This year’s Miss USA Pageant, which will air in May on NBC, is a biggie: it’s the 60th anniversary. And while we find too few Asian faces represented in the national competition, we can usually count on Hawaii to put up an Asian American contestant. Hawaii was the most recent state to join the Miss USA competition (in 1962), and four Miss Hawaii USA winners (including eventual Miss Universe winner Brook Lee) have gone on to win the national title of Miss USA, while Chinese-Filipino-Hawaiian American actress Kelly Hu went on to win the Miss Teen USA competition in 1985.
It’s award season, and what award show is bigger than the Oscars? This year marks the 83rd Academy Awards, and the nominees for this year’s show (airing next Sunday, February 27) are definitely packing a punch. Last year’s big winner was The Hurt Locker followed by Avatar (both as expected by critics and viewers alike), but this year truly is a toss-up. Many talented individual and group efforts were recognized in this year’s nominations, including actress Hailee Steinfeld, who is of Filipino, Jewish, Caucasian and African American descent; Indian British film editor Tariq Anwar; and the Chinese film The Warriors of Quigang. Also, this year’s OSCARS Designer Challenge 2011 is coordinated by an Asian American woman, Toni Pickett. That’s a record three Oscar nominations for people of Asian background this year, not to mention the Designer’s Challenge being spearheaded by an Asian American woman. This year’s Oscars is definitely a breakthrough for the Asian community.
Hailee Steinfeld is a young (just 14-years-old!) up-and-coming actress nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as the role of Mattie Ross in True Grit.
Happy V-Day everyone! If you get engaged today (tell us!) or if you’re already engaged and thinking of saying “I do” on the Islands, here’s a little insider guide from a local. At the very least, it’ll get you in the mood for love.
Every woman pictures her wedding day to be absolute perfection — perfect fiancee, perfect dress, perfect ring … and perfect weather. Where else to go for perfect weather year round but the islands of Hawaii? In Hawaii there is no destined “wedding season” as there is in the mainland, because the weather stays the same each and every day. Warm and sunny. Perfect.
Unfortunately, not every one of us has a contact in Hawaii that is “in the know,” so I’ve compiled a basic list of recommended and reputable companies that play a vital role in the workings of a wedding ceremony. Each company has had many years of experience in the islands, and offer the best when it comes to capturing the essence of the “dream wedding in paradise.”
Watanabe Floral is one of the most reputable florists in the state of Hawaii, winning numerous awards including Hawaii’s Best Florist 2003-2008 by Star Bulletin Midweek, Best Florist 2007 by Honolulu Magazine, and Best of the Best 2007-2008 by Honolulu Advertiser. Watanabe Floral is a family business that has been in the industry for more than 64 years. The store offers services including bridal bouquets, church and reception flowers, centerpieces, boutonnieres and corsages, parent pieces, leis, hair pieces, archway decorations, on-site set up, and free consultation with appointment. Not only does Watanabe Floral offer a wide range of flowers, but they are well informed in the meaning behind the flowers as well as floral and plant care.
Marina Miller is the owner of Red Heart Photo. Red Heart Photo employs a unique and fresh style, transcended by classic photojournalistic techniques with an edge so that every moment in a wedding can be captured perfectly. “Your wedding is a very special day. My job is to capture your day as a story, catching those little and big moments as they unfold before me. I perform with professionalism and a creative vision that will bring out your inner star,” she says.
Supreme Video Productions was founded by Philip Lemoine in Late 2009. Philip has had more than six years in the videography industry. After filming dozens of weddings with other reputable production companies back home in California, he decided to make the jump to Hawaii to finish his degree in business at the University of Hawaii, pursue his passion for film, and start his own production company. Supreme Video Productions offers footage mastered onto Blue-Ray DVD format, and is recorded in full 1080p HD. “Our style of filming and editing is far from the traditional. With smooth camera movements, creative angles, and a high production value, you can truly relive your special moments.”
Get a taste of their work here:
Supreme Video Productions
Aloha Cakery was founded by Kathy Mahone in 2007, but she has been designing cakes since 1992. Kathy Mahone was born in Kailua, Hawaii, and she and her family moved to Maryland in 1999. While she was there, she worked with Fancy Cakes by Leslie,a renowned cake artisan in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland area. Aloha Cakery has won awards including, 2010 pick for the knot Best of Weddings, and Bride’s Choice Awards 2010 by Wedding Wire.
