’s award-winning film, Chinese Zodiac

After almost 10 months since its Hong Kong release, CZ12, also known as Chinese Zodiac, international superstar Jackie Chan’s newest –– and last –– big action movie as a director, was released in select AMC American and Canadian theaters October 18.

Filmed on location across five continents and seven countries, CZ12 takes audiences on a global adventure as Chan’s “JC,” a modern day treasure hunter, is hired by a group of antique dealers to track down six bronze sculptures that are missing from the original set of 12 representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. With the help of his team of explorers, a Chinese artifact student and a French heiress, JC races through French vineyards and braves the jungles of the South Seas in search of forgotten relics.

With a diverse number of locations comes a diverse cast, a casting decision that Chan owes to his many years of observation in the entertainment industry.

“I wanted to show the whole world that good guys and bad guys can be of any race,” Chan explains. He specifically mentions a band of pirates that shows up to sabotage one of JC’s missions. “If you notice, I cast a black guy, a Filipino guy, a Japanese guy, and so on. In Hollywood movies, the bad guys are always black. I always thought to myself, ‘Why are they always black?’ They’re not.”

The action-packed film is one of Chan’s most ambitious to date. Not only did Chan spend a hefty amount of money producing the film –– one of the major fight scenes cost more than $10 million to shoot –– but he also broke two Guinness World Records during the process for “Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor” and “Most Credits in One Movie,” the latter of which includes 15 credits, among them Actor, Director, Producer, Co-Writer and Fight Choreographer.

Chan owes his ever-expanding list of credits to his developing urge for creative license. As Chan began to make more movies over the span of his 50-year career, directors began to allow him to choreograph fight scenes and even add comedy to the scripts. Eventually, he wanted to do it all.

“I spent six years writing the script [for CZ12] while I was in America,” Chan says. “During Rush Hour 3, during The Forbidden Kingdom, any time I had a break, I’d be sitting there writing my script. Fighting is always good, but I wanted to make people laugh.”

CZ12’s cast brings in numerous actors, from American actor Oliver Platt to a cameo appearance by Chan’s own wife, Joan Lin. Yao Xingtong, the 2009 nominee for Best Actress in China’s Golden Rooster Awards for her role in Blossom, plays Coco, a bright Chinese student and passionate activist who fights to return stolen cultural treasures to their countries of origin.

“It’s been very fun,” Xingtong says of the time she spent filming with the cast and crew. “Jackie worked hard and took care of all of us. In China, we all like to call him ‘Big Brother.’”

Since its release, CZ12 has earned over $160 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing action film and second highest grossing Chinese film of all time in China. It has also won Best Action Choreography at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards.

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to New York’s Meatpacking District

Story by Kanara Ty.

Before I went to New York City this past summer, I asked a colleague for some tips on her
favorite spots in Manhattan — best cheap eats? Favorite rooftop bar? She told me to completely immerse myself in the Meatpacking District, perhaps Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhood right now. While the name doesn’t exactly scream glitz and glamour, I assure you that you can’t just make one visit to the Meatpacking District during a vacation in the Big Apple — it packs a whole lot of punch with high-end boutiques (Alexander McQueen, thank you very much!), critically acclaimed dining destinations (Buddakan and Morimoto), and swanky nightclubs with the toughest doormen in the world (Wass Stevens of Avenue — we’re talking about you!).

Before it became one of NYC’s hottest social spots, the Meatpacking District was known for its various industries throughout the years. In the mid-1800s, you would have found carpentry and woodworking manufacturers. After the beginning of the 20th century, the neighborhood became a huge meat market, literally: approximately 200 slaughterhouses and packing houses abounded (hence the name), in addition to cosmetics, printing and automobile companies.

During the ’70s and ’80s, the area went into decline, transforming itself into an entertainment and nightlife mecca for the gay and bondage/S&M crowd. Interestingly enough, it’s alleged that the Mafia and some members of the NYPD protected some of these after-hours establishments, which allowed them to flourish. This included The Mineshaft, which was shut down by the Department of Health in 1985 at the height of the AIDS epidemic (20 years later, the space was reopened as a Chinese restaurant).

