Throwback Thursday: Olivia Munn Was Adorable Even Before ‘The Newsroom’

This story was originally published in our Spring 2011 issue. Get your copy here.
Story by Janice Jann

It must be really hard to date Olivia Munn. Not because she’s gorgeous in the girl-next door way, with freckles lightly scattered across her button nose and her goofy, toothy grin. Not because she’s got the wicked sense of humor of a teenage boy, spouting racy jokes one minute, shocking hairstylists and photographers the next. And not because she has the curves — and we’re talking curves — of a real woman, unlike other half-starved actresses.

No, it must be really hard to date Olivia Munn because she is probably one of the busiest women in Hollywood right now. After rescheduling six times the first day, only to push the interview back to the next day, only to have her finally call me on the phone while driving between errands, I almost felt like a suitor who just wasn’t getting the hint. “Sorry, I know you had to move stuff around for me all the time,” apologizes Munn. “It’s [just] an amazing time right now.”

An amazing time, indeed. Besides television gigs on both sides of the coast, Munn is also a best-selling author who just landed her biggest movie role to date. I understand, but Munn still extends an offer to meet in person. The next morning, I arrive at her newly purchased home tucked away in the Hollywood Hills, bearing a gift. “Oh, nice!” she exclaims, unwrapping a Japanese jelly energy drink. “I actually needed this.” She shows me around the house, sharing intimate details, from photos of loved ones (there’s shots of her mother with all her siblings) to the contents of her fridge (I spot kimchi). It’s clear that the Chinese-German-Irish Munn is as Asian as she is American.

Growing up, Munn spent a large portion of her youth in Japan and Oklahoma, and it wasn’t easy moving around a lot. “When you’re always the new girl, it forces you to come up with new ways to make friends,” says Munn, “because every time you go somewhere, it’s literally the same battle. Eventually with me, once I built up so much scar tissue, I didn’t have to worry so much about becoming popular or being welcomed or being accepted.” That doesn’t mean Munn doesn’t care what people think now that she’s in the spotlight. “Nobody wants to be un-liked. You want people to respect you,” she says. “It’s really annoying, those people who go, ‘I just want to do art.’ Really? ’Cause why aren’t you doing community theatre in Missouri? You’re out here busting your ass for a Taco Bell commercial. … I think once everybody is honest with themselves on what they’re searching for, you can break down what truly matters at the end of the day.”

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Munn realized early on that what she wanted at the end of the day is to act. In second grade, Munn informed her mother of her dreams and was met with rejection. “She was like, ‘no, no, you be a lawyer,’” Munn recalls. “They took a big risk coming to America with no money and so they think, don’t take risks. And from that moment, I thought I wasn’t allowed to dream that dream.” But the dream refused to die and a couple of years later, Munn begged her mom to move to Hollywood. “Financially, I could have made it [on my own], but because I’m Chinese, I needed my mom’s approval,” Munn says. “It’s ingrained into my DNA.” Munn’s mother, in turn, made her graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a journalism degree and work for a year at a local television station before granting her permission to move west.

But getting to Hollywood was only half the battle. Though the actress is embraced for her unique look now, that wasn’t always the case when she was a struggling artist. “Early on, I knew I didn’t look like everyone else. I used to look in the mirror and cry and literally hit myself [because] my eyes looked so Asian,” says Munn. She did some catalogue modeling that “sucked because I was the shortest and the biggest out of all the girls.” And she set her sights on the future, one goal at a time. “I told myself, my bar will always be higher than what I was doing at the time. Then if I reached that one, I would make another higher one, and another one,” she says. “I’ve worked hard for a long time [so I could] tell myself, I’ll never be the reason I hear no.”

It was a resounding yes for Munn when she got the offer to host G4’s Attack of the Show (AOTS), a tech-gaming live variety show. Munn joined AOTS in 2006 and over the next four years, a geek goddess bloomed. “I didn’t know what [the show] could do or what it could bring; I just knew that I wanted to be myself and I only wanted to do things that I found funny and not conform,” she says. “That was a place that allowed me to do it.” Together with co-host Kevin Pereira, Munn raised AOTS to cult status, with the tech-geek, Internet- savvy, heavily male audience embracing Munn’s quirky blend of humor, tomboy attitude and sex appeal. (Case in point: a video of Munn chugging a hot dog has more than 11 million hits on YouTube.)

