20 celebrities you didn’t know were Asian

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Audrey Magazine (Ethel Navales):

Not all Asians look the same.  I repeat, not all Asians look the same. It seems no matter how many times we say it, people simply assume that all Asians share the same physical features. Some believe we all have the same body structure and others even think we all have the same kind of hair. Of course, we know this is absurd. We know that there are plenty of ethnicities which categorize under the umbrella term “Asian” and we know there are plenty of Asians who are of mixed race. So why do people think all Asians look the alike? Well it may have a thing or two to do with media’s portrayal of Asians. If audiences have only been exposed to a very particular type of Asian, how can they know we’re all different? This lack of exposure may be the very reason many celebs who are bi-racial or multiracial are often overlooked in the Asian community. Even if they don’t necessarily “look it,” all of the following celebrities are Asian.

Check out this list of 20 Asian celebs you probably didn’t know were Asian.

1)  Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical is part Chinese and part Filipino.

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2)  Tiger Woods is part Thai.

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3)  Chad Michael Murray of One Tree Hill  is a quarter Japanese.

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4)  Dean Cain, superman of the TV series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is a quarter Japanese.

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5)  Nicole Scherzinger of PussyCat Dolls is half Filipino.

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6)  Keanu Reeves of The Matrix is a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese.

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7)  Darren Criss of the TV series Glee is half Filipino.

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8)   Ne-Yo is a quarter Chinese.

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9)  Tyga, the rapper, is half Vietnamese.

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10)  Maggie Q is half Vietnamese.

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11) Enrique Iglesias is half Filipino.

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12)   Piper Curda of the Disney Channel show I Didn’t Do It is part Korean.

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13)   Mark-Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris of the 90’s hit TV show Saved By The Bell, is a quarter Indonesian.

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14) Kristin Kreuk of the TV series SmallVille and Beauty and the Beast is half Chinese.

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15) Kelsey Asbille Chow of the MTV series Teen Wolf  and The Amazing Spiderman is part Chinese.

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16)   Host of the TV show Lip Sync Battle and model, Chrissy Teigen is half Thai.

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17)  Rob Schneider of Grown Ups and The Hot Chick is a quarter Filipino.

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18) Chanel Iman, the Victoria Secret Angel and model is half Korean.

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19) Model Karrueche Tran is half Vietnamese.

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20) Bérénice Marlohe from the famous Bond series, SkyFall is part Cambodian and Chinese.

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– See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/20-celebs-you-didnt-know-were-asian/#sthash.71uqqXCc.dpuf

Audrey Magazine interview: Haley Tju from Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs”

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS

Audrey Magazine:

Traditional gender roles? Not in Nickelodeon’s hit show, Bella and the Bulldogs! The show focuses on Bella, a head cheerleader who pursues her passion of playing football and becomes the star quarterback for her school’s team. Pepper and Sophie are also cheerleaders and Bella’s best friends. In the show, the girls must try to remain close and maintain their friendship while proving that girls can be just as tough and play sports just as well as guys. Who knew there was more to Nickelodeon than dealing with everyday school life?

Haley Tju (pronounced like “chew”) plays Pepper, the energetic friend with an obsession with the right hair poof height. During our interview, the Chinese and Indonesian American actress proves that she is much more than the fashionista cheerleader she plays on Bella and the Bulldogs.

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS

Audrey Magazine:  How old are you?

Haley Tju: I’m 14, born on February 15.

AM: Are you homeschooled?

HT: Yes, I am homeschooled. I’ve been homeschooled for about two years now and it’s been great. I do school on set when I’m working and I have three teachers that help me. But when I’m not working, I just do it at home and get my mom’s help.

AM: Do you miss regular school?

HT: Yeah, I do! I have friends there. You always get to hang out with friends on and off work. At work, you get to hang out with your cast mates and they’re pretty amazing.

AM: How did you get into acting?