Despite, or perhaps because of, its lurid history, the Meatpacking District, is one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in Manhattan today. Here are some highlights.

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S T A Y

-Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC
It’s known as the Meatpacking’s first luxury hotel and remains an iconic location since it opened in 2004. The Gansevoort added a different kind of character to the grittiness of the neighborhood, helping to transform the area into a hip entertainment district. If you’re easily star-struck, beware — the hotel’s been featured on MTV and Vh1, and you’re sure to run into a celebrity or two (we spotted Will.i.Am in the lobby).
If you’re looking to go all out, consider booking the Gansevoort’s Duplex Presidential Suite. It’s the ultimate experience: the 1,700-square-foot duplex features 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, a state-of-the-art sound system, dining area, pool table, cardio machines, full bar and custom furniture. Our favorite part? The step-out balcony with extraordinary views of the Hudson River. Not convinced? Check out our Summer 2013 10th anniversary issue’s cover editorial with Rinko Kikuchi — trust us, it’s quite a treat. Details Gansevoorthotelgroup.com.

 

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E A T
The Meatpacking District is a foodie heaven for those looking to experience something out of the ordinary. We’ve got two Stephen Starr restaurants on this list — enough said.

-Num Pang Sandwich Shop
Long after I’ve left New York, this Cambodian sandwich shop still lingers in my mind. I can’t forget the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich, topped off with some Ithaca Ginger Beer or Ginger Pineapple Ginger Tea. Also try their delicious Grilled Coconut Corn with Chili Mayo. Note that some of their sandwiches are seasonal, so be sure to check what’s available. For you non-meat eaters, the Roasted Cauliflower sandwich is flavorful as well. Details Numpangnyc.com.

-Buddakan
When you enter Buddakan, it doesn’t exactly feel like a restaurant. In fact, you think you might have walked into a large nightclub. The interior is just remarkable, with oversized chandeliers, high ceilings, golden bookshelves, and yes, even a banquet table enough to seat 34. The eats to check out? Duck and Foie Gras Dumplings, Dungeness Crab Sticky Rice, and Singapore Chili King Crab. Don’t forget the dessert — get the Sichuan Peanut Semifreddo. Details Buddakannyc.com.

-Morimoto
You know the name — Masaharu Morimoto is quite synonymous in celebrity circles with anything Japanese. Honestly? He lives up to the hype. All you need to do is get the Morimoto Omakase ($125 per person), and you let them take care of the rest. Details Morimotonyc.me.

-The Lobster Place
Fresh seafood right at your fingertips — and it’s prepared in front of you! I can only imagine my facial expression when I saw the fresh uni before me. But if you’re not sure what to get, go for the popular Lobster Roll. Details Lobsterplace.com.

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P L A Y 

 

-Avenue
It’s got a reputation for being one of the toughest nightclubs to get into in the world — primarily because the doorman, Wass Stevens, is one tough cookie to break. If you can make it past the velvet ropes, you’re in for quite an experience. Basketball phenom Jeremy Lin was recently sighted here at a Knicks aftergame party. Details Avenue-newyork.com.

-PH-D
Located at the Dream Downtown hotel, people say this is quickly becoming one of the hottest new spots in NYC. The short moniker actually stands for Penthouse at Dream Downtown, which is the rooftop lounge at the hotel. If you can get in, you’ll feel like you’re in a secret garden with beautiful people, good music and a majestic view. Details Phdlounge.com.

-Provocateur Café + Nightclub
There’s something for everyone here: the nightclub for those who are looking for an evening of debauchery (drinking and dancing all night long) or the café for those who want something more chill (drinking and talking all night long). Be sure to check out their calendar for the most updated list of upcoming DJs if you’re into the EDM scene. Details Provocateurny.com.

 

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E X P L O R E 

-High Line
Despite all the clubs and eateries in the Meatpacking District, this was at the top of my list to check out. A cool public park, The High Line was transformed by some community residents from an elevated freight rail line facing demolition. The park was recently used for a top-secret Alexander Wang event (he gave away free clothes and caused all sorts of pandemonium). Check it out after dinner or for your pre-party — it’s a nice spot to walk off those calories and catch some good scenery.

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here