Munn’s reign on G4 ended late last year, but her profile is rising higher than ever with the new NBC prime-time series Perfect Couples and as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Despite all her slightly naughty behavior in  front of the camera (Munn’s Maxim and Playboy bikini shoots top her Google images search), the rising star’s managed to stay out of the tabloids, until recently when she was linked to Justin Timberlake. “Over the last year, I’ve dated guys that, if people knew, would be on the cover of magazines. But they don’t find out because I say, ‘hey, would you like to go to Valencia?’” says Munn. “Some people go to restaurants that are so popular. They say it’s really good food. You’re like, ‘what food is worth that?’ The lobster ceviche will be just as good in a to-go box.” Already a pro at handling fame, Munn knows how much to give and what to keep private. “I feel like I’ve been given a lot and I try to say thank you. The only thing I ask of myself is to try to keep my personal life personal,” she says. “I will take as many pictures as you want, I will try to answer every single question under the sun, and the reason I’m doing that is so you’ll realize that I just have to keep something for myself.”

True to her word, Munn’s relationship with her fans is legendary. The celeb is known for her generosity at impromptu fan meet-and-greets and for fulfilling fanboy desires with sexy cos-plays. Her fan club, cheekily called the OMFGs (Olivia Munn Fan Group), totally reciprocate the love. “They’re amaz- ing. I’m very lucky. It’s a really good feeling to know they have my back,” gushes Munn. And though she’s left G4, she won’t be leaving the OMFGs behind any time soon. “They put me on this ride,” she adds. “They’re coming along for the ride.”

So where does Munn hope this ride will take her? “I’m in a place where I’m very grateful and I’m living my dreams right now,” she says. “I’m doing a million things at once, but the next step is just being on the same plane and being able to hold onto that.” Munn pauses and gazes at the plush white rug we’re lounging on. “I believe in the energy you put out there,” she continues. “If you just keep putting it out there and then if it all goes away, well, as long as I’ve been working hard and I’ve been respectful to myself, my friends, my family, then I’ve won and I’ll feel good about that. I just hope it doesn’t.”

 

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Korean Woman Gets Plastic Surgery to Look Like Miranda Kerr

Story by James S. Kim

Complete makeovers aren’t uncommon. Some of us at some point might need a change in how we do things or in how we look. The question is, then, how far are you willing to change, and what type of person are you willing to become?

For one South Korean woman, it was a question of whom. On a recent episode of Martian X-Files, a Korean reality TV show that spotlights eccentric and unique non-celebrities, one of the guests was a woman who underwent plastic surgery to look like Australian model Miranda Kerr.

The wannabe emphasized that she only had work done on her eyes and nose, according to Soompi. Even from a young age, she said, people would tell her mother that she looked like an “adorable non-Korean child” and asked if her father was from overseas. One time, the guest and her mother got into a taxi. The driver, thinking that they were foreigners, asked where they were from and was surprised when they responded in Korean.

The segment followed the guest as she goes through her makeup ritual. She begins with the universal step one, foundation. The next step is her eyebrows, to which she adds a sharp taper to imitate Kerr’s. She spends the most time on the eyes, then adds some emphasis to her lips to round out the cosmetics portion.

The final step is to add in the colored contacts, given that the hair is the proper style and color. Add in some posing sessions in front of the mirror, and she’s good to go.

So why the obsession with Miranda Kerr, who visited Seoul to great fanfare last June. Some say that Kerr’s appeal is because her looks are a perfect combination of cute and sexy, a look many East Asian young women wish to achieve. For some, by any means necessary.

For those unwilling to go under the knife, here’s an extensive but relatively painless step-by-step makeup tutorial on creating the Miranda Kerr look by YouTube makeup artist Michelle Phan.

This story was originally published by KoreAm Journal

Image of The Day: These Amazing Food Miniatures Are The Ultimate Tease

It’s a sad day when you see such appetizing food and there is no way for you to eat it. First of all, most of the food you see here is made out of polymer clay. While it looks lovely, we highly doubt that the clay would satisfy your taste buds. Secondly, these things are all about 1-2 inches each. What a tease, right?

The e-commerce site, Etsy, which focuses on handmade and vintage items, has been exploding with tiny polymer clay figurines. Simple enough to use, the modeling clay is shaped then simply placed in the oven to harden. Within a few minutes, your art piece is complete.

The clay is a relatively new medium for arts and crafts. Although it does not contain any actual clay minerals, the plastic can be shaped and re-shaped. Previously, polymer clay was a favorite among jewelry makers and even used for christmas ornaments.