HT: My older sister, Brianne, started acting, so my mom decided to put me into acting as well. And I started auditioning for commercials and doing co-stars and guest stars and going from there.

AM: What was the first role you landed?

HT: I think it was a Pizza Hut commercial. That was really fun because they let me eat pizza at the audition. But for a show, I think I was a girl scout in an older show on Fox. That was a cool experience.

AM: What do your friends say when they see you on TV? Is it weird for them?

HT: No, because I’ve been really close to them. I’ve been friends with them since pre-school so they see me skip school and go to auditions and see me on TV. They’ve been really supportive and nice. I guess they’re just really happy for me. Sometimes it’s hard, because they schedule a hang out and I can’t because things just pop up at random times.

AM: Tell me about your character, Pepper, on Bella and the Bulldogs?

HT: My character Pepper is Bella and Sophie’s overly caffeinated bestie. She’s loyal, a fashionista, boy crazy and she’s prone to panic attacks. The girls are always there to calm her down.

AM: Are you anything like her in real life?

HT: I can be indecisive like her at times and we both love fashion, but I think her fashion is more wild than I am. She definitely expresses who she is through her clothes.

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS

AM: Pepper is a cheerleader. Do you also play any sports?

HT: I used to be a dancer and gymnast. I still do dance occasionally. I do kickboxing and running and I love playing football just for fun. I can never actually play in a game because I can never be tackled! But I still love just throwing it around and having fun with it.

AM: Who is your favorite actor or actress that you admire?

HT: Oh, that’s going to be hard. I love Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley because they just seem so real and genuine on and off screen.

AM: Have you met them in person?

HT: No, I would love to though!

AM: What would your dream role be?

HT: I guess I’m kind of living my dream role. I always wanted to have my own show on Nickelodeon, but I would love to go into the movie industry and do more dramatic and comedic roles. I’ve always wanted to be like, the mini Maggie Q, like Nikita.

AM: Do you see yourself acting in the long run? Or do you see yourself doing other things?

HT: Acting is definitely a part of me now. I feel that it’s all I want to do. But besides acting, I do like singing and drawing and art. So maybe if I take a little break, I can go further with those. But right now, it’s all about acting because I love it.

AM: Other than Nickelodeon, do you have other projects you’re working on?

HT: Not at the moment and nothing I can talk about, but once I know more, I’ll be sure to share on my social media.

Keep an eye out for Haley Tju during the next season of Bella and the Bulldogs!

 

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q are engaged

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q are engaged

New York Post/Page Six:

Stalker” actor Dylan McDermott is getting married again.

Sources tell us he’s engaged to his co-star Maggie Q after dating for a few months.

The two had kept their relationship under wraps after first being spotted together last fall in LA. But the couple stepped out at the Golden Globes after-parties, and the statuesque actress was spotted wearing a ring.

Dylan is 53 and has two children from his 13 year marriage to actress Shiva Rose. Q is 35.

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Meet the “Expendable Asian Crewmember”: From “Godzilla” to “X-Men” to “Total Recall,” why does every blockbuster need a single Asian guy to kill off?

 

He's in every action movie -- but not for long: Meet the Expendable Asian CrewmemberKen Watanabe in “Godzilla”

Salon:

 

Fans of the original “Star Trek” television series, which aired from 1966 to 1969, are familiar with the old trope of the expendable Asian crewmember. Every week, one or two unlucky marginal characters, wearing the red shirt of a Security Officer, would join a landing party that usually consisted of Captain James Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from the starship USS Enterprise. The trio would beam down to the planet’s surface along with the Expendable Crewmember – who would promptly get killed off by a space monster/mysterious sentient cloud/primitive hostiles. The Expendable Crewmember became such a routine part of the storyline that it was spoofed on the animated television show “Family Guy,” and became a running joke in the 1999 film “Galaxy Quest,” in which Sam Rockwell’s character, “Crewman no. 6,” is a nervous wreck named Guy, so forgettable to everyone that even he knows he’s doomed to die.

