Ki Hong Lee’s Debut Film “The Maze Runner” Premieres Today

 

On a cool summer afternoon, Ki Hong Lee casually types on a laptop at a small coffee shop in the heart of Koreatown. Sipping tea out of a plastic to-go cup, the rising star looks relaxed as he greets me with an easy smile, ready for one of many interviews surely to come for the young actor.

Lee is standing on the edge of major success. On September 19, the Korean American actor will appear on big screens across America in the 20th Century Fox film The Maze Runner, based on the bestselling young adult sci-fi trilogy by James Dashner, alongside fellow actors Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Patricia Clarkson.

Lee stars as Minho, one of the many boys trapped in an area known as the Glade, which is surrounded by a large maze. The boys send “Runners” into the maze to find an escape from the Glade. However, the puzzle isn’t the only obstacle they face; “Grievers,” large creatures with multiple mechanical arms, stand in their way. Minho is the Keeper of the Runners and is brave, smart and levelheaded. When another boy, Thomas, is sent to the Glade, Minho befriends him and together, they set off on a thrilling, action-packed adventure.

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For Lee, landing the role of Minho was a dream come true. But getting the part was like navigating through a different kind of labyrinth.

“I went to read for the casting director several times,” he says. “We got close to booking, but it didn’t happen. Then we sent a final tape to the producers around Christmastime [in 2012]. I was literally sitting at home waiting by the phone. … But there was no answer. So when 2013 came, January and February goes by and still nothing.”

Then Lee got a call from casting director Denise Chamian. She told him to buy the book and start reading it. Lee was “pumped and excited.” From there, Chamian sent Lee on a series of seven or eight more auditions.

“It was tough,” he says. “But then I got the call from my agent that I got it. Throughout the whole process, Denise and [director] Wes Ball pushed hard for me; they had my back. I can’t talk about this movie without thanking them.”

 

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Born in Seoul, Lee left the peninsula and moved to Auckland, New Zealand, when he was 6 years old. Two years later, Lee’s family made their way to the United States. They ended up running Tofu Village, a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

While attending school and waiting tables for his parents at the small eatery, Lee also went to church. During a retreat, Lee got roped into acting in a skit for his congregation.

“I loved it,” he remembers. “But I never took a theater class in high school. I don’t know why; I just focused on school, and I was more into sports, [like] basketball and tennis.”

While Lee did act here and there for his church, he didn’t seriously think about it until college. Lee majored in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, but not wanting to go to graduate school, he turned to acting instead. He took an acting class and decided to give it a try for one year.

“That was so naive of me,” he says. “I soon realized I had a lot to learn, and I still do. Acting is the same as any other profession; you have to put your work in.”

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With the support of his parents, Lee worked hard. He studied Korean and American actors. He learned that he had to do his job well and not expect things to just magically happen. He knew he had to put himself out there and go on multiple auditions.

Lee also had to surmount his ethnicity and pursue roles that weren’t just the stereotypical Asian character. He believed that if he could hone his craft well enough, he would stand out among his peers and people wouldn’t see the color of his skin, but rather the quality of his acting. Lee pushed himself and, despite the initial rejections, stayed the course.

His tenacity paid off. In 2010 he began acting in small parts. In 2011, Lee landed a major role on the short-lived ABC series The Nine Lives of Chloe King. “I was like a kid in a candy store,” says Lee. “I got to go to work every day on a television set and live my dream. … I learned so much.” Lee’s next project is a pilot for an ABC sci-fi drama, The Whispers, set to debut next year.

But for now, expect Lee to be swept up in the whirlwind that is the press tour for The Maze Runner. And if things go well, expect a sequel, The Scorch Trials (director Wes Ball just announced that they may start shooting in the fall), in which Minho also prominently features. As for Lee, his expectations are more modest: “I’m taking everything day by day, and I’m trying to improve as an actor with each project I do. Being given a chance to do what I love is the best job I can have.”

 

– STORY BY CAROL PARK
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

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Julie Chen Reveals Her Grandfather Was A Polygamist With Nine Wives And Countless Mistresses

 

It’s that time of year again– It’s secret week on The Talk which means the hosts build up the courage to tell  their deepest, darkest secrets to the world.