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But now polymer clay fanatics have taken this art onto a much more serious (and cute) level. A simple scroll through Etsy will lead you to a number of minuscule figurines featuring everything from fandom characters to cute Asian food.

The amount of detail on these food pieces clearly require skilled hands and keen eyes. The attention to detail is nothing short of impressive. Sushi, steamed buns and dim sum are only a few of the Asian food items that have been skillfully created.

 

Check them out for yourself:

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Audrey’s Movie Pick: “Ip Man: The Final Fight”

Story by Han Cho

With a limited theatrical release, Ip Man: The Final Fight is not your typical wuxia movie. Though it loosely follows the story structure of previous Ip Man movies, it differs in its pacing and tone.

Director Herman Yan slows the story down to follow the life of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip, played by Anthony Wong. Wong’s portrayal of this illustrious Chinese Martial Artist illustrates Ip Man as the man behind the legend rather than the near-mythological-hero-and-underdog-defender most fans may be used to seeing.

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A particularly powerful scene that best exemplifies this is an exchange between Ip Man and his most famous pupil, Bruce Lee. Lee’s face remains hidden throughout the entire scene, perhaps to preserve his legacy by leaving him an enigma. His fame and success is evident as he offers his master a ride in a luxurious American car. Ip man politely declines the offer, saying he prefers to walk home. Such are the ways in which Ip Man: The Final Fight humanizes Ip Man and reveals what might have been his core values and philosophy.

For those who are curious to see a different kind of Yip Kai-man, I highly encourage you to check out Ip Man: The Final Fight .

Ip Man: The Final Fight is currently available on VOD 
Produced by: Albert Lee, Checkley Sin, Albert Yeung
Directed by: Herman Yau
Starring: Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, and Gillian Chung 
102 minutes, Rated R
Check out the official website here

 

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Malaysia Sends First Female Cadet to AXE Apollo Space Academy

Story by Taylor Weik

After facing sexist comments over Facebook in Malaysia’s AXE Apollo Space Race for being the only female contestant out of the 15 applicants, Roshini Muniam was announced the winner on September 24 and will represent Malaysia at the Apollo Space Academy in Florida this December.

Muniam, a 27-year-old post-graduate student and college lecturer at the University of Malaya who dreamed of experiencing zero-gravity from a young age, discovered the competition and after searching for gender-related conditions (AXE markets its body spray towards men, which might explain the male-dominated contest), she applied without hesitation.

The social media-based competition had 15 contestants participate in various physical and mental challenges like scuba diving and constructing rockets over the past couple months, as well as post their bios online for users to vote on who would become “the next AXE-tronaut.”

“Being an astronaut is not just a man’s dream,” Muniam said in the video linked to her finalist profile. “I want to inspire Malaysians and the rest of the world to put their dreams into actions and make them reality.”

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After Facebook released the profiles and photos of the top five contestants –– of which Muniam was one –– angry Facebook users took to the comments section and posted a slew of sexist comments.

“Women should be rejected… it is only for males… if your tampon burst while you are in space, the entire spacecraft will be spoilt,” read one of the responses to Muniam’s photo.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” Muniam responded to the comments from her Facebook page. “I am all out to win this competition because I want to inspire ordinary people to have extraordinary dreams & goals.”

News of the sexist feedback spread to Tumblr, where bloggers participated in one goal: to get Muniam up to first place. And as of September 24, they succeeded.

Muniam will fly out to Florida for space camp for the next leg of the race, where she will continue to compete to be in the top 22 out of 60 international representatives that will be sent to space. If she wins, Muniam will be Malaysia’s first woman astronaut ever.

Image of The Day: Tiny Girl, Giant Totoro

It seems like fans everywhere are trying to keep the Miyazaki fandom alive despite the Miyazaki’s confirmed retirement. Just last month we found an adorable little girl cosplaying as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. 

Now we’ve found a tiny girl with what could be the largest Totoro plush we’ve seen yet. The image is mimicking the film’s famous rain scene.

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When news broke out that Hayao Miyazaki was retiring, fans everywhere wished it was simply a false rumor. For years, Miyazaki brought us whimsical animations such as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. In 2003, the Ghibli studio co-founder won an Oscar for his breathtaking feature film, Spirited Away.

