New Visions Award Contest Seeks to Add Diversity to Children’s Books

Story by Haein Jung.

Children’s book publisher Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low, has announced it is now accepting manuscripts for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction or mystery novel by a writer of color—one of which will be chosen as the winner of the New Vision Award. The winner will receive a standard publication contract, as well as a cash prize of $1,000. 

The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. Manuscripts will be accepted now through October 31, 2014. An Honor Award winner will also receive a cash prize of $500.

“The award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of publishing for young readers,” read a statement released by Tu Books.

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The statement also noted that the award comes at a time when readers, and authors, are demanding greater diversity in children’s books. At this year’s BookCon, an all-white male panel dubbed the “luminaries of children’s literature” prompted an uproar and the #WeNeedDiverseBooksCampaign, an effort to push for more diversity among young adult fantasy fiction writers. Notably, Korean American author Ellen Oh, along with authors Aisha Saeed and Chelsea Pitcher, was very vocal in the diversity push, urging the public to take to social media to demand much needed change.

“At every conference I or my writer friends attend, there are kids asking why they can’t find books with characters who look like them, either on the cover or in the pages,” Oh, author of Prophecy (Part 1 in The Dragon King Chronicles, HarperTeen)wrote  in her blog. “The same thing happens at book signings, except there the kids are saying they’ve always wanted to get into writing, but don’t think they’ll be successful because they’re people of color.”

Tu Books established The New Visions Award in 2012 in an effort to offer never before published authors of color the opportunity to fund and start their writing careers.

“It is our hope that the New Visions Award will help new authors begin long and successful careers and bring new perspectives and voices to the science fiction, fantasy, and mystery genres,” said a statement by Tu Books.

For further details, including full eligibility and submission guidelines, please visit the New Visions Award page.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com

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Hot Destinations To Put On Your Bucket List: Catherine Choi’s Algonquin Park, Canada

In Audrey‘s Summer 2014 issue, we asked five tastemakers to give us a glimpse into their must-go destinations around the world. Here, Catherine Choi, founder of family-oriented bags and accessories line SoYoung, shares her favorite place, Algonquin Park, Canada.

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Travel philosophy: If you think you might need it, bring it.

Why: At this time in my life, with three kids under 10, a full-time business and a husband who also runs a full-time business while studying for an MBA, we need peace over excitement. So while we love architecture, shopping and exploring cities, getting away somewhere where we can unwind and unplug is the hands-down choice.

Stay: I am not an outdoorsy type, but I make an exception for Bartlett Lodge in Algonquin Park. It’s just magical: from the solar-powered pontoon that takes you to the lodge to the luxury platform tents where you sleep. And no eating out of cans here — they offer five-course fine dining at their restaurant. We’re totally unplugged there.

Eat: Incredible desserts at the lodge’s fine dining restaurant. I recall feeling frustrated at having to choose only one.

Do: Jump off the dock into the cool, clear water, dry off, lie there like vegetables, repeat. Bring a pile of great reads, sit in a Muskoka chair and read to oblivion with no interruptions.

Bring: I take my SoYoung large cooler bag with me on every trip as I am a big snacker. My current go-to snacks are kombucha gingerade tea with Snapea Crisps.

Unforgettable: My husband and I decided to take a canoe out one evening. The water was so still and clear and there was silence all around us except for the sounds of nature. We stopped paddling at one point and watched the sky turn a beautiful orange-pink while the sun disappeared into the water. It was breathtaking and perfect.

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

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Catherine SoYoung Choi, founder of SoYoung, a Canadian line of urban, family-oriented bags and accessories, became an expert on children’s products through the tribulations experienced while carting around three young children and their associated paraphernalia. Choi holds a degree in commerce from McGill University and a master’s in things-to-bring-with-you-on-outings-with-children. 

Hot Destinations To Put On Your Bucket List: Josie Ho’s Tokyo, Japan

In Audrey‘s Summer 2014 issue, we asked five tastemakers to give us a glimpse into their must-go destinations around the world. Here, actress Josie Ho shares her favorite place, Tokyo, Japan.

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Stay: The Cerulean Hotel is very nice. Or if you have a friend to stay with, that’s even better.

