Crazy Rich Asians From A Crazy Not-So-Rich Asian Perspective

Picture this.

You’re 5 years old: Your dream job is a princess but if that doesn’t work out, you’ll be an actress/singer instead. The world is yours and you don’t see yourself different from any of your friends. You love yourself and everyone else for who they are. Your biggest problem is deciding whether to colour in crayon or texter.

At 12: Still blasting Hannah Montana and the soundtrack of a very popular Disney Channel movie with a lead who looked kind of like you… But claimed for years she was Mexican/Hispanic… but you know for sure she’s half Asian hmm. You’re obsessed with The Twilight Saga and at lunch you and your friends role play but you can’t be Bella, or Alice, or Rosalie – you can be Leah (the Native American supporting character). Btw, bringing a home cooked lunch to school, especially if it involves rice is ‘different’, and not in a good way but your mama’s cooking is delicious so you let the haters hate. But the thought does creep in – sometimes you wish you were white.

At 15: Writing and telling stories is your favourite thing and you are still so in love with performing. You’re geared with dance, singing and acting training and experience. Sushi is now very cool and trendy. Your classmates make racist jokes because they ‘forget’ you’re a person of colour or because ‘you’re not like the others’. You audition for the lead of your school musical – that Disney one that you so dearly love that meant to display diversity. You lose out on the supporting lead to a stereotype white girl. You are an advocate for the most talented and therefore appropriate person doing the job… The lead cast is 100% white. Your favourite movies/TV shows consist of a Caucasian cast, if there was an Asian – they played a minor role, you don’t remember the character let alone the actor. When people hear you want to be involved in showbiz they give you a look (oooh, acting is tough, there’s not a lot of roles for…). You take a look at available jobs and they’re looking for white girls – blonde and blue eyes, brunette and big eyes etc. You want to be so proud of your cultural identity but still can’t help occasionally but imagine how convenient it would be to be white or at the very least, a natural blonde. You think they’re right. Maybe you’re not profitable as a lead. You think back to when there was an Asian lead character and besides London Tipton and Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels #badass, nothing really stands out. All the other roles seem to be martial arts, restaurant owner related or a friend to the lead.

You’re now 20: Up until this point, you became increasingly disappointed with Hollywood and their casting choices that made Asian actors second class, casting white actresses in roles that should’ve gone to equally talented Asian actors. You first watch this movie with your best friend. The final scene plays out and by this point you have both cried from laughter (Awkwafina & Ken Jeong are gold wow) and gotten emotional (the wedding oh my), you are now crying tears of joy with the perfect ending to a wholly marvellous movie. We exit the theatre and she says “That was amazing, I forgot they were Asian.” We have become so accustomed to white people telling stories on screen, many people in the industry saw a movie such as this one high-risk but if you can imagine, on a world population scale, being Asian is the majority so it’s astounding the last American made movie with an Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club (1993) – 25 YEARS AGO?!?? You get home and begin to cry again, you cannot believe you just witnessed a beautiful love story for mainstream viewing loaded with a crazy talented fully Asian cast with an obviously incredible production crew. You watch it for a second time but now with your family. Your parents say they could watch this film over and over again.

You are so proud to be Asian, worthy of being represented as intelligent and eloquent, as beautiful and elegant, as sexy and well-dressed, as relatable and multidimensional, and just as a human with a great story. You hope everyone sees this movie. You never want a young girl who looks like you or the cast of Crazy Rich Asians to doubt her dreams are achievable because of a dry spell of representation. You are so much more than your race and to have a movie that displays that but happens to show the cultural side of being Asian is so important. You are so proud.

This is the movie you needed more than you knew.

With love and light always, M ♥️

 

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A Rising Star Of Our Own

 

Aussie Star in the making Chelsea Glaw

Now living in Los Angeles, Gold Coast grown girl, Chelsea Glaw is making her mark in the world of film.

Having a strong passion for dramatic arts, in particular, acting for screen since a young girl, Chelsea continuously worked on improving herself as an actress.  In Year 11 (2012), she was successful at claiming a scholarship at the prestigious New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. At the opportunity, 4 weeks after her high school graduation, a young girl left her family and friends in pursuit of a big dream in the Big Apple.

 

Filming her American reel

Chelsea lived in New York, New York for two years whilst undertaking her Associates Degree in Acting which she completed last year. While studying she surrounded herself with means to better herself as a performer including learning outside of a school environment, she networked, went to live shows, filmed short films, attended multiple auditions and was an assistant at a acting and modelling agency in the city in 2015.

