Tonight is the night – it’s the premiere of The Carrie Diaries! The show serves at the prequel to Sex and the City, following Carrie Bradshaw in her senior year of high school. Ellen Wong portrays Jill Thompson (aka “The Mouse”), one of Carrie’s best friends in the show.
Wong also appears in our Winter ’12-13 issue – which you can order now!
Check out the show tonight on the CW (check your local listings).
In our Winter 2010-11 issue, we introduced you to Ruby Veridiano, writer, speaker, arts educator, media personality and founder of the Glamourbaby Diaries, a writing empowerment program for Asian American college women. Here, more of our conversation with Ruby.
Audrey Magazine: OK, give us the basics.
Ruby Veridiano: Filipina-Chinese American, 27, born in Manila, raised in Sacramento, and currently residing in New York City. I went to University of California Davis, majored in Sociology of World Development with minors in Asian American Studies and Communications.
AM: You’ve been conducting writing workshops called the Glamourbaby Diaries, thanks to a grant by Asian Women Giving Circle. What are these workshops about, who’s attending, and why are you holding them?
RV: The workshops are for young women ages 14-20. I designed it for Asian American women as a space for dialogue about issues that they face. However, it is open to all women of various backgrounds. Right now, I have a group of girls from different backgrounds attending, which is great because it allows us all to learn from each other, and build solidarity between different communities. I held these workshops because I wanted to create an empowering place where women can view positive Asian American female role models that stand for something.
I’m also in the midst of planning the Glamourbaby Diaries speaking tour in the Spring of 2011, taking this program and compacting it into a one day event. I am excited to share this program and dialogue with future female leaders all across the U.S. next year!
AM: What does “glamourbaby” mean to you? Why that name?
RV: Ah, the term “glamourbaby.” Well, let me tell you how it came about. My friend once taped me speaking, and I kept messing up with all of these bloopers. I think I kept spitting and sounded like I had a lisp! And then I said, “Ah man, well…it’s not all glamour, baby.”
And much like most of life, it isn’t all glamour. Especially when you’re striving towards a dream, the path towards anything worth fighting for is filled with obstacles. Moreover, as an activist, there’s nothing glamorous about the injustice you witness and the disparity that you become aware of. But it’s about fighting through the struggle, embracing adversity to let it serve as a lesson of humility and perseverance, and continuing to represent something beautiful for your community. The people I consider glamourbabies are those who represent truth, love, and hope. They are influential, purposeful, visionary. They set trends and but more importantly, they set goals. They are aware of their power to inspire and act.
Read more after the jump.
We featured Kelly Choi in our Winter 2010-11 issue. Here’s more of our conversation with the Top Chef Masters host.
Kelly Choi: I started doing Secrets of New York [a show that explores interesting sites in New York City on NYC TV after Columbia Journalism School]. People at [NYC TV] knew I was just really into food, and asked me to create my own restaurant show, which is how Eat Out NY [which involves Choi spending time in a restaurant’s kitchen learning the chef’s recipes] was born.
AM: Where did your interest in a restaurant show come from?
KC: Growing up in a grocery store, really, and just loving food. My dad was always really into food, and I take after him quite a bit. My dad didn’t cook; my mom cooked. But my dad was very into the culinary arts, and arts in general. He was always the one who’s got to sit at the table and tell my mom what was wrong with the food and what was good.
I have very distinct memories of getting food from our store and bringing it home and pretending like I was cooking. I didn’t know anything about cooking American food, but I knew that I wanted to quote-unquote cook. So I would open up all these cans of stuff and then heat up beans and get mashed potato flakes and read the directions to try to make so-called American food. My parents were like, “Uh, uh, we don’t like this American food. We’re going to eat Korean.”
AM: But those cans of pork and beans can come in handy, though.
KC: I love pork and beans. Lots of pork and beans, lots of Spam. Best things ever (laughs).
AM: That is such a Korean household.
KC: Totally. Oh my god, I had so much junk food, you can’t even imagine.
AM: So it sounds like you were officiating food critics like you do on Top Chef Masters from an early age?
