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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“Crazy Rich Asians” To Become a Movie: Audrey’s Picks for a Dream Cast

Kevin Kwan’s debut novel is a ridiculous read — and we mean that in the best way. Set mainly in Singapore, the story follows the homecoming of Nicholas Young, who’s in town for the highly anticipated wedding of his best friend Colin Khoo to model/hotel heiress Araminta Lee. Nick is bringing his American girlfriend of two years, Rachel Chu, to the wedding. What Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick is a member of Singapore’s elite, and apparently everyone is out to end their relationship, from overbearing mothers to cutthroat exes.

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What really makes Crazy Rich Asians so fascinating is that the novel is a hilarious insight into the social intricacies and hierarchies of the Singaporean jet set — new money vs. old money, Mainland Chinese vs. Overseas Chinese, traditional Chinese culture vs. traditions that are actually remnants of colonial rule. Calling upon his own childhood experiences, Kwan weaves great (and greatly exaggerated) details into his story that makes for a read you can’t put down. It’s got all the makings for a very entertaining movie, so when we heard that the production team behind The Hunger Games films had nabbed the rights to this summer’s best guilty pleasure read, we just had to come up with our own dream cast. Hollywood, better take notes!

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Godfrey Gao as Nicholas Young, 32, a history professor at NYU with Cantonese pop idol looks (described as a Takeshi Kaneshiro lookalike) and heir to the Young fortune. Why: A ridiculously good-looking guy with international appeal is absolutely required for this leading man role, and the Taiwanese-Malaysian Canadian actor/model, touted as the world’s first Asian male supermodel, has been described as a younger Kaneshiro.

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Gemma Chan as Rachel Chu, Nick’s girlfriend, a 29-year-old down-to-earth, natural beauty, raised by a single mother, who is also an economics professor at NYU. Why: An up-and-comer in Hollywood, this Chinese British actor can pull off Rachel’s sensible, effortless and intelligent charm.

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Fan Bingbing as Astrid Leong, Nick’s cousin and closest confidante who also happens to be a double heiress and Singapore’s most sought after socialite. She’s married to Michael Teo. Why: The Chinese actress has the presence (and red carpet fashion cred) to play Singapore’s biggest style icon, oozing radiance every time she walks into a room.

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Daniel Wu as Michael Teo, a son of schoolteachers and a graduate of Caltech (he was a National Merit Scholar!), the co-founder of a start-up tech company happened to land Singapore’s most sought after socialite. Why: Michael is a straight-laced former Armed Forces Elite Commando who is facing an eventual meltdown because of his marriage into high society. A hunk on the verge of a breakdown? Wu’s got plenty of acting experience (and the good looks) to pull that off.

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Brenda Song as Peik Lin Goh, the youngest daughter of the new money Singaporean Goh family and Rachel’s close friend from Stanford. Why: Song can call upon her Disney days for the over-enthusiastic spunk it’ll take to play Peik Lin, one of Rachel’s few allies in Singapore.

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Wang Lee Hom as Colin Khoo, Nick’s best friend and heir to the Khoo Teck Fong fortune, one of the richest families in the world. Why: Wang’s recent roles have required a disguise — perfect for a man disguising his true feelings about his upcoming nuptials. (Basically, we wanna see the Taiwanese American singer/actor in a Hollywood film.)

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Angelababy as Araminta Lee, a luxury hotel heiress and supermodel who is engaged to Colin Khoo, and has a serious obsession with Astrid Leong and her couture wardrobe. Why: The Hong Kong-based Chinese actress/model has the young supermodel look down. We think she’ll be gorgeous as the society bride of the year.

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Liza Wang as Shang Su Yi, grandmother to Nicholas and matriarch of the Young family. She inherited the Shang fortune, lives in a Euro-style palace that doesn’t show up on Google Maps (complete with secret service Burmese guards). Why: She is Hong Kong’s biggest diva, famously known as a stage and television actress. Her larger than life personality is very fitting to play the matriarch of the Young family.

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Jamie Chung as Amanda Ling, a wannabe New York socialite who used to date Nick. Why: Chung is so gorgeous — and we’re sure she can do snarky well — so she’s perfect to play the posh and fashionable ex-girlfriend of a billionaire heir.

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Maggie Q as Francesca Shaw, who is still pining for Nick after a threesome with him and Amanda Ling one summer in Capri. Why: She’s the cattier of the two girls after Nick and we think Maggie can play one hell of an ice queen.

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Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young, mother of Nicholas. Why: The Malaysian actress is well-known for playing strong leading women, but we think it’s about time she plays against type and takes on a challenge: playing the over-the-top, crazed mother who stops at nothing to end her son’s relationship with his Chinese American girlfriend.

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Joan Chen as Kerry Chu, Rachel’s mother who works in real estate and harbors a secret past. Why: Kerry is the hard-working, resilient one of the cast and Chen can capture that perfectly. Chen is also a scene-stealer no matter what role she’s in, which is perfect for Kerry’s dramatic reveal.

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Archie Kao as Edison Cheng, a successful private banker who is obsessed with being in the media spotlight. Why: Kao has a certain charisma that can get under your skin — in an effective way. We’re challenging him to play one loud, obnoxious and fame-whoring husband.

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Charlene Choi as Fiona Tung, who comes from a politically connected family and has three children with Eddie Cheng. Why: Charlene Choi possesses a calm demeanor as an actress that’s effective in quiet moments, which is perfect for the role of Fiona, the wife who remains silent to her husband’s wild antics.

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Edison Chen as Bernard Tai, the quintessential bad boy heir of Singapore. Why: Because Chen is the quintessential bad boy actor. It’d be fascinating to see him make his return to the silver screen playing someone just like himself.

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Nichkhun Horvejkul (of KPOP group 2PM) as Alistair Cheng, the younger, good-for-nothing brother of Eddie Cheng, with puppy-dog looks and who works in film production in Hong Kong. Why: The useless son with good looks? Thank goodness Nickhun is really pretty to look at.

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Clara Lee as Kitty Pong, a gold-digging TV actress from Hong Kong with a penchant for skimpy outfits and who has Alistair Cheng whipped. Why: She’s one of Korea’s hottest sex symbols — we’d love to see her play a tacky, money-hungry soap star that shocks everyone at every turn.

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.

 

FOX Denies Request to Reshoot “Racist” Scenes in New Sitcom “Dads”

There is no denying the fact that there is a lack of Asian American representation in the media today. There certainly have been those that have made it big in the industry, but often times they are portrayed in stereotypical ways. Similar to our recent feature story about Matthew Moy’s character Han Lee in the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, FOX’s new sitcom Dads has already stirred up controversy amongst some viewers.

Seth Macfarlane’s comedy Dads began to receive harsh feedback with the release of it’s promo pilot which presented actress Brenda Song in a sexy Asian schoolgirl outfit, along with other racial and sexual stereotypes. Martin Mull’s character refers to Asians as “Orientals,” right after he tells his son he did not trust Chinese people and “there’s a reason Shanghai is a verb.”  In response to this, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans have written a letter with the request of reshooting the scenes deemed racist. “Our community can’t continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes. FOX has an opportunity to fix fatal flaws in the pilot and to improve the show’s chances for success when it premieres next month,” MANAA’s founding president, Guy Aoki wrote in a letter to the network.

FOX has denied this request to reshoot scenes and instead has pleaded with the organization to give their show a chance and watch it develop. “You will see that Brenda Song’s character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand on the guys,” FOX entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly and Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley wrote.

Will the sitcom be a huge success or will it turn into a racial-insult comedy show? We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out once the show premieres in early September.

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