Brenda Song Opens Up About Her Controversial Character in “Dads”

Story by Carol Park.

Not only is Brenda Song not your stereotypical Asian American who grew up to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer, she’s a former teen star who’s managed to make the jump to adult roles while avoiding the pitfalls of a child actor.

 

“Transitioning from child to teenager to adult is a difficult process for anyone,” says Song, who began acting and modeling at the age of 7. “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.”

 

Song made a name for herself 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 her Disney days, she’s played various grown-up roles on ABC’s Scandal, FOX’s New Girl and most notably the Academy Award-winning The Social Network. Currently, the 25-year-old plays Veronica on the FOX sitcom Dads, executive produced by Family Guy creator Seth Mac-Farlane. Veronica is the vice president at a successful video game company owned by childhood best friends, Eli and Warner, played by Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, respectively, whose lives are turned upside down when their fathers move in with them. Fellow Asian American Vanessa Lachey stars as Warner’s wife.

 

Though Veronica is described as the “voice of reason, who is never afraid to stand her ground with her bosses,” according to FOX’s website, the role was criticized by various groups, including the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, as racist and offensive. The controversy centered on Song’s character forced to dress up in an anime outfit and jokes aimed at Asians.

 

“With the controversy, I found it interesting,” says Song. “People took a 30-second bit and, in my eyes, blew it out of proportion. Our show isn’t for everyone; that’s why I was so attracted to the character of Veronica. On a show like that, we’re able to poke fun at stereotypes. It’s empowering to get ahead of the joke.

 

“Something I might find funny, my dad may not find funny,” she adds. “But we’re not out to please everyone.”
Working with MacFarlane, Green and Ribisi has been humbling and a blessing, says Song. The show has helped her grow and learn from an amazing cast and crew, and she believes the show is innovative and creative while racy and edgy at the same time. And now that FOX has ordered another nine episodes from the show, it’s likely Song will have more opportunities to learn from her colleagues.

 

Her appreciation for the experience is likely due in no small part to her recognition that it’s difficult being an ethnic minority in Hollywood. Of Hmong Chinese and Thai descent, Song says sometimes castings can be difficult because people don’t listen to her. But she stays one step ahead, sticking to her guns, and the knowledge that the right roles will come along sooner or later has gotten her through the challenge, she says. “At the end of the day, as long as you’re passionate, if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, [ethnicity] shouldn’t matter.”

 

Indeed, for Song, any difficulties in her career are eclipsed by a challenge closer to home: her mother’s fight with breast cancer. A two-time breast cancer survivor, Song’s mother is currently undergoing treatment for her third bout with the disease. The experience changed her, says Song, who supports various breast cancer organizations. All she’ll say is, “Mom’s an amazing woman.”

 

Though Song hopes for better, fuller, older roles in the future, for now, she’s focused on taking it one day at a time. “Regardless of what you do, you have to look at things and the lessons to be learned, because the moment you stop learning, you need to stop doing what you’re doing,” she says. “You never know what the universe is going to bring you.”

 

Dads airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-2014 issue. Purchase yours here.

 

Hot Beverage: World’s First Sriracha-Flavored Vodka Launches (Yes, Really)

While an LA judge may have just ordered a Southern California sriracha hot sauce factory to partially halt its operations after complaints from neighbors, it seems like there is a new, and definitely interesting, way for us to get our spice-fix.

In what may be the most genius (or horrifying, however you look at it) alcoholic concoction, Phillips Distilling — the same company that has debuted other flavored vodkas like UV Cake and UV Espresso — has just released UV Sriracha Vodka.  As stated by the company’s press release, the vodka has a blend of “chilis, garlic and vegetables” that “honor(s) the traditional sriracha hot sauce.”

UV recommends putting it in a Bloody Mary or a strawberry margarita and offer recipes on their website.  Of course, you could also take a shot of it straight on like other vodkas or put it on your food like regular sriracha, but we don’t necessarily suggest that.

As unique of a concept as it is, we have to ask, would you take a sip?