 

Although Miyazaki has shown a mastery of his craft, he has firmly stated that he is done with films. The 72-year-old confirmed that his film The Wind Rises is his last. The film, which focuses on a fictional biography of Japan’s Zero airplane creator Jiro Horikoshi, has already become a box-office hit in Japan since its release in July.

 

With a handful of awards, critical acclaim, and worldwide recognition, Miyazaki will retire knowing that he achieved what he set out to do. According to CBC News, Miyazaki commented, ”I wanted to convey the message to children that this life is worth living. This message has not changed.”

 

While our hearts are saddened by the finale of a talented individual, his work continues to live on.

Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and Komen have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates:

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Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to womenshealth.gov, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to sampan.org, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

 

(source 1,2,3)

Haikus With Hotties: Godfrey Gao

When contributing editor Ada Tseng suggested exchanging poetry with Smoking Hot Asian Guys (SHAGs), we were skeptical. Turns out — pure genius. Here, model and actor Godfrey Gao (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) gamely responds to our lyrical inquiries through Japanese haiku.

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How often do fans
Faint from Godfrey’s smile (or wink)
Be honest, OK? 

Godfrey:
People think I am
Sexy; Flattering, its true
But I’m just bashful.

Striving for beauty
Best regimen for Godfrey
Summed up in haiku? 

Godfrey:
Sweating on “THE” court,
B-ball is my game. Keeps my
Body in good shape.

Louis Vuitton man
How does Godfrey make purse look
So good. Confidence? 

Godfrey:
Never thought I’d be
Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
Powerful warlock.

 

 This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Racist Calls Miss Philippines a Poor Smelly Maid

We were wrong. For once we thought the Asian community could have a win without a large of show of racist backlash. We thought we were safely out of the woods and had avoided another Nina Davuluri ordeal.

Let us all release a collective sigh of disappointment.

This past Saturday, Miss Philippines Megan Young won the Miss World Pageant 2013. The 23-year-old Filipina competed against contestants from 127 different countries. Just like Davuluri, who recently won Miss America, Young encountered negative comments simply because of her race.

A Facebook user who goes by the name “Devina DeDiva” went on a racist rant about her disbelief that Young took the crown. Devina DeDiva publicly released her opinion that all Filipinos are dirty, poor, and maids that should not gain glory.

Her post was immediately shared over 400 times and began quite the debate:

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As you can see, many individuals tried to defend Young. Devina DeDiva was not phased and continued to stand by her opinion. As nice as it was to see people calling Devina DeDiva out on her racism, one must also note that there were an alarming number of people that also seemed to agree and like her racist comments.

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Goodjob Devina, you may now join our list of racist individuals that obviously don’t know common courtesy. Devina DeDiva’s name, which has now been changed to Arabic because of all the angry responses pelted back at her, topped the Twitter trending list in the Philippines.

(source 1, 2)

Proof That This Push-Up Bra Works: The Portrayal of The Transgender Community

A few months ago, this Thai push-up bra commercial went viral. The original video gained over 9 million views since being uploaded:

In honor of LGBT History Month, we decided to bring this video back and take a closer look. It’s clear why the video has so many views with its unexpected ending. Generally, the video was well-received. One viewer commented, “He is attractive both as a girl and a boy.” Another humored viewer commented, “Well the push-up bra definitely works then.”

Although there were still a share of individuals who argued that they were “tricked” and showed anger towards the commercial, people were generally entertained. The commercial didn’t present the transgender community in a negative light and did not try to make fun of it.

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This is not necessarily the case for all Thai commercials containing transgender characters. The following IKEA commercial angered the Thai Transgender Alliance for being “negative,” “stereotypical,” and a “gross violation of human rights.”

The commercial shows a couple walking through IKEA. The woman becomes so excited with a sale for pillows that her voice drops and horrifies her boyfriend. The end shows the boyfriend running off in the opposite direction. The Thai Transgender Alliance argues that “the transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for ‘deceitful and deviant lifestyle.'”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time IKEA has poked fun at the transgender community. Another IKEA commercial, this time coming from France, shows a woman getting ready to go out. She accidentally knocks into a low table and hits her crotch– revealing she was physically born a man.

Although the difference between the first commercial and the last two may seem slight to some, it makes a load of difference. There is a clear distinction between a commercial showing someone proud of their gender identity versus another commercial showing an individual running away from a transgender out of fear.

In honor of LGBT history month, lets try to make it a lasting habit to stay conscious of these differences.