Priyanka Chopra on diversity: The ‘Girl Next Door’ should look like the girl next door

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Elle.com (by Priyanka Chopra): 

Priyanka Chopra can’t easily be summed up in a sentence. The former Miss World (she won the title in 2000) is a Bollywood star, recording artist, model (in December 2013 she became the first Indian GUESS girl), humanitarian (she’s a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), and activist (she promotes the education of girls in India through her namesake charity, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation). All that in one person? Sounds like Chopra, or PC as her friends call her, would have to be superhuman to pull it all off. Only she isn’t. Like us, she struggles to get enough sleep, worries too much, and can’t resist her junk food cravings.

How do we know? Because she told us. And every month on ELLE.com, in a new column, “Pret-a-Priyanka,” Chopra will open up about her life, struggles, and her guilty pleasures. In this month’s column, PC talks diversity.  

I consider myself a citizen of a world. I’ve gone to school in India and the U.S. My career in entertainment has allowed me to travel the globe and interact with many cultures. But my first brush with the world of entertainment—and, really, the world in general—happened in 2000 at the Miss World competition, where I had the privilege of interacting and competing with girls from over 130 countries. It was an overwhelming experience for me to learn so many aspects of so many different cultures, to experience first-hand the similarities and the differences that we had, and most importantly to seamlessly come together into one big unit.

I remember returning to India following my win and meeting so many young girls who told me that my achievement on a world stage was an inspiration for them, giving them hope that the world was truly their oyster.  At 17, all that kind of talk was a little too intense for me to compute but I heard it very very often through the various stages of my career.  It gave me a few ‘pat yourself on your back’ kind of moments, but I mostly chalked it off to people being kind.

I am a girl from a small town in India, the daughter of two hard-working army doctors who achieved a certain success through hard work and determination.  I understood that it was my underdog story that offered hope to all the young people who nurtured a dream for themselves.  I tried my best to encourage people to look at the world as a place of opportunity and to just give their dreams a shot.

But the actual reality of my ‘celebrity status’ (for lack of a better phrase) and what it meant hit me quite recently. It wasn’t until I made my debut internationally, first with my music (I have released four singles so far in English) and then with the campaign I did for Guess Worldwide, that my “fame” really sunk in.

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My debut single ‘In My City‘ featuring will.I.am was chosen as the theme song for NFL‘s Thursday Night Football for two years in a row.  Suddenly, there was this brown girl (their words not mine) from India who became a part of this quintessential American culture.  And then came the Guess campaign.  The all-American blonde bombshell was replaced by a dusky, brunette Indian girl!

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I was proud to be a part of both these milestones and very happily took on the role of brand ambassador of South Asia and India to the world.  I wasn’t being positioned as “Indian” in any way for either of these initiatives, I was simply being me: an artist sharing her creative self with the world.  But the reality of the bigger picture of both these initiatives hit me after an interaction with a young American of Indian descent. (A little context before I continue: India has a population of over 1.2 billion people and also, importantly, a vast diaspora. While some may have become citizens and passport holders of another nation, somewhere they still have a connection to India.) This young lady came up to me in the airport and gave me a hug and said “Thank you for making us relevant.”  I was stunned at the comment and asked her to explain.  She said she was second-generation Indian, born and brought up in the US.  Her family still had strong ties with India.  She said that most people still equated our culture to speaking like Apu from The Simpsons or living in a country of snake charmers and elephants!  She said with the NFL and Guess, I proved that we are much more than that and that we are ‘cool’ too.  She said “You broke the norm… the quintessential all-American girl has changed…. She can be of any ethnicity and culture…for the first time in my life I feel like it can be me too!”  That conversation was a real eye opener for me. It inspired me  to champion the cause of diversity in entertainment and media.

I was reminded of that experience recently when the news of my developmental deal with ABC Networks was announced.  It all began with a chance meeting with the fiery Keli Lee (EVP of Casting at ABC) and a continued conversation aided by my equally fiery manager Anjula Acharia Bath. Both of these ladies have been on a mission to embrace and to celebrate diversity in the United States.  In her role at ABC, Keli has pioneered diversity at the network, scouting talent from around the world, and casting strong female diverse talent in top dramas–like my friend Kerry Washington in Scandaland Sofia Vergara in Modern Family. Similarly, Anjula has championed South Asians in music and entertainment. Collectively, their efforts are bridging cultures from around the world through pop culture and entertainment.

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So why is that important you ask?  What exactly is the true meaning of diversity?