For more information on these companies as well as other reputable companies in Hawaii, The Wedding Cafe is the place to go. It is a bit of a “one stop shop” for brides to be, and the staff there takes care of you for every minute in planning your wedding. The Wedding Cafe holds workshops, trunk shows, and special events, and their website features an online directory of recommended vendors including bridal salons, caterers, entertainment, hair and makeup stylists, officiants, reception decor, valet services, and venues.
Contributor and University of Hawaii at Manoa student Soohee Cho lets us in on all the insider secrets of life in Hawaii.
Hawaii is one of the must see destination spots for vacationers around the world, but to me it is my home. I am a Korean American and I have lived in Hawaii for the past six years. From my past experiences here in these wonderful islands I have made many memories that I feel only could have been possible here in Hawaii. Here are five reasons (in no specific order) why it is great to be Asian American in Hawaii.
1. We Rule
Asian Americans are practically the majority in Hawaii. The 50th state has the nation’s highest percentage of residents of Asian descent — 41.6 percent in 2000, when its Asian population numbered 503,868. As a result, more political leaders in Hawaii’s government are of Asian descent. James “Duke” Aiona served as Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii from 2002-2010, and he is of Hawaiian, Chinese and Portuguese descent. Hawaii’s congressional representation is entirely made of Asian Americans: Daniel Inouye (Japanese), Daniel Akaka (Chinese-Hawaiian), Charles Djou (Chinese), and Mazie Hirono (Japanese). There is also a larger percentage of on-air Asian Americans on local television than in the rest of the country. One of the most well-known faces in the industry is Stephanie Lum (Chinese) of KGMB and KHNL Hawaii News Now, who is arguably considered a local celebrity here in Hawaii.
2. The Food
One of the best things about living in Hawaii as an Asian American is definitely the food. Food is a big way in which both the Asian culture and local Hawaiian culture meet, and create an entirely new menu just for the people of Hawaii. Restaurants incorporating the Asian American local lifestyle include Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar, with items on their menu such as the Sushi Pizza; Zippy’s, famous for their Zip-Pac; and Big City Diner, which features dishes like Grandma’s Incredible Kim Chee Fried Rice.
Big chain brands such as 7-Eleven and McDonald’s also cater to the local taste buds. Unlike most 7-Eleven stores on the mainland, those located in Hawaii offer spam musubi and other Asian-Hawaiian snacks daily. Also, McDonald’s offers a breakfast menu exclusive to the islands, including items like Portuguese, Eggs, and Rice, or Spam, Eggs and Rice.
3. Landmark Family-Owned Businesses
When visiting Hawaii, it is important to have a checklist or a to do list of where you would like to visit. Most people choose to visit the typical landmarks of Hawaii, which includes scenic locations such as Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay and the Pali Lookout. Other popular landmarks of sorts revolve more around the retailers that have been around for generations, and gained popularity throughout the years. These include stores such as Matsumoto Shave Ice, owned and operated by a Japanese family and known for their absolutely delicious shave ice, as well as 88 Tees owned and operated by a Korean family and known for their, well, “tees.”
4. The Tourism Industry
The state of Hawaii is strategically located between East Asia and North America. Between its convenient location and its amazing weather year round, Hawaii is the perfect choice for foreign travelers for their vacation destination. Due to the importance of tourism and its impact on the business market of Hawaii, most businesses try to boost their company’s customer service by placing importance on the ability to speak Japanese, as well as other languages. There are also many restaurants that stay true to the Japanese palate around the Waikiki area, and stores like Don Quijote (a super store originating from Japan) offer otherwise Japan-exclusive items (makeup, food products, hair and body products) to both tourists and residents of Hawaii.
5. Diverse Asian Language Studies
The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers one of the most largest and diverse academic course availabilities for Asian language studies, including Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, Chamorro, Hindi, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese. The University of Hawaii at Manoa also is home to the Center for Korean Studies buildings, completed in December 1979.