Asian Men As The Romantic Lead: Before John Cho There Was James Shigeta

 

ABC’s new show Selfie premiered last Tuesday, with Korean American actor John Cho starring as Henry (the leading male role) in the new half-hour comedy. The show portrays Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) who is obsessed with gaining more “Likes” on social media than actually being liked in real life. She seeks Henry for his help to rebrand herself.

Needless to say, Selfie has become a big deal — especially among the Asian American community — since it is one of the few times that an Asian American male is headlining a Hollywood TV series. Most important of all, it’s one of the few times that an Asian American male is cast as the romantic lead who gets the girl. You can remember our excitement when Steven Yeun achieved that in The Walking Dead.

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Though Cho also starred as a non-leading actor in several other American movies, TV shows, and key roles on several Asian-American independent films, this is his first time being a male lead on a new primetime ABC show, and Cho appears excited to bring something different the media industry.

“It’s certainly a personal revolution for me,” Cho told NBC News. “Asians narratively in shows are insignificant. They’re the cop, or the waitress, or whatever it is. You see them in the background. So to be in this position . . . is a bit of a landmark.”

We certainly can’t wait to see how Cho progresses. And with Elyes Gabel starring in CBS’s Scorpion and Steven Yeun keeping his spot as a fan favorite on The Walking Dead, we’re even more excited to see the slow, but sure progress of Asian American actors in Hollywood.

But before we look at the up-and-coming Asian artists taking over, we have to remember that before John Cho, there was James Shigeta.

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James Shigeta, a third-generation American with Japanese ancestry, is renowned for his main role in Flower Drum Song, a 1961 movie musical. At that time, Shigeta was Hollywood’s first Asian American male to played a romantic leading role.

The Hawaii-born actor later moved to New York where he attended New York University for creative writing. Later, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps to fight during the Korean War.

In 1960, Shigeta received the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer and in 2005, he received the Visionary Award from East West Players.

Just a few months ago, on July 28, Shigeta passed away in his sleep at the age of 85. Though he has passed, James Shigeta will forever be remembered as a role model and superstar of Asian American history.

 

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–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

Jen Lee’s “Dear Korea” Shows What It’s Like To Live In Korea As A Korean American

 

Residing in a little villa in Gwangju, South Korea, Texan Jen Lee is living the dream of being a comic artist. In 2010, Lee packed her bags in Houston and followed her boyfriend, an English teacher, to the Land of the Morning Calm. It was a unique and exciting opportunity for Lee to move to Gwangju, located some 180 miles south of Seoul. The city is best known for being the birthplace of the modern Korean democratic movement, as well as for its parks, museums and hip urban art scene. “I haven’t moved once since I got here,” says the 27-year-old. “I’ve grown fairly attached to this lovely city.”

As an adolescent, Lee often felt isolated from the Korean community in Texas. Her parents immigrated to the United States a few years before Lee was born. “I never really identified with the Korean side of myself,” she recalls. “That being said, growing up where my cultural background was mostly unknown to everyone around me came with its awkward moments.” So Lee turned to art. “According to my mother, I was drawing before I could form proper sentences,” she says. But it wasn’t until elementary school that she began drawing comics.

The idea for her popular comic strip, “Dear Korea,” stemmed from conversations with fellow expats about the funny and odd moments they’d experienced living in Korea. “I thought it would be interesting to create a comic that highlighted what it was like to live in Korea as a Korean American,” explains Lee. “While people like me are technically expats, I think our perspectives may be a little different from those who grew up with little or no Korean influences in their lives.”

Anyone who has lived on her own or has an interest in Korean culture can relate to Lee’s comics. Indeed, though “Dear Korea” started out as a Web comic, it has since branched out and the strip is now published in various magazines and publications around the country. “From what I can tell, my comics are read by expats from all over the world,” says Lee.

