Within many Asian American families, there is a lot of pressure for daughters to get married by a certain age. For instance, performance artist Maria Yoon felt intense pressure from her father to marry a “well-suited Korean guy.” Frustrated to the point where she avoided spending time with family all together, Yoon decided to create a performance art piece where she married 54 men, women and inanimate objects in 50 states, dressed in the traditional hanbok that is common attire for traditional Korean weddings.
Yoon started her journey in Las Vegas, accompanying a friend who won the 44 million lottery. She decided to start making marriage proposals to anyone she was interested in and in that trip alone, married her waiter’s friend and a Diana Ross impersonator “she fell in love with” at a drag show. But after these two marriages, Yoon realized she couldn’t stop there. So Yoon traveled across the United States to all 50 states where she had 54 marriages to a fifth-generation cowboy from Wyoming, a lesbian woman in Massachusetts, a Maine lobster trap and many, many more.
While all these marriages are technically illegal, Yoon filmed her journey and made it into a a documentary called Maria the Korean Bride. Calling herself the “voice of unmarried Asian-American women,” Yoon says “this story isn’t just about [her] or [her] dad. It’s about America’s voice.” The trailer to her documentary is below: