Bollywood’s Deepika Padukone Speaks Out on Her Struggle with Depression

 

If there weren’t enough reasons to love Deepika Padukone already, her candid piece with the Hindustan Times on her struggles with depression and anxiety solidifies her status as a one of the most outspoken and bravest celebrities in Bollywood.

In the peice, Padukone details how her struggles with depression started negatively affecting her life in 2014. Despite all her perceived success in Bollywood, she admits having trouble even getting up in the morning to shoot one of her most recent films Happy New Year. It was an even bigger struggle to put on a brave front for her parents.

At the advice of an aunt, Padukone started taking medication and continued filming Happy New Year. She concludes that she hopes her example will help inspire others to reach out for help. Additionally, she and her team are working on an initiative to help address mental health issues.

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Photo courtesy of Padukone’s official Twitter account.

Padukone’s inspiring actions come at a time when the Indian community is suffering immensely over mental health issues. While the new Indian Prime Minister Modi is attempting to pass a new bill allowing universal mental health services, India still “has the highest number of suicides in the world. According to the World Health Organization, of 804,000 suicides recorded worldwide in 2012, 258,000 were in India. Indian youths between 15 and 29 years old kill themselves at a rate of 35.5 deaths per 100,000 — the highest in the world — and suicide has surpassed maternal mortality as the leading cause of death of young Indian women.”

Since there is still such a stigma against mental health disorders and medication, we find it admirable that a public figure such as Deepika Padukone speaks out. Hopefully, this inspires more people who are struggling with these issues to get the help they need.

If you feel you are struggling with depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health issues, please check out these links here for lists of resources:

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If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call:

1-800-273-8255 (TALK), 24hr National Suicide Prevention Hotline, >150 languages available

1-877-990-8585, 24hr Asian LifeNet Hotline, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Fujianese available

The Low-Down On E-Cigarettes And Why It Affects Asian Americans

A few years ago, I began hearing about vapes, or electronic cigarettes, and I saw my peers start to use them with the claim that they wanted to quit smoking. Naturally, I was extremely skeptical because I was against smoking, even if vapes were supposedly harmless. However, I noticed that many vape shops were opening around me and vaping was rapidly becoming some sort of trend.

You would not have expected me to work a part time summer job at a vape shop, now would you? Well, that’s exactly what I did the summer of 2013. Hearing about how passionate the new store-owners were about promoting a healthier lifestyle by “making the switch” and their own experiences with wanting to quit cigarette smoking opened my eyes and made me want to support their cause.

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In June 2013, BZ Vapin’ had their grand opening in La Habra, California. I was stunned at how huge the event turned out to be as crowds of people filtered in and out of the store’s glass door. The store produced a chill, Hawaiian vibe since the owners had family members from the islands. This theme is actually quite fitting for a vape shop because, unfortunately, tobacco use is a major concern for the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community. In an effort to find a healthier alternative, they became one of the main consumers of vaping products.

According to the Asian Pacific Partners of Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) in Oakland, California, tobacco is associated with heart disease, cancer and strokes. These are the top three killers of Asian Americans nationwide. In 2013, APPEAL conducted studies in Asian languages to accurately track smoking rates. Shockingly, the following groups revealed high smoking rates among men: Cambodian (13-58%), Korean (22-37%), Lao (32) and Vietnamese (24-41%).

Standard vaping pens called C-Twists are customizable from color to tank size.

Standard vaping pens are customizable from color to tank size.

So what exactly are vapes? Electronic cigarettes appeared in the marketplace in the early 2000s and were promoted as a cessation tool for those that wanted to quit tobacco smoking. Its use increased substantially over the last several years. Still, over a decade after the electronic cigarette’s first appearance, some doubt remains whether vaping is actually a healthier alternative to cigarettes and whether there are serious health risks.

In a recent issue of the journal Addiction, they reported that vapes have fewer toxins and at a significantly lower level, and found that switching over can help smokers quit or reduce cigarette consumption.

Vapes carry nicotine liquids or “juices” that typically contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, flavoring and nicotine. There are a variety of flavors, from natural and synthetic to organic fruit extracts. There are also different levels of nicotine that range from zero to 36 mg. This allows the consumer, if they desire, to gradually decrease their nicotine intake and perhaps eventually stop smoking or vaping altogether.

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Aer juices (pronounced like "air") can be mixed to create your own flavor.

Aer juices (pronounced like “air”) can be mixed to create your own flavor.

“E-cig users are inhaling water-like vapor that is free of the tar and high levels of carcinogens that make cigarette smoking so dangerous,” says George Conley, President of the American Vaping Association. He also claims that the public has been misled into thinking that e-cigs are a threat to public health because of the fear that those who have never smoked will vape as first time users. Conley also argues that with the increase of vapor products, there is also a quicker decrease in cigarette sales. Why would anyone be against this?

A customer at BZ Vapin' in La Habra poses with one of the owners while sporting a shirt that says, "Vaping saved my life."

A customer at BZ Vapin’ in La Habra poses with one of the owners while sporting a shirt that says, “vaping saved my life.”

As someone who is anti-tabacco, I support vaping as a healthier alternative. Though I have never smoked tobacco, I have used a vape with juice that contained nicotine many times. Did I become a smoker? No. Am I addicted to vaping? Not at all. I don’t even own one and don’t crave using it. However, I don’t mind the pleasant fruity or dessert scents that comes from the vapor.

So the next time a pleasant smelling cloud comes your way, you’ll know you have nothing to worry about.

All photos courtesy of BZ Vapin’ on Facebook.


Controversy Over ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Producer Eddie Huang

 

As the first Asian American family sitcom on a “Big 5″ network TV channel in twenty years, the mere existence of Fresh off the Boat has already classified the show as a leading pioneer for Asian American representation, despite the fact that the first two* does not air until February 4. The excitement over the show has garnered enormous online buzz, and television critics are generally positive about the pilot and the first few episodes they’ve seen.

Then in an unprecedented move, Eddie Huang, an executive producer of the show and the author of the memoir Fresh Off the Boat (which served as the source material for the show), wrote a piece in Vulture saying, “The network tried to turn my memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot  for America. I hated that.”

In the piece, titled “Bamboo-Ceiling TV,” Huang was not shy to write about his conflicts with fellow executive producer Melvin Mar (Huang calls him an “Uncle Chan”) and he even questioned whether it was valid for Persian American Nahnatchka Khan to be the showrunner (he wrote that he was worried the show would become “The Shahs of Cul-de-Sac Holando“). Throughout the piece, Huang detailed his experience with production as well as the many, many conflicts along the way. In the end, Huang concluded:

We are culturally destitute in America, and this is our ground zero. Network television never offered the epic tale highlighting Asian America’s coming of age; they offered to put orange chicken on TV for 22 minutes a week instead of Salisbury steak … and I’ll eat it; I’ll even thank them, because if you’re high enough, orange chicken ain’t so bad.

The day after Huang’s piece was published, he sat with the cast (and his best friends Melvin Mar and Nahnatchka Khan) at the TCA panel to promote the show in front of a bunch of journalists – all of whom had just finished reading “Bamboo-Ceiling TV.”

 

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Immediately, the panel was off to an awkward and jawdropping start as an unnamed journalist said, “I love the Asian culture. And I was just talking about the chopsticks, and I just love all that. Will I get to see that, or will it be more Americanized?”

Many TCA critics audibly groaned and instantly tweeted their embarrassment and frustration at the racist comment. And after a beat, the panel on stage laughed it off and made chopsticks jokes. However, while the mood was lightened temporarily, the panel remained uncomfortable and contentious as Eddie Huang’s piece was continually brought up. At one point Huang questioned a reporter’s “reading comprehension skills” after he was asked about his negative comments towards Nahnatchka Khan.

Despite this rough patch, critics remain hopeful. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that Fresh Off the Boat was a show they wanted to see succeed because they believed in it and because Asian American representation is important, especially since there are those out there who believe Asian culture is all about the chopsticks.

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* Note: Originally, the piece mentioned that the pilot airs on Feb 4th. It has been revised to the first two episodes airing on Feb 4th and its regular timeslot will be on Feb 10th.


[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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Top Stories of the Week: Not All Asians Are Short, Fashion Bloggers Spearheading Trends, and Controversy at the Golden Globes

1) Breaking the Asian Myth: No, Not ALL Asians Are Short (READ HERE)

 

 

 

feature2) Asian Street Style: Skipping Out On The Super Skinnies (READ HERE)

 

 

 

http://www.luckymag.com/style/2015/01/blogger-cover-story-photos_slideshow_item0_13) How Fashion Bloggers Are Changing Up the Fashion World (READ HERE)

 

 

 

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Season 724) Margaret Cho Responds to Accusations of Racism For Her Golden Globes Sketch (READ HERE)

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.55.58 AM5) Get to Know Dis/orient/ed Comedy’s Jenny Yang (READ HERE)

 

 


Food Trend Alert: What’s Hawaiian Poke And Why Does Everyone Love It?

 

Do you cringe at the thought of eating raw fish or skip out on sashimi at a sushi restaurant? Well, you may soon be warming up to the idea because Hawaiian poke is becoming increasingly popular in Southern California. Perhaps locals are taking more Hawaiian vacations and the demand to bring those island flavors home are high. Or maybe more of our island neighbors are moving to the mainland. Whatever the reason is, Hawaiian poke is welcome to make its tasty mark.

In Hawaiian, “poke” means “to slice or cut.” Traditionally, the dish consisted simply of fresh cut fish with sea salt, candlenut, seaweed and limu (algae). It wasn’t until the 19th century that other vegetables, such as the Maui onion, were incorporated. According to food historian Rachel Laudan, the poke we are familiar with today did not become popular until the 1970s. Although it is only recently that food fanatics are feasting on this tasty yet healthy dish, poke is not new to the food industry. It has been quietly waiting in various American restaurants, served only as an appetizer and waiting to be discovered as a main dish.

