Get Your Greens On

Story & Photos Christina Ng. 

With the exception of bok choy, most people are not all that familiar with Asian greens. But with springtime just around the corner and perhaps the novelty of salad waning, maybe it’s worth looking into. Asian greens are chock full of vitamins and contain a wide variety of textures. Unlike their western salad cousins, Asian greens are rarely eaten raw and can be quite filling as a dish. The best thing is most of these greens can be prepared in minutes and can satisfy whatever flavor mood you’re in.


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SAVORY: YU CHOY 

Yu choy or choy sum is a favorite in Chinese households. Both its mild flavor and firm yet tender texture make it an extremely versatile green. Depending on how old the yu choy is, the stalks can become mildly bitter and usually require a slight trimming before cooking. It’s usually sautéed with oil and garlic and topped off with a dollop of oyster sauce, which really brings out the yu choy’s sweetness. Yu choy is packed with iron and vitamins A and C, and has been referred to as a super green.

Yu Choy with Oyster Sauce

-Blanch yu choy in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on how crunchy you want the greens.

-In a pan, heat oil with chopped garlic until fragrant.

-Toss in yu choy and turn off the heat.


-Top with 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and serve. 

 

 


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SWEET: CHINESE WATERCRESS

Chinese watercress is very similar in flavor to western watercress. The juicy stalks and peppery leaves lend itself well to soups, which is how the Chinese love to prepare watercress. As the watercress cooks, the pepperiness mellows and the leaves become sweeter. Watercress is known to be an anti-cancer superfood and is high in vitamins A, B, C and K and also in minerals like iron and calcium.

Sweet Watercress Soup

-Simmer 1⁄2 pound of cubed pork, a small handful of goji berries and a small handful of jujubes or dates with a quart of water for about 1 hour.

-Add in watercress and some cubed tofu and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes.


-Add salt to taste. 

 


Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.24.02 PMBITTER: BITTER MELON 

Bitter melon is similar to a lumpy, bitter cucumber, so by no means does its appearance or taste seem appealing, but surprisingly, bitter melon is very widely eaten across Asia. It’s packed with vitamin C and is used regularly in herbal medicines for digestion and diabetes. It’s also good in pork dishes, and many people will cook the melon with sugar or a sauce to diffuse the bitterness. Do remember to scoop out the center of the melon, as the insides are quite tough.

Bitter Melon with Minced Pork

- In a pot of boiling water, cook two bitter melons cut into 1⁄4-inch slices for 2-3 minutes.


- In a frying pan, brown 1⁄4 pound of minced pork with a teaspoon of minced garlic, soy sauce and rice wine. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.


-Toss in bitter melon and sauté for 30 seconds. Remove onto a plate.


- Deglaze pan with several tablespoons of water mixed with a little bit of cornstarch. Cook for 30 seconds until sauce thickens.


- Toss sauce with the meat and bitter melon. Serve warm.

 


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SPICY: TONG CHOY

The Chinese also call this water spinach kong xin cai, which literally translates to “hollow vegetable.” Tong choy is known for its crunchy, straw-like stalks. In the past, the green has been known to grow in waterways and canals, giving it the reputation of an unclean or unhealthy green. However, today tong choy is grown in farms across the U.S. and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate and other minerals like magnesium and iron. Tong choy is traditionally eaten with fermented tofu, which is slightly fishy, spicy and creamy, and can be found in your local Asian grocery store. Some quick tips when cooking tong choy is to wash the stalks thoroughly as it does get very sandy. Also when cooking, try to put in the stalks first because it takes a little longer to cook than the more delicate leaves on top.

Tong Choy with Fermented Tofu

- Wash stalks thoroughly and cut stalks in half so that the bottom stalks are separated from the top leaves.


- In a pot of boiling water, cook stalks for about 3 minutes. Then put in leaves and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.


- Drain and add several cubes of fermented tofu into the greens. Mix until cubes are creamy and well combined
.

