What’s Still Missing In Television for The Asian Narrative.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and my brain started dissecting the show “Friends From College”, a new netflix tv show about friends heading into their new life in their 40s.

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THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

Now the director is Nicholas Stoller, a British American filmmaker. So yes, he is white. But you know what, thanks for putting an Asian American into the mix. I really do appreciate that. Jae Suh Park, Marianne is an actress, artist who owns a rabbit in the tv show. She is a side kick, again not the main protagonist.

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As I was thinking about her role in the show, I started noticing a few things that are true about a few shows that contain Asian actors in. 

They are always a little off, like they are portrayed as sub-human, not human, quirky, has a strange or weird personality or they have to be really short and have an accent (Hans of 2 Broke Girls) and are constantly the butt of the jokes.

Han of 2 Broke Girls.

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Elliot Park (gay and flirty) from Young and Hungry- again he is not the protagonist and I get that because most writers are white….and directors are too, so they are telling their own narrative by making a white guy the protagonist and tell their VIEW and PERSPECTIVE of an Asian person.

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These characters seem to have to have some kind of quirk that makes them “not human”, making viewers laugh at them, unable to relate to them. They don’t have personal agency to their own emotions (their fears, hurt, anger, sadness), but instead have their emotions inserted through other peoples’ judgement towards them. 

They are often told by their white protagonists what to do or how to think.

The 2 broke girls often make fun of Han and tell him who to be and how to think. Elliott often makes a mess of things and is reprimanded for his actions and desires (corrected by the white man).

In Friends From College, Marianne is seen as incapable but repressed as you see her act in a play which all her friends doubt to be good. There is one scene in which she acts as the man and rapes a tall white man (who acts as a woman in a dress). This scene is a huge portrayal of the repressed Asian consciousness.

She is the responsible one as she drives the party bus for a “white man” who partakes of wine with the friend group and falls asleep even though it was his job to drive the bus.

For some reason, yet again, she does not seem to have her head on her shoulders, there is something off about her. Yet, the rest of the crew are portrayed as sane and knowledgeable even though they are having affairs with their best friends’ spouses, has drug problems but can somehow get away with it.

And of course she owns a cute rabbit because Asians own cute things like that.

But I notice all these things because I am Asian myself.

I want to see shows that portray who I am, human with real fears, emotions, vulnerabilities…but sane, not subhuman. I want to tell my own narrative and not be told to be a certain way because a white person (or any person) is telling me how to act or feel.

Until then, how can anyone take an person of Asian ethnicity serious if all they see is people who have no agency to their own emotions and personality? 

 

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Design Genius Season 3 Commercial

Hey folks! The design show I was in premiers March 13. Enjoy the commercial and spot me!

Info about the design show I was on.

Design Genius: Los Angeles is finally premiering next week on March 13, 2017 on Fashion One and Fashion Television channels.

Although the network isn’t available yet in the United States, Fashion One and Fashion Television are available in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and recently in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
And also the website! http://fashionone.com/designgenius/season3

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2 Years Later

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Almost 2 years after I signed with a commercial acting agent, I find myself in a place I’ve never thought I’d be.

Instead of going and following a traditional path, God led me to places I never thought I’d go. I backpacked in Europe for 2 months, I went to England, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Holland….right after I signed and was supposed to go the traditional path. I had a dream that confirmed my next step, I was to quit my career in real estate.

I auditioned a bunch in the entertainment industry, but something inside of me needed more of life, love and healing. I felt that God had closed all the doors. I wanted to go deeper with God and even though everything around me told me to follow the A, B, C’s, I listened to my heart. 

I had been an entrepreneur for 5 years, but I was still holding onto my dreams, not allowing God to possess all of my heart.

Then I moved, I sold everything.

God was building my insides, my power, my identity.

In September of last year, I left LA with a one way ticket to Thailand. I traversed through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, then Taiwan.

This year, God opened doors for me to “travel for free”, through and with my passions. I got to do a travel show in Paris, I then went to Morocco on my own. I came back and flew to Philippines for a fashion tv show. Even then I realized that I had held onto personal “hows”- meaning I had a controlled plan for what I thought should happen and what I thought God should do to open doors for me to honor Him.

Now I know God never works in our finite ways. 

He is infinitely creative and we really need to get out of our own ways. 

It has been a few months since I’ve auditioned at all for anything. I’ve just been focusing on my inner strength and strengthening the relationships I have. Today I’ll go in not looking to please, but to go with the power and spirit that God has put inside of me. I’ve grown in many ways, but the most important way- knowing my identity, not in the stamp of approval that society and industries give, but in knowing my daughtership in Christ. 

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Simplified Chinese and Jewish grandmas. 

“Look into the camera, think of all the things you’ve been through.”

Yes, I’ve been through hell and back. My eyes sunk, with a depressed voice I started reading the simplified Chinese on the board. If only she knew what I’ve been through. Of course I wouldn’t get this one, I’ve just butchered the whole Chinese language.

I waited for the bus, a 2 hour ride home. 2 grandma- aged ladies start complimenting my outfit. A 1 hour conversation ensues on the bus. I’m reminded that we are always at the right place at the right time, not always to get the goal, but to enjoy the process, and this time with my two Jewish mamas. Hearing their stories remind me how our lives are rich with love and lost, and that is the true beauty of growth.