In addition to the opportunities — Lee supports herself with freelance art gigs, radio work and tutoring — living in Korea has given Lee a new perspective on her ancestral homeland. She says she loves the food and the affordable health care. But perhaps the best part of living in Gwangju is finally feeling connected to a community, one filled with a good number of expats: “I honestly don’t know how long I would have lasted here without them.”

For more “Dear Korea,” go to dearkoreacomic.com.

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–STORY BY JULIE CARLSON
This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

 

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Good News Cat Lovers! Pop-Up Cat Café in Chinatown This Weekend

 

By now, you’ve probably heard of all those pop-up, themed cafés in Japan which (as the name suggests) are temporary and offer special, limited-time-only menu options. If not, then trust me when I say they can get awfully creative. We’ve seen everything from Hello Kitty cafés to Owl cafés, but most popular of all has got to be cat themed cafés. Now if you’re a cat-lover in Los Angeles, you may have been envious of Japan’s cat-friendly cafés. Well, we have good news for you.

Take your keys and drive yourself over to Chinatown for (you guessed it) a pop-up cat café. Yes, this is actually happening, but for a limited time.

31-year-old Carlos Wong was inspired to create his own cat café after living in Tokyo last year, where cat-culture and cat cafés have been gaining wide popularity for several years. In fact, Tokyo is said to have at least 39 cat cafés. So Wong decided that it was about time we have one of these for ourselves and cleverly named it Catfe.

So what exactly is this cat café? It’s a place where visitors can enjoy a nice brewed coffee and all sorts of desserts with the company of cats! And yes, you can pet them as much as you want.

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Though this pop-up cat café is only available until Sunday, October 5, from 4 to 9 p.m., Wong is planning on opening a permanent location in Little Tokyo once it raises $250,000 in funds. For now, the Catfe is free for all visitors, unless you want to make a reservation for $30 that allows you to have priority access to Catfe on the day of your reservation. For those who want more intimate alone time with cats can pay $125.

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Check out Catfe’s website for more information. Catfe is located at Far East Plaza, 727 N. Broadway, Chinatown.

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

2NE1’s Sandara Park Shocked by Her Passport Photo

 

Sandara Park has been a favorite of ours for years. The South Korean idol singer, actress, dancer and model began her career in the Philippines as an actress and is most known as a member of popular K-Pop group 2NE1. While it’s not unusual to see this idol make headlines, like when she met Steven Yeun and when she got a kiss on the cheek from Justin Beiber, Park is currently attracting attention for something we didn’t expect: her passport photo.

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On October 1, Park posted the picture on her Instagram with a caption that translates to “Can’t Nobody Can’t Nobody ~ suddenly got photographed while on stage … the feeling when I later found this photo on my passport … jjangmae [referring to her manager].” Not one to let the shock get to her, she adds that the photo still looks cute.

We definitely agree! The photo brings smiles because it is unusual for someone to have such an abnormal hairstyle in a passport photo, especially since that photo is typically expected to be taken seriously. However, we’re allowing Park to be an exception since she has always been recognized for her bold and extraordinary hairstyles, which she proudly displays in her concerts and daily life.

Let’s take a look at some of Park’s other crazy hairstyles that only she can pull off. Tell us which is your favorite!

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Photo courtesy of http://kpopselca.com

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Photo courtesy of http://k-trendz.tumblr.com

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Photo courtesy of http://k-trendz.tumblr.com

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Photo courtesy of http://www.ttwigo.com

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Photo courtesy of http://blog.ningin.com

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

 

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Style Tips For Petite Women With Tracy Qiu

 