Eat: Go to Maisen located in Harajuku and Aoyama. It’s a restaurant that specializes in deep fried pork cutlet sandwiches and rice. I cannot explain how great it is — you must try it.

Do: Definitely explore the small streets in Harajuku. Walking around and seeing what you can find in the corners and crevices of the small streets is a fun adventure. If you like shopping, there are so many precious things to discover.

Unforgettable: The amount of crêpes on the streets of Harajuku is just simply incredible. There are so many options to choose from!

 

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

josiehoNamed on Forbes’ list of the 20 Most Intriguing Billionaire Heiresses, Josie Ho, daughter of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, is not only a trendsetter in Asia, she’s a prolific actress and musician. Ho stars in the Hong Kong film 3D Naked Ambition, already released in Asia and hoping to come to the States later this year. She’s currently working on the Derek Kwok-helmed film Badminton, as well as her eighth album, Josie and the Uni Boys

Hot Destinations To Put On Your Bucket List: Trish Lee’s Bagan, Burma

In Audrey‘s Summer 2014 issue, we asked five tastemakers to give us a glimpse into their must-go destinations around the world. Here, bridal gown fashion designer Trish Lee shares her favorite place, Bagan, Burma.

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Travel philosophy: Why not?

Why Bagan: Only in the last couple of years has Myanmar, formerly Burma, opened up its borders to travelers, and the breadth of its beauty is still untouched by Western civilization. Bagan, the capital city of the ancient Burmese kingdom, is a vast plain dotted with 4,000 of the original 10,000 pagodas that were built between the 11th and 13th centuries.

 

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Stay: Kaytumadi Dynasty Hotel. The bungalow style hotel offers rooms that are a bit “rustic,” but you’ll really appreciate the kind staff, the privacy of the bungalows and the proximity to the ancient pagodas. Have breakfast in the garden where the ratio of staff to guest is one to one.

Eat: If Burma had a national dish, it would be mohinga. Rich in umami, mohinga is vermicelli rice noodles in a bouillabaisse made thick with white, flaky fish and a purée of lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onions and local spices. Any time of day it’s the perfect meal and widely available at most street vendor stalls.

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Do: Rent a bicycle. It’s probably a 1980s fixie, but no matter. Wake up at 5 a.m. and bike to Lawkaoushaung Temple to watch the breathtaking sunrise, away from the tour groups and crowds. After sunrise is the perfect time to visit Old Bagan and give alms in the form of a food donation to the Theravada Buddhist monks, who do not eat after noon.

Unforgettable: As I was riding my bicycle on a dirt road, a lanky young boy started riding next to me. When I stopped at the next pagoda, we started chatting. Though the 11-year-old had never been to school, he effortlessly conversed with me in English. I ended up spending the whole day with him. He took me to the tiny village he lived in, called Goh Lone (Nine Stones) by the Irrawaddy River. He could speak several sentences in over a dozen languages and showed me his collection of foreign currency that travelers had given him. His curiosity for life was palpable. When he introduced me to his family, the whole village, which consisted of about five homes, came running over to greet me. His aunt insisted I have some tea and roasted corn with their family in their one-room home built on stilts. I’ve never forgotten their generosity and warm smiles. Before I left, I asked my young companion what I could give him. He asked sheepishly for my lip balm … to give to his aunt.

 

 

trishleeTrish Lee designs bridal gowns for her eponymous line, Trish Lee San Francisco. Born and raised in San Francisco, the Burmese-Chinese American often helped her mother make dresses when she was young. “One of my fondest memories growing up in San Francisco is selecting fabric in the now very hip Mission District,” says Lee. “Back then, let’s just say it was quite a ‘colorful’ place for an 8-year-old girl, but I adored every second of it.”

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Travel Fit: Stay Trim While on the Go

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to give up your exercise routine. New York City-based yoga instructor Sunina Young provides tips on how to stay trim while on the go.


Fit Tip #1: Stretch Post-Flight

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Whether you’re on a business trip or on vacation, stress can creep into your body in the form of muscle tension and mind fatigue. De-stress from jet lag with an easy spine lengthening and side opening movement. Sitting cross-legged, inhale, lift the arms up, grab a hold of your right wrist, lift the rib cage in and up to lengthen, then exhale and bend to the left. Saturate the body’s right side with breath. Take five full breaths, then switch sides. Repeat to release all muscle tension. Time commitment is approximately two minutes.

For the ambitious: Take a moment to close your eyes and mentally say a fit-focused affirmation as you stretch, like “I always find time for self-care.”


Fit Tip #2: Be a Morning Person

Rise and shine! Wake up a little earlier than normal — just 15 minutes should do the trick. In your commitment to stay fit, starting early is important, especially since you most likely have a set day-to-day itinerary for your trip. Make no excuses and keep the mornings your time to work out to ensure that you set the tone for the day.

For the ambitious: Wake up an additional 30 minutes earlier to meditate so you can start your day with a clear and fit-focused mind. Yogis recommend daily meditation for 30 minutes in the morning for a balanced life no matter where you are.


Fit Tip #3: But First, Water
Drinking water within 10 minutes of waking up in the morning not only speeds up your metabolism it hydrates and detoxifies the body, clearing out internal impurities and making the skin glow.

For the ambitious: Add lemon to your water for a multitude of benefits, including clear skin, a natural energy boost, vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, fiber, iron and magnesium.


Fit Tip #4: Work Your Core

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As soon as you wake up, do leg lifts from the comfort of your bed — no equipment, no excuses! Lying down, interlace hands behind your head, deep inhale, exhale, lift the chest up as you flex the feet and lift your legs 20 degrees. Inhale, then keep the chest lifted and core engaged as you lift the legs up energetically to a 90-degree angle. Exhale lower for six breaths, inhale lift for five breaths. Try 12 slow reps. Time commitment is approximately four minutes.

For the ambitious: Add bicycle crunches, scissor kicks and bridges.


Fit Tip #5: Full Body Toning

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Start in child’s pose by standing on the knees wider than the shoulders. Bend down so the rib cage fits perfectly between the thighs, and reach your arms out in front of you, forehead to the ground. Breathe in for five counts, breathe out for six counts.

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Flow into plank pose: Tuck the toes, slowly shift forward while lifting the knees off the ground. Engage the core, tuck the tailbone, puff up through the upper back, keeping the entire spine in neutral alignment. Breathe in for five counts, breathe out for six counts. Transition to fallen triangle pose by bringing the right knee in towards your chest and then kicking the right foot out to the left side and placing the outer edge of that foot to the ground. Lift the hips high, shift the weight to the right side, engage the core, and reach the left hand up to the sky as you open up the left side of the body. Breathe in for five counts, out for six counts. Step the foot back to plank position. Repeat the positions in order, left and right, four reps per side. Time commitment is nine minutes.

For the ambitious: Add a chaturanga push-up after plank pose.


Fit Tip #6: Do Cardio Anywhere

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Pack your sneakers — you can jog, run, sprint anywhere! Get your heart rate up any chance you get. It’s the most efficient way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Other forms of cardio include jumping jacks, plank mountain climbers, jump squats and burpees.

For the ambitious: Plan a full day committed to fitness by going hiking, biking or swimming.


This story originally appeared in Audrey’s Summer 2014 issue. Get it here.

A hot yoga instructor in New York, Sunina Young grew up in a Korean American household in Bayside, N.Y., with parents (her father was a taekwondo grandmaster) who always encouraged her to follow her heart. She obtained a master’s in communications and worked in fashion and beauty PR. It was during those years that she developed a love for yoga. After realizing that, despite a “picture perfect life,” she was unfulfilled, she left her job to pursue yoga. She wants to share with the world, both in her classes and on her blog, how to experience a dy- namic sense of self-love through movement. Check out her yoga and beauty blog at sunina.com and youtube.com/suninatv

Spotlight on Heart Defensor

FULL NAME Heart Defensor
HERITAGE Filipina American
AGE 25
BORN & RAISED Philippines, now based in L.A.
CLAIM TO FAME The pink-lovin’ YouTube personality, known for her openness and hair to-die-for, has gone beyond describing her fashion hauls and giving hair and makeup tutorials to doing a weekly YouTube show with Seventeen Magazine called Fashion Remix!


My go-to karaoke song: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child.

Last time I cried: When I picked up the March 2014 issue of Seventeen Magazine and saw my spread talking about me and my very own show with Seventeen.