Does Reverse Racism Exist? Comedian Aamer Rahman Has The Answer

Reverse racism. It’s the infamous term that has people everywhere disagreeing with one another. Some believe reverse racism grants minorities an unfair “pass” for any racist acts/words simply because they are minorities. Other believe that under the circumstances, its hardly possible to be racist when they are simply pointing out the differences in privilege.

Comedian Aamer Rahman has his own stance. The Bangladeshi Australian stand-up comedian is normally paired with Nazeem Hussain to create the comedy duo, Fear of a Brown Planet. For this piece, however, he takes the stage on his own.

After being criticized for his jokes about white people and after being accused of reverse racism, Rahman decided to speak his mind about the topic.

“I could be a reverse racist if I wanted to.,” Rahman jokes. “All I’d need would be a time machine, and what I’d do is get in my time machine and go back in time to before Europe colonized the world and I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and occupy Europe, steal their land and resources… In that time I’d make sure I’d set up systems that privileged black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity…”

 

Rahman had just put the stand up act on Youtube a few days ago and it has already generated well over 155,000 views. Clearly, Rahman is catching all sorts of attention. Check out the full piece below.

 

Something to Be Thankful For: Gap’s Anti-Racism Stand in Support of Waris Ahluwalia

With all the racist crap we seem to be bombarded with in popular culture lately (we’re talking to you, Katy Perry), here’s something that gave us hope.

It all started with Gap’s holiday ads with the theme of “Make Love.” One of the ads features actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, who happens to be Sikh. When New York photographer Robert Gerhardt forwarded a photo of the Gap poster outside a New York City subway that had been defaced with “Please stop driving taxis” and “Make bombs” instead of “Make Love” to Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at the Islamic Monthly, Iftikhar tweeted the photo and it went viral. 

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Soon enough, the Gap took notice and not only replied to the tweet (“Hi there. Thanks for informing us. Can you please follow & DM (direct message) us? We’d like to know the location of this.”), it also immediately changed its Twitter banner photo to the Ahluwalia ad. A new Facebook page even popped up — “GAP, Thank you for featuring a Sikh model in your ‘Make Love’ campaign” — with hundreds of comments in support. One person tweeted, “Hey @Gap I just holiday shopped w/you because of yr anti-racist support of #Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia!”

“As the year 2014 inches closer to us, I want to live in an America where a fashion model can be a handsome, bearded brown dude in a turban,” Iftikhar wrote in an article on the Daily Beast yesterday. Amen.

 

You’ve Never Seen Vanessa Hudgens Like This: Trailer For “Gimme Shelter”

Vanessa Hudgens has come a long way since her High School Musical days. Working hard to shed her “good girl” image (see Spring Breakers), the Filipina takes on another gritty role in Roadside Attractions’ Gimme Shelter, due out in theaters January 24. Based on a true story, the film follows Agnes “Apple” Bailey, played by Hudgens, who is abused by her mother (Rosario Dawson) and abandoned by her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser). Pregnant and alone, Apple ultimately finds compassion in a stranger (James Earl Jones), who takes her in at a suburban shelter for homeless teenagers.

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Following in the footsteps of other actresses who have undergone major physical transformations for roles that garnered critical acclaim, Hudgens dons shorn hair and is virtually unrecognizable in the film. She reportedly lived for weeks in pregnancy shelters, interacting with the young, homeless mothers who also appear in the movie, to prepare for her role. Will this be the making of Hudgens as a serious actress? Check out the trailer here or click here.

 

Photos courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

Most Entertaining Twitter Reactions to Wang Leehom’s Girlfriend Announcement

Earlier today, Mandopop singer and dreamboat Wang Leehom shattered the hearts of boys and girls everywhere when he made an announcement on his official Facebook site:

“The past few years your comments here have often been about ‘hope you find your Forever Love.’ I’m lucky to have met a girl to hold hands with and share my future. She’s not in the entertainment business so you don’t know her, but I also don’t want to create the opportunity for rumors so… her name is Lee Jinglei, she’s 27 years old and a graduate student at Columbia. Wangbaba & Mama love her and I hope you will too.”

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Photo and headline courtesy of Shanghaiist.com.


The Taiwanese American singer/songwriter/actor has been notoriously mum about his private life, which has resulted in gay rumors swirling for the better part of his career. Most recently he was linked to his friend, classical pianist Li Yundi — a rumor Wang promptly swashed on Weibo.

As we properly congratulate the happy couple, we also take to Twitter to assess the myriad of fan reactions, which range from thrilled ecstasy to total devastation.

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For those of you who are happy for him:

For those who need some time to mourn:

 

Editor’s Picks: Top 4 BB Creams

We’ve gone through a lot of BB creams here at Audrey, just to bring you our Ultimate Guide to BB Cream. There are a lot of BB creams listed there, so in case you want the short version, here are our editor’s picks of BB cream favorites and why you should run out and get these today.

1. Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream

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One of my all-time favorites. Seriously, this BB cream by Japanese brand Shiseido has it all: a super silky texture without feeling suffocating, a perfectly glowy finish without it looking like you just took an oil bath, and two shades that are great for yellow-based skin tones. It also gives me just enough coverage so that I actually dare to step out of my house without foundation or concealer. (Just a dab of powder on my oily T-zone and I’m good.) It doesn’t get better than that. Details 2 shades, (Medium, Dark), $33, shiseido.com.

2. Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream

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A newbie to the American cosmetics industry, Amarte was founded in Korea and brought to the U.S. in partnership with an American dermatologist. The entire skincare line is great, but the BB cream is extra special, with a cool airless pump to prevent contamination (think backwash), caviar extract and argan oil. Amarte claims you can sleep with their BB cream on and it won’t block pores thanks to its natural pigments and state-of-the-art protective moisturizing base. I haven’t tested that claim (this freaked me out too much to even try), but what I do know is the light, creamy texture goes on smoothly, blends easily and imparts a nice healthy glow that is not at all masky. Another plus is that both shades are more yellow-based so you don’t get that weird ashy or white look. Details 2 shades (Light, Natural), $49, amarteskincare.com.

3. Too Faced Air Buffed BB Creme Complete Coverage Makeup

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For full coverage, it doesn’t get better than Too Faced’s BB creme. The cream-to-powder formulation is made even better with their pop-off “Teddy Bear” hair brush, a dense flat top brush that buffs on the BB cream perfectly. It’s a cream in the tub, which turns into a powder on the face, leaving a very matte, very Photoshopped finish. Just swirl with the brush onto your face, pressing or stippling on areas that may need more coverage. This is the only product that not only controls my very oily T-zone, but simultaneously provides enough coverage to hide my sunspots, all without feeling tight or heavy. And three of the five shades are perfect for a broad range of Asian skin tones. Details 5 shades (porcelain pink-based to warm with golden undertones), $39, toofaced.com.

4. Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream

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Love mineral makeup? Then you’ll love Jane Iredale’s mineral BB cream. I actually love this BB cream as a treatment concealer. The formulation is quite thick, so a little goes a long way. Dab some on trouble spots, dust some loose powder over it all, and go. There’s a great range of shades, too, so practically every skin tone is covered. And the best part are all the botanical extracts that baby your skin: white tea leaf extract, green tea, grapefruit extract, apple extract, aloe leaf juice and sunflower seed oil. It practically is skincare in your makeup. Details 6 shades, $48, janeiredale.com.

For the rest of our BB cream reviews, check out our Ultimate Guide.

Undocumented Student Heckles Obama About Immigration, President Responds

Story by James S. Kim. 

A Korean American activist for immigration reform interrupted President Barack Obama during a speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco on Monday.

Ju Hong, 24, has been vocal about the rights of undocumented people, and he was standing behind Obama when he began shouting, NBC Bay Area reports.

“I need your help,” Hong said. “My family will be separated on Thanksgiving,” he said. “Please use your executive order. You have the power to stop deportation.”

Others in the crowd joined in, shouting, “Stop deportation, yes we can.”

When Secret Service agents rushed in to remove Hong from the crowd, the President said he could stay, prompting cheers from the audience.  Obama then responded by insisting he does not have that power to bypass Congress on the issue.

“I respect the passion of these young people,” he said. “But we’re also a nation of laws, that’s our tradition.”

He emphasized addressing the laws that require deportation and called on Congress to pass “common sense” immigration reform, saying that it was an issue that needed to be solved now and not to be left for the next generation.

Hong, an undocumented immigrant himself, is a University of California, Berkeley graduate and a research assistant at Harvard University. He is also a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), and several members were also present during Obama’s speech.

He told NBC Bay Area that while he has supported Obama, he has been disappointed about his efforts on immigration reform.

 

 

This story was originally published at iamkoream.com.

Fitness Mom Under Heat AGAIN, Suspended From Facebook for ‘Hate Speech’

I’m sure you all remember the fitness mom, Maria Kang, who faced a lot of heat for putting up a photo of her impressively fit body alongside her three children. Of course this wasn’t the problem. The controversy was about the caption that came along with the picture: “What’s your excuse?”

The 32-year-old, half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina mother of three was bombarded with negative reactions saying that she was bullying others. These people felt that the comment made it seem like others were making excuses for weight gain. They argued that there are various reasons for weight gain and by not being sensitive to those issues, Kang was being obnoxious and pretentious.

Her photo caught so much attention that she soon found as many, if not more, supporters. A countless number of people flocked to her aid and commented that her hard work was inspiring.

Now, Kang is back in the hotseat, but for an entirely different reason. Kang stumbled upon an online article which featured plus sized women posing in lingerie. Kang then felt the need to publicize her thoughts on facebook and wrote the following:

The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation. While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.

 

Facebook removed the post and shut down Kang’s account claiming the post was a “hate speech.”

After News10 reached out to Facebook, they claimed that the suspension was a mistake and reactivated Kang’s account. However, they did not restore Kang’s post. As a result, Kang has voiced that her freedom of speech was taken away.

Yet again, Kang finds herself with a number of haters and supporters. Those who agree with her claim that people should be allowed to post their opinion on facebook and by taking down her post, they have taken away her freedom of speech. Others who supported Kang in the past do not agree with her actions this time around.

“I feel like that’s bullying other people,”says Jayana Hinkle. “She can celebrate her success story, but when other people are trying to accept themselves, she just totally shoots that down. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Facebook pointed out that Kang is welcome to repost her comment, but Kang argues that Facebook should repost the comment, not her. Kang remains strong on her opinion.

“It’s never my intention to say someone should look a certain way.” Kang said. “But I am not going to stand here and say being obesity is okay and we should accept that as the norm.”

 


(source)

Korean Twin Sisters Unrecognizable After Plastic Surgery

It’s no secret. In Asia, plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. In fact, double eyelid surgery is so typical that many girls have been known to receive the procedure as a graduation gift.

Aside from these minor procedures, just how far has surgery entered Asian culture? According to some, surgery has become a very serious ordeal. Photographer Ji Yeo tried to call attention to the amount of plastic surgery occurring in South Korea, by showing the physical cost women endure in “Korea’s beauty-obsessed culture.”

Additionally, more women seem to be willing to go to extreme measures to live up to the high expectation of Asian beauty. As a result, some have faced the horrifying repercussions of a surgery gone wrong.

Regardless of all this, many remain undaunted by the possible negative side effects. Plastic surgery remains more popular than ever. There’s Miss Korea who completed in the Miss Universe Pageant 2013. Kim Yumi had absolutely no problem admitting her multiple procedures. Then there’s the woman who was so obsessed with Miranda Kerr‘s looks that she decided to go under the knife in an effort to look like the Australian Victoria’s Secret model.

Now, apparently, there’s a Korean television show called “Let’s Beauty.” Asiantown.net claims that the purpose of this show is to “help those with special circumstances or people who are too ugly to feel confident in their life.” The participant facing “special circumstances” will have their plastic surgery sponsored by the television program and audiences follow along during the transformation.

A pair of twin sisters caught much attention after participating in the show. After their surgery, both twins look completely unrecognizable from their original self. Check it out for yourself:

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So tell us. Is this television show going too far or is it simply an entertaining topic? Watch an episode for below.

(source)