KC: [My dad] was always a critic. It’s true. I didn’t think about it that way. He was always voicing his opinion and telling my mom how she should cook [a dish]. What was wrong with it; it doesn’t have enough flavor. That’s funny.
AM: How did your mom take his criticisms?
KC: She took it all in stride (laughs).
AM: Being around so many great chefs, have you picked up a lot of culinary skills?
KC: I love to cook. I’m sure I’ve learned a lot more than I realize, just about technique and what flavor combinations could really work. And then doing my own thing, I think that’s really important, too. I think a lot of people love the idea of cooking, but sometimes they’re paralyzed by, “Oh, I don’t know what tastes good; I don’t know if I could use cayenne in a dessert.” But I think what’s important is to just make it your own and don’t feel bound by rules. I think that’s the key to good cooking; really following your palate.
AM: So have you been doing that in your own kitchen?
KC: I don’t have as much time as I’d like to. And I need a bigger kitchen. But my job every day is dealing with chefs and cooking, and I can’t get it enough of it. It’s great to be around that sort of energy and to just see people who are truly inspirational. They’re no different from an artist, it just happens their medium is food, which I adore beyond belief, too.
AM: Yeah, must be rough, getting all that attention in the kitchen with a chef and then eating?
KC: God, what a pleasure, right?! Now I’m so used to going to the back of the house with the chef that going to restaurants [to just dine] makes me antsy. I prefer to be in the middle of the action and to actually see the ingredients and touch them. That is so much more visceral, and hand-to-mouth I think really just turns me on a lot more.
– Jimmy Lee
We featured two-time Emmy Award winning celebrity stylist and costume designer Soyon An in Audrey’s Winter 2010-11 issue. Here’s more of our conversation with her.
Audrey Magazine: How is styling or fashion consulting for American Idol different than your other gigs you do?
Soyon An: Styling for American Idol is different because these are talents that come from all over the United States, and they come from a place where they have no idea what it is to be an American idol. And you know, they come from style points where some of them are not able to shop, but only at Goodwill or at Ross — just some lower markets. Or they’ve never been to L.A. ever, so they’re like “Oh my god, what are these stores and boutiques here? What is this L.A./Hollywood look?” So it’s different because you’re educating them as artists who you’re creating an image for. And how important that image is for an artist. So it’s very, very different.
AM: Can you talk about molding these contestants and whether not they’re open to change or stuck in the ways and how you can accommodate for that?
SA: To each is own, I guess. Some of them are very open to change and some of them are not. And some come very wide-eyed and willing to learn every aspect of what it is to be a singer/artist. The way I like to take the process of helping them understand their style and image is to, first of all, understand their body because a lot of them come up and say that they’re overweight or that they’re not perfect or they can’t wear that because of XYZ. From there I teach them how to dress themselves based on their body types, and then from there what their body types will allow like in terms of silhouettes like fabrics, colors. Do you do the high waist belts, the capri-length pants? Do you wear the longer shawl? Should you cover your arms?
AM: Do you style the judges as well?
SA: I don’t style the judges, but there were a few times when I would go and help with whatever that they might need or second opinion.
AM: At what point do you actually start working with the contestants?
SA: I start working with the contestants when they are at top 24, and at that point I only consult them. So it’s whatever that they bring in their suitcase. Or I suggest that they might go shopping somewhere. And so if you’re reading this magazine and be really nice to me, I’ll suggest that they go to your store. I’m just kidding! But so I don’t want to steer them away from who they originally are, and then I start to really get hands on with them at top 10 or top 12.
AM: So do you physically go shopping with them at top 10?
SA: Yeah, at top 12. So at top 24, it’s me going to their hotel rooms and going through their suitcases and being like, “OK, so what did you have in mind,” and then they’ll show me and I’ll be like, “ooh” or “yay” or “can you go across the street to the Beverly Center and pick up a pair of shoes that would look cute with this,” or “maybe if you get this color” or “maybe a belt with this color or accessories like this.” So that’s what happens in the beginning, and then at top 12 they come in the studio and then we style them there.
AM: Is there a particular contestant that you’ve worked with that you’re really proud of where they are now from where you first saw them?