She also attended her first red carpet event in New York City last September where her close friend Alexander Flores stars in the movie Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials as Winston.

 

Red Carpet Lovin’

Chelsea commented, “It was a very overwhelming experience being on the red carpet and having cameras flash in your face every 2 seconds in every single direction. I had never been on a red carpet before so I was just posing for photos and then I got out of there. But I was so happy to be there supporting Alex and he handled it like a pro, as always. Dazzling the fans and doing interview after interview. It was great. Oh and I should probably say the movie was great too!”

She was also lucky enough to attend The Scorch Trials after party where she spoke with the awesome cast, including leading lads Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

Although Chels has recently moved to Los Angeles where her dreams continue to be more of a reality, New York will always hold a special place in her heart. Chelsea said that it had shaped the person she is today; she learned so much from the city and made lifelong connections and the best friends she will ever have. Does she miss home? She misses her family big time, vegemite toast, and although she’s met a great bunch of Aussie performers in LA; she still misses being surrounded by the Aussie accent.

In her element: in front of the camera

Talk about timing – she’s hit the sweet spot at the moment for film as La La Land enters pilot season (peak time for casting, producing or preparation of TV pilot episodes). She’s been keeping busy with her application for an artist visa, auditions left, right and center, networking, and acting for short films. Chelsea’s upcoming projects includes a short film about her story  written by filmmaker and photographer Steven Leone who has just wrapped up shooting a range of models in Europe.  The short film will star her and begins filming very soon. This 19 year old isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  Watch this space and remember her name, this girl is going places!

@chelseaglaw

Images via: Chelsea Glaw

Hottest Looks at the 2016 SAG Awards

Naomi Watts

Naomi Wow! Her bling is everything but can we please appreciate the matching lip and clutch.

Laverne Cox

Get me a glass of marsala because Laverne’s look is like a fine wine ❤

Emilia Clarke

That flawless messy bob and the hot pink Dior dress 🙂

Guiliana Rancic

Black on black with a touch of green

Rachel McAdams

All class

Helen Mirren

Silver (pale gold) screen queen

Special mention to Christina Ricci, Rooney Mara, Sarah Hyland and Ellie Kemper who wore a gorgeous patterned structured number with POCKETS.

Connor Franta’s First Aussie Interview (2013)

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The incredible Connor (2015)

Hello! So serious throwback to one of my favourite times ever: my interview with YouTube sensation Connor Franta in 2013, which was also his first Australian interview! Sweetest human being, very humble and funny and just a likeable person.  Though much of his life was already on the web, I got down to business and asked some questions we’d been dying to know the answers to. I feel so fortunate to have been able to speak to him as well as Tyler Oakley and will never forget that they helped a small girl in a big town move one step closer to her dream.

From an already large 300 000 when this interview went down to a whopping 5+ million subscribers and heaps more on his social networks, this frantastic guy has truly taken the online world by storm.  Since watching his videos in 2011, I knew he’d do great things and I as well as all his other fans are so proud of everything he has achieved and the person he truly is.  So without further ado…

Song to describe your life:  Walking on sunshine

Favourite Disney movie and why?  Mulan, my whole family loves that one, gets a good laugh out of us.

Are you still a Directioner? Always, forever and always, One Direction for life!

Fave 1D boy: Liam because apparently we’re twins

World without YouTube or coffee?  A world without coffee cause I love YouTube more.  But I do love both, so it’s really hard

Fave Starbucks drink? Plain lattes, caramels macchiato’s

How was Australia when you came in 2011?  I want to go back, it was a lot of fun.

How many years of making vlogs?  2 ½ years.  Not too long, not too short.  It didn’t take off ‘till about a year ago though. Edit: It’ll be 6 years this August!

How do you juggle YouTube and college life?  It’s not too hard, it’s difficult because other people don’t have to do that.  It’s kind of like a full-time job even though I don’t consider it a job.  It requires a lot of hours, it’s kinda difficult but it’s a lot of fun so it’s easy to manage.

What are you studying and when do you finish?  Global business leadership major: business, marketing type stuff and art minor in video.  I’m a sophomore so 2 more years until I get my degree.