As little kid, I found it a bit odd that the Klingons always missed Kirk and hit the guy in the red shirt standing next to him. And as I got older, I couldn’t help but notice two strange trends beginning to pop up in Hollywood summer blockbusters: 1) Random storylines would detour to someplace in Asia for no particularly good reason, and 2) One useless Asian character – only one – would show up and stick around just long enough to make a vague impression as a villain. Then he or she would die at the hands of the good (white) guys, who would then march off victoriously into the sunset.

Now, it has been pointed out to me that the business of killing off villains is an equal-opportunity plot device, and Asian people are not being singled out for horrible deaths. Which is true. It’s long been the case that Hollywood casts ethnic minorities as bad guys so their heads can be blasted off. In horror films, there is also the bimbo rule, which requires hot blondes to get killed off first. This is neither racist nor sexist (see no. 7 on this list, John Cho, hot blond), but the norm.

The Expendable Asian Crewmember is different from the phenomenon known as the “Asian sidekick,” whose ranks include Cato in the “Pink Panther” film series from the ’60s and ’70s and remade in 2006; Kato in the “Green Hornet” television series from the ’60s, remade as a film in 2011; Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid,” 1984, remade and moved from California to China, 2010; and the mutant Yukio in “The Wolverine,” 2013. But the vast majority of blockbuster film franchises have no Asian characters in them at all. In general, both New York City and The Future are curiously free of Asians except for Maggie Q, whose time-traveling powers enable her to pop up briefly in “Divergent,” 2014. There are so few Asians in the galaxy inhabited by Star Wars that a hilarious blog, “You Offend Me You Offend My Family,” has scoured the entire franchise for signs of Asian life. The results were: one rebel officer, and a dubious claim that Admiral Ackbar, fearless cephalopod leader of the Rebellion, was “Asian-like.”

Which brings me to the 2013 “Star Trek” reboot, with Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura and John Cho as Lt. Sulu, plus loads of “Asian-like” aliens, including Vulcans. When the most diverse cast in a Hollywood summer blockbuster happens to be based on a television show that debuted a half century ago, it’s better to be the Expendable (Asian) Crewmember than not be allowed on board at all. But I’m hoping it won’t be another 50 years before Mr. Sulu not only takes the helm but gets his own ship – and can star in his own film.

Here is a mere sampling of the Expendable Asian Crewmembers I’ve spotted over the years:

X-Men 2: X-Men United,” 2003. Yuriko. The perfectly coiffed, impeccably manicured and silent assistant to evil mastermind Stryker, Yuriko turns out to be a super-villain called Lady Deathstrike whose abilities closely parallel those possessed by the Wolverine. Wolverine kills her by injecting her with the rare metal adamantium in its liquid form.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand,” 2006. Kid Omega. As the Mutant Brotherhood organizes against humans, Kid Omega becomes one of Magneto’s new recruits. Played by Ken Leung, he can project spikes out all over his body in the manner of an angry porcupine. He dies in a blast of psychokinetic energy unleashed by the super-mutant, Jean Grey/Phoenix.

Mission Impossible III,” 2006. Zhen Lei. Played by Maggie Q, this femme fatale joins the “Impossible Mission Force,” experiences a staged death, and disappears from the story. The fact that she is Chinese does not explain why the action relocates to Shanghai as opposed to, say, Southern California, which is also inhabited by white heroes plus a few Chinese people eating noodles.

Live Free or Die Hard,” 2007. Mai Lin. Once again played by Maggie Q, Mai Lin is a cyber-terrorist with nefarious plans that vaguely involve computer hacking. Bruce Willis blames her for the awful script and throws her down an elevator shaft.