In my opinion, diversity means the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, gender, or sexual orientation, and it is the responsibility of the entertainment community to mirror the world we actually live in every day. To create a screen that shows color—not only black and white, but also brown, Asian, Hispanic, gay, and transgender—and cast an image of the “girl next door” that actually looks like the girls next door with roots from countries around the world.

Diversity is the one thing that we all have in common, and so I hope—as I prepare for my long-term stay in LA at the end of this month, adding a new layer to my career—that my presence on your television is accepted for the characters I portray, and not judged by where I come from. We are, after all, citizens of the same world!

Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, and Lionel Messi for UNICEF’s 1in11 Charity Campaign

Asian Cup set for 2 games Monday with Japan vs Palestinians

Yahoo News:

Defending champion Japan plays the newcomer Palestinians at Newcastle in its opening match at the Asian Cup on Monday, while Jordan takes on 2007 winner Iraq in Brisbane. Here’s a look at those Group D matches:

JAPAN vs. PALESTINE (0700 GMT): This will be the first competitive meeting between the teams, and Japan and AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda is telling the defending champions to keep it simple. “It is crucial that we don’t make stupid mistakes. Look at the kind of heat we are going to be playing in,” Honda said after Friday’s training session in temperatures of nearly 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in Newcastle.

While Japan has a record four Asian Cup titles in the past six events, the Palestinians will be making their first tournament start after qualifying by winning the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, keeping a clean sheet in all five of their matches.

Ranked 113th in the world, the Palestinians clinched a spot for the Asian Cup with a 1-0 win over the Philippines in the Maldives last May, despite the absence of several players due to travel restrictions.

To be here is a like a dream. It’s like a World Cup for us, not just the players, but all of the Palestinian people,” striker and leading goal scorer Ashraf Al Fawaghra, better known as Nu’man, said. “Through football matches we will try to send a message to the world that we are Palestinian, we are human, we want to play football.

Best Asian American athletes in 2014


Northwest Asian Weekly (By Jason Cruz)

It was another stellar year for API sports.

It started off with Doug Baldwin and the Seattle Seahawks bringing home the team’s first ever Super Bowl and a parade that seemingly the whole city of Seattle came to see.

The Winter Olympics were a bit of a disappointment for Asian Americans. Mirai Nagusa was denied making the U.S. women’s figure skating team despite making the top three.

J.R. Celski earned a Silver medal in the men’s Short Track 5000-meter relay but failed to medal in any of the three individual events he competed in.

Julie Chu, the first Asian American woman to play for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team ended her career with a Silver medal for the U.S. team. However, her quest for Gold was thwarted just three minutes before the end of the Gold Medal Game against Canada. With the U.S. up 2-0, Canada made a furious comeback and scored two goals in three minutes to send the game into overtime where Team Canada scored another goal for the Gold. Chu played in an unprecedented four Olympics and was the U.S. Olympic team’s Flag Bearer for the closing ceremonies.

In April, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring and avenged a controversial loss to Tim Bradley by winning a convincing unanimous decision.

The World Cup was held in Brazil in June and the two Asian nations competing, South Korea and Japan, did not fare well. Both were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Also in June, Michelle Wie won her first major golf championship with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open. At the same tournament, 11-year-old Lucy Li became the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open.

University of Washington men’s golf team member Cheng-Tsung Pan played in the British Open in July. The UW junior earned the spot by tying for second at a qualifying event in Thailand. This fall, Pan decided to turn pro.

The U.S. Tennis Open featured great runs by 24-year-old Japanese star Kei Nishikori and China’s Peng Shuai.

Nishikori, who was coached by Chinese American Michael Chang, made it all the way to the men’s final before losing to Milos Raonic.

Shuai made a surprising run to the semifinals where she had to retire (forfeit) due to continued leg cramps.

Absent from the women’s side of the tournament was Li Na who announced her retirement in September.

In October, Apolo Ohno finished the famed Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

November saw Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring as he destroyed Chris Algieri. Pacquiao’s next opponent…Floyd Mayweather?

In December, the University of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s biggest individual award.
Mariota becomes the first Asian Pacific Islander to win the trophy.

And without further ado, here are the top 10 API athletes of 2014:

10. Harley Kirsch

Kirsch, who is part Korean, was the quarterback for the Eastside Catholic High School team that defeated the vaunted Bellevue High School football team to win the Washington state class 3A football championship. Located in Sammamish, Washington, the school ended Bellevue’s 67 game winning streak. Kirsch is only a junior and will return next season to lead Eastside Catholic.