For those of us that aren’t statuesque, Tracy Qiu of T-curate.com shares with us her stylish and versatile height lengthening tips. You wouldn’t be able to tell from her street style portraits, but Qiu stands at 5’3’’ and with blog tagline of Dress To Look Taller, she has mastered navigating any trend whether or not they are easily wearable by petite women. “If I like a trend that’s not quite suitable for a petite girl, I will look for trendy items with specific cuts and shapes that will work on a petite girl like me,” Qiu explained as she expressed her attention to the details and clothing proportions. Qiu said, “I want to write from a problem solving angle. As much as I love fashion, I think it’s subject to change all the time, but style stays. To me, knowing your body type well, and knowing how to dress to your advantage helps to build individual, unique styles and confidence. So, my goal is to share tips to petite girls and hopefully they can apply these tricks and become more confident.” With a strong blog that goes beyond timeless looks, it’s refreshing to see someone who promotes ways to dress for women and girls in a world where fashion is dictated by a standard height of 5’9’’. Keep reading for Qiu’s worthy tips on outfits, shoes and what garments she feels petite women should consider avoiding.

 


1) What are your favorite three go-to looks to accentuate long lines/height?

Qiu: My favorite 3 go-to looks are: High-waist, wide leg pants with a cropped top or tucked in shirt and platform high heels for a long line look.

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A Maxi dress. The shape of a maxi dress makes it simple, and the natural long line of the dress extends heights for sure.

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A Midi Skirt or Midi dress gives a very feminine and sophisticated length, and it creates the illusion of having longer legs.

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2) Favorite shoe styles to accentuate long lines/height?

Qiu: We ladies are lucky that there are high heels. I recommend nude color pumps that match your skin tone for natural extension, and cool platform wedge heels for dramatic height extension. I use this trick a lot especially when pairing with high waisted, wide leg pants. I also prefer pointy heels because I found it adds more height than a round toe.

 


3) What would you consider a styling faux pas for petite women?
Qiu: Styling faux pas for petite women in my opinion is overly baggy or loose fitting outfits. Every petite woman has a different body shape, so understand your body type and pick pieces that work to your advantage.

 


 

Below are a few more lovely looks from Qiu, and be sure to take a peek at her blog for more outfit inspiration along with informative posts and “how to wear” suggestions for trends that aren’t necessarily easy for petite body types.

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– STORY BY MIN A LEE. 
All photos courtesy of T-curate.com

 

 

 


Jessica’s Withdrawal from Girls’ Generation … Who’s Telling the Truth?

 

There has been some major controversy in the past few days concerning SM Entertainment. More specifically, about Jessica’s withdrawal from popular K-pop girl group, Girls’ Generation.

Recently, Jessica posted on her Weibo (the Chinese microblogging service) that she was unjustifiably released from the Girls’ Generation and she was devastated that she can no longer serve as a member of the girl group.

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And why was the popular member released from the group? Well SM Entertainment released an official statement saying her release was caused by disagreements with Jessica’s new fashion business, Blanc Group, which  launched earlier in August.

The agency claims they discovered Jessica was embarking on her new fashion business without full approval and no agreement, but Jessica is disagreeing with these allegations.

Jessica argues that she had multiple discussions with both her agency and her group members over her new business. Jessica claims that there was a clear understanding about her new career and it was agreed that she would remain a member of Girls’ Generation.

On September 16, she met with her agency representatives and received permission to continue her business, but later on September 29, she was notified that she was no longer part of Girls’ Generation.

Meanwhile, there have also been rumors that Jessica’s withdrawal was related to her engagement with her Korean-American boyfriend Tyler Kwon, CEO of Cordiel Group. However, Kwon made clear on his Weibo that he was not planning to get married any time soon and further encouraged Jessica to remain patient for a little longer as “the truth about what really happened will be known.”

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Girls’ Generation is an internationally recognized K-pop girl group that has been active since 2007. Although Jessica is no longer a member of Girls’ Generation, she had recently renewed her contract with SM Entertainment for an additional 3 years. SM has stated that they will continue to support Jessica with her solo activities.