 

 


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SOUR: SUAN CAI 

Sometimes referred to as the Chinese sauerkraut, suan cai is a lacto-fermented mustard green. Lacto-fermentation is different from pickling in that it doesn’t use vinegar, but instead uses the vegetable’s natural bacteria to ferment itself (like kimchi and sauerkraut). There are numerous health benefits associated with lacto-fermented foods, as it introduces good bacteria back into your body. The Chinese use it as a condiment, mixed with pork dishes or sprinkled on top of noodles. A word of caution: Although suan cai translates into “sour vegetable,” it is also very salty, so feel free to rinse the fermented greens prior to serving.

Minced Mustard Greens

-Chop packaged mustard greens into a fine dice.

-Put on top of noodles, mix with ground meat or use as a condiment. 

 

 

 

 

 

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

GLORIA LOVES LILY: Aubrey Anderson-Emmons Receives a Gift From Sofia Vergara

Anyone who watches ABC’s critically acclaimed Modern Family, knows that Gloria (played by Sofia Vergara) loves her adopted grandchild Lily (played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.) Gloria, who’s wardrobe primarily consist of tight dresses and high heels, has two sons, but clearly wants a daughter.

Throughout the show, Gloria pours her love onto Lily with various “girl nights,” matching outfits and a closeness that makes Lily’s father, Cameron, occasionally jealous.

If you thought this love was just a show for the cameras, you thought wrong. The two actresses are often spotted affectionate with one another on the red carpet. As it turns out, their relationship is even more adorable in real life.

Amy Anderson,  Aubrey’s mother, recently posted a video of Aubrey opening a gift from Vergara. In true Gloria-like nature, Vergara gives Anderson-Emmons a new pair of heels.

Amy Anderson gave the following hilarious caption to the video, “Somehow, Aubrey convinced Sofia Vergara to buy her some high heeled kid shoes. They just arrived today. Lord help me. Hahaha!!”

 

Haikus With Hotties: Dante Basco

Story by Ada Tseng. Photo by Craig Stubing, unwrittenfilms.com.

We’re excited for our latest haiku exchange with Filipino American hottie Dante Basco, not only because we know him from characters including Rufio from Hook, Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation from Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ben Mercado from The Debut, breakdancer Ramos in Take the Lead, “Dante Basco” in Hang Loose with KevJumba, and an evil version of himself in the upcoming web series Awesome Asian Bad Guys (AABG) — which you can read more about it here — but also because it’s the first time we’ve had a real poet for Haikus With Hotties. (His book, Dante’s Poetry Lounge, was published in 2010, and a second edition is in the works.) All we can say is: Bring it on, Basco.

Prince of Fire, King of
Comic Conventions. Hottest
cosplay costume is…? 

Dante:
Anime is cool
Sexier even when, Girls
Dress like Rufio

Which “Dante Basco”
gets the girl? AABG,
Hang Loose or real life?

Dante:
We’ve all been lucky
I’m stuck with the character
And he’s stuck with me

How you ripped off your 
tie for Take the Lead tango …
You do that at home?

Dante:
Maybe once or twice
In the middle of the night
I’m always dancing…

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

Don’t forget to check out HAIKUS WITH HOTTIES with:
Freddie Wong
Godfrey Gao 

Korean Parody of “Let it Go” Will Be The Funniest Thing You See All Day

The obsession with Disney’s Frozen continues! In particular, the song “Let it Go” is one for the books. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 86th Academy Awards. This was a historic moment for the Asian American community because this meant that Robert Lopez, co-creator of “Let it Go,” became the first Filipino American to win an Oscar and the first Fil-Am to join a prestigious group called “Egot” —  individuals who have won the four top entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Aside from the Oscar, a simple scroll through YouTube makes the success of this song clear. There have been a number of YouTube covers of the song, many of which are from the Asian community, and even instrumental covers.

And that doesn’t even begin to describe the movie’s worldwide success. For instance, the film is now the highest-grossing animated feature ever in South Korea. This means even beloved Kpop stars can be found covering “Let it Go.”