9. Amelia Andrilenas

The junior gymnast at Juanita High School qualified for the state meet and placed first, second, and fourth in all-around meets during the 2013-2014 season.

For the outsider, the most astonishing thing about the 4’11” gymnast is that she has only one hand. Andrilenas, who was adopted from China, took up gymnastics at an early age and has excelled since.

8. Jeremy Lin

Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason to complement Kobe Bryant. So far, Lin has not done much to help Kobe. He’s averaging just 10 points for the currently 9 win and 22 loss Lakers. He did score a season high 21 points in the Lakers’ first win. While he is far-removed from the days of New York and Linsanity, he still is a contributing member of the Lakers who hope to rebuild.

7. Tim Lincecum

It seems that every other year Lincecum and his San Francisco Giants seem to win a World Series. The Giants won baseball’s World Series this year making it three times in the past five years that the team has won the title. Lincecum, who is a Washington native and part Filipino, pitched his second-career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June. He also picked up his 100th career win this past September. Although Lincecum played sparingly in the World Series, he picks up his third ring.

6. Chloe Kim

At only 14, Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but the snowboarder did earn silver in the “superpipe” at this year’s Winter X Games. Look for the Korean American to make the next team in the 2018 Winter Olympics which are in her parents’ home country of South Korea.

5. Julie Chu

A pioneer in the field of women’s hockey as Chu was the first Asian American to be on the women’s team and the first to play in four Olympics. She also starred in a commercial with her mother shown during the Winter Olympics.

4. Mirai Nagusa

The 21-year-old Los Angeles native was denied a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s figure skating team despite winning the Bronze medal at the U.S. Championships. Usually, the top three are awarded spots on the Olympic team. However, the U.S. Figure Skating committee determined that Ashley Wagner, the fourth place finisher make the team based on Wagner’s stronger international record. Although it was reported that Nagusa would appeal the decision, she later decided not to pursue it.

3. Apolo Ohno

The Olympic medalist is keeping busy in retirement. Last year he ran the New York Marathon. This year, he has completed one of the most grueling events out there, the Kona Ironman Triathlon. Ohno finished in 9 hours, 52 minutes and 27 seconds. What will he do next?

2. Marcus Mariota

The Oregon Duck won the Heisman Trophy in December and leads his team into the first College Football Playoff. Mariota is certain to be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Doug Baldwin

It’s pretty easy to pick Baldwin as he was a key part of the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl last year and remains one of Russell Wilson’s most valuable receivers. Hopefully, we’ll see Baldwin (and the rest of the Seahawks) with another Super Bowl ring in 2015.

 

Nissin Cup Noodle’s soccer-playing Samurai heads to Manchester

 

After making his debut at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Nissin Cup Noodle‘s football-playing samurai has made yet another trek outside his native Japan, this time landing in Manchester. Trading in his blue armor from an apropos shade of red, the warrior takes on a clan of black-clad ninjas around the English city before a final showdown on Old Trafford’s iconic pitch.

Check it out above and stay tuned for more samurai soccer skills from Nissin.

 

adidas Unveils Real Madrid’s 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

 

In a departure from their collaborative Y-3 endeavor, adidas has tapped award-winning Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto to create Real Madrid‘s third kit for the 2014/15 campaign. Set to make its debut during UEFA Champions League action, the striking all-black kit takes cues from the Madridismo‘s values of greatness and determination, as well as Yamamoto’s own aesthetic, and incorporates two mythical beasts that originate in Eastern culture: the dragon king and dragon bird. Interlaced across the front of the shirt, the king symbolizes the greatness, glory, and power of the club while the bird represents resistance, determination, and agility on the way to victory.

Finished with a mao-type collar, two-color crest, and the designer’s signature, Real Madrid’s black kit is now available in limited quantities from adidas.com.

 

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

WORLD CUP: Angry South Koreans chuck toffees at National Soccer Team

World-Cup-Korea-Toffees

FoodBeast:

 

Although most people would love to be showered with candy, South Korea’s National Soccer Team took the flying sweets with melancholy when they returned from Brazil. While lining up for photographs from their fans at the Incheon airport, the team was greeted by an onslaught of toffee candies after a poor performance at the World Cup.

The reason behind the toffees is that the phrase “Go eat a toffee” is considered an insult in Korea. It’s similar to “Screw you” or “Get Lost.” Dozens of toffee candies were thrown at the down-on-their-luck team. At least they were wrapped though. Because ants.

In what is said to be Asia’s worst World Cup performance in 24 years, the team grabbed one point in a series of three matches. South Korea joined Japan, Iran and Australia in an early trip back home from Brazil.