The Dark Knight,” 2008. Lau. Played by Chin Han, Lau is a mob accountant who hides the mob’s money and flees to Hong Kong for the express purpose of getting Batman to Asia for an extended tourist commercial involving many tall, sleek skyscrapers. Batman brings Lau back to the U.S., where he is killed by the Joker.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” 2009. Agent Zero. A mutant expert marksman, Agent Zero, played by ethnic Korean actor Daniel Henneynot only looks fine in a tailored black suit, he has better hair than Wolverine. After many tries, Wolverine finally succeeds in mussing his rival’s hair by downing his helicopter and blowing it up.

Total Recall (remake), 2010. Bob McClane. Played by John Cho, better known as Lt. Sulu from the “Star Trek” reboot, Bob gets killed off when he stupidly asks secret agent Doug Quaid about his feelings. This taboo question prompts a police raid that results in everybody except Quaid getting shot.

Pacific Rim,” 2013. My friend Minsoo Kang, who is an expert on the history of automatons, told me that not one but “two Chinese robot operators” show up and get crushed when monsters mash their robots. (They die at the same time and don’t have names, so I will count them as one.) Not only does this film have a female lead played by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, but it’s set in Hong Kong, which gets smashed by machine-monsters. This film didn’t do very well in the U.S. but did extremely well in Asia (e.g., China, Korea and Japan). As summed up by Forbes, Pacific Rim was “the rare English-language film in history to cross $400 million while barely crossing $100 million domestic.”

Red 2,” 2013. Han Cho-Bai. He is an international assassin sent to kill retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses. Moses is played by Bruce Willis, so you know he doesn’t get killed off. Neither does Han Cho-Bai (played by Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun), because he’s a red herring who is really a disguised sidekick. Though I enjoyed the display of his martial arts skills, he’s got no business being in this film except to sell tickets. It made nearly twice as much in foreign receipts as it did in the U.S., and the bulk of those tickets were sold in Japan and South Korea.
 Could there be a theme developing here? Why, yes! And it leads directly to…

Godzilla (remake), 2014. Dr. Serizawa. Played by the legendary Ken Watanabe, the Serizawa character appears in the 1954 version set in Japan, where he unexpectedly dies. Crucially, the original Godzilla hit U.S. theaters around the same time as the first wave of Asian immigrants, in the aftermath of WWII and the Korean War. Sixty years later, the newer, sexier version of the giant lizard suggests that Godzilla is a strong, charismatic, assimilated Asian-American who wants his own starring role in a summer blockbuster without so much goofy metrosexual makeup. And just as some of the funniest Internet memes focus on the giant lizard’s new Hollywood look, it’s not a done deal that Serizawa’s character gets killed off this time around, even if he is the only Asian character with a name, thus adhering to the one-Asian rule. I guess you could call that progress.

 

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Meet the “Expendable Asian Crewmember”

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Fall network TV shows star more Asian Americans

 

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Asian Fortune News:

 

The number of Asian American actors on network television shows will increase this fall season. John Cho will star in ABC’s comedy “Selfie,” which is described as a modern version of “My Fair Lady.” On CBS, Kal Penn will appear in “Battle Creek,” a show about detectives working in a small town, and Maggie Q was cast in a new thriller entitled “Stalker.”

A new comedy show based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir will be on ABC and is the first sitcom in two decades that focuses on an Asian American family. “Fresh Off The Boat” will star Randall Park and Constance Wu and features the culture shock 12-year-old Eddie experiences after moving to Orlando from D.C.’s Chinatown. In addition, CBS picked up “Scorpion,” which will be directed by Justin Lin, who is known for the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

 

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Fall network TV shows star more Asian Americans

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Actress Maggie Q warns rich Chinese men that shark fin soup just isn’t cool

Unlike numerous other animal rights groups, non-governmental organization WildAid aims to combat the problem of illegal wildlife trade – most notably the killing of sharks for their fins, elephants and rhinos for their precious ivory, and tigers for their skins – by attacking the problem at its source: the people whose money encourages it. The group’s message is simple: “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

This week, world-famous actress, animal rights campaigner Maggie Q appeared in the group’s newest commercial, which aired in China. The ad, titled “Impress”, aims to dissuade wealthy Chinese from eating shark fin soup, with Maggie telling both her date and TV-watching China that although there are many ways to impress a woman, shark fin soup is definitely not one of them.