SA: Um, yes. It would have to be Lil Rounds. Scott MacIntyre — he wasn’t even able to fully see and he’s doing his thing. Allison Iraheta, Jordin Sparks. I think all of us have an inner fashion diva that wants to come out and during idol a lot of these artists are able to explore the image that they’ve always wanted to have if they ever became an American Idol.
AM: Can you talk a little about your relationship with Carrie Underwood and how that kind of started and developed? Because I know you just did her tour and probably met on Idol.
SA: Actually Carrie and I never worked together on Idol. I came on [Jordin Sparks' year] as a tour stylist for their tour and I started working on the American Idol show season 8. And So Carrie and I, we never worked together until this year. I designed and styled her summer tour for the play on, and just recently she hired me again to design three more new outfits. So I styled her and her band.
AM: And how did you meet Carrie Underwood?
SA: I was introduced to Carrie Underwood by the creative director, Raj Kapoor. He’s an amazing guy to work with and he felt like I was able to execute the vision that he had for her, and so everything that Carrie’s wearing on the tour is custom designed and custom built just for her. There’s no other outfit out there unless it’s on that stage.
AM: Can you talk a it about the scheduling because I know on that show you’re in like a tight schedule, like when you get songs in that week the themed week influenced the way they dress that week?
SA: Well, the scheduling from last year is they would pick their songs on Thursday after the elimination night on Wednesday. After they pick their songs, depending on their Itunes schedule or CAA meetings or rehearsal schedule — style, sadly enough, kind of gets the backburner — we get them whenever we can. The contestant coordinator has always been on point trying to make sure everyone gets their even, fair share of time, but we only get two hours for the week to go shopping for them for the performance night on Tuesday and the results night on Wednesday. So whatever doesn’t get done, we just have to somehow be able to work around their schedule, but I guess that’s the way it is in real life. If you’re styling a talent, you have to work around their busy schedule. So after that, we get them in, I shop with them for two hours, or we try to find look, and based on the theme, like for example, Beatles week or rock n’ roll week or whatever. I try not to steer too much away from the brand that I’m trying to create through their image, but we will put in a little bit of influence of that week’s theme. So it’ll still kind of be fun. It’s just kind of training them into thinking like, “OK, if I’m walking to red carpet, then I need to dress appropriately for the red carpet. If I’m doing the CMAs or VMAs, then I could dress appropriately for that kind of event.” You know, I think everything is a bit theme-based, so trying not to steer away from their original image.
AM: Do you have sample closet you can pull from or do you just buy the outfit for that week?
SA: I have my kit that they go through and see what they like and don’t like, and then I also get wardrobe or accessories sent over from various companies that they’re allowed to sort through, and we also shop. So what I like to do for my Idols is have things available for them, like at [the boutique] Live on Sunset. I would have them try on different things that they like and we’d have talks about what they like, they’d tell me their music, they might even sing it for me or play it for me on their iPod because I work really well when I hear the music. I would never put an outfit on an Idol that I feel is going to eat them alive. So it’s a little bit of everything, it’s the attitude, their personality, we take all those things into account.
AM: Do you work with hair and makeup as well?
SA: So what I do is take pictures of the fittings and from there we kind of go through the process of elimination to figure out what the outfit’s going to be. Then I send it via email to hair, makeup and lighting. Lighting is so important! So once they know the color scheme that we’re going to go, then they light it appropriately. It goes crazy. So it’s definitely a team effort.
AM: You also style and do costume design for So You Think You Can Dance, for which you won Emmys two years in a row. What’s the difference between styling someone and costume design?
SA: The difference between styling someone and costume designing is styling is an aspect where you bring in other designers’ ideas into your own clients’ closet, and so you create an image through designs that are preexisting and you kind of make it work so that that styling becomes your client’s own style. Whereas as a costume designer you design on paper, first, then you build from scratch.
I feel blessed when I get to do styling and costume design. Like Carrie Underwood is a perfect example. I’ll build and design my own creation, my own outfit. Then I’ll get some awesome jewelry designers like Gwyneth Jewelry and awesome shoes — even shoes on a budget like Steve Madden — and then I’ll add all of my own crystals underneath the shoe and just totally bling it up and add studs on it and custom make anything for that individual client.