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

 


(Source 1, 2, 3)

Asia Street Style: Korea’s Fall Trends

 

Fall is settling into Korea and what’s currently trending in Seoul is becoming more evident on street style blogs. Holding on to summer a little more, skirts and dresses continue to pop up in the mix, but now paired with long sleeves and thicker fabrics. Even though it tends to stay decently warm year-round here in Southern California, shorter lengths and warmer tops are perfect for the approaching winter months. Still enamored with sporty, urban styles, you’ll see lots of sneakers and American streetwear brands being worn by South Koreans. They always show a significant amount of diversity within a single trend, which is great for all the individual personalities that exist when it comes to wardrobe preferences.

Check out the more sportier take on this fall’s early trend. Take a cue from these young women and amp up your skirts and dresses with graphic prints, a cool bomber jacket or a great pair of sneakers. The best part? You’ll still look effortlessly stylish, but remain comfortable the entire day.

Photos Courtesy of Sinsuji.tumblr.com and Imtedlike.com

Images Courtesy of Sinsuji.tumblr.com and Imtedlike.com

Image Courtesy of Sinsuji.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of Sinsuji.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of Iamalexfinch.net

Image Courtesy of Iamalexfinch.net

 

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Not into the sporty trend? We’ve got you covered with a splash of feminine floral prints and a clean, minimalist option to inspire those that prefer more simple styling.

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Image Courtesy of Instagram.com/streetper

Instagram.com/Imtedlike

Instagram.com/Imtedlike

 

–STORY BY MIN A. LEE

 

 

 

Get This Look For Less: Chinese Model Liu Wen At Paris Fashion Week

 

Chinese model Liu Wen is only 26-years-old, but has already successfully made it into prestigious magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar– a feat she achieved during the early stages of her successful career. Throughout her career, Wen has appeared at various catwalks all over the world, including Victoria’s Secret. Liu Wen now ranks as no.3 among 50 Chinese models. Of course, this is a well-deserved title. Not only is Wen incredible in photo shoots and on the runway, she has also gained fame for her simple and stylish street style.

Today, we check out how Wen dressed to impress during the Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015. Want this look, but don’t have the cash to get a wardrobe as luxurious? Don’t worry! Here’s how you can get this look for much, much less.

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Photo courtesy of vogue.com

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Photo courtesy of vogue.com

 

1. Women Idlf Denim Long Sleeve Shirt, UNIQLO – $40
2. Dark Authentic Rip Knee Jean, Miss Selfridge — $68 
3. Women Washed Narrow Belt, UNIQLO – $20
4. Sam Edelman Becker Slip On Sneakers, SHOPBOP – $88

 

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Photo courtesy of Polyvore

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

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Craving Asian Snacks From Your Childhood? Check Out This Homemade Choco Pie Recipe

 

When I was young, I spent most of my Saturdays at my grandmother’s house, secretly picking flowers off her houseplants, overfeeding her goldfish and eating up all her snacks that she would get from Chinatown. I say “all her snacks,” but my grandma really only had two snack foods in her cupboard — one was the family pack lemon puff biscuits, which always tasted dry and slightly artificial, and the other was Garden coconut wafers, which I knew had been laying around for a while. See, to save money, my grandma would buy the wafers in these big metal tins, which would take forever to finish. And for that reason, all the Garden wafers I’ve ever eaten at my grandmother’s house always tasted a bit stale. Still, I opted for the wafers over the biscuits.

I had a very specific method of eating the wafers. Because I was only allowed to have a few per visit, I would split the wafers into individual layers, so that it would seem like I had a whole lot more to eat than there actually was. As a kid, I would do this to all of my snacks, just to prolong my time with them. Sounds kind of silly, right?

But it’s funny how when I share these stories with my Asian friends, nearly all of them reciprocate with their own stories. My friend Timmy from Taiwan would freeze his lychee before eating them like little frozen popsicle balls. And my college classmate Grace, who grew up in Brooklyn, would take Haitai French Pie cookies, eat everything except the middle, and save the center apple pie filling for her last bites. “Always the last two bites because that was how the center fit perfectly into my mouth,” she says.