3 fave YouTubers? DailyGrace, Shane Dawson, NigaHiga

Collab with?  I’m in California for the summer, so really anyone who wants to collab, I’m excited

Our 2nd Life: Doing really well, we’re the biggest collab channel that’s ever been on YouTube and it’s only growing and it’s only been going since August.  All of them are my best friends. Edit: Connor departed from the group in July, 2014.

Playlist Live:  Great!  It was really exciting, even better than what I thought it would be.  Lots of fans, lots of meeting people, lots of everything!  It was great.  So much fun.

Tyler Oakley said….: I didn’t.  I still feel like I’m a nobody in the YouTube world and their like ‘no, no no’ but when someone like Tyler Oakley with like 800 000 subscribers says to me, “yeah, I watch your videos”  I’m like ‘no you don’t, shut up! No you don’t, you don’t know who I am’ (laughs).  He’s (Tyler) really nice, some YouTubers when you meet them, they’re not that down to earth, kind of stuck-up, but Tyler’s not. He’s 100% nice to everyone. 

Our 2nd life did a 2 hour meet and greet and I was like “Noooooo!”

Besides moving to LA, other future goals?  My main goal, see where this summer takes me, I wanna prove to myself that I can live out there and live that life and pursue entertainment.  After the summer I’ll have more goals. Edit: Oh boy did he achieve that and much more!

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Instagram: connorfranta

M:  Are you ready for a challenge?

C:  Oh gosh!

M:  Yeah? Well okay!  Here are 7 Australian slang words that everyone says:

Australian Slang test:

Arvo:

C: Oh shoot!  Can you use it in a sentence or do I have to guess?

M: It’s a time of day   

C: Afternoon?

M: one point!  That’s right

C: I would have never guessed, I would’ve guessed like a vegetable or something like that (laughs)

Barbie: 

C: That’s like a Barbeque right?

M: Yay!  2 points?

C:  That’s like the thing from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ (in a horrible Australian accent says) ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’

M: Correct although Australians don’t really say shrimp, we say prawns

C: I got it! (Laughs) Yeah, inaccurate

Esky:

C:  It sounds like skiing, but it’s definitely not that!

M: You take it with you when you go on picnics or barbies.

C: umm a basket!

M: Uhhh, kind of, that’s worth half a point.  I think in America you call it a Coleman.  It’s a cold container for food and drinks and stuff like that

C: A cooler thing?

M: Yeah! That’s what an Esky is.

C: That’s half a point!

G’day:

C:  It can mean like hey, good morning, good afternoon or anything like that. Like G’Day!

M: Yes, that’s right!

C:  I know Australian stuff, I went there, I know stuff!

Macca’s:

C: Oh! It’s McDonalds

M: Yeah! That’s all it is.

C:  When I was staying with my host family, they said that a couple times.

M:  You have 4 and ½ points at the moment, 2 more to go.

C:  Yes!

Thongs:

C: Sandals

M:  Oh! You got that right!

C:  My mom’s called them that before and I’m like ‘that’s weird’.  She lived in Australia for a little bit.

Togs:

C: Oh gosh.

M: T-O-G-S

C:  Is it an article of clothing too?  I was going to say, is it boots?

M: No, no that’s so far from what it is (laughs)

C:  Pants?  I don’t know.

M:  That’s also not what it is.

C:  What is it?

M:  You’re going to go to the beach and you’re going to wear them… wear it.

C:  Swim trunks?

M: Yeahh!! Or swimmers.  But that should only be 1/3 since you guessed 3 times.

C: Yeah! I knew it was an article of clothing but I had no idea what it was. Woooo!!  I’ll count that as a B or a C!

M:  I think that one’s about a C+?

C:  Adequate job, yeah?

M:  So, you have 5 and ¾ out of 7 points! Yay Connor!!!

C:  Wooooo!

Solid effort!  Here’s Connor’s message to all of you; his Australian fans:  I love you guys!  Thank you for all your support from all the way from the other side of the world, I hope that I can come and meet as many of you as possible someday! Edit: He’s recently toured Oz and has been a few times with Troye Sivan and Tyler Oakley.

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A Feministic Take On A Classic Fairy Tale

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I can’t believe it’s nearly 2016! So, before the year ends, I want to share with you a couple of my favourite moments.  In March, I was fortunate enough to be offered to watch a special screening of Cinderella and write on how feminism fits in with the story and Disney princesses.  Anyone who knows me knows I may have a little obsession with all things Disney, so I leaped at the chance! 😀  This was originally written then published by my city newspaper in March when the movie released but as it’s definitely one of my favourite pieces this year, I wanted to share it with you.

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” ❤ 

The world’s favourite fairy tale classic, Cinderella, returns to the big screen once again, but with Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as Prince Charming.

When we think of fairy tales, we think of princesses, fairy godmothers, cute animals and ‘happily ever after’s.  Did you ever think that Cinderella and some of your other beloved princesses are actually feminists?

Feminism isn’t about thinking, acting and working like a man.  It’s about having equality amoung the sexes.  The women’s movements during the 60s and 70s was not for girls and women to turn into boys and men but for females to have the choice and the chance to choose our own destinies.

Yes, Cinderella obeyed her stepmother, was mistreated by her and was basically a maid for her and her stepsisters.  She could’ve run away or stood up to her stepmother but she chose to follow her, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming and using her imagination.

If that doesn’t convince you, though she may or may not be your favourite character, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, shows her authority around the house, ordering Cinderella what to do all the time. Set in the 50s, men would tell their wives and children what to do, but Cinderella’s father doesn’t have much say in the story.  The power stays with Lady Tremaine, her stepmother, which shows that Cinderella portrayed a woman as a strong and powerful character.

Disney’s earlier princesses (Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora) may not have been as courageous and feisty as some of the later girls (Mulan, Rapunzel, Merida and Elsa), but they were not just pretty faces.  They were always kind and hard working which are positive values, making them great role models.  The message of being true to yourself and following your dreams is written all over the story of Cinderella.  This is what feminism strives for – girls reaching for their dreams and making decisions in their own free will.  Just a reminder: It’s okay to dream, in fact, some of your greatest ideas will happen in a dream.  Use your imagination, that’s how new inventions and creations, came to be.  And always be kind, a beautiful heart is priceless and gets better with age. 

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Images: Disney

Christmas Playlist

You know it’s Christmas when carols are playing in every single store, pumping on Spotify, Guvera and iTunes Music. Covers on covers of Mariah’s best seller and the classics such as Jingle Bells and I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Here are my favourite 17 versions of Christmas songs this year in alphabetical order:

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  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  2. Auld Lang Syne
  3. Carol of the Bells – Pentanoix man! #majestic
  4. Christmas Time Is Here – Daniela Andrade
  5. Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra
  6. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

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7. Feliz Navidad – Michael Buble

8. Grown Up Christmas List – Amy Grant

9. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

10. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

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11. Jingle Bell Rock

12. Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix

13. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) – Jessica Mauboy

14. Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan

15. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

16. Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

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17. The Christmas Song – Christina Aguilera or Nat King Cole

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Gifs via Giphy.com

 

Know Your Worth

Loving me, loving me. Loving you, loving you.

We all know what it feels like to have been treated like crap, to have been used and abused by work/school mates, friends and/or lovers. It sucks.  Confidence and self-esteem are key qualities in both personal and professional development yet seem out of reach with society driving us to embrace unrealistic expectations and the lack of respect shown for one another.  How we see ourselves is not only derived from our own beliefs but is also influenced by those around us. Self love is not something gained instantly, it is an ongoing lesson obtained with the right attitude and an open mind.

It is so important to surround yourself with good, positive people.  Invest your time with people who are going to lift you higher while staying grounded.  Invest your time with people who make you a better person but still accept and love you for who you are. Invest your time in people who support you no matter, the ones who are there for you at your best and at your worst. Invest your time wisely and with the best people because you only have one shot at each day. 🙂  Remember that not everyone is going to stick around forever but appreciate those who bring good energy and treat you like custom couture and not just off the generic sale rack.  There will always be people trying to rain on your parade but don’t let them dull your sparkle.

Darling, love yourself. ❤ Much easier said than done but you’re the only one who can make that choice.  Look in the mirror and say how dashing or sexy you look. Tell yourself that you love the way your eyes sparkle in the light or the cute way your nose wrinkles when you laugh. We have flaws and are the worst critics of ourselves, but embrace who you are and no one can use your flaws against you. #flawesome

Know that the number of likes, comments, friends or followers you have does not say anything about your character.  We are priceless and should not fear abandonment by another. Don’t settle for less than the best.  We should not be someone’s back up plan or second option.  Know that you are precious and loved.  Take the time to discover and treat yourself – binge watch Netflix, buy those new kicks or lay in bed for as long as you want, find something you love and do it as often as possible. Know your worth because what you allow is what will continue.

With love and light always, Monique x