What always makes me laugh: My boyfriend Arnold. We have way too many inside jokes.

My go-to comfort food: Too many to mention!

Last thing I ate: Does caramel frap with extra whipped cream from Starbucks count?

Currently on “repeat”: There’s two! “Love Is an Open Door” by Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana (from the movie Frozen) and “Half a Heart” by One Direction.

A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Watching Desperate Housewives every night before bed.

Current favorite place: My home. I’m a homebody!

Favorite drink: Water, green tea and Starbucks caramel frap.

Current obsessions: Cute notebooks, loose sweaters and big bags!

Habit I need to break: Eating and drinking sweets.

Hidden talent: It’s not a hidden talent since I do it all the time on my channels, but I LOVE TO SING!

Talent I’d like to have: To be an amazing dancer like Beyoncé and Ciara!

Word or phrase I most over-use: I definitely say “definitely” all the time!

Most treasured possession: Secret! :)

Favorite hashtag: #ThatsHeart because I love seeing my viewers tag me on their pics, which I often repost.

What’s cool about being Asian: Asian genes. ;) We never age, muahahaha!

My job in another life: I’d probably be a registered nurse, which I would suck at because I don’t like seeing blood LOL.

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Run River North Releases Their Debut Album

Story by Taylor Weik. 

“The album art is actually inspired by ancient Korean art,” drummer John Chong is saying, gesturing to the cover of the seven-inch vinyl — a large white square smeared with blue, gray and purple brush strokes detailing mountains and trees, clean and dirty at the same time — when all of a sudden, rock music begins blasting from the next room over, and the windows and doors start vibrating with the beat. It’s 5 p.m. at the Troubadour, just two hours before the indie folk-rock band Run River North takes the stage to promote their newly released, self-titled debut album.

“If you go to LACMA, you can find a lot of Korean landscapes with clouds, mountains and a lot of black,” Chong continues as if nothing has transpired, yelling over the music. The other five band members — Alex Hwang, Joe Chun, Daniel Chae, Sally Kang and Jennifer Rim — titter at his attempt to be heard in the small bar that now pulsates with rock. “We’re performing a sold-out show at the Troubadour,” says lead vocalist and songwriter Hwang. “Again.”

The last time Run River North performed at the Troubadour — the West Hollywood, Calif., club with a long, colorful history, famous for kicking out a very drunk John Lennon, and whose stage has been graced by everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Guns N’ Roses — it was 2012 and they were operating under the moniker Monsters Calling Home. The San Fernando Valley-based group changed its name when fellow indie band Of Monsters and Men rose to fame with its hit song “Little Talks.”

“We’re now Run River North, which can mean many things,” says Kang, who plays keyboards. “It describes the different ranges of our music — from being laid-back and letting our harmonies shine through, like in ‘Growing Up,’ which represents the steady flow of a river, to being as crazy and loud and thrashing as some of our other tracks that are a little more rock-ish, which portrays a rushing river.”

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Run River North captured the attention of YouTubers (and auto execs) in 2012 with their music video for their upbeat single “Fight to Keep,” filmed entirely in their cars while driving through parking lots and across streets. Honda executives took note of the video — which has garnered more than 200,000 views on YouTube — and booked them as musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Fight to Keep” is arguably their most popular song and is included in the new album — the one Chong was describing at the Troubadour — but the members have other favorites.

“My favorite song right now is ‘Beetle’ because we added an extra four-minute jam section for the show,” says Hwang. “Also I get to play the electric guitar, which I don’t usually get to do.” Rim, the violinist, favors “Lying Beast,” a softer, more lyrical tune inspired by a Korean folk song “to add a bit of our heritage.”

Their heritage is reflected in more than just the melodies. All six of Run River North’s members are Korean American, and more than a few of their songs function as stories of their experiences as children of Korean immigrants. “Monsters Calling Home,” which Hwang penned, pays homage to their parents and the sacrifices they made to leave behind their homeland for the “American Dream.” They’re walking heavy to the beat of a broken drum, Hwang croons in the song while Rim plucks violin strings in the background. Digging for worth in a land under a foreign sun.

