Season 4 of The Voice is here! Christina and Ceelo are sitting out this season – and I’ll say that I’m pretty pleased with Shakira and Usher filling in their shoes. Monday night’s premiere episode opened up with a big bang (complete with a lovely rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together” by the four judges). However, what REALLY caught my eye was seeing two Asian women appear as contestants on the show (and both from Los Angeles!): Leah Lewis and Judith Hill. Fifteen year old Lewis is an adoptee from Shanghai, while singer-songwriter Hill has made a name for herself when she caught the attention of the world as she sang the lead on “Heal the World” at Michael Jackson’s funeral. Lewis didn’t get selected to a team, but Hill got all four judges to turn around for her (she eventually went with Adam Levine).
Leah Lewis performing “Blown Away”
Meet Judith Hill!
Judith Hill singing “What a Girl Wants”
Happy Friday! We are allowed to cheat and GIVE YOU TWO DAILY SHAG POSTS (click here for the other one). We’re giving you double-dose of Smoking Hot Asian Guy (SHAG) this week with Daniel Henney. Let us the count the ways how much we love this video – click on!
Happy Friday! We hope you’re winding down from the week and making good plans for the weekend. In fact, one of our own plans this weekend is to catch the last episode of the Julien Kang/Yoon Se Ah couple on the South Korean reality show We Got Married. I’m a longtime follower of the show and I’m sad to say that they’re ending their run.
For those of you who don’t know – Julien Kang is Korean Canadian actor (his dad is Korean and his mom is French Canadian) based in Seoul. He’s also starred in popular Korean dramas such as To the Beautiful You and High Kick 3, in addition to We Got Married.
But to congratulate him on a successful stint on the reality show – and to well, his beautiful abs – here’s a some of our favorite pics of Julien. He’s definitely a SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy).
A continuing series by former ER writer and Audrey contributor Shannon Goss on life as a modern hapa Asian American woman.
Much of my childhood was spent in small-town Oregon. My high school graduating
class had roughly 130 graduates, and my best and perhaps most generous guess is
that less than 10 percent were ethnic minorities. And while I don’t want to make a sweeping
assumption that small town = small mind, after spending time in good ol’ Junction City
a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to share this (surprising) story. Keep in mind it’s now
Continue Reading »
Call it the spring mating season. Call it my biological clock ticking. But recently I’ve been seeing babies everywhere. And even though I’m totally biased and it’s probably totally not cool to say, you gotta admit that Asian babies are the cutest babies. Ever. It’s just a fact. Even Hollywood seems to think so. Here’s a look at some of the cutest famous Asian babies. (I’m not ranking them ’cause that would be really not cool.)
Brangelina Babies | Maddox Jolie-Pitt
The Brangelina clan has tons of cute babies, from Shiloh to Zahara to Pax. But the one nearest and dearest to my heart will always be the first-adopted: Cambodian American Maddox Jolie-Pitt.
Olivia’s Spring covershoot was just as fun as the celeb herself. From singing Disney tunes in the dressing room to dancing to 90′s hip hop, Munn kept our spirits up with her endless streams of LOL quips. The photos are gorgeous (as you already saw) but the video’s even more awesome! (Cause Olivia talks and moves and her hair blows in the wind and stuff) Check it out below:
Former ER writer Shannon Goss ponders life as a modern Asian American hapa woman.
If I had to guess I would say I am one of the few people who still make (and valiantly attempt to keep) new year’s resolutions. With the new year comes the opportunity to be a little bit better. Some years I succeed with my resolutions, other years I fail. Generally, it’s on year five of making an annual resolution when it finally sticks. It was that stubbornness that got me to finally develop a nightly floss habit. And still, I’m not always great at it. I admitted this to the dental hygienist at my last cleaning, however, I must be holding my own because she was pleasantly surprised to find very little plaque around my teeth. And believe me, she was looking. I guess that’s a good life lesson for the kids: Set people’s expectations low and then you’ll always exceed them. You can say it: I’m going to be a great parent.
So as the reality of a new year sets in, I once again look to improve myself one resolution at a time. So for 2011, my resolutions are:
1. Do 25 push-ups twice per day. I’m happy to say I have been doing this. In light of the fact that my 91-year-old grandfather does 100 push-ups a day, this may not sound like much, but trust me, it is. I started by doing five. I had to stop three times and thought my arms were going to fall off. Now I do seven regular ones and 18 on my knees to complete the set. Sad? Perhaps. An accomplishment for yours truly? Absolutely.
2. Meditate for fifteen minutes, three times a week: Today’s meditation resolution is yesterday’s flossing resolution. I look forward to 2016 when I actually accomplish this.
3. Run three times a week: I’m not there. Yet.
4. Read one book per month. An accomplished resolution from last year, but one I need to make again this year to ensure that my reading horizons expand beyond email and Facebook.
5. Volunteer once every two months: This might sound piddly, but trust me, it will be an improvement. I volunteered once last year. In December.
6. Electronics off by 10 pm every night. Considering this post will go up after midnight, I have room for improvement.
At this rate I am confident that, if nothing else, I will be doing a lot of push-ups this year. Or at least until I get married. And by “married” I mean “photographed in my wedding dress.” I keep trying to tell Jerome that I’m doing this for him, but we both know it’s really for posterity so that when I look back at our wedding photos my arms look great (that is, less bad). Good arms and a tartar-free mouth. Boom! Happy new year.
What exactly is “hapa?” “Hapa” comes from the original word in Hawaiian, which meant “portion, fragment, part, fraction; to be partial, less.” But today, hapa has evolved to mean a person of multiple racial heritage, specifically someone who is of both Asian/Pacific Islander and non-Asian descent. Some even use it to describe anyone of multiple ethnicities, even if one of those is not Asian, as well as those of multi-Asian descent, like someone who is Chinese and Korean.
But beyond the genealogical definition, what does it mean to be hapa? Erica Johnson knows, or at least she’s getting there, with her website Hapavoice.com. She started the photo blog, awareness project, educational resource and discussion forum one chance night when she had the sudden inspiration to start a website for those who weren’t aware of the hapa community. Johnson, who herself is of Filipino and German descent, sits down with Audrey for a one-on-one.
Audrey Magazine: What motivated you to start hapavoice.com?
Erica Johnson: I think the biggest motivator was the fact that I didn’t know anything about the hapa community until I was 17. Until that time, I felt like there was no one else I could share both the joys and the struggles of multiracial identity. I wanted to create something that would bring hapas together, and give them a way to express themselves, to support each other and I guess more than anything is to celebrate their mixed roots
I really want to make hapa a household word. A lot of hapas get “oh, what are you? What is your racial identity?” Most of us say what we are, but we also shy away from saying we’re hapa because the familiarity just is not there. The term seems pretty much nonexistent aside from college campuses and maybe select metropolitan areas. I would say I was really passionate about creating mainstream awareness.
AM: Was it difficult growing up not being able to identify with all your cultures?
EJ: I remember taking the Advanced Placement tests back in high school and feeling outraged that I had to choose just one box. I wondered if there were any other multiracial kids in the room who were also bothered. To top it off, my scores actually got screwed up because they counted me as two separate people for checking different boxes on different exams – of course I self-identified differently before the Spanish and biology tests!
AM: What got you to actually set up the website?
EJ: The idea came to me my last year in college and it was my senior year and I was super busy planning for graduation and moving to New York, but once I got the idea I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I bought the domain name and started the site on my living room floor one night. I just couldn’t tear myself away from this project once I got started.
I had been thinking and thinking just running names by my friends asking, “Hey, what do you think? Does it sound good?” Once I did have the site up, I started asking personal friends to contribute. As more entries came in (especially from people I didn’t know), it got me really excited to see that completely unsolicited submissions came in from people that I had never met. That was a huge motivation for me to keep working on the site.
AM: What makes hapavoice.com different from any other blog or forum?
EJ: There are little things, but I just noticed other websites out there were just very poorly designed and just crazy and busy where you just couldn’t find what you’re looking for. But more importantly with hapavoice, 100 percent of the content is user generated. So every single entry is written from a very unique perspective. We have students, authors, a member of a pop band, Shakira’s drummer, just people from all walks of life. Another really important thing is that there are no rules aside the basic format where there’s a photo caption and the story. The website instructions are intentionally vague. I just want people to talk and its awesome to see the different things that come out.
AM: How does the website help those who are hapa?
EJ: Simply put, it gives us a voice. It lets people express themselves in a supportive environment, whether they’re sharing their struggles or their love of multiracial identity, and it helps us work toward giving “hapa” a place in mainstream dialogue. I hope that the site will help young people develop a positive self-image, since race and culture can be so influential on one’s identity at a young age. I think it would be great to get more prominent role models on the site and then we can really bring it into mainstream and raise awareness beyond just the college campus.
AM: Have there been people in your life who are hapa and an inspiration to you?
EJ: Kip Fulbeck — he teaches at my alma mater at UC Santa Barbara and is an inspiration to hapas everywhere. I’ve never had him as my own professor, but I did get to meet him once. He is just incredible, he is so talented in everything from film to spoken word. He’s the author of Part Asian, 100% Hapa, the book that introduced me to the existence of the Hapa community. It looks a lot like the hapa site, and played an influential role.
AM: Do you identify more with your Filipino side or your German side?
EJ: I’m Filipina and German by blood, but Filipina, Latina and Jewish at heart because I was born and raised in Arizona and part of my family is Jewish. I recently moved to New York City, where an endless number of different cultures are represented, so I’m very proud to call it my home.
Different parts of my identity manifests differently in various situations. I think that’s the beauty of being hapa — you can bring certain parts out at different times.
AM: What about New York is it that you love?
EJ: Over the past few months, it has been being able to explore the city. New York City — it celebrates an endless amount of different cultures. I can go to different neighborhoods and try different things. I have had things here that I have never had anywhere else.
A continuing series by former ER writer Shannon Goss on life as a modern Asian American hapa woman.
September 6th marked the two-year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing at the age of 85. When thinking about how much she meant to me, I can still be brought to tears. I realize the significance of my crying is lessened by the fact that it doesn’t take much to bring tears to my eyes (read: the trailer for The Blind Side), but still, you get the point. My grandma left an indelible mark on everyone in my family, as she was an extraordinary woman in every sense of the word.
In August, my sister gave birth to her first child. A girl. For their daughter’s middle name, my sister and her husband decided on my grandmother’s Japanese name. No one was more pleased to hear this than my grandpa. I had the privilege of calling him with the news. Hearing aid in, he was able to understand me perfectly. For a man who has spent the better part of two years grieving the loss of his wife, I have never heard so much joy in his voice. I could practically hear him smile.
And while my niece will never get to meet the woman she is named after, she will get to know her through the stories that we will, undoubtedly, pass on.
My niece will know that her great-grandmother was the woman who taught her mom and auntie how to ride a bike. She will know that she was the woman who, when laughing really hard, would slap the person next to her. This is something my mom, sister and I all do and, with any luck, so will my niece. She will also know that her great-grandma was a woman so fit that, even in her 80’s, she could pull off wearing short-shorts. And my niece will also know that her great-grandma was the woman who, in the phone call she had with my parents the week before she died unexpectedly, told them to “be kind and take it easy.”
So as we welcome this wee baby into our family, there’s something wonderful about knowing that through her a part of my grandma lives on. I say “part,” but to hear my grandpa say it, it’s much more than that. As I was getting off the phone with him the other day, he told me to tell my sister and brother-in-law to take care of their little girl. He then added, “They’re taking care of grandma, you know.” So, in other words, no pressure.
– Shannon Goss
A continuing series by former ER writer and Audrey contributor Shannon Goss on life as a modern hapa Asian American woman.
Last year I attended a party that was held at a private residence in Beverly Hills. The guest list was dominated by agents, that is people whose very job it is to schmooze. One could argue that as a writer, my job is also to schmooze. Unless I want my audience to consist exclusively of my parents, then yes, networking, schmoozing, whatever you want to call it, would help.
And while I can carry a conversation, engage in witty repartee and generally avoid being a social moron, I do so only when absolutely necessary. My first instinct is to stand in the corner and eat every passing hors d’oeuvre. The food usually serves as my main talking point, “Did you try that prosciutto and goat cheese pizza?” It’s okay, I’ll say it. Sad.
Looking back, I realize that as an affable creature I peaked at age twelve. In animal terms, it went like this: As a third grader I was in the chrysalis stage, tucked away in my cocoon. I was so shy that while on a trip to Disneyland, my parents, in an attempt to raise a confident girl, wanted me to ask Mickey Mouse if I could get a picture taken with him. I was too shy, resulting in the photo seen here.
Yes, that’s my sister and me getting our photo taken with Mickey’s back.
But then as a middle school student I blossomed into a social butterfly. Every day after basketball practice while my mom was patiently waiting in the parking lot, I was busy striking up conversation in the locker room. I may not have been the best basketball player, but I was a champion chatterbox.
It does seem that the next stage for this butterfly is to slowly, but surely, turn into a hermit. That is a recluse. Oddly the second definition of hermit is: a spiced molasses cookie. That actually sounds better.
But before turning into a delicious cookie hermit I decided to give it one last go. Social or bust by way of joining Facebook. I harbored an unjustified resistance to Facebook or any other social or professional networking site. I illogically covet my privacy. Illogical given my extremely low profile. The only explanation for this behavior is, “Because I’m weird.” So I signed up only to realize a very plausible result would be that Facebook will become my great enabler. You mean I can keep in touch with people without leaving my house?
Back at the party, I was about to dig into some steak on polenta when an agent friend did what any good agent (and friend) would do. She dragged me into the middle of the party, forcing me to be social. Hermits are nimble creatures, though, and a short while later I was able to slip off to the side. After all, I caught sight of the dessert trays. Was that pana cotta in a Chinese soup spoon? Couldn’t miss out on a second talking point.
– Shannon Goss