Recently, we came across something else from Korea that caught our attention. During what appears to be a Korean game show, we found the most hilarious Frozen parody ever. It’s filled with fake snow, perfect lip-syncing and hilarious theatrics.

Check it out below. We promise it will be one of the funniest and most entertaining things you watch today.

Audrey’s Women of Influence | Princess Soma Norodom

Story by Jody Hanson. Photo by Brad Callihoo/Billy Otter Productions. 

“It is all about education,” the gregarious Soma Norodom exclaims with infectious enthusiasm. “It is the only way out of poverty. Particularly for girls, so that is why the [Soma Norodom Foundation] is going to give scholarships to 10- to 16-year-old children from very disadvantaged circumstances, so they can study.”

Surely a noble mission, but how did the all-American Soma — homecoming princess, sports commissioner, commencement speaker of her graduating class of 1988 — end up starting a not-for-profit foundation in Cambodia?

The modern history of the Kingdom of Cambodia is best described as one of civil war and chaos. Tucked in between Vietnam and Thailand, the country was in constant danger of being swallowed by its neighbors. When the Norodom family succeeded to the throne in 1860, King Norodom I allowed the French to establish a protectorate. It wasn’t until 1953 that King Norodom Sihanouk declared independence. He was overthrown by a military coup in 1970, and this paved the way for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.

In 1975 — Soma was 5 at the time — Pol Pot invaded Phnom Penh and the Norodom family fled to the United States and settled in Long Beach. “I didn’t want a title, because in America it doesn’t matter,” remembers Soma. “Who cares if Sihamoni Norodom — the current king — is my cousin? None of my friends even knew about my family history or that I was a princess. I lead a normal sort of life. My hobbies are eating, playing sports and shopping. How American is that?”

Her situation changed in 2010, however, when her father, Prince Vatvani Norodom, decided he wanted to die in his home country. As the oldest daughter, Soma returned to Cambodia to be with him and provide family support until he passed in December 2012. “I really didn’t want to be part of the royal family,” she says. (The Cambodian monarchy was reinstated in the ’90s.) “They are constantly in the spotlight, and people expect a lot.”

Instead of hanging out in royal circles, Soma made it her project to study the language (she is now fluent in Khmer), learn about the history of her new home country and educate herself about social and cultural issues. “Honestly, I had no idea about anything when I first arrived,” she says. “But I threw myself into it. A steep learning curve for sure, but it was a good experience, and I bonded with Cambodia. I became a dual citizen in the total sense of the word.”

When Soma was outed as the “royal rebel” by the local press, she could no longer stay under the public radar, and she ended up a columnist for the Phnom Penh Post. Some of Soma’s articles annoyed the government, but she didn’t pull any punches, even though she was criticized.

“My platform has always been education, so I wrote a lot about it when I was working for the newspaper,” she says. “Every chance I got, I tried to put in a plug for education for the poor, particularly the girls.” In addition to writing, Soma volunteered her time for events like International Day of the Girl and served as ambassador for the Happy Tree Orphanage, an NGO that looks after children who are HIV positive. “We can learn a lot from these kids,” she says.

While being a royal in the Kingdom does have its downside, it also positioned Soma to meet the right people. So when she started her foundation, she was able to get key players for the board of directors. “They are all respected, well-connected people with backgrounds in education and business,” she says.

“Unable to afford to go to school in Cambodia, these illiterate kids have to scavenge through the garbage to find recyclable things to sell,” she continues. “With the scholarships from the foundation, they will have their school fees paid and have uniforms and books. It will give them a chance for a better life. Remember that in Cambodia there aren’t many social services. So if you are born into a poor family, chances are that is where you will stay if you don’t get an education.”

In addition to working with existing NGOs, such as A New Day Cambodia, Soma is going back to her American roots, specifically the California State University system, to help her foundation. A member of the Fresno State alumni, she is working with the university on a program to bring interns from America to Cambodia for three months to help with business plans and learn about the culture. “As well as helping poor kids get an education, we want to expose Westerners to what it is like in the developing world,” she says. “It will be a learning experience for many people at various levels.”