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‘Nikita’ series finale: Maggie Q says goodbye

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“Nikita” is coming to its series finale after four seasons of action. How does the cast feel about the end of the show? This interview with the actors —Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Aaron Stanford and Devon Sawa — has some answers.Although none of the actors could or would give away how “Nikita” would end, there were a few teases about what might be coming. Fonseca, for example, hinted that fans should be happy about what’s coming. “It’s not gonna be a cliffhanger, but it’s not gonna be something where it’s like ‘Oh happy! Tied up in a big, pretty bow!'” the actress explained. “It feels good to have closure, but they’re also going to … I feel like I would, as a fan, be like, ‘I wonder what that life’s going to be like?’ or ‘Oh look! They’re doing that!’ You can still think about the characters.”

Maggie Q agreed that stories would be resolved by the end of the show. “I‘m weirdly fulfilled in terms of where my character is going,” she said.

One of the things that almost all of the actors noted was how they would miss the people on “Nikita.” “I’m super sad. There’s absolutely no question,” Maggie Q said immediately when asked. “These people — they’re my family. I see them more than I see my actual family. It’s just a weird feeling to not have them in my life just like that! That’s the beautiful thing about this industry, you make this family in an intense amount of time and you get really close because that amount of time is so intense. And then you just go away.”

Stanford had similar feelings about saying goodbye. “That’s the saddest thing of doing this for a living,” he explained. “Whatever time you spend with those people, they do become your family and you’re spending every day — sometimes 15, 16 hours a day with these people. You get to know them really well and the job ends — and that’s it. You break. You do keep in contact with some people, but it’s never the same.”

Sawa, however, was feeling positive about future contact with his co-stars. “We’re all buds,” he pointed out. “We all live in LA. And I assume that we’ll all stay in touch.”

While the ending of “Nikita” would of course be determined by the show’s writers and producers, the actors had some ideas of what they might like to see. Stanford referenced the movies with his bloody plan to end things. “I’d like it to end like the end of ‘Reservoir Dogs,’where there’s this giant Mexican standoff,” the actor said with enthusiasm. “Every single established character is holding a gun on someone else, and it’s all on a hair-trigger. Someone pulls the trigger, everybody drops! Everybody’s dead! And Birkhoff scurries out from under his desk — he’s like the Mr. Pink. He’s the survivor. He runs out the front to maybe get shot or who knows what.”

West had some joking theories about everyone dying in the end, but the actor actually wanted a happy ending for “Nikita” and its characters. “It would be nice to see them walk off into the sunset, that kind of thing … to show people that there’s hope,” he said, emphasizing that Nikita and Michael really might deserve some happiness at this point. “You kind of want them all to keep going … You hope for the better for all of these character, because they’ve all been through so much.”

Whatever the ending that comes, the cast and crew marked their four years on the show in a permanent way: Maggie Q hired a tattoo artist to commemorate the show’s ending. “We’re just getting a small something that I designed,” she said.

The “Nikita” series finale aired Friday, Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

 
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Why Young Asian-Americans Are Fleeing Hollywood

MzE1NjUxYWIwYyMvS0ZJV0dEWXVFZ1BVbndFREtnX0VySkNjRDhvPS8xMjgweDYyMC9zbWFydC9maWx0ZXJzOnF1YWxpdHkoNzUpOnN0cmlwX2ljYygxKS9zMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tJTJGcG9saWN5bWljLWltYWdlcyUyRjhmMGUwOWIzMzU2OTJkNGMwYWVhMzc1NTY5ODFiZDIxZDVhNGVjYjk3MjkzNTk5ZGYzM2RjZWZiOTU2NmPolicyMic.com (article by Dana Ter):

We were speaking in English and picking strawberries at a night market in Taipei last winter when the storekeeper curiously asked my friend where I was from (even though I had lived there for seven years). “She’s visiting from New York,” my friend informed him. After buying the strawberries, she said, “it’s funny how he just assumed I was Taiwanese. It must be because of my skirt.”

