Now you can help bring an Asian-focused television show to life! Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen showcases influential Asians using “a format that combines the best of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and The Oprah Show.” The show will feature celebrities, musicians, chefs, politicians, activists, athletes and many more.
“Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen shows Asians (particularly children and young adults) around the world that there are ways to become what they dream of.”
Dina Yuen shared a few words with us to let us know why this project is one that the entire Asian community should care about.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do.
After studying Industrial Engineering and Operations Management in college, I founded my first company, Dragon Music International, at the age of 20. With DMI I spent several years as singer/songwriter working with various producers and other artists in the Anglo and Latin music industry. Finding myself at a crossroads in my mid 20’s trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life, I returned to my Southeast Asian roots.
During my extensive travels through Asia, I grew heavily involved in rescuing children in prostitution, working with orphanages and senior citizens in India, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and China. The profound impact of witnessing the best and worst of Asia inspired me to create my next endeavor– multimedia company AsianFusion.
Through AsianFusion, I get to wear a multitude of hats: CEO, author (Indonesian Cooking, Iconic Asian Americans, The Shanghai Legacy), food writer, travel & product reviewer, marketing strategist, journalist (interviewing Asian celebrities around the world) and product creator– all with the underlying goal of celebrating Asian cultures and people.
These days I’m focused on finishing my next three books, developing my television show Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen and creating several product lines.
What gave you the idea to create a show focused on Iconic Asians?
Growing up in San Francisco, despite the fact that there were a lot of Asians, I was still bullied for being Asian. Through my teen years, I felt there was something wrong with the way I looked because I wasn’t the typical blond, blue-eyed American girl. Later in my 20’s, after experiencing the two extremes of Asia– the rich cultures, compassionate people and amazing food, versus the children forced into prostitution, people living in slums and corruption, I wanted to create a platform that celebrates the beautiful aspects of Asian culture. I never had Asian role models growing up, only to find out later that there are “Iconic Asians” around the world doing positive, amazing things on a local and global scale. Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen gives Asians both in America and around the world what they’ve never had before– one show where awesome Asians are highlighted, celebrated and lauded for their achievements.
What makes this show different?
Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen is unique not only because it’s the first show of its kind to focus on interviewing Asian leaders and celebrities of all industries, but also because of a format that combines Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations (the fun lighthearted food scenes) with The Oprah Show (a more in-depth look into each Iconic Asians’ personal life).
Why is it so important that we showcase Asians in mainstream Hollywood?
Asians have long been an integral part of America’s foundation– structurally, culturally and financially. While mainstream Hollywood still has issues with giving fair representation to the African American and Hispanic American communities, at least our brothers and sisters in those communities have made significant progress. Both have major networks of their own (BET, Univision) in addition to major roles in television and film. Asians however, have made little progress in mainstream Hollywood, still for the most part, relegated to roles that involve cleaning (maids), prostitution, martial arts or heavily-accented stereotypical FOB roles. Given the enormous contributions Asians have made to America and the world, it is high time that Hollywood embraces an Asian-focused show not just because it’s Asian but also because it’s about amazing people that everyone can get inspired by.
How can we help?
My team’s goal is to raise 50k to get Iconic Asians with Dina Yuen off the ground and find a permanent home on a major American network. Hollywood executives have expressed to me that they want me to prove there would be public support for a show like this. We hope that all of you out there will spread the word so that we end up with tens of thousands of people contributing $10, $25, $50 or $100 rather than just a few people contributing $1k (though of course all contributions are greatly appreciated). The power lies in all of you to prove to Hollywood that small gestures from the many voices mean far more than their preconceived and outdated notions of what the public wants to see on television.