Northshore Poke Company's tuna mixed with their Waimea sauce, which is similar to spicy mayo.

Northshore Poke Company’s tuna mixed with their Waimea sauce, which is similar to spicy mayo.

Modern poke is a salad typically made with cubed raw fish (usually tuna), sea salt, seaweed, tomatoes, onions and soy sauce. However, with its growing popularity and poke restaurants slowly popping up, there are now several variations of this dish. At some restaurants, such as Northshore Poke Company, patrons may customize their food by selecting their type of fish, flavor, spice level and whether they would like their fish served as a salad or in a rice bowl. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there are also poke nachos and poke tacos.

Raw fish isn’t always the most appetizing term, but Hawaiian poke is packed with so much flavor, it certainly won’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Feature image courtesy of Northshore Poke Company.

 

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From Disney to Broadway: Vanessa Hudgens Stars in Broadway Musical ‘Gigi’

 

Vanessa Hudgens will sing and dance her way into the hearts of viewers once again. But this time, it won’t be a high school musical. Much to the excitement of her fans, Hudgens announced last fall that she would be starring in the Broadway adaptation of Gigi. Finally, it’s here.

 

A behind the scenes look of Vanessa rehearsing for "Gigi."

A behind the scenes look of Vanessa rehearsing for “Gigi.”

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Photo courtesy of US Magazine

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Photo courtesy of US Magazine


Hudgens, who is best known for her role as Gabriella Montez in Disney’s High School Musical, is taking a step outside mainstream Hollywood and entering an entirely different world by portraying a young French girl in the early 1900s. This seems to spark controversy and dislike among longtime Gigi fans because of Vanessa’s ethnicity. However, the Filipino-American actress won’t let negativity dull her excitement.

In the behind the scenes video below, Hudgens says Gigi “sits so deeply in who I am.”

 

 

Based on the 1944 novel by the late French writer, Colette, the story focuses on Gigi, a young girl from Paris who is trying to discover her true self. She becomes a courtesan while experiencing a blossoming relationship with a wealthy man named Gaston.

Gigi opens Friday, January 16 at the Kennedy Center.

Feature image courtesy of Gigi on Broadway’s Facebook page.

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/

 

 


Cardistry: It’s Not Magic, It’s An Art Form

 

If you’re anything like me, your idea of shuffling a deck of cards is cutting it in half and rearranging it. Sad, right? A basic card shuffle just isn’t built in my motor skills.

But for people who practice “cardistry,” or card flourishing, shuffling a deck has to be second-hand nature. In fact, they take cutting decks to a whole new level –and then some.

Cardistry, not to be confused with magic cards (if you do, expect flak from cardists all around), is an art form that has evolved from the practice of magic. Bicycle Cards states the first account documented was when Harry Houdini skillfully performed waterfalls and arm spreads –otherwise known as “flourishes”– to a deck of cards during his tricks. Cardistry takes that same element without the illusion of magic, and has further developed into an amalgamation of dexterity and finesse.

Vegas poker dealers have nothing on these folks. Don’t take my word for it? Then watch one of our personal faves, Claudia Seow, and let her skills do the talking.

 

 

Cardistry has reached international appeal as we see more cardistry groups appearing in Singapore and Saigon. There’s even a Facebook group of cardists called Singapore Cardistry which was created for local card flourishers to meet up and practice their craft together. Actually, you may have seen their video going viral on social media.

 

 

If you want to learn more or even want to start up your Cardistry skills, check out School of Cardistry’s Youtube channel.

 


World’s First Latte Art Stop-Motion Video: 1000 Cups of Coffee in Two Minutes

 

You may have seen it in fancy coffee shops or on Instgram, but you’ve never seen latte art like this.

In recent years, latte art has gotten more and more popular. These days, it’s nothing new to see your favorite manga or cartoon character on a cup of joe. In fact, we’ve even seen 3D latte art made from the foam. But one thing we’ve never seen is 1000 cups of coffee art in under 2 minutes. Well now all you caffeine-lovers can rejoice because that’s about to change.

Japanese coffee maker, Maxim Stick, released one of the most impressive stop-motion videos we’ve ever seen. “Latte Motion” is described as the world’s first latte art animation. Using various items (such as nuts and macarons) to create the background, and an incredible combination of patience and determination, Maxim Stick shot 1000 cups of coffee to create the heart-warming video.

As you can see in the behind-the-scenes video [below], this was no easy task. The team had to carefully cut each stencil to create smooth transitions between the cups. All coffee cups were then gently covered with cocoa powder and placed in an exact position.

The video has generated nearly 500,000 views and has received ongoing praise for it’s creativity and the hard work behind it. So even though it looked like a painfully tiring process, it was certainly worth it.

Besides, if they ever got tired they sure had plenty of coffee lying around to stay awake.

 

 

Feature image courtesy of RocketNews24.