Though their identities as Asian Americans play a significant role in their music, Hwang and the others members make sure to produce content that everyone can relate to and enjoy. “Our mental process when making music isn’t ‘this is what Asian music should sound like,’ but ‘this is what good music sounds like’ — it just so happens to be that we’re Asian American,” says Hwang. “We try not to be so intentional about our Asian-ness, but let the quality of the music speak. The way we look to people should come second to the way we sound.”

While Run River North has a loyal fan following, their biggest fan may be Korean American actor Steven Yeun. Not only did he tweet his support and encourage his followers to buy their debut album (Hwang and Yeun have been friends since before Yeun landed the role of Glenn Rhee on AMC’s The Walking Dead), Run River North takes a portable Glenn Rhee doll with them on their adventures, Instagramming photos of him wherever they go, whether it be on stage at SXSW or at a sleepy Nashville diner on their way to their next show, accompanied with the popular hashtag #glennontourwithrrn. “You have to tote the fine line between self-promotion and braggery, especially when it comes to social media,” says Hwang. “Glenn is that buffer for us so we can stay humble while sharing fun snapshots from our lives.”

Some of these snapshots are playing a role in documenting the rise of Run River North from a local “baby band,” as Chun calls them, to a more widely recognized name. After their album release show in March, they spent the entire month of April on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls, driving all over the Midwest and East Coast, before focusing more on the West Coast in June. Even so, when asked to share a favorite memory from their past year, what sits with Chong isn’t performing with celebrities or singing on the radio.

“When we were up in Seattle recording our album, there was one night when we went to Costco and just bought a bunch of food to prepare a feast,” he says. “It was a long day, and at the end we sat and ate together like a family. It was one of the best feelings. We aren’t a nuclear family, but we’re a family nevertheless, and we remind one another where we come from and belong in this crazy world.

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This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

New Reality Show to Feature Lives of ‘Ultra Rich Asian Women’

Story by Ruth Kim. 

When we said we needed more Asian representation on screen, this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. A new Vancouver reality show will spotlight the “luxurious lifestyles of ultra rich Asian girls.” The name of the series: HBIC TV, which stands for Hot Bitch In Charge. Cringe.

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Although details on the show are sparse at the moment, HBIC TV has announced that a casting call and audition will be held on June 26. The producers, Kevin K. Li and Desmond Chen, say that most of the show will be in Chinese and will feature young women who have inherited large fortunes, according to CTV News Vancouver.

On the show’s official Facebook page, there’s a brief description of the types of girls producers are looking for:

Are you the next #HBIC of Vancouver? Got a Centurion Black Amex Card?

Hermes, Lanvin, Dior, Louboutin, Chanel, Lambos and Ferraris are all a part of the daily lives of our HBICtv Divas.

“If you’re into the high fashion, the couture, the fancy cars, and the foie gras dinners, and popping the champagnes on the weekend like it’s every day,” Li said. “You know, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but in Vancouver with this demographic.”

A short preview video for the show features a group of rich, Asian women buying necklaces worth $150,000 and gabbing about each other’s plastic surgery results.

While the show has already been met with groans from the Asian American community, there will likely be an audience that tunes in to all of the drama. Think we’ll have our next Asian Kardashian?

Top photo via HBICtv Facebook, other photo and video via VanCity Buzz
This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

Kina Grannis: A New Sound & A New Look For Her Latest Album

Story by Ada Tseng.

It’s been half a decade since Kina Grannis began writing her 2010 debut album Stairwells, which featured songs that were practiced, appropriately, in the stairwells of the University of Southern California, where she attended college. Now 28, she’s gone through much personal growth, spurred by everything from the tragedy of her grandfather’s passing to the joy of a new marriage to her frequent musical collaborator, Jesse Epstein. These life experiences gave her the courage to write songs about topics she may have shied away from in the past. She also began working with producer Matt Hales (also known as Aqualung) to experiment with her music sonically.

In the days leading up to her new album release this past May, Grannis uploaded a series of “Making the Album” videos onto her YouTube page, where she let her large and supportive online fan base glimpse behind the scenes, from Hales’ unique instruments (the glockenspiel is featured on the track “This Far”) to her pet corn snakes, Hubert Cumberdale and Jeremy Fisher, who often joined them in the studio. Now that the album’s out, we follow up with the Japanese American hapa.


