The other day, I went out for a night on the town wanting to dance. My companion and I were itching to get jiggy with it but we were in a city where we weren’t sure if there were any good dancing places.
After a delicious dinner, he and I, dressed to the nines (okay, maybe 8-and-a-halfs), took a walk through the main street of the city. It was a lively street with people bustling in and out of restaurants, parking to get to the movies on time, and waiting at stop signs for friends. However, none of the establishments looked like it would make for a good dance floor.
Finally, we heard distant Mexican music playing in the corner of one of the blocks.
We head towards the music and spotted across the street from us, a bustling courtyard filled with people, music, and laughter. The courtyard really was just the outside dining area of a restaurant but on that very night, it was a place of merriment and joy. Part of us wanted to step into the courtyard and see what all the fuss was about but part of us longed for the familiarity of something we were more used to –a dark, dingy dance floor, hip hop and rap music with a lot of autotune and electronica thrown in, girls vamped up in short skirts and long eyelashes, and al-al-al-al-al-alcohol.
After a moment of wonder, the pull of familiarity grasped us too tight and we headed into a very standard-looking club/lounge place. The place had a bouncer in the front, its name in neon blue letter and was pitch-dark when peered in. It felt like all the other clubs around the world that we were used to. We wanted to check out the open courtyard across the street but we just weren’t ready to explore the unknown yet.
After 10 minutes at the usual club/lounge, we were done. The place was still fairly empty (because it was early in the night) and it just wasn’t appealing. The music was nothing you can dance to and yet, it played so loud, you couldn’t hold a nice conversation with it. All the club patrons did not look happy — everyone was too busy checking each other out to really enjoy themselves. I stared out the small window of the club and at the open courtyard across the street.
“We should really be there,” I urged my companion, “They look like they’re actually having fun. We should at least check it out.”
He relented and away we went to cross the street into the courtyard, the loud Mexican music still blaring festively. We spot old grandmas, young toddlers, lesbians, families, friends, everyone just dancing away. At first we were just going to look but, “Let’s join them,” my companion said.
“Serious?” I asked.
“Yeah!” He said, tugging my hand to the dance floor.
We start dancing, free from feeling awkward because no one else really gave a damn we were there because they were enjoying themselves too much. Pretty soon, the Mexican music turned into some 60′s oldies, then 70′s, then 80′s. I was struck by how wholesome the entire thing was. How everyone was enjoying themselves, enjoying their company, and enjoying doing everything out in the open, bright night sky. Can you ever imagine that happening at your local night club anymore?
Mid-dancing, we made friends with two ladies standing next to us. At first, they were just sitting on a bench, staring at everyone else dancing. However, perhaps due to the appearance of two of the only Asian people in the group, they felt confident enough to join in on the dancing. One of the ladies, probably in her mid-40′s and dressed in baggy jeans, a hoodie, and a bandana around her head, moved so freely through the crowd, it looked like she was swimming in water.
“I was born and raised here and I love this town!” the woman told us, smiling widely. “I had Latino friends, Asian friends, white friends, black friends, all sorts of friends!”
We couldn’t help but mirror her smile.
Our entire dance-fest probably only lasted 20 minutes but that memory is so juicy good that it’ll last in my heart for a lifetime. It’s moments like this that I cherish and chase after.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because today is my last day as Assistant Editor and Online Manager of Audrey Magazine. After today, I will be embarking on a journey to Asia to chase after cherished stories from the East.
I’ve had some incredible years working with Audrey. It’s been a childhood dream of mine to work in magazines and when I first discovered Audrey Magazine in my college library and thought, “whoa cool! A magazine in English with a girl who looks like me on the cover! How awesome!” As I flipped through the issue and browsed through makeup tips and interviews with game-changing Asian American female role models, I felt…at home. It was a feeling of, “Hey, I exist in mass media.”
I hope the content I’ve produced at Audrey Magazine inspired and enlightened. From exploring the roles of Asian Americans on television to sharing stories about real women who love their body and quirks, from curly hair, to ambiguous body shapes, to promoting the works of some real game-changers in the Asian American industry, I’ve learned just as much sharing these stories as I hope the readers have.
Some of my favorite stories while working for Audrey Magazine:
It was so fun hanging out, interviewing Youtube star Joseph Vincent and helping out with his photo shoot. Joseph was easy-going, super-charming, and not to mention easy on the eyes. It’s no wonder the girls swarmed on him while we checked out a Bruno Mars concert at The Grove.
Planning this roundtable with some of Hollywood’s most talented Asian American television starlets was a blast. We chilled out with Ashley Argota, Jolene Purdy and Nikki Soohoo at Culver City’s fab Royal/T cafe and really dissected the ins and outs of being Asian American and working in Hollywood these days.
Randall became a friend after our feature of him in Audrey Magazine and I get so giddy every time I see him in another commercial, Youtube short, or movie (so that means I get giddy…a lot since the guy is everywhere). I can’t wait to see his career sky-rocket righteously so.
This was a real passion project: a labor of love. My heart broke after hearing stories and stories of girlfriends and female family members that I loved not valuing their bodies. My own body is nowhere near perfect but would I trade it for the world or not treasure it? No way in hell. Glad these ladies shared my sentiments and brought this photo feature to life (with the help of a very talented Melly Lee behind the cameras.)
I had such a profound interview with Glee starlet Jenna Ushkowitz. My favorite quote from her:
“Because I did it. I don’t understand people who can just sit and be comfortable and not do something about it when they’re unhappy with their lives. I was always, ‘Get whatever you want, when you want it, and if you’re not happy, change it.’ Life’s too short, why not be happy every single day? That’s why I was like, ‘I have to do this.’ Even if it takes years just to get a show.” Here’s to following your advice, Jenna!
There’s many more great Audrey stories, from getting to interview the lovable, lovely Mindy Kaling to staging the beautiful picture of Spring cover girl Hannah Simone with a flower over one eye, geeking out while chatting with YA novelist Marie Lu, experimenting with my hair at posh Beverly Hills salons, tampering with my palate at great restaurants, I could really go on and on.
And if that wasn’t enough, I had an incredible group of people that I worked with. Co-workers I genuinely admired and had affections for. We enjoy each other’s company so much, we even spend our off-hours hanging out together. Willingly! I will miss that.
And then there’s you.
All you readers who really were the driving force to my work. To be able to receive your insights on how the magazine and its stories changed you and/or inspired you and/or made you feel accepted rewarded me so much.
I made the personal decision awhile back to take a leap of faith into unknown territory pursuing my dreams and passions. Though my dreams and passions of telling great stories and inspiring and enlightening haven’t changed, the outlet to do this will. I thank you for my time here at Audrey and if you are still interested in hearing what I have to say, hop on over to my personal blog The Media Maid and my travel blog.
No matter where I end up, you can bet there will be a lot of dancing.
No related posts.