The Truth About Mammograms: To X-Ray or Not To X-Ray?

Story by Anna M. Park. 

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced that women should not be getting mammograms until they reach 50, it ignited controversy within the medical community. For years, doctors have insisted on mammograms starting at 40, and the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Foundation still recommend an annual mammogram starting at the age of 40, citing early detection key to saving lives. Just do a quick search and you’ll find stories of all sorts of young women in their 40s whose lives were saved from early detection. Nonetheless, most major health organizations have concluded that the modest survival benefits of mammography in women ages 40 to 49 outweigh the risks of false positives and further unnecessary procedures. So what’s a woman to do? Dr. Maggie DiNome, chief of General Surgery at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., who specializes in breast cancer surgery, answers our questions.

Q. My OB/gyn insists I get annual mammograms starting at 40, even though I have no family history. But the new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms starting at 50, and then every two years. What do I do?

Dr. Maggie DiNome: You would need to weigh the data to know what is right for you. The U.S. Task Force came out with their consensus statement based on their recommendations of what is most efficient for screening, meaning what has the biggest bang for the buck for the population as a whole. According to their review of the existing data, starting mammograms at age 40 only results in one life out of 1,000 being saved. That might not seem like much, but if you were that one patient, it means the world.

So what is the trade-off for starting mammograms at age 40? Well, the argument is that it leads to more false positives, which leads to more unnecessary biopsies and imaging. It may also be finding stages of “cancer” (i.e. DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ) that truly do not need treatment, although currently we treat everyone diagnosed with DCIS because we don’t yet know who can safely avoid treatment. As a breast surgeon, I see more than one might expect of breast cancers diagnosed by routine mammograms in women in their 40s, so it’s hard for me to say “stop.” I wouldn’t necessarily argue that biennial mammograms is a bad thing though, and maybe a compromise would be biennial mammograms beginning at age 40. In Europe, it is this way.

My recommendation to you would be to start mammograms at age 40, and plan to get them every year or every other year.

 

Q. Even if a woman holds off on regular mammograms until she’s 50, should she get a baseline mammogram in her 40s?

Dr. DiNome: That’s a difficult question to answer because, if you are starting your screening at age 50, that means you agree with the U.S. Task Force data that it is not efficient to begin screening at age 40. So a baseline at that age would not make sense. There is no doubt that starting annual screening at age 40 reduces death from breast cancer, but the argument is that it is too low of a number to be considered significant. The probability of dying from breast cancer after age 40 is 3 percent. If you screen biennially between ages 50-74, you can reduce that to 2.5 percent. If you start screening annually at age 40, then you reduce it to 2.4 percent, which hardly seems significant when you talk about numbers. It’s just difficult when you equate it with a life because in my mind any life is worth saving.

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Q. I got a mammogram and was told I have dense breasts, which I believe most Asian women have. Should we insist on an ultrasound?

Dr. DiNome: Almost every premenopausal female will have dense breasts because it’s a reflection of the hormonal stimulation on our breast tissue. After menopause, there is significantly less (unless they’re on hormone replacement therapy) and the breast tissue becomes more replaced by fat. The downsides of mammograms are that they are notoriously less sensitive in a woman with dense breasts, and that’s why we don’t recommend beginning screening in a woman under age 40. The ability of the mammogram to show anything helpful in that scenario is so low it’s not worth doing. For women over 40 who have dense breasts, a mammogram should still be performed because it is the only imaging modality that will pick up calcifications reliably, and this can be one of the earliest signs of breast cancer. A screening ultrasound does have some value as an adjunctive screening test to a mammogram, but not in place of. I do think it is worthwhile for women with dense breasts to advocate for a screening ultrasound, but it is not yet a test that is covered by insurance for routine screening.

Q. The risk of breast cancer for Asian American women seems to be rising (compared to women in Asia) — is there anything in particular we should be doing to protect ourselves?

Dr. DiNome: I think this has a lot to do with adopting a western diet. Population studies have demonstrated that if you followed immigrants from Asia to America, that over two generations the risk of cancer increases significantly. Right now, the risk of breast cancer in Asia is five times less than the risk in America. My recommendation would be to adopt a more whole food, plant-based diet and to minimize the amount of animal protein, which we eat way too much of in the U.S. My husband and I went vegan a few years ago for the health effects. I have a strong family history of cancer (not the least of which is my father who died from colon cancer at age 39) and I now have 3 1⁄2-year-old twin girls. Because my husband and I had kids later in life, we feel it’s our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure that we will be around for them as long as possible. So we did a lot of research and we both independently concluded (my husband before me, mind you) that a vegan diet has the most evidence-based data for a cancer protective diet.


Dr. Maggie DiNome is the current chief of General Surgery at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. She is a board certified general surgeon, who focuses her clinical expertise on cancer surgery and advanced laparoscopic techniques. As a fellow of the Society for Surgical Oncology and a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, Dr. DiNome is particularly dedicated to caring for patients with breast and colorectal cancer. 

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Struggles of Modern-Day Cambodia According to Filmmaker Kalyanee Mam

Story by Kanara Ty

The Cambodian American experience has often been defined by one event — the Cambodian genocide that took place from the mid- to late-’70s, led by the Khmer Rouge. However, in recent years, there has been a cultural movement amongst 1.5- and second-generation Cambodian Americans to reconcile the past and move forward — namely, through the medium of filmmaking.

Human rights lawyer-turned-filmmaker Kalyanee Mam is one of them.

“We have been so stuck on this  narrative about the Khmer Rouge,” says Mam. “It’s because it’s so exotic to people. It’s easy to sell violence, it’s easy to sell bloodshed. I think we need to take our- selves away from our past and look for- ward to the future. Our future will not be anything unless we do something about our present.”

Mam is taking up that task in her feature directorial debut, A River Changes Course, due for theatrical release in October. The award-winning documentary (it won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival) follows three individuals — Sari Math, Khieu Mok, and Sav Samourn — whose lives are impacted by some modern-day problems in Cambodia, including deforestation and overfishing due to large land and fishing concessions. While the film takes on a heavy topic, the images of Cambodia presented in the film portray a beautiful country that leave you with a heartfelt and lasting impression. The film may be activist, but the last thing on Mam’s mind is violence.

“I don’t believe in violent ways of changing things,” says Mam. “I believe in slow movements in helping raise people’s consciousness. After [audiences] watched the film, it was on their minds for weeks. The images stayed with them. The images that dig into the subconscious — those are the images that last and continue to inspire people.”

Human rights is something Mam became passionate about after her first trip to Cambodia during the summer of 1998, where she worked as a research intern at the Documentation Center of Cambodia. “The first time I went back, I completely fell in love with the country. It was like a summer romance. It was such a beautiful experience. I grew to understand the country and people more,” says the 36-year-old. “Now it’s no longer a romance. Or a young love. It’s a more mature love. I understand its weaknesses. I understand the corruption. I understand the complexities. I accept Cambodia for everything that it is.”

Initially, Mam chose law school as the vehicle to fight for human rights, but she found it frustrating. “I thought the law would aid me with the mechanisms and tools to assist people who had undergone human rights violations,” she says. “But I felt the law was not broad enough. It was so defined and so specific. There were all these boundaries, rules and regulations. People’s lives are not so restricted. People’s lives are much more complicated.”

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After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Mam worked as a legal consultant for the Mozambique Ministry of Labor, as well as the Iraq Ministry of Justice. But she soon realized that she wanted to do more than just provide legal counsel for human rights victims.

“After I left Iraq, I felt like I left a part of me behind,” she says. “I was still concerned with my friends who were still there. Everyone was trying to escape the country. I was helping them legally, such as seeking asylum. I knew that wasn’t enough.” So Mam decided to make a documentary. She had been interview- ing her friend and her colleague on the down low while she was in Iraq so she had all these transcripts. She eventually turned those interviews into an award-winning documentary short, Between Earth and Sky, which focused on three Iraqi artists.

That led to work on the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job, which examined the global financial crisis of 2008, where Mam worked as cinematographer, associate producer, and researcher. And now with A River Changes Course, Mam is embarking on a campaign to screen the film in every single village in Cambodia, with the help from the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

“If every single person in Cambodia sees this film and sees what’s happening to [the subjects], then [they’ll realize] it’s happening to every person in Cambodia. That knowledge [would be] overwhelming,” says Mam. “It’s the first step towards raising consciousness of Cambodians living in Cambodia, and also it empowers them to do something about their situation. If everyone feels empowered to do something, you can imagine the ripple effect from that.”