Audrey Magazine: Why the title Elements?

Kina Grannis: I was looking over the titles [of my songs] one day — “The Fire,” “Dear River,” “Write it in the Sky,” etc. — and the word “elements” came to mind. The idea of the basic elements of life really struck me. To me, that’s what this album is all about: family, love and loss. Beginnings and endings, past and future.

AM: You wrote a lot of the songs in a cabin in the woods. Have you secluded yourself in nature to write before, or was this a new experiment?

KG: I’d actually never done this in the past. A sophomore album is an interesting thing. For the first album — in my case, Stairwells — you basically have your pick from all the songs you’ve written in your life, up to that point. And before Stairwells, I had all the time in the world to be writing. Since then, however, I’ve been touring and posting videos almost nonstop, so by the time I needed to start working on the new album, I had very few songs to start from. I started doing these retreats as a way to get out of my normal routine, connect to myself and nature, and really give myself a safe place to start flexing those creative muscles again. Thankfully, it ended up being a really natural and inspiring way for me to get back to writing.

AM: Can you talk about what inspired the song “Winter,” about the impending ending of a relationship?

KG: Strangely enough, “Winter” was inspired by a vase of dead flowers. I found them in one of the cabins I stayed in, and they were so beautiful, but there was something really sad about them to me. Soon enough, I found myself singing the chorus. This song really hit me hard emotionally when I was writing it — when I realized I wasn’t singing about the flowers at all.

AM: The song “My Own” features your two sisters. What was it like growing up with musical siblings, and how did that collaboration come about?

KG: My parents had a lot of instruments in the house [when we were] growing up. We had a grand piano, and under it, there were about 15 different assorted instruments, from violins to recorders to an accordion to a Japanese koto. Most of them didn’t really get touched by us, but just having them around led me to really experiment with music as a kid. My sisters and I used to sing together all the time — usually Disney songs, Christmas carols or whatever our favorite albums were. “My Own” came about one day when I was thinking about my family — how they are so unique and amazing and entirely mine.

AM: Looking back, was there a moment when you realized music was something you wanted to pursue more seriously?

KG: Before I even started taking singing seriously, and before it ever occurred to me to touch a guitar, I had that moment. I was at an annual Christmas concert when I was about 15. Something struck me so deeply, watching all these people standing in front of us and singing their hearts out, that I basically ran out of the concert balling. I hid in the bathroom for the rest of the night trying to figure out what was wrong, and that’s when it hit me. I felt if I didn’t make singing a main focus in my life, that I was going to be missing out on who I was.

AM: By the way, we love your new look! Was this just a fun change, or does it feel like the start of a different phase in your life?

KG: It definitely coincided with a new chapter in my life. I had been touring around, living a Stairwells-driven life for the better part of three years. When I got home after the last tour, it just felt different. There were also a lot of other significant changes going on in my life at the time. I felt the need to start this chapter fresh and uninhibited, and that’s when I said goodbye to 19 inches of hair.

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

After Living in South Korea, A Brazilian Man Gets Plastic Surgery to Look More Korean

Story by Michelle Woo. 

A Brazilian man has undergone plastic surgery in order to look more Korean. The results are exactly the same as whenever an Asian person goes under the knife to look more white: weird and cringe-worthy.

Brazilian television station RBS TV reports that a 25-year-old model has had 10 surgical procedures on his eyes to achieve an Asian appearance. Originally blonde and blue-eyed, the man who goes by “Xiahn” became fascinated by plastic surgery while studying in South Korea as a foreign exchange student. “Koreans have many surgeries to modify the shape of their eyes and become more like Westerners,” he said. “It was easy to tell when one of them had done it, walking on the street wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask.” Cosmetic procedures are so prevalent in the country that some hospitals offer “plastic surgery certificates” to help patients get through immigration since they often look nothing like their passport photos.

Xiahn’s mother was concerned that the surgeries would cause vision problems but he assured her otherwise. “As much as the size of the eye has decreased somewhat, I can see normally,” he said. Apparently, he has no regrets about the procedures. “I believe I have only one life and if I cannot be who I want now, I will never be able to,” he explained.

And the world has strangely shifted.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.
H/T The Korea Herald
Photo via RBS TV