My friend had undergone a complete image overhaul after moving from Minnesota back to Taiwan to launch her singing career. While her story may seem bizarre, there are many stories like hers. Originally from California, Tiffany from the K-pop group Girls Generation mentioned in an interview that while she once craved pizza, she now eats dwenjang jigae (tofu stew) and has become “full Korean.

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Asian-Americans have been moving to Asia to break into the entertainment industry for a while now despite initially having a limited grasp of Mandarin, Cantonese or Korean. It’s been difficult for Asian-Americans to make it in Hollywood, since they are often type-casted into certain roles such as socially awkward geeks or kungfu masters. Mike Hale from the New York Times described how even famous actresses like Maggie Q and Lucy Liu are not entirely able to escape the mold of the “sexy nerd” or the “dragon lady.”

In the past, Asian-American actors and actresses like Russell Wong and Maggie Q (both of whom are mixed race) have used Asia as a launching pad to break into the industry and subsequently move back to the U.S. These days however, an increasing number are deciding to remain in Asia. The expanding entertainment industry there simply promises more opportunities for them. Asian-American actors and singers are finally getting a chance to pursue their American dreams, but ironically, it’s Asia that’s making it possible.

Maggie Q told Time Out magazine that she owes her success to Hong Kong. Originally from Hawaii, she moved there in 1997 with $20 in her pocket in a last-ditch effort after failed modeling stints in Japan and Taiwan. Whereas Taiwanese markets at the time were looking for either “tall blonds” or “100% Chinese girls,” Hong Kong consumers were craving something fresh. Maggie Q fit the bill. She was introduced to acting by Jackie Chan and learned martial arts (and Cantonese) from scratch. She starred in both English and Cantonese-speaking movies in Hong Kong, and was propelled to fame in 2002 acting alongside fellow Asian-American actor Daniel Wu in Naked Weapon.

Unlike Maggie Q , the Californian born-and-raised Daniel Wu decided to remain in Hong Kong. An established movie star now, Wu could barely speak Cantonese when he first arrived there in 1997. Both Maggie Q and Daniel Wu, being unable to read characters, wrote out their lines phonetically. Wu’s decision to remain in Hong Kong had much to do with representations of Asians in Hollywood. Whenever a Chinese film is screened in the U.S. it is repackaged such that American audiences can comprehend it, Wu told the University of Oregon’s Daily Emerald newspaper. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, he argued, was a blockbuster hit because it was a simple love story within an action movie.

Daniel Henney chose to make Korea his home for similar reasons. The Michigan-bred, half-Caucasian, half-Korean actor told CNN that he considers himself a “Korean actor until the day I die” because “Korea gave me my career.”

After working in Hong Kong and Taiwan for a few years, Henney decided to move to Seoul. He has created a niche for himself playing English-speaking roles in movies filmed in Korea and China. In Shanghai Calling for instance, he plays a Chinese American lawyer who relocates to Shanghai.

It’s not just Asian-American actors, but also singers who are making waves in Asia. Taiwanese American pop-stars Lee Hom Wang and Wilber Pan have redefined Mandopop (the Chinese/Taiwanese counterpart to K-pop). Growing up in Rochester, NY, Wang spoke mostly English at home. He was introduced to the Taiwanese music scene during his summer trips throughout high school and college. Pan on the other hand attended Taipei American School but is glad to have been “exposed to both kinds of cultures.” Both artists mix hip-hop and R&B with ballads and traditional Chinese instrumental sounds. Wang’s Shangri-la is an example of this.

Similarly, the Korean entertainment industry has helped Korean American singers Jessica and Tiffany from Girls Generation to launch their careers. In an interview with Soompi, the girls discussed adjusting to life in Korea, including having to tone down their “wild” behavior and acting more “ladylike.” Apparently, K-pop has given these girls the break that they needed, since Girls Generation is doing extremely well.

Despite the linguistic and cultural barriers that accompany moving to a new country, Asian-American actors and singers are choosing to remain in Asia. Furthermore, crossing over to Hollywood isn’t exactly a rite of passage for them anymore since many have found stardom in Asia. As Maggie Q stated, casting agencies are increasingly looking for “mixed girls.”

And as Jessica from Girls Generation explained, being fluent in English has been a plus. Whereas Asian-Americans are often times consigned to stereotypical roles in Hollywood, their biculturalism is an asset in Asia. As such, Asia has become the new Land of Opportunity for Asian-Americans trying to make it in the entertainment industry.

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Why Young Asian-Americans Are Fleeing Hollywood

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Maggie Q and Lucy Liu: Asian-Americans as Leading Ladies

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NY Times: The CW series “Nikita” begins its fourth and final season on Friday — an abbreviated run to tie up story lines, as the reluctant assassin Nikita stands falsely accused of killing the president — and while there’s still a chance, I’d like to celebrate a small but significant milestone. For six more weeks, two of the strongest and most interesting female leads on television are being played by Asian-American actresses.

I’m talking about Maggie Q, finishing her turn as Nikita, and Lucy Liu, in her second season as Joan Watson on CBS’s “Elementary,” where she is every bit as central as Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes. Both shows have their formulaic elements, but Nikita and Joan are noncartoonish, reasonably complex, multidimensional characters, and in prime time, there aren’t too many actresses getting that kind of opportunity in a lead role. Julianna Margulies in “The Good Wife,” Connie Britton in “Nashville,” Claire Danes in “Homeland,” Lizzy Caplan in “Masters of Sex.” It’s a short list.

Of course, that broader look also indicates that the overall picture for Asian actresses (American, Canadian and otherwise) isn’t so happy. A lot of them are working, but in roles far down the food chain from Nikita and Watson, and often playing characters conceived or shaped to reflect longstanding stereotypes about Asians.

Even Maggie Q and Ms. Liu haven’t completely escaped those archetypes. Both are playing the latest iterations of durable characters traditionally inhabited by white performers, so it would seem that race shouldn’t have any particular bearing. But the truth is that they resonate with two of the most common sets of images — or clichés — about Asian women: the high-achieving, socially awkward Dr. Joan Watson is a refined example of the sexy nerd, and the lethal, sometimes icy Nikita, able to dispense violence while wearing tight, microscopic outfits, evokes a long line of dragon ladies and ninja killers.

(You could argue that the association exists only because Maggie Q was cast as Nikita, who is based on a French film character, but it’s a self-canceling argument: The men who created the show sought her out for the role.)

In both cases, though, the actresses and their writers have avoided or transcended easy stereotypes. A lot of effort has gone into humanizing Nikita, and making her a sisterly or even maternal figure for the younger assassin Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), and the emphasis on violent action has decreased over the show’s run. In “Elementary,” Watson has embraced her role as apprentice detective after suffering a catastrophic failure as a doctor, taking some of the shine off her super-competence. And unlike other characters in the same mold, she appears to have a normal, nonneurotic romantic life.

Clothes also tell a tale. Maggie Q fought some battles over her costumes in the early days of “Nikita,” and she has spent progressively more time in plain, covered-up (though still closefitting) workout-style ensembles and less in skimpy red dresses. Ms. Liu’s outfits, mostly chosen by the costume designer Rebecca Hofherr, have attracted a following of their own. The majority opinion seems to be that they reflect Watson’s quirky but confident style. To my eye, they have a clever awfulness, making Ms. Liu look good while signaling that perhaps she doesn’t spend as much time as she could in front of a mirror.

Either way, what Watson’s clothes don’t do is make her look ridiculous or hide Ms. Liu’s attractiveness. That’s the fate of some other Asian-American actresses in roles that play more obviously to geekiness or braininess, and are visually coded for easy comprehension. Liza Lapira wears fright clothes and dowdy haircuts as the sidekick Helen-Alice on “Super Fun Night” (ABC), something she already endured as the eccentric neighbor on “Don’t Trust the B — — in Apt. 23” last season. On “Awkward(MTV), Jessica Lu, as the rebellious daughter of strict Chinese parents, sports a hat with ears while Jessika Van, as her Asian rival, is dressed in starched outfits that make her look like an Amish schoolteacher. Both Ms. Lapira and Ms. Lu are accessorized with glasses — big black ones — something neither appears to wear in real life. Also occasionally donning glasses is Brenda Song as a video-game company executive in “Dads,” on Fox, though her most distinctive costume remains the sailor-girl outfit she wore in the pilot, part of an extended joke about the sexualization of Asian women that didn’t accomplish much besides sexualizing an Asian woman.

And there are other actresses playing less evolved versions of the Nikita-style action hero. Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May, the black-leather-jacketed pilot in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC), is a stoic enforcer with a dragon-lady vibe; Grace Park’s Kono Kalakaua on “Hawaii Five-0” (CBS) is equally lethal (she often does most of the kicking and punching) but favors bikinis and tight jeans. On “Once Upon a Time” (ABC), Jamie Chung plays the Disney version of a mythical Chinese swordswoman.

It takes some looking to find Asian actresses in roles that don’t easily fit into one of these two broad categories. There are a few jobs in a third category, the manipulative or overly protective Asian mother: Jodi Long on “Sullivan and Son” (TBS), Lauren Tom on “Supernatural” (CW). On the entertaining but paper-thin “Beauty and the Beast” (also on CW), Kristin Kreuk stars as a cop who just happens to be mixed race. There is, of course, a major Asian-Canadian female television star not mentioned yet: Sandra Oh, whose Dr. Cristina Yang is not the lead but is a major member of the ensemble on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” As with Nikita and Watson, Yang displays some typical Asian markers — she’s a hypercompetitive, socially awkward doctor — whose race is matter of fact because there’s so much more to know about her. Yang, along with Watson and Nikita, could be considered exceptions that prove a rule, but I think the real lesson here is probably that TV would be a better place for women of all races if Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”) could just write all the shows.

Check out this link:

Maggie Q and Lucy Liu: Asian-Americans as Leading Ladies

Link

What’s Behind Hollywood’s Asian Flirtation? China’s Box Office.

For three consecutive weeks, a hotly anticipated film featured an Asian actress playing the lead/love interest opposite the ubiquitous tortured white hunk. There’s Oscar-nominated Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi in the robots vs. monsters blockbuster Pacific Rim; former Thai pop star Yayaying Rhatha Phongam in Only God Forgives; and Japanese model/actress Tao Okamoto making Hugh Jackman’s blood boil in The Wolverine.

Studios are also tweaking their films to make them more Chinese-friendly. For example, Iron Man 3 added additional Chinese characters and scenes to its Chinese version. The change is not-too-subtle in Hollywood’s slate of future releases. Famous Asian names are part of ensemble casts in a host of hopeful blockbusters: there’s Tadanobu Asano in Thor: The Dark World; Maggie Q in Divergent; Ken Watanabe in Godzilla; Fan Bingbing in X-Men: Days of Future Past; and Li Bingbing inTransformers 4. Even so, the roles are usually supporting ones, around seventh, eighth, or ninth billing.

Check out this link:

What’s Behind Hollywood’s Asian Flirtation? China’s Box Office

Asian Hollywood