“My secret is a secret that has haunted me for many years,” Julie Chen said with great effort on Tuesday’s episode of The Talk. Chen specifically shows an unbelievable amount of courage here. After all, revealing her other secret had hurtful results.

Last year, Julie Chen revealed that nearly 20 years ago, she had undergone plastic surgery in order to push her career forward. Unfortunately, this big reveal was met with a storm of negative responses from people who believed this move was denying her heritage and was efforts to look less Asian.  Despite the harsh criticism and negative comments, Chen mustered up the courage to tell yet another dark secret.

“My mom tried to keep this secret from me and my two sisters for a long time. For as long as she could,” Chen said slowly. “She was afraid for me, personally– it would damage my career goals, my dreams of being a broadcaster, my reputation. For the record, I did get her OK to tell this secret…My secret that I have been harboring for years is that my grandfather was a polygamist.”

According to Chen, her grandfather had nine wives, even more grandchildren and countless mistresses. Chen then reveals that her uncle had twenty children from his four wives.

Although Chen never met her grandfather, she knew of the emotional toll polygamy took on her grandmother who had to watch her husband take on more and more wives. Chen also described the emotional toll that the polygamy lifestyle had on her mother, who ultimately chose to have a monogamous marriage.

“It is a family secret, which we all have. The reason we all have family secrets and the reason we try and keep it a secret is because it’s often something that brings shame to the family — and my situation is no different.”

Fortunately, the experience appears to have brought some relief to Chen who was finally given the opportunity to share her secret. She tweeted:

Watch the emotional reveal below:

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Must-Read of The Week: “The Birth of Korean Cool” by Euny Hong

 

Looking for a good read? We have just the thing. Find out what page-turner you should pick up with our Must-Reads of The Week!

There was a time when my American classmates would ask where I was from — Japan? China? When I answered “Korea,” they’d get a blank look on their face and say, “Crayon? Where’s that?” Today, from K-pop and Korean barbecue to Samsung and Hyundai, you can’t not know about Korea. And in Euny Hong’s new book, The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture, I’m getting a crystallized version of my life as a Korean in America — from absolute obscurity to hailing from just about the trendiest place on the planet.

After spending her childhood in Chicago’s suburbs, Hong, at the age of 12, moved with her family back to Seoul’s tony Gangnam neighborhood (yes, that Gangnam; in fact, Hong’s parents went to the same school as Psy’s). In 1985, Korea was still a developing country with regular brownouts, reused vaccination needles and squat toilets. (I remember when I visited Korea in the mid-’80s, I had to bring used clothing and loads of Sanka for my relatives because coffee was difficult to get there; today, Seoul has the most number of Starbucks in the world.) Through an interesting and often funny analysis of corporal punishment in Korean schools, Confucian ideals, that very Korean concept of han and the birth of irony (epitomized by Psy’s hit song), Hong makes the case for a perfect storm of circumstances — along with not an insignificant boost from the government — that eventually led to Korea’s rise as a worldwide “soft power.”

Details: Paper, $16, picadorusa.com, eunyhong.com.

 

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This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

 

 


Get to Know Singer-Songwriter Malea McGuinness

 

HERITAGE: Korean, Irish, Scotch

BORN: Killeen, Texas; raised in Long Island, N.Y., and currently based in Los Angeles

CLAIM TO FAME: The classically trained musician, who got her start on Broadway and once toured with Kenny Loggins, has reinvented herself once again with a recent Top 20 hit on Billboard’s Dance Chart for her song “Give (Promise Land Remix).” Her 2013 hit “Rainbow Girl (Papercha$er Remix)” has already reached more than 50 million plays, and she is currently in the studio with Dutch songwriter-producer Tearce “Kizzo” Keaz.

 


My go-to karaoke song: I’ve only done karaoke once, in Koreatown, and I sang “Sweet Child of Mine” very badly.

Last time I cried: Watching The Normal Heart on HBO, about the start of the AIDS epidemic.

What always makes me laugh: My dogs and my baby girl.

My go-to comfort food: Pizza.

Last thing I ate: Cuban food from Versailles: plantains, beans and rice with this amazing garlic sauce.

Currently on repeat: Kiesza’s “Hideaway.”

A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Crashing out in front of the TV at the end of the day.

Current favorite place: Cross Creek in Malibu.

Favorite drink: Vodka mojito, extra sweet.

Pet peeve: Drivers with the “Only I exist” syndrome.

Habit I need to break: Diet Coke.

Hidden talent: Mind control.

Talent I’d like to have: Bellydancing.

Word I most overuse: “Like.”

Most treasured possession: They’re not possessions, but I would say my two dogs, Tc and Jonah.

Favorite hashtag: #too#many#hashtags. I tweet to stay in touch with fans, but I really hate talking about myself all the time.

Motto: I would/wouldn’t like that person in my foxhole.

What’s cool about being Asian: Asian don’t crack.

My job in another life: Astrologer … or working with animals.
 
 
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

 

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Kenichi Ebina’s Awesome Michael Jackson Dance Tribute

 

On September 18, 2013, exactly one year ago, Kenichi Ebina won the hearts of many, many fans while competing for and winning the eighth season of America’s Got Talent. With hypnotic dance moves and a humble personality, what’s not to love?

The 40-year-old, Japanese dancer was rewarded with $1 million as well as his very own Las Vegas show. Recently, one of his most mesmerizing performances has been making its way around the internet. This performance was a tribute to none other than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Now I’ve seen a number of people try to recreate Michael Jackson’s dance moves, but their skills usually pale in comparison. This is where Ebina stands out. Not only does he nail Jackson’s moves with ease, he even throws in his own moves as well.

 

 

Titled “MJ is Forever Alive,” the tribute has Ebina dancing along to some of Jackson’s most beloved songs and even has an accompanying video montage which can be played along with his performance.

The best part of all is that this video was taken at the San Francisco HipHop DanceFest 2009– years before Ebina won America’s Got Talent. Despite his younger age, it is clear that he has natural talent and ability. Check out the awesome MJ tribute for yourself and tell us what you think.

 

 

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Top 5 Men’s Fall Fashion Inspired by The Sudarso Brothers

 

The sun is still beating down on us here in California, but we’re hopeful that cool fall weather will show up any day now (and save us from our horribly high AC bills).

So before the chilly season shows up, make sure your wardrobe is up to date and prepared. For today’s #TBT, we’re going to show you some of our most favorite men’s fall fashion inspired by Yoshi and Peter Adrian Sudarso. Clearly these guys have it figured out– it’s a year later and we still love these looks.

 


 

1) The Leather Look
It’s like Christmas came early! The boys give us just a hint of the “bad boy” leather look.
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2) The Jean Look
In case the jean jacket craze hasn’t won you over yet, we’re sure this will.
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3) The Layered Look
Because layers are now officially our favorite part of Fall.
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4) The I-Didn’t-Know-Sweaters-Could-Look-So-Good Look

Its pretty self-explanatory.
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5) The Weather-Is-Confusing-Today Look
For the fall days when mornings are cold, afternoons are hot, and nights are cold again.
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To see more of the Sudarso Brothers (you know you want to) click here.

 

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Top 7 New York Fashion Week Style Favorites

 

Catwalk galleries and runway shows are important when it comes to fashion weeks, but the real highlight may be the different and unique styles people bring out.

Although the New York Fashion Week came to a close last week, we have to show you these eye-catching looks from some of our favorite editors, bloggers, models and celebrities.

 


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Photo courtesy of www.fashionblender.com.au

1.Susanna Lau (a.k.a. Susie Bubble)
The queen of mix-matching prints showed a more subtle look during the NYFW with her distressed denim that had a piece of red bandana fabric sewed in. Her final touch was red glitter ballet flats that made the casual look not too basic.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.fustany.com

2. Eva Chen
Eva Chen was on point, sporting her smiley face hard-shell clutch that totally stood out on her black and white outfit.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.Koreanmodel.tumblr.com

3. Irene Kim
There’s never too much ruffle when it comes to NYFW.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.nypost.com

4. Margaret Zhang
Margaret was all bundled up for fall and winter with layers and a furry bag held tightly on her arms.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.vogue.com

5. Lily Kwong
Summer ain’t over till Lily says it. Her colorfully printed mid-split, midi skirt paired with her everyday denim jacket is everything.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.popsugar.com.au

6. Shay Mitchell
Shay surely did this year’s NYFW black and white best when she made an appearance at the BCBGMaxaria show with her white dress and a long black vest.