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Of course, my love of Asian snacks didn’t end as a child. As a college student, the Japanese fruit gummy candies — you know, the ones that come in apple, kiwi, strawberry and lychee — were my ultimate companions for late night studying. A small confession is that I would bring them into the library as well. (An even bigger confession is I’ve prob- ably brought a snack into every library I’ve ever been in — and the culprit snack was usually Asian. I know, I know, but it’s hard to walk away once you’re in the studying groove.) Anyway, any “library snacker” can tell you that the hard part is not sneaking the snacks into the library, but eating them in silence. That takes skill, especially when you’re eating those crunchy rice crackers.

Now as an adult, I still find myself watching TV and curled up next to a bag of prawn crackers or snacking on the latest red bean, green tea and sesame Pocky. To this day, Asian snacks remain a comfort food for me. So here’s my own attempt at recreating that magic with a homemade Choco Pie recipe.

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INGREDIENTS

Cake:
– 1 1/4 cup cake flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 1/3 cup milk
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– splash of vanilla extract

Filling:
– 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff pr marshmallow creme

Chocolate Ganache Coating:
– 8 oz chocolate chips
– 1 cup heavy cream

 


 

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Make batter by mixing dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
3. Fill whoopie pie pan or muffin tin with 1/4 inch of batter.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cakes turn golden brown on the underside. Let cool. (Tops may still look pale.)
5. Meanwhile, prepare ganache by bringing a cup of heavy cream to a boil.
6. Immediately remove from heat and pour on top of chocolate.
7. Whisk till smooth. Set aside.

 


 

TO ASSEMBLE
1. Cut tops off cake so that the surface is flat.
2. Spread about a teaspoon of marshmallow filling on the cake. Top it off with another cake, making sure the golden brown sides are exposed.
3. Place the assembled cakes on a wire rack with a sheet pan underneath to catch the ganache. Pour a small amount of ganache on top of each of the assembled cakes until the tops and sides are cov- ered. A spatula may be needed.
4. Let it set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

 

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– Story and photos by Christina Ng
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Top 6 Fragrances Worn by Your Favorite Celebrities

 

Fragrance is a strong factor in defining one’s personality, and it can get a little tricky and overwhelming to choose the right scent. We created a list of your favorite celebs along with their favorite scent for the fall season. Hopefully this will guide you in deciding your own signature scent this fall!

 


 

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Vanessa Hudgens
The all-time fresh and stylish Vanessa Hudgens revealed her favorite scent: Aquolina Pink Sugar. Just like the lovely Hudgens we all know, the fragrance balances out the sweet caramel and vanilla scent with a stack of womanly sexiness.

 


 

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Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling’s go-to fragrance is Stella McCartney Stella Eau de Parfum because it was the fragrance her mother wore. After applying the fragrance, wait a few minutes; you never know the actual scent of the fragrance until a few minutes later. In just a few minutes, the sharp and metallic scent converts to roses with a hint of spice.

 


 

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Nicole Scherzinger
Why not find two separate signature scents you can wear during the day and night? During the day, Nicole Scherzinger likes to release a positive and softer side through Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb. Don’t worry– despite the name, it’s actually not that flowery. It’s more of a sugary scent with a hint of flowers which helps intensify the entire scent. In the evening, Nicole unleashes her wild side through Thierry Mugler’s Alien that will remind you of the sultry and intriguing Nicole you’ve always seen from the Pussycat Dolls.

 


 

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Hwang, Jung-Eum
The K-drama Endless Love superstar Jung-Eum Hwang is known to wear the English Pear & Freesia Colonge by Jo Malone, which is the perfect essence for autumn. For those in love with soapy, crisp and fresh scents, this fragrance will keep you satisfied all season long.

 


 

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Lee, Hae-Young
Who would’ve ever imagined she’s in her early 40s? Known for her unique and refined sense of style, Lee Hae-Young is one inspiring figure for woman in South Korea. On her Instagram, Lee Hae-Young revealed how much she’s in love with the elegant and gender-neutral Chai Robert Piguet.

 

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM