Top 5 Reasons We Love Darren Criss

Darren Criss has only been in television’s spotlight for a handful of years, but he has already managed to gather an incredible amount of dedicated fans. On twitter alone, his account has an impressive 1.7 million followers. It doesn’t take much to see that Criss is beloved by many.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the 27-year-old actor, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 reasons we love Darren Criss. See if you end up falling in love with him after reading them all.

 


 

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1. He’s Harry Potter.

Well… not exactly, but he certainly does a great job of portraying a comedic Harry Potter on stage. In 2009, Darren Criss co-founded a Chicago-based musical theatre company called StarKid Productions. That same year, Criss played Harry Potter in the StarKid production “A Very Potter Musical” and began gathering attention for himself. The hilarious musical was put on YouTube and became a viral video. The musical was so popular that they created two more installments. Even before hitting television screens, Criss already showed us his humor, charm, talent and stage presence.

 


 


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2. He’s Blaine.

Darren Criss is most known for his character Blaine Anderson on the popular Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee. Following his success with StarKid Productions, he was casted as the charming gay high school student. The chemistry between Blaine and another character named Kurt Hummel gained a large fan support and their relationship was named, “one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium” by  the New York Post. Additionally, they were named Favorite TV Couple at the 2010 AfterElton.com Visibility Awards, and Entertainment Weekly claims that the boys have been “leading the way” in representing the gay community on television.

 


 

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3. He’s talented.
As you can probably tell from his work, Darren Criss is an awfully talented fellow. He began playing the violin at the age of 5 and was classically trained for 15 years. Of course, he didn’t stop there. He also taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica and drums. By the age of ten, he began joining theater groups and theater companies. By 15, Criss began composing songs. He made his television debut in 2009 on Eastwick, his Broadway debut in 2012 in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and his film debut later that year in Girl Most Likely.

 

 


 


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4. He’s Filipino-American.
And he’s extremely proud of his roots. His mother is a native of Cebu, Philippines and went to live in America in hopes of better circumstances for her children. Criss admits that while his childhood was not too immersed in the culture, he has been to the Philippines numerous times and has a “bizarre kinship” with the country. “As soon as I got off the plane, I was like, ‘Ah, this is me back in the Philippines.” I love this place. Whatever Filipino blood [I have in me] is very happy to be here.” he said in an interview.

 


 


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5. He has a big heart.
Possibly one of the biggest reasons Criss has such a large fanbase is because he seems to be a genuinely good person. Following the massive Typhoon that hit the Philippines, Criss launched a campaign to encourage donations. His statement said, ”My mother was born & raised there, and as a result I have always been proud of my Filipino heritage, as well as lucky enough to feel the tremendous support of the Filipino community throughout my life as an artist.” Criss is an active supporter of The Trevor Project which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. His work with this organization gained him Variety’s Power of Youth Philanthropy award.

 


 

Bonus: He’s Hot.

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This Adorable 3-Year-Old Will Make Your Day With His Dance Moves

Even if you have the worst case of the Mondays, 3-year-old Zhang Junhao will certainly make your day.

A Chinese reality show, which appears to be similar to America’s Got Talent, recently had the brave young boy on their stage to impress the judges and bring the audience to their feet.

The boy doesn’t appear to have an ounce of bashfulness as he hugs his luggage, calls it his baby and says he will dance with his baby. The second Zhang Junhao walks on stage, he puts a smile on the faces of the judges including celebrity judge Jet Li.

After running up to the judges to give them all a kiss on the cheek, he begins showing off his adorable dance skills. He does everything from the robot to karate punches to skipping. Zhang Junhao may be young and his dancing may be completely random, but he certainly seems natural at putting a smile on someone’s face.

He bravely tells the judges that he was not afraid to perform and he dances for his entire family everyday. He then tells the judges that he loves dancing because it makes his mother laugh and laughter is happiness.

Trust us when we say young  Zhang Junhao will put a smile on your face.

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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Filming in Korea

Story by Cassandra Kwok. 

Supermodel Tyra Banks and the newest contestants of reality TV show America’s Next Top Modelwere spotted roaming the streets of Seoul, causing a “frenzy” among local media, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Local residents have been reporting on the group’s whereabouts on social media, after host Banks and her crew arrived in Seoul on March 21. The group reportedly visited various city landmarks and popular tourist attractions, including City Hall and Gwanghwamun at Gyeongbok Palace, while filming the 21st iteration of the modeling competition, which will be coed this season.

Various entertainment sites reported that 17-year-old Korean model, Lee Jin-yi, could possibly be a competitor this season. Lee is the daughter of actress Hwang Shin-hye. In addition, K-pop group BtoB will appear on the show as dance judges.

The reality TV show is known for traveling to extravagant locations with the latest trend-setting fashion. Filming of the show will continue for next two weeks under tight security.

Residents of Seoul will be seeing much more than just models wandering their streets as South Korea has been taking center stage for several international productions this year.

In just a few weeks, the filming of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron will be shutting down the streets of Seoul as reports have stated closures of many major roads and specified locations.

Earlier this year, ABC’s reality show The Bachelor filmed several episodes of its season in Korea, with contestants participating in a K-pop performance with idol girl group, 2NE1.

America’s Next Top Model will air on the CW in August.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

More Reasons to Love Bruno Mars: Hidden-Camera Prank and Inspirational Speech

There are many reasons to love singer-songwriter and record producer Bruno Mars. Within these past few months alone, Mars has shown us a number of impressive achievements. He recently won best pop vocal album for “Unorthodox Jukebox” at the 56th annual Grammy Awards. While accepting this award, Mars won our hearts over with a heart-felt dedication to this late mother.

Additionally, Mars was nominated for three more Grammys including record of the year, song of the year and best pop solo performance.

He then kicked off 2014 with an amazing Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers. The performance attracted 115.3 million viewers — the largest audience in Super Bowl history.

If his talent isn’t enough to win you over, maybe his humor will. Mars recently joined Ellen Degeneres to take part in one of her famous hidden-camera pranks. Mars had to say and do everything Ellen directed him to do through an earpiece.

The victim of this prank? A nurse who had to deal with the fussy singer’s sore throat. Aside from dealing with Mars’ ramblings about potato chips, the nurse also had to deal with a patient who refused to be touched. Mars, of course, was adorable as he hid his face to hide his laughter.  Watch the full prank below.

 

 

After the prank, Mars joined Ellen for an interview and addressed criticism he had received from the New York Times. Apparently they did not think of him as a top star because of his lack of presence in tabloids and the fact that he doesn’t have a fragrance. Rather than let these comments get to him, Mars gave an inspirational response which made us all love him more.

That was by far the most disgusting thing I think I’ve heard. Not because it was taking a shot at me … but I was just thinking about aspiring young musicians who wanna do this … Any young aspiring musician out there if music is what you want to do, music is what you love, your passion, it doesn’t take a fragrance, it’s not about the tabloids, its about you putting in the work, practicing everyday… and hopefully one day you write a song the whole world wants to get down to.

 

And I promise you, one day you will have your moment to shine and you’re going to have a lot of people who are going to tell you can’t do it,” Bruno continued. “I promise you, if you sing and put your heart and soul into it, one day you will be sitting next to Ellen DeGeneres and talk about how you broke records and rocked the Super Bowl!

 

 

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High Expectations for Women in Media: News Anchor Susan Kim Told She Looks Pregnant

There’s no denying the pressure put on women to be thin. A simple flip through a mainstream fashion magazine is enough to get the message across: society has a set ideal image for beauty. Just today, we discovered an intense weight loss app in Japan and many more seem to be hitting the market.

And what about women on television? Are they expected to look a certain way just because they are seen by the public? Apparently so. Milwaukee anchor Susan Kim constantly faces those expectations.

Recently, Kim revealed that a viewer sent her a message on facebook to tell her that she looked pregnant in a certain dress.

“Here’s the thing. At first I laughed, no big deal, I wasn’t offended and thanked her for her feedback,” Kim responded on her facebook. “But the more I think about it, the more those comments make me feel bad for women… in general.”

Kim’s response makes it clear that the different expectations between men and women in media is unreasonably different. Read the entire post here:

A viewer messaged me on Facebook during the show this morning to tell me I look pregnant in this dress, especially when I hold my scripts below my belly. She said she was just trying to be honest and then… apologized that maybe she shouldn’t have said anything. Here’s the thing. At first I laughed, no big deal, I wasn’t offended and thanked her for her feedback. After all, we share our mornings on television… together… and I do appreciate that! But the more I think about it, the more those comments make me feel bad for women… in general. I’ve had three kids and gained 50-60 pounds with each. I was considered high risk…so much so that with my second… I had to take a lot of steroids and will forever have a big flap of skin because of the weight gain. And now, I’m in my late 40′s. Is it not OK for women with that kind of history to still have a ‘tummy?’ Do we have to be so perfect… even if we’re on TV… that we have to have a flat stomach… and if we don’t… the observation is made that we look pregnant? I’m not looking for compliments. I’m just wondering if that’s really how women are viewed. If yes, that makes me sad. She also told me to tell Vince, “great tie.” I passed the message on.

 

 

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Maggie Q to Star in New Series About a Famous Chinese Pirate

Maggie Q, the Vietnamese-American actress known for her role alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III and her leading role in the CW action series Nikita, is confirmed to star in a historical miniseries titled Red Flag.

Set in 1800′s China, Red Flag follows the true story of the famous Ching Shih, a Chinese prostitute who eventually became one of history’s most powerful pirates. Ching gained control of the South China Sea with her crew of 100,000 sailors and over 1500 vessels, and went on to conquer the Imperial Chinese, Portuguese and British navy vessels during her reign of the seas. Ching is reported as having led the most successful crime syndicate in Chinese history.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share Ching Shih’s real-life story with audiences that are both familiar and unfamiliar with her prominent history,” Maggie Q said on the latest project, which has yet to be picked up by a television network.

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Be sure to check out Maggie Q’s amazing cover story in our Winter 2012-13 issue. 
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Coca-Cola’s Multilingual SuperBowl Ad Produces Racist Criticism

I know what you’re all thinking right now: Not again. Not another instance of Americans showing their true –– and ignorant –– colors over social media for everyone to see. But yes, just as with the number of people who expressed their anger over the crowning of our first Indian American Miss America, Nina Davuluri, with tweets calling her a “terrorist,” so have SuperBowl viewers flocked to Twitter and Facebook to defend everything they believe to be “American.”

During the NFL SuperBowl, Coca-Cola aired a one-minute advertisement titled “It’s Beautiful,” which featured people of different cultures engaged in activities like dancing and watching movies, while “America the Beautiful” was sung in seven different languages. Coca-Cola posted a link to its Twitter with the caption “The only thing more beautiful than this country are the people who live here.”

Many people have praised the commercial for highlighting America’s diversity, but countless others have criticized it for not patriotic enough, because “in America, we speak English.”

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Miss Kansas had a few things to say herself.

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Watch the originally-aired SuperBowl commercial below.

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An Original Series All About Asian Girls!?

That’s right! Our wishes of seeing more Asian women in the media have been answered. Sure there’s Lucy Liu on Elementary, Brenda Song on Dads and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons on Modern Family, but it’s not very typical to see english-speaking shows focus entirely on Asian women. Mnet has hopes to change that.

Mnet America, the first and leading national television network centered on Asians, is releasing a new original series Alpha Girls. The show, which will debut on February 26 at 8pm ET/PT, follows the lives of successful Asian women and the struggles they have to endure to reach success. And don’t worry, the series also shows all the personal drama we love tuning into.

The premiere season of Alpha Girls follows TOKiMONSTA (DJ/ producer), Mina Kwon (artist, illustrator, graphic designer), Lanie Alabanza-Barcena (founder and lead designer of Hellz Bellz) and Soo Joo Park (fashion model).


TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee)
TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee)

TOKiMONSTA is a Korean American  electronic music producer, recording artist, and DJ. She has been ranked LA Weekly’s #1 female DJ in Los Angeles, has two albums released and is currently signed to Ultra Records.


Mina Kwon mina kwon
Mina Kwon is a Korean artist, illustrator and graphic designer known for her distinctive aesthetic and fresh look at modern day Hip Hop and street culture. Currently, she travels internationally to design album covers for Chris Brown, Sean Kingston, Soulja Boy, Swizz Beats and other big names.

 

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Soo Joo Park
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Soo Joo Park is a force to be reckoned with on the fashion runway. Her resume includes top names like Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli, Emporio Armani, Ter Et Bantine, Osklen, Alexis Mabille, Vivienne Westwood.

 


Lanie Alabanza-Barcena 
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In 2005, Lanie Alabanza-Barcena launched her own clothing line called Hellz Bellz. Based in Los Angeles, Lanie’s company has expanded, gained popularity and has collaborated with names such as Stussy, Vans, Nooka, Reebok, Sanrio Japan and G-Shock.


 

New episodes of Alpha Girls will air weekly on Wednesdays on Mnet America over eight episodes. The series will also be available online through www.mnetamerica.com and Mnet America’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/mnetamerica.  More information on the show can be found at www.alphagirlstv.com.

 

Get To Know Janel Parrish: The Pretty Little Liar You Love To Hate

FULL NAME Janel Meilani Parrish
HERITAGE Chinese and Irish/German
AGE 24
CLAIM TO FAME The girl you love to hate is back on the fourth season of ABC Family’s hit show, Pretty Little Liars. “Mona is not a very nice person,” says Parrish of her character. “She always has a hidden agenda. I don’t think I’m like her at all, thank God!” But clearly, Parrish is doing a great job portraying what she calls “a complex character with lots of layers” — she won Choice TV Villain at the most recent Teen Choice Awards. Next up, Parrish stars opposite Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series) in the indie film The Concerto.

Go-to karaoke song: “Mercy” by Duffy.
Last time I cried: Yesterday during a movie.
Always makes me laugh: Game nights with friends.
Go-to comfort food: Thai.
Last thing I ate: Cheese and salami.
Currently on “repeat” on my iPod: “In Case” by Demi Lovato.
A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Sex and the City reruns.
Current favorite place: Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu.
Favorite drink: Red wine!
Pet peeve: People telling me I’m being overdramatic.
Habit I need to break: Fidgeting.
Talent I’d like to have: Making my own clothes.
Word I overuse: “Literally.”
Most treasured possession: iPhone.
Greatest fear: Being alone.
Favorite childhood memory: Playing hide-and-go-seek with my cousins at my grandma’s house in Hawaii.
Motto: Timing is everything.
What’s cool about being Asian: I’m always on time ;]
My job in another life: Probably hair and makeup!

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photo Jack Blizzard
styling Reichelle Palo
hair & makeup Berenice Gallego

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Disney Princesses As Sailor Moon Characters

Disney’s newest animated feature Frozen brought us not one, but two new Disney Princesses. With the success of the film, the popularity of Disney Princesses have once again shot up.

Social media sites have been covered with tests to “find out which Disney Princess you are.” People have begun closely analyzing Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa as well as the classics. More and more videos of Disney song covers are being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

At this point, is there anything that could make the Disney Princess craze even more successful? How about combining it with another popular franchise?

Well that’s exactly what artist Drachea Rannak has done. Since 2013, Drachea Rannak has taken popular Disney heroins and re-imagined them as Sailor Moon characters.

Popular manga and animated series Sailor Moon is one of Japan’s most successful franchises. The English adaptations of both the manga and anime series became the first successful shōjo title in the United States. The franchise has not only stolen the hearts of Japan and the US, Sailor Moon has gained popularity worldwide.

It only seems fitting that two powerhouses join together. Drachea Rannak recently added Anna and Elsa onto his list of “Sailor Princesses.” Check them out below.

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