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.  

HappyPlayTime: A Masturbation App for Women

Story by Kanara Ty

Masturbation is not an easy topic to talk about because of its taboo-ness. But when designer/web developer Tina Gong introduced her mobile app, HappyPlayTime, to the world, the art of self-pleasure just got a little easier to discuss — and in the cutest way possible.

The Chinese American uses an animated cartoon character named Happy (yes, she’s a vagina) to help female users get in touch with their genitalia (and yes, including the G-spot). All in all, her purpose is to help remove the social stigma of masturbation and help females become more comfortable with and adept at it.

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The app launches this fall, and it’s already picked up a lot of buzz. Sign up on the website and be one of the first users to test it.

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This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.

Traveling Under Pressure: Tips from Tranquil Tuesday’s Charlene Wang

Story by Anna M. Park

Charlene Wang knows what it’s like to be on the road. Based in Beijing, the Boston-born Chinese American travels to the U.S. at least three times a year, in addition to traveling around China to remote tea suppliers three to four times a year, for her luxe tea company, Tranquil Tuesdays. Before she founded Tranquil Tuesdays in 2010, Wang was a diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service. Her posts included Bangladesh as a human rights officer, Beijing reporting on China- Japan relations, and the United Nations Security Council. She also headed a fraud prevention unit working on visa and immigration fraud.

 

But it’s not all glitz and glory, says Wang. “Diplomats also end up doing a lot less glamorous work, supporting the visits of U.S. government leaders like the secretary of state or the president. For example, I was in charge of coordinating First Lady Laura Bush’s visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing with the Chinese government, and one time I even woke up at 4 a.m. to monitor the handling of Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s luggage!”

 

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A pro at tight schedules and traveling under pressure, Wang gives us her tricks to staying fresh on the road.

 

    • Beating Jet Lag: I generally try to sleep as much as possible on the plane and then try to stay awake until at least 8 or 9 p.m., without any caffeine, wherever I land before I sleep again. Sometimes I purposely tire myself out leading up to the flight (staying up late packing, taking care of last minute errands) to ensure sleeping.

 

    • Hotel Sweet Home: For me, music is the number one thing I need in a new or unfamiliar environment to feel comfy, so if I have my own tunes pumping I feel great. The second thing for me is smell. I always travel with either a travel candle or some essential oils (my favorites are lemongrass or ylang ylang). Just put a few drops of your essential oil on a light bulb that has been on for a little while, and the heat from that will scent the room.

 

    • Beauty Secrets: Before boarding the plane, I love going to the duty-free, trying different perfumes and smelling great. Additionally, if I didn’t bring my own eye cream, night cream or hand cream, I try and test different products to moisturize up for the flight.

 

  • Light Packer: I’m a firm believer that the lighter you travel, the better, and the only real essentials are your passport and a credit card. When I can, I do like to bring a foot massage roller, essential oils, good tea (I always travel with my own tea), and this great travel tea brewing set so I can make proper loose leaf tea gong fu style anywhere.

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Charlene is all about moisturizing for the flight. “Flying really dries you out,” she says. Try these to keep skin supple.

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1. Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream.
2. 3Lab WW Eye Cream.
3. Take advantage of long flights with a nighttime treatment as you sleep. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.
4. Sensai Cellular Performance Lifting Radiance Cream. 

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.  

 

 

Judith Hill is Preparing To Release Her Debut Pop, Funk & Soul Album

The Japanese-African American singer who won over TV audiences with her performances on NBC’s The Voice is preparing to release her debut pop, funk and soul album. Story by Ada Tseng.

“The first song I [ever] wrote was a gospel song called ‘God Has Made,’” remembers Judith Hill. The singer/songwriter was only 4 at the time, but she still has a recording of it. “It goes, ‘God has made / the birds and the bees,’” she sings, laughing. “It’s pretty bad singing, but I guess for a 4-year-old, it’s not that bad.”

Now 29, Hill has been recording albums with her parents, both professional musicians, since she was a kid. Her mother, a Japanese American classical pianist, and her father, an African American bass player, met while playing in The Chester Thompson Band, a funk band in the ’70s. Rufus and Sly and the Family Stone were regulars in the Hill household.

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Judith Hill made a name for herself when she was chosen by Michael Jackson to be his duet partner for his “This Is It” comeback tour, originally scheduled for 2009. When Jackson passed away prematurely, Hill sang a memorable rendition of “Heal the World” at his televised memorial. In the next few years, Hill performed internationally, recorded a song with Japanese American singer Ai, composed songs for Spike Lee’s film Red Hook Summer, and sang back-up for Stevie Wonder — keeping busy, but not quite ready to step back into the mainstream spotlight.

When she decided to audition for NBC’s The Voice in 2013, Hill was aware of the stigma of entering a prime time TV singing competition.

“In the beginning, whenever I told people that I was going on The Voice, they were like ‘What are you doing?’” says Hill. “At first, I felt that way about reality shows too, but then I looked at it objectively. In this day and age, the music business has changed so much, and we, as artists, have to find different ways to get ourselves out there. And television is the strongest thing right now.”

Most importantly, Hill wanted to show the world her artistry. To prepare for her audition, a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants,” she jammed with her mom at the piano until she discovered how to make the song her own.

“The original melody is very percussive, and I basically took the lyric and created my own soulful melody,” says Hill. “Then I sang the chorus as everyone knows it, and I knew that was what was going to sell it. As a soul singer, I have to have the freedom to play, so that’s why I slowed it down and loosened up the phrases and melodies. Then that’s when my voice shines the most.”

This type of musicality ended up defining Hill’s signature style on the show, whether she was in her comfort zone covering Nina Simone’s jazzy “Feeling Good“ or completely transforming songs such as Will.i.Am’s up-tempo “#thatpower.”

While reality shows can come across as packaged, Hill was pleasantly surprised at how much freedom she was given to compose her covers each week. “I had almost 100 percent creative control,” she says. “That’s what made it so good. The music department really respected me, so I was able to bring in my arrangements and charts, give it to the band, and they played it exactly how I wanted them to play it.”

Hill, a lover of fashion, was also able to work with the wardrobe department to make sure the visuals of her performance had the same knockout quality as her vocals. Because of these supportive collaborations, even after her much-contested elimination after her Top 8 performance, Hill emerged from the show more confident as she moves forward with plans to release her debut solo album.

“The stylist from The Voice really helped me understand myself more,” says Hill. “There’s something I love about looking elegant but also edgy, and I think this describes my music, too. All my music is a very classic soul sound, but it’s also edgy with the funk, the dance music, and the ethnic sounds. There’s also something about coming onstage with a fierce, exotic and high-fashion look that helps empower me. It’s a part of who I am and what I love.”

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Whether It’s Food or Style, Top Chef Winner Kristen Kish Is in Control

When Kristen Kish arrives at our meeting place, the rooftop lounge of a five-story hotel just steps away from the sands of Venice Beach, she looks more rock star than chef, her lithe frame in jeans, T-shirt, boots and leather jacket, and her cropped hairdo impeccably coiffed. And despite the gusty sea breeze blowing continuously over the next 30 minutes, those short strands deflect any attempt at disarray.

Like her hair, Kish is equally unflappable.

She didn’t let being voted off stop her from winning Top Chef earlier this year. Kish became the first contestant on the Bravo cooking competition to be eliminated and then come back via the show’s version of the loser’s bracket, called Last Chance Kitchen, to claim the title.

There was one thing, however, that Kish notes as a bit of a disappointment. “In my head, I thought I would look more like a badass [than I actually looked on TV],” says Kish, with a laugh.

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But she did become only the second female named Top Chef over its 10 seasons. “Maybe why I fared well is that I didn’t look at it as a competition [against other chefs],” says Kish. “I looked at it more as a competition with myself.”

That is still some tough competition because Kish considers herself a perfectionist, someone who refuses to slack off. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in some way,” she says.

She was also adamant about not falling for this reporter’s repetitive questions trying to probe the psychology of being adopted from Korea at the age of 4 months. “I never felt like an outsider. I always felt so included,” says Kish. “The whole perfectionist thing comes from somewhere I can’t [explain]. I wish I could figure it out. [It’s not like] it’s because I was adopted and I feel I have more to prove. But whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. I just think in cooking, I just want to make things perfect not only for me but for my guests.”

Being driven and passionate about serving others is just a part of who Kish is, she insists, a product of her personality and her upbringing by nurturing parents in Michigan.

She might find out how much of nature factored into the person she’s become in the near future, when she plans to visit and immerse herself in the country where she was born. Of course, food will play a big part. “I want to eat my way through Korea so badly,” says Kish. “I love Korean food.”

Finding her birth parents, on the other hand, won’t be a part of the trip. “I have no desire to meet [them] only because it’s not realistically an option for me; there’s no record,” says Kish. “What I want to do, though, is to go to the village where I was born, and spend X amount of days or weeks or whatever it may be in the trenches, doing what [the locals] do there. That’s going to bring me more gratification than if I were to meet my birth parents.”

She hopes to travel before the end of the year. In the meantime, her priority will be a new job: running the kitchen at Menton. Her post as chef de cuisine of the Boston restaurant was in the works before she won Top Chef. “[Menton] is fine dining; it’s beautiful, perfect service, perfect food. It’s just my style. I love that formality of dining,” says Kish. “I’m not a rustic, farm-to-table kind of girl.”

And operating a fine dining establishment of her own is what she envisions in her future, not being a celebrity chef on television. “I want to cook,” says Kish. “I want to be in a restaurant.”

And still looking every part the badass in the kitchen, no doubt, every hair firmly in place.

Story by Jimmy Lee

Photo by mercurephotography.com

Story originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Audrey Magazine. Buy your copy here!

From Keith Urban to The Voice: Christine Wu Can Throw Down and Do a Hoedown

Meet the multi-hyphenate musician who can “throw down and do a hoedown” with the best of ‘em, from Keith Urban to The Voice‘s latest champ. Story by Jimmy Lee.

Back in June, Christine Wu’s workweek started on Monday with a violin performance on the penultimate episode of NBC’s The Voice. On Wednesday, she was part of the band backing the newly crowned The Voice champ, Danielle Bradbery, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where viewers watched the cameras zoom in on Wu for a close-up during a fiddle solo. Her Thursday night gig was at the L.A. International Airport, playing with an orchestra at a special gala for local big- wigs, including the mayor, to preview a new terminal.

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Just another atypical week at the office for the violinist, cellist, pianist, composer, producer and dancer.

But at one time, it was a rather conventional narrative — all too familiar to many Asian American children — for this daughter of a Taiwanese father who came to the U.S. and met her German American mother in grad school: Her parents forced her to play the violin, starting at the age of 2.

“I’m half-Asian; it’s my biological imperative to either play the piano or the violin before you can properly walk or speak,” says Wu, just one of many wisecracks that come from the irreverent 36-year-old. Despite wanting to quit, she exhibited a high musical aptitude, adding the cello and the piano to her repertoire by age 5. “My mother, she was trying to take the fun out of everything. She said, ‘That’s really great you can play Beethoven by ear, but you’re probably doing it wrong, so you need lessons.’”

Wu, who was born in Germany and moved frequently throughout the U.S. due to her physicist father’s jobs, was now required to practice all three instruments, every day, which cut into her playtime. So at 5 years old, Wu would wake up at 5 a.m., practice each instrument for half and hour and then go to school. “I was like my own tiger mother. I was like, ‘How can I game the system if I want to be free after school?’ I have to get up early.”

While a music undergrad at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, her jazz friends encouraged her to do something she thought she couldn’t do: improvise. That obstacle, too, was overcome. Now “I can jam or do whatever, and I love it,” says Wu. “It’s brought me some great opportunities.”

She’s supported famed singer-songwriter Paul Anka and Bollywood icon A.R. Rahman, traveling to far-flung places such as Uruguay and South Africa for concerts. Her talents have been displayed on American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. She’s even backed Billy Ray Cyrus. “Who knew that Asian nerd could throw down and do a hoedown?” jokes Wu, on playing behind the country crooner of “Achy Breaky Heart.” It worked out well because the next week Keith Urban’s people called her to play a fiddle part on one of his recordings.

Wu seems to take special delight in upending people’s expectations, like with Kenny Loggins. “He looks at me and he’s like, ‘I don’t think so,’ because … I’m Asian. [Loggins thinks] ‘she has to read music, and she can’t groove.’ But [his managers] are like, ‘Just give her a chance.’ So I get up there and do the thing, and I get the gig,” recounts Wu.

“I really have met a lot of my idols and worked with them. I would have never guessed, listening to [Loggins’] ‘Danny’s Song’ over and over again in high school, that I would be on stage with the guy, playing it in front of 8,000 people in Vegas.”

But getting to this point where she’s an in-demand session musician, who also composes commercial jingles, writes her own artsy pop songs and produces music videos, would not have been possible if she hadn’t gone against her dad’s wishes. After earning a graduate degree at the University of Southern California, she landed a full-time position with the Houston Symphony, beating out dozens of other violinists. “That was my straight job,” says Wu. “That was the job my dad wanted me to have, [with] tenure, benefits, job security.” But after five years in Houston, she made the move to Los Angeles in 2007 to devote her attention to working for herself.

“He still asks me if I’m making enough money, like my regular salary,” says Wu. “I tell my dad I make more money than I ever was working for the symphony. But then he says you have no job security. [I tell him] nobody does anymore. But he sees that I’m happy and making it work.”

Photo by Michael Becker. Originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Audrey Magazine. Get the issue here.

Five (GIF Worthy) Reasons We Love Kristin Kreuk

If we haven’t made it clear already, we love our FALL ’13 Covergirl, Kristin Kreuk and we firmly believe you should too. Why? I’m glad you asked.

BUY THE LATEST ISSUE WITH KRISTIN HERE!

1) Her smile is adorable.
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2) She looks beautiful even when she’s upset.
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No really.
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How is she doing this?
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3) Don’t let the cute side fool you- Kristin can be seductive (and does a damn good job of doing so)
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4) Probably our favorite reason: Despite her undeniable beauty, Kreuk was raised humble and always believed that “your currency isn’t in your looks”. Clearly, this girl has quite her share of inner beauty. Check out the story here.
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5) She was absolutely stunning for Audrey Magazine’s photoshoot by Dexter Quinto.
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Photo Credit: Dexter Quinto
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Fall ’13 Fashion Extra | Chatting with Stylist Sima Kumar about Kristin Kreuk’s Cover Shoot

BUY THE FALL ’13 ISSUE WITH KRISTIN HERE!

Sima Kumar, on why it’s fun to dress Kristin: We’re both yoga junkies, and that’s part of what makes her fun to dress. She has an organic sense of her body, so she can carry off so many different looks and really be a chameleon.

When she was just about to turn 30, we talked about how interesting it’d be to change up the proportions of her style. She’s so fit and thin, so it’s easy to put her in tight clothes, especially since she comes out of the CW and is so pretty. But people have noticed that I’ve started draping her in looser things with different proportions in a way that’s more interesting and brave.

I always look at [fashion] as an opportunity for other people to see [Kristin] in a way that’s different than the way she’s marketed for her shows. You get so stereotyped when you’re on a series, [for example,] as the girl who’s always crying or heartbroken, so it’s just another opportunity for us to shake it up. It’s a playful way to express parts of her that the public doesn’t usually get to see. And she likes the intellectual process I go through styling, in order to try and create a story.

 

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Sima Kumar: I’ve styled so many musicians, so this look was inspired by rock ‘n roll. There’s the furry vest with long slip dress underneath, which has kind of an off-duty model/rock star girlfriend vibe. I think she pulled it off really well.

 

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Sima Kumar: This is more of a fun, bohemian look. I know she’d never wear this in real life, but I pulled it for the shoot because it photographs beautifully. We’re mixing prints, and this outfit shows her love of travel and other cultures.

 

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Sima Kumar: This look is inspired by Devo. [laughs] It’s almost like one of those ’80s videos.

 

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Sima Kumar: This look was more about the different textures: the jeans are metallic, the sweater is cashmere, and the blue necklace is handmade by an amazing designer, Elke Hechler. They’re made of Austrian hand-blown glass beads that are woven and knit together.. It’s a very basic outfit — a comfy sweater, jeans, and necklace — but it shows her bumpy side, her soft side, and her shiny side. The multiple layers of her personality.

 

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Sima Kumar: This was a hot outfit; she had ankle boots, leather shorts, a T-shirt, and a chain nail vest that’s designed by Alana K’akia. So this look is about how we’re always protecting ourselves. Our armor is very complex and intricate, but she’s exposing it. And the dog belongs to Dexter [Quinto, the photographer]!

 

For Sima’s blog post about what it takes to put together a shoot, check out New Culture Revolution.