 

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Photo courtesy of www.popsugar.com.au


7. Jamie Chung
Jamie stood out at the BCBGMaxaria show with her pretty little black skirt and her western-inspired BCBG Runway Mira Cape.

 

 

Which one is your favorite look?

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM


Adorable 101-Year-Old Man Just Became A Model

 

Don’t get the wrong idea about what sort of modeling career 101-year-old Kaoru Nozaki has. He’s definitely not flaunting this season’s menswear down the runway. Instead, his modeling career began when he had photographs taken showing what he loves to do most: Drink coffee.

Nozaki was well-known in his Japanese hometown. The kind man could always be found at the coffee shop (and we mean he was always at the coffee shop). Apparently, he looked so natural and calm while drinking his beverages that he piqued the interest of a gallery that happened to be running a “Coffee Cup Museum” exhibit.

The exhibit featured coffee cups from all over the world as well as an array of photos showing coffee drinkers like Nozaki. Dramafever reports Nozaki’s local community has been supportive and positive about his adorable modeling experience.

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(Source)

Son Sings His Heart Out For Deaf Parents Who Both Have Cancer

When asked by the judges of Superstar K6 for his reason behind auditioning, contestant Kim Jung Hoon could hardly hold back tears as he revealed a heartbreaking story about his family.

“Both of my parents are deaf,” Kim said in his pre-audition interview. He added that both of his parents lost their hearing during early childhood and currently have cancer: his mother suffering from thyroid cancer and his father from colorectal cancer.

“It felt like the world was falling apart,” he said.

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Despite their disabilities, Kim’s parents came to the audition to show full support for their son.

“When we see our son, even though we can’t hear him sing, we believe that he can succeed,” Kim’s father said through sign language. His wife agreed, saying that they believe in their son whether he sings well or poorly.

Once Kim took the stage, he proved that he could sing not only beautifully but also with powerful emotion. His rendition of Lee Sun-hee’s “Fate” moved some of the judges to tears.

Watch his performance below:

–Story by Reera Yoo

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

Teen Invents Device to Help Keep Wandering Alzheimer’s Patients Safe

 

Kenneth Shinozuka is only15-years-old, but he already has a goal in life: He aims to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Until that day comes, it seems that Shinozuka spends his time trying to find ways to make things just a little easier for patients with Alzheimer’s as well as those who take care of them.

Specifically, Shinozuka invented a pressure sensor that is worn with a sock (or on the bottom of the foot) and can detect an increase in pressure. This then wirelessly sends an alert to a caregiver or family member’s smartphone.

The ultimate goal of the device is to alert the caregiver if the patient wanders. NBC News points out an alarming statistic from the Alzheimer’s Association which says “of the estimated five million Americans with the disease, about 60 percent of them wander — and often become dangerously lost — as a result.”

 

 

Shinozuka came up with the idea for his device, called “Safe Wander,” because his own grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and often wandered out of bed. Shinozuka first used the device on his grandfather for 6 months and it detected each dangerous moment that he wandered out of bed in the middle of the night– all 437 times.

“I hope that my device will ultimately reach out to the tens of millions of wandering patients around the world and also relieve the burdens on their caregivers,” Shinozuka said.

Most impressive of all, Shinozuka came up with the idea and built the device from scratch. He’s currently testing it out in willing facilities. Many of the caretakers who try the device are delighted with the Safe Wander and say its much less obnoxious than the loud alarms used in most facilities.

“I’d like to solve some of the mysteries of the brain, and invent tools to ultimately, I think, cure Alzheimer’s and other mental conditions that our aging population suffers from,” says Shinozuka.

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