The difference in styling, too, is that you would collaborate with that designer. For example, the VMAS last year where Louboutin made those stud shoes for Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson — the stylist collaborated with the designer. With me, you’re kind of collaborating with the designer and a stylist, but it’s all in one, dealing with one person.
AM: Your parents must be so proud. Were they always supportive and did they influence you at all?
SA: My parents definitely wanted me to go down that aisle of being a doctor or lawyer and trying to fulfill a career goal. I’ve always really been into drawing and art. I used to be an athlete, and I think that may be why I know dancers in terms of their needs [in designing for SYTYCD]. I went to school for fashion design. I initially went into Otis for design and to build my foundation, but after a couple years, because I wanted a faster route, so I went to FIDM. After I did some corporate work in design, I went into TV/film because it felt like more like my scene.
I think for me, personally, with my designs, there is a particular element that makes it my creation, you can tell my hand has touched that design. I don’t know if that has anything to do with being Asian American or the influences that I had with growing up. But I think you can tell when a performer has my costume on versus someone else’s creation. And if anything, the way my parents raised me, they’ve helped me be a multitasker. The reason I can be a multitasker is because they put me through so much as a kid.
AM: Of the things you’ve worked on so far, what would you say your favorite thing is?
SA: That’s a tough question because I feel lucky to work on so many various projects, so it’s hard, it’s a hard question. But I’d have to say — I don’t know what my favorite is. Carrie Underwood was awesome!
AM: You’re styling Carrie Underwood, you’re doing Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and you’re hosting the O’Neil Generation X event tomorrow. So how do you balance all that stuff? What do you do to kind of relax when you have down time?
SA: I balance all the stuff that I do with a really great team. I think they keep me in a good balance with my assistance. I think it’s also just being able to have that drive and kind of keep a tight schedule and making sure you wake up in time.
– Anthony Tran, with reporting by Han Cho.
Finally! Our Winter 2010-11 Issue is out! Check out our stunning red-headed, be-freckled Asian American cover girl Angelina, luxuriating in the afterglow of the season!
Inside we’ve got all sorts of goodies for you like:
* The Green Hornet‘s Jay Chou
* YouTube mega-star Joseph Vincent
* Behind the scenes on American Idol with their resident stylist Soyon An
* More photos from Audrey’s Night Out 2010
* Escape (vicarously) to an Ayurveda spa in southern India
* Resolutions (the dating kind) for the new year
* Holiday dressing, tuxedo-style
* Cozy knits and rapturous wraps for a winter getaway
* Luxe beauty products
* Plus films, TV, books, music, food, travel and all the stories that matter to you!
Get Audrey Magazine now!
Wanna see your photo in print? This is your last chance to show us what “winter” or “the holidays” mean to you! Maybe snow angels? Maybe partying it up on New Year’s? Maybe all the resolutions you failed to keep in 2010?
Regardless, we want to see it! We want to see what “winter” (specifically, December through February) means to you, whether it’s the holidays, New Year’s, even Valentine’s Day! You just might get your photo into the next issue of Audrey Magazine!
Submit your photos that in some way reflect the Asian American experience as well as the theme of “winter.” You don’t have to be a pro, so submit your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 25, 2010. To submit, please see instructions below.
We’re looking forward to seeing your work!
Images should be in digital jpeg format, at least 300 dpi resolution and 2400 pixels on the long end. Along with each image, please include your name, location and an explanation of how your image relates to the theme. Only submit photos that you’ve taken yourself. Please do not digitally alter your photos, besides cropping and applying basic tonal adjustments. Send your photos to EDITOR@audreymagazine.com, maximum three entries per person.
Legal & Releases
By submitting, you are granting Audrey Magazine permission to publish your submitted photos online and/or in print with your photo credit. You must be 18 or older to submit; if you’re under 18, a parent or legal guardian can submit on your behalf. We cannot accept photos of “recognizable” people in your photograph without a personal release signed by the person, authorizing our publication of the photo.