When asked what is going to make the Soma Norodom Foundation different from the thousands of other NGOs currently in Cambodia, Soma answers without a hint of hesitation: “I live here. The foundation will be a hands-on experience for me, and I’ll be able to see exactly where the money is going and what we are able to accomplish with it. Further, I will be able to monitor the value added.

“Too often people set up NGOs and then go home — or hide out in BKK1, the expat suburb of Phnom Penh — and forget about the original mission,” she continues. “I’ve become Cambodian and I care about what happens to the uneducated paupers. I’m not afraid to get down and dirty with the people from the Stung Meanchey garbage dump.”

The foundation may still be in its early days, but there are already expansion plans in the works. “We are going to start off with the 10- to 16-year-olds. As they get through secondary school, we would like to extend the program to include university education as well,” says Soma. “Cambodia is a developing country that desperately needs professional people: doctors, teachers, pilots. There really isn’t a middle class here — people are either rich or poor — and we need to create one. Once again, it all goes back to education.”

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

ON THAT NOTE: Clara C

FULL NAME Clara Fisher

HERITAGE Korean American

AGE 26

CLAIM TO FAME After an eventful year (she got married, hence the name, and she released an acoustic album, Organika), the New York native singer-songwriter is currently working on, in her own words, “*drum roll*… Brand Spankin’ New Songs!”

Go-to karaoke song: “Forgot about Dre” or “Always Be My Baby.”

Last time I cried: Laughing with my friends.

Always makes me laugh: Stand up comedy.

Go-to comfort food: Ramen. No joke. I’m an addict and recently gave myself an intervention.

Last thing I ate: Garlic brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash and agedashi tofu.

Currently on “repeat” on my iPod: Pharrell’s “Happy.” Trying not to listen to it too much because I don’t ever want to feel annoyed by hearing it.

A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: The. Spice. Girls.

Current favorite place: Any tropical waterside location. I dream of moving to Hawaii.

Favorite drink: I’m a whiskey lover with a growing collection.

Current obsession: DIY things. I’ve been building my own furniture, and it’s so addicting. It’s arts & crafts meets functional avant-garde artistry!

Pet peeve: Bad smells (breath, body odor, feet, etc.).

Habit I need to break: Hot Fries, Hot Cheetos, Hot Cheetos Puffs … the whole damn Hot Cheetos family needs to leave me alone! Or rather, I need to leave them alone.

Hidden talent: Latin ballroom dancing, i.e. salsa, mambo.

Talent I’d like to have: Drawing. Although my stick figures will give yours a run for their money.

Word or phrase I most overuse: I try never to over- use words or phrases. Keep it fresh on the daily.

Someone you follow on Twitter we’d be surprised about: I just logged in to see and I have no clue why or when I started following Harry Styles of One Direction.

Greatest fear: Spiders. Nasty little buggers.

Motto: Live, love, learn, laugh.

What’s cool about being Asian: Getting cash- money on New Year’s and Korean food.
My job in another life: Actress!

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

VOICES CARRY

Story by Ada Tseng. 

In so many ways, music defines a generation or a culture, giving us the soundtrack to our multilayered, bicultural landscape. And the 10 women we highlight here not only lay it all on the line and bare their souls in their music but, each in their own way, do much to round out a picture of what it is to be an Asian woman in America. Our cover girl Yuna defies the modern definition of pop star with her inimitable voice juxtaposed with a girl-crush-worthy style of chic turbans and covered-up ensembles. We have the gossamer voiced Priscilla Ahn, whom we feel like we’ve grown with as her life journey (and music) goes from melancholy to bliss. Then there’s the flame-haired Hmong American hard rocker and an indefinable artist whose voice is featured in one of the hottest hits of the year. From sweet little ditties to feminist anthems, from odes written in the throes of love to songs that feel more like a cathartic purging, their music moves us, inspires us, rocks us. Take a glimpse into the meaning and memories behind the melodies.


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1) YUNA
“The Malaysian singer has gotten a lot of questions about her Muslim heritage since her debut in the United States, a country not accustomed to seeing a pretty girl in a turban singing and strumming her guitar onstage…” CLICK HERE to read the full story.


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2) AWKWAFINA
“Nora Lum — the Chinese- Korean American rapper known as Awkwafina— admits that her catchy moniker doesn’t really mean anything. She chose it mostly because it sounded ridiculous as a rap name…” CLICK HERE to read the full story. 


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3) PRISCILLA AHN
“Priscilla Ahn — the biracial Korean American singer-songwriter — was so skilled at creating music from feelings of sadness and loneliness that when she suddenly found herself happily married, she realized she was a bit lost. “ CLICK HERE to read full story.


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4) ALLEY HER
“The fiery, scarlet-haired vocalist of the alternative metal band Fields of Prey never even listened to hard rock before she met her friend and former bandmate Ricardo Guevara in 2010. “All the screaming frightened me, to be honest,” remembers Alley Her…” CLICK HERE to read the full story.


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5) HOLLIS WONG-WEAR
“That girl singing the hook from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hit song “White Walls?” That would be Hollis Wong-Wear, a frequent collaborator with the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo — and the one who inspired Macklemore to write a song about his Cadillac…” CLICK HERE to read the fully story. 


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6) CHHOM NIMOL
“Chhom Nimol, 35, the lead singer of the Los Angeles band Dengue Fever, is part of a family of well-known musicians in Cambodia. Chhom’s brothers and sisters taught her how to sing while they were growing up in a refugee camp in Thailand…” CLICK HERE to read the full story. 


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7) TERESA LEE
“While the 28-year-old is counting down the days to new motherhood (“I know this sounds insane, but I swear the baby is tapping out very distinct rhythms in my belly,” says Lee), she continues to write music and can’t wait to take their child on tour with them one day…” CLICK HERE to read the full story.


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8) NADIA ALI
“Nadia Ali first garnered attention in 2001 for her band iiO’s hit single “Rapture,” the quintessential early 2000s dance song that inspired partygoers to get on their feet and lose themselves amongst the strobe lights…” CLICK HERE to read the full story.


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9) THAO NGUYEN
“The first song I ever wrote was a rap song in the third grade. I had a choice to write a book report on Charlotte’s Web or to do something else, so I wrote a rap about Charlotte’s Web. My secret dream was to become a rapper, so it was a no- brainer that I would do a rap song at that age….” CLICK HERE to read the full story. 


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10) CARISSA RAE
“One day in 2011, at a friend’s music video shoot, she met a boy, a fellow singer-songwriter named Michael Alvarado, and little did she know that after three hours of talking and laughing, he had told his friend he was going to marry her…” CLICK HERE to read the full story.

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

 

Brenda Song’s Steamy Photoshoot for Glamoholic Magazine March 2014

Lets be honest here. Who doesn’t have a crush on Brenda Song? The former Disney star grew up as one of the few well-known, young Asian American faces in mainstream media.

Song began acting and modeling at the age of 7, but she is most known for playing the ditzy heiress London Tipton on the Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck from 2005 to 2011. Since then, Song has grown up quite a bit.

With the recent theory that Disney stars eventually fall into a “badboy/badgirl” phase or disappear from acting completely, Song has been praised for avoiding these pitfalls of a child actor. Instead, she has seamlessly transitioned into adult roles.

“Transitioning from child to teenager to adult is a difficult process for anyone,” Song tells Audrey Magazine. “But doing it in front of the camera, you can grow with your character, and I’ve been fortunate to grow in the right direction.”

Some of her various “grown-up roles” include parts on ABC’s Scandal, FOX’s New Girl and most notably the Academy Award-winning film, The Social Network. Currently, the 25-year-old plays Veronica on the FOX sitcom Dads, executive produced by Family Guy creator Seth Mac-Farlane.

To top it off, Song recently took part in a steamy photoshoot for Glamoholic Magazine. Needless to say, Song has clearly grown up and is ready to flaunt it. Check the photos below.

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Throwback Thursday: Top 5 SHAGs (Smoking Hot Asian Guys) of 2013

Now some of you may be wondering why we have the SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guys) series to begin with. Before you judge, let us clarify a few things. This series was not created simply because we want to oggle at attractive men and base their worth on their looks. That would be far from our purpose.

This series was created because over the years we’ve recognized something very unfortunate. As Asians, we’ve been plagued by a number of negative stereotypes. Sure, we’ve been able to fight off some of these myths, but many of these stereotypes still continue strongly today. One of the most widely known? A stereotype against Asian men.

Asian men, for some unknown reason, have been labeled as unattractive here in America. 

Of course, mainstream media is largely responsible for this. Too many times have we seen Asian males stereotyped with traits such as short, skinny, nerdy and awkward. While it’s fine to have these traits, media is clear about its intent:  these traits are supposed to come off as unappealing to the public eye. Too many times have we heard that Asian girls can “date any race they want” while poor Asian men are left empty-handed.

Just look at the social media shots fired at New Zealand singer/songwriter Lorde concerning her “scrawny Asian boyfriend.” With such a high number of racist stereotypes thrown at him, we really begin to see just how mainstream media has depicted Asian men.

Of course, we know better. Asian men can be just as attractive, sexy and appealing as any other. This series was created to counter the very incorrect stereotype Asian men have been facing for years. Whether its their looks, talent, sense of fashion or even intelligence, these men have proven themselves as desirable.

For today’s Throwback Thursday, we look back on the most popular SHAGs of the past year. We present to you the Top 5 SHAGs (Smoking Hot Asian Guys) of 2013.


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1) XIAN LIM 
“Who is Xian Lim you may ask? He’s only one of the hottest and most admired stars in Philippine showbiz. This Chinese Filipino actor, model and singer has received several awards and has been featured in a variety of films and television shows…”


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2) LEE BYUNG-HUN
“It’s no secret that I love Lee Byung-hun. And it’s also no secret that I want you to love him too. I came across this workout/training video of the South Korean actor recently – and heavens, it was just too special to not devote a entire post of screen caps to share with our S.H.A.G. fans (Audrey readers)…”


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3) JAY PARK
“Men’s Health Korea never fails to brighten up my month –every month. Kpop star Jay Park is this month’s cover boy and like all given cover boys of the past, he gives the world (um, fangirls) a look at his glorious abs and his tattoos…”


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4) DANIEL HENNEY
“It’s rare to feel the need to swoon, sigh, giggle (yes, the term “giggle” is actually appropriate here) and blush all at the same time. If you thought this overwhelm of emotions was impossible, then you clearly haven’t seen the latest photoshoot from today’s Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy), Daniel Henney.”

 


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5) SONG SEUNG-HEON
“Our latest S.H.A.G. (SMOKING HOT ASIAN GUY!) is none other than South Korean heartthrob, Song Seung-heon. Song Seung-heon is returning to kdrama-land with the MBC meloadrama When a Man Loves on April 3rd! While we don’t know how much of his abs will appear in this upcoming drama, but we can give you this picture for now to hold you over…”

Who Wore it Better: Vanessa Hudgens vs. Olivia Munn

Here at Audrey Magazine, we love both Vanessa Hudgens and Olivia Munn. Hudgens made it onto our list of “Top 10 Asian American High School Girls Next Door” with her character Gabriella Montez in High School Musical. Then she turned the tables and allowed us all to see her versatility in Gimme Shelter.

And we certainly can’t deny our love for Olivia Munn who was the Audrey Magazine cover girl for our Spring 2011 issue. In fact, we even came up with a list of “Top 5 Reasons We Love Olivia Munn.

When it comes to fashion, however, we can’t seem to decide who does it better. Hudgens was spotted a few days ago wearing Lulu*s  Those Were the Daises dress ($40;www.lulus.com). This is the same dress that Munn wore earlier in the month. Although it’s the same dress, the two rocked different looks: while Hudgens looked bohemian chic out and about in LA, Munn paired the dress with a leather jacket at LAX.

So tell us. Who wore it better?

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