[Watch] This Petite Ballerina Didn’t Fit Ideal Body Standards, Chased Her Dreams Anyway

 

According to The Body of Ballet,” a simple glance at a woman’s body can indicate whether or not she will be successful in the art of ballet. The article states that the future of dancers can be determined “in the length of their thighs, the shape of their feet and even the size of their breasts. It’s not right, but it is the reality.” And what exactly is this ideal body? Apparently it must include high arches, a small bust and most importantly, long arms and legs.

Misa Kuranaga does not have this ideal body type.

Standing at just a little over 5 feet, Misa Kuranaga’s small stature often worked against her as she pursued her dreams of ballet. For instance, because her figure simply didn’t fit the mold, she was fired from an apprenticeship at the world famous San Francisco Ballet company.

“My self-esteem was shattered,”Kuranaga admits. “I questioned my place as an Asian in the dance world.”

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So did Kuranaga let defeat consume her? Absolutely not. She got back up and willed herself to learn how to move her body in a way that stood out. She didn’t fit the ideal standards of a ballerina, but she was determined to prove that she was just as good.

“Everyone is born with something that they struggle with,”  Kuranaga told Huffington Post. “You need to fight for your own goals, and not somebody else’s standards.”

And she certainly rose to the occasion. In 2003, she joined the Boston Ballet. By 2009, after already being promoted to a soloist, Kuranaga became the very first Asian principal ballerina. She recently participated in SK-II’s #changedestiny series which reminds all women that DNA should not limit your from chasing your dreams.  In the video below, she shows us how she didn’t let the ideal body standard of a ballerina hinder her from her passion.

 

 

Not done being inspired by Misa Kuranaga? We’re not done either. Check out Boston Ballet’s video where she shares everything from her inspiration to childhood stories.

 

Ms. Marvel Steps Into the Real World to Combat Anti-Islam Ads

 

It looks like Marvel superheroes can exist in the real world after all. Citizens of San Francisco can now see Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani American Muslim teen named Kamala Khan, fighting against racism. How exactly is she doing this? By fighting back against Anti-Islam bus ads.

It all began when the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group that is sometimes classified as an extremist anti-Muslim hate group, purchased some offensive bus ads which correlated Muslims to Nazis.

You may be wondering why these ads weren’t taken down immediately. Apparently, despite countless complaints from the public, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) could not take the ads down because of freedom of speech. In fact, Muni is even running it’s own campaign against the ads.

In the meantime, are citizens supposed to sit around patiently and just put up with the racist ads? Absolutely not. San Francisco street artists responded to these ads with none other other Ms. Marvel. The ads have been blocked with strong pictures of Ms. Marvel as well as statements such as “Calling All Bigotry Busters,” “Free Speech Isn’t a License to Spread Hate” and “Stamp Out Racism.” This brilliant response even caught the attention of G. Willow Wilson, the creator of Ms. Marvel.   


So who says superheroes can’t exist in the real world? Ms. Marvel is certainly doing a good job with it.

 

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Photos courtesy of http://www.pastemagazine.com/

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“Let it Go” Composers Are Writing a Song for Neil Patrick Harris to Sing at the Oscars

 

Recognize Robert Lopez? Well you certainly should. Lopez was the very first Filipino American to win an Oscar during the 86th Academy Awards. If you don’t yet recognize his name, you’ll certainly recognize Lopez’s work. This songwriter took home an Oscar for composing Frozen’s “Let it Go” with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

His time with the Academy Awards is far from over it seems. He and his wife are now writing a song for Neil Patrick Harris to sing at upcoming Oscars.

Neil Patrick Harris revealed this news just a few days ago through his official Twitter account. He explained that while he wasn’t at liberty to say what the duo is planning, he can promise that it won’t be a song called “Let It O.”

 


Of course, an Oscar isn’t the only thing Lopez can boast about. He is also the first Filipino American to be part of the prestigious group known as EGOT. This group– which contains only 12 individuals such as Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg –consists of individuals who have won the four top entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Lopez has voiced that he hopes “Filipino artists everywhere take my example as proof that you don’t have to look a certain way for your dreams to come true. It just takes hard work, perseverance and some luck.”

Want to check out the couple’s work for yourself? Here’s an interview with Hola Hollywood about the making of “Let it Go.”

 

 

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Must-Read of the Week: ‘The Steady Running of the Hour’ by Justin Go

 

In 2008, 27-year-old Justin Go, who is hapa Japanese American, quit his job at a New York law firm to move to Berlin and chase his dream of becoming a novelist. Similarly, young Tristan Campbell, the protagonist in Go’s debut novel, also leaves his American life for an epic adventure in Europe. However, Tristan does not leave his familiar life in San Francisco to seek creative inspiration. He embarks on his adventure to claim a fortune.

The Steady Running of the Hour intertwines two tales: A love story and an epic quest. In one story, present-day Tristan only has weeks to prove that he is the descendant of Imogen Soames-Anderson. If he is successful, he will inherit a fortune. Meanwhile, the other story takes place nearly 90 years earlier in 1924. This revolves around the relationship between Imogen and Ashley Walsingham — the very relationship Tristan is desperately trying to prove.

As readers, we certainly get caught up in Tristan’s race against time, but it’s even easier to become invested in the tragic love story of Imogen and Ashley. The relationship is immediate and intense, but also controversial and shrouded in mystery. As Tristan unravels the story behind his could-be ancestors, he gains much more than he expected.

Details Hardcover, $26, simonandschuster.com.

This story was originally published in our Winter 2014-15 issue. Get your copy here

 

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The Cutest 3 Minutes of Your Day: 6-Year-Old Kai Finally Sings With Bruno Mars

 

Fans of The Ellen Degeneres Show are certainly no stranger to Kai Langer. After all, this 6-year-old has been making Ellen’s audience smile for the past two years.

During the many, many times Kai has appeared on Ellen, he’s sported his trademark fedora hat. This is, of course, to mimic his idol Bruno Mars. If you need proof of his passion for Bruno Mars music, just check out the video his mother uploaded onto YouTube. This video of Kai singing “Grenade” catapulted the 4-year-old into viral fame and caught the attention of Ellen.

Since his first appearance, we’ve seen Kai passionately (and adorably) sing “When I Was Your Man,” “Treasure,” and “Marry You.”

So what could possibly be better than a fedora-wearing 6-year-old singing a Bruno Mars song? How about a fedora-wearing 6-year-old singing a Bruno Mars song with Bruno Mars? That’s right. We finally have footage of the adorable duo together and this time, they’re singing the hit single featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.”

I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t wait to see Kai rocking that pink suit and those hair curlers.

 

 

Technically this isn’t the first time that Kai and Bruno sang together. As Kai was flying back home from his first appearance on Ellen, he was coincidentally placed on the same plane as Bruno. After casually introducing himself with a “Hi Bruno,” the sang together and took pictures to prove it.

But obviously, this is so much better than pictures.

Want to see how it all started? Check out Kai singing his heart out to other Bruno songs.

 

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More on the ‘Separated @ Birth’ Twins Who Found Each Other on YouTube

 

The millennial generation is often criticized for the amount of social media they indulge in on a daily basis. But social media has its upsides: We’re able to stay in touch with friends and family living overseas, long-distance relationships have a better chance of surviving, and we may even meet our future best friend or true love.

For 27-year-old Samantha Futerman from Los Angeles, she found someone she had never even imagined.

In February 2013, Anaïs Bordier, a French fashion design student living in London, got her first glimpse of Samantha through a YouTube video featuring the aspiring American actress. Shocked by how familiar she looked, Anaïs began Googling Samantha’s background.

You see, Anaïs was of Korean descent and was adopted as a baby. When she discovered that Samantha shared the same birthday, she sent Samantha a Facebook message. Convinced that they were related, the two began visiting one another and discovered they were identical twins.

They’re filming a documentary, and now you can read their incredible story in Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited. Here, we get a quick look at the siblings.

 

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Audrey Magazine: Some say twins are psychically connected. Did you have any inkling growing up that you had a sibling, much less a twin?

Samantha: None at all! I knew I had a biological family, as all adoptees do, but would have never imagined this.

Anaïs: I knew that I had biological family as well, and I had a feeling that there was more to it. However, I never thought it would be a twin!

 


 

AM: Any quirks that you have found you both share?

Samantha: We hate cooked carrots! Raw is fine, though.

 


 

AM: Any traits or characteristics that you have found are completely opposite to each other?

Anaïs: Sam has horrible table manners. I hate the way she eats. Samantha: Yeah, I’m messy.

 


 

AM: Sisters often have a love- hate relationship. Have you had any big arguments yet?

Anaïs: We haven’t had any big disagreements. I don’t think that we ever will get into a big argument because we understand each other so deeply. However, I’d prefer if my sister would keep her belongings a bit neater. She is quite messy, and it stresses me.

 


 

AM: How often do you communicate now, and any plans to live in the same city?

Samantha: We talk everyday via the Internet. Although we would love to be in the same city, it’s hard with our citizenships. We do love to travel and visit each other though. I guess it’s a new type of long-distance relationship.

 


 

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Details Hardcover, $26.95, penguin.com.
This story was originally published in our Winter 2014-15 issue. Get your copy here

Beautiful Indian Bridal Wear Inspired by Disney Princesses

 

The love for Disney Princesses is at an all-time high. Earlier this month, we discovered a campaign by Disney Channel (Asia) which had Southeast Asian celebrities pose as Disney Princesses. That’s not all. We’ve seen artists re-imagine Disney Princesses as different ethnicities and even gender bend the princesses into princes.

Clearly, the Disney Princess hype is far from over. Recently, Indian bridal wear company Wellgroomed Designs found themselves inspired by Disney as well. The result? Wellgroomed created nine stunning Indian bridal looks inspired by Disney Princesses.

“In our quest to do something out of the the ordinary, we thought it be awesome to do a Disney themed bridal shoot,” Wellgroomed explained on their official blog. “After all, many brides grow up idealizing characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jasmine, etc.”

“Our idea was to showcase these characters as Indian brides,” they continued. “We knew it would be a challenge to pull this off but we’re blessed with some very talented and creative people in our industry.”

Check out the breath-taking bridal wear below and tell us your favorite!

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Inspired by Snow White.

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Inspired by Rapunzel.

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Inspired by Ariel.

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Inspired by Cinderella.

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Inspired by Pocahontas.

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Inspired by Aurora.

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Inspired by Jasmine.

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Inspired by Belle.

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Inspired by Mulan.

 

All photos courtesy of Wellgroomed Designs.
Decor: Universal Decor
Photography: Amrit Photography
Jewelry: Obsession Jewelry
Makeup: Makeup Vibez by Ranjit Heer
Hair: Powder Room Studio | Glam by Sav I Iris Chau
Locations: Dhaliwal Banquet Hall, Surrey | Hycroft Manor, Vancouver
Models: Michelle Senghera, Jasmeen Johal, Carly Pinchin, Rachel Deagon, Alisha Sidhu, Shirin Sharifikhah, Iris Chau, Chanel Brar and Astra Pereira

Moon Myung Jin and Son Seung Yeon to Perform at Pechanga Resort & Casino

There are already countless reasons to drop by Pechanga Resort & Casino. Maybe you want to check out their beautiful, multimillion dollar renovation. Or maybe you want to check out some of their incredible performers such as Kenichi Ebina who wowed Pechanga audiences back in April 2014.

Well, it looks like there will be two more big reasons to visit in February: Moon Myung-jin and Son Seung Yeon.

The “R&B master” Moon Myung-jin and the rising star Son Seung Yeon will perform live together in the upcoming “Healing Concert” at Pechanga Resort & Casino on Saturday, February 28 (8pm) and Sunday, March 1 (5pm).

Moon Myung-jin, a veteran R&B and soul singer, received plenty of attention when he appeared in Immortal Song, a popular singing competition TV show, in 2013. He sang Haebaragi’s “It’s Not Only Sorrow” and immediately topped all Internet searches in Korea. He became more popular after winning the show’s 100th episode (The Deulgukhwa Special) and Sulwondo Special.

Son Seung Yeon was the winner of The Voice Korea in 2012. Since winning, she’s been garnering much attention and popularity for her powerful voice and singing talent. She joined Immortal Song in 2014 and quickly became the queen of the show.

Tickets are priced at $70 (Silver), $90 (Golden), $110 (Orchestra), $150 (VIP) and can be purchased by visiting the Pechanga Box Office from noon to 8pm or www.pechanga.com/tickets. You can also call 714-443-3500 for more inquiries.

 

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[VIDEO] American Teens Watch J-pop For the First Time

 

The Fine Bros are back again with yet another reaction video. This time, much to our delight, they had American teenagers watch J-pop music videos for the very first time.

Anyone who is familiar with J-pop knows that it’s very, very different from American entertainment. To many Americans, dancing pop groups are a thing of the past. Well the reign of N’Sync and Spice Girls may have ended with the 90’s, but this trend is far from over in Asia.

The teens watched a total of three music videos from the J-pop bands Perfume, Exile and AKB48. It came as no surprise that among the many reactions garnered from these music videos, the strongest of all was confusion. After all, in Perfume’s “Laser Beam” music video, a masked man turns into a fighting polar bear… which then turns into a stuffed animal.

Of course, confusion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One teen, who seemed completely lost, found delight in his confusion and concluded that the video was “so awesome!” Another, who was at first shocked by the number of group member in Exile, quickly got over it and commented that the video was “kind of amazing.” Things eventually took a turn with AKB48’s music video. This video, although cute, seemed to finally cross the line and make the teens feel uncomfortable with its suggestive content.

In the end, despite the confusion and shock (especially over the fact that AKB48 has over 100 group members), the teens seemed to enjoy the quirkiness and cinematography.

But will they continue watching J-pop in the future?  Probably not.

 


 

Want to see the J-pop videos for yourself? Check them out below.

 

 

 

 

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Disney Artist Combines ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ With ‘Big Hero 6′

 

Big Hero 6‘s Baymax is easily one of the most beloved animated characters of 2014. What’s not to love about this personal healthcare provider? He’s big, huggable and has a warm heart (metaphorically speaking).

But as we list all these lovable traits, it’s a little hard not to think about another popular animated character. Sure he’s decades older, but Studio Ghibli’s Totoro certainly holds many of the same qualities found in Baymax.

Jin Kim, the Character Design Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, certainly seemed to see the correlation as well. Kim, a South Korean-native who worked on the character designs for Big Hero 6, has made it clear on his personal blog that he is a Studio Ghibli fan. He took this one step further by combining Big Hero 6 with the famed animated film My Neighbor Totoro.

Kim originally posted this image back in November, but it has recently gone viral on twitter and has delighted the hearts of many.

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Here is the original, iconic bus stop scene from My Neighbor Totoro.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen artists recreate this bus stop scene. Hayao Miyazaki’s work has been so inspiring, we’ve seen this moment re-imagined with everything from Pokemon characters to Marvel characters.

 

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Photo courtesy of http://indulgy.com/

 

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Photo courtesy of Team Yellow

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Photo courtesy of Know Your Meme

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