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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’16 Going On ’17

200Dear 2016,

The time has come to say goodbye and with that may you take away any negative energy left with you.  Thank you for allowing me to meet some of the most beautiful people inside and out I have ever known – the circle of people I was surrounded by this year was just so good and I hope it continues that way. To those that left, whether you come back or not is entirely up to you – I am grateful for the times we shared and will never forget our moments together.   Thank you for providing me a year of firsts and memorable ones they were. You’ve been a rollercoaster and I don’t think I have ever been filled with so many different emotions in a short space of time… I experienced full on joyful laughter whilst crying hysterically. Curse the insomnia and the anxious nights but that all shaped the outcome of today and though at the time I did not remember, I feel safe knowing I will never be thrown a challenge too big for me to overcome. I am grateful for the lesson/s that there are no guarantees and understanding that nothing should be forced, not even the force that should always be with you 😉 Thank you for the blessings and opportunities you graced upon my family, friends and I. 🙂

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Dear 2017,

Welcome! As usual we will continue to dream big and I am so excited for what is in store for everyone. I hope more and more people come to the realisation that Black Lives Matter and that this is a year forward for feminism – and no I do not mean the feminazi but for feminists.  I also hope that Asian and other ethnic actors are given more opportunities to be the leading lady/man. The reality is that you may not be a whole lot greater than last year, but it is in the hope that you could be that makes it great.  I hope we as a collective learn that only love will drive out hate, and that means a lot more than adding a hashtag in front of a trend, it is in times like today that actions are what are needed and even if we are far away from the trouble and burdens in our world that we do what we are able to. Like always, there will be personal obstacles – hopefully not too harsh but even so we’ll just embrace it. Ready or not, let’s make this year a memorable one. I’m sure the best is yet to come.

365 new days means 365 new chances. Don’t waste a single one. I wish you and your family a safe and happy year filled with good things! My choice of poison is champagne… Whatever yours may be, celebrate responsibly x 🙂

With love and light always, M ❤

18 Important Things I’ve Learnt Before 18

I’d like to think I’ve been taught some really useful life lessons on this journey so far and before I become a legal adult (18 damnnn), I’d like to share with you 18 of my favourites.

  1. It’s all about priorities… Prioritising wisely is probably one of the best pieces of advices I could give someone right now. 
  2. Friends will come and go and that’s okay, sometimes it’s better off that way.
  3. It’s not about who you’ve known the longest but about who’s entered your life and shown that they’re with you through it all. Sometimes you just click. If they’re the real deal, they will be more beneficial than someone you’ve known pretty much your whole life. 
  4. You may think it seems petty, but pay attention to the little things people do/don’t do – it usually provides an indication of what they’re really like and how they’ll be when it comes to more significant things. Maybe it’s just me but I love the little things and am one to pay close attention to detail.
  5. If you can meet a real good group of people from school/uni/work, you are so very fortunate. I have my best friends from high school, a few good high school friends and I have found a wonderful group of people I can gladly call my friends. I never did have heaps of friends and there was a time when I only had like 2 friends and like any young girl would feel, it made me really sad, which made my mother really sad. It is easy to have acquaintances and people you like to talk to who also enjoy talking to you. It is when you find people who get you, the ones you are totally yourself with, the people you are not trying to impress with anything more but the person you are and they love you for that. It’s the people who will stick by you through your best and worst times, who will listen to whatever you have to say, may put you in your place but respect you above all. I have found myself in a wonderful position in terms of friends and can surely say I without them I would not survive and be the person I am today.
  6. Only with the heart one can see rightly, but be sure to find the balance with your head. You must follow your heart but darling please use logic too and think things through.
  7. People aren’t gonna love the same way you do. They say it is a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply and I for one can confirm that. We’re all different in the way we handle emotions, that’s normal, how boring would it be if we all felt the same and understood each other at first sight, pfft an easy life was never promised. 
  8. Health is wealth. This cannot be stressed enough!!! On that note, try your best not to stress – your overall wellbeing is of upmost importance.
  9. Knowledge is power, but grades aren’t everything. I was always a high achiever in school and taught to really value education. For a long time I was so invested in ensuring I got top grades and achieving well academically I would forget more important things.
  10. Say yes to every opportunity but also know when to say no.
  11. No longer compare yourself to others. This is so crucial for your happiness and self-esteem and worth. As a competitive person I could not help but see myself in comparison with someone who was or appeared in a ‘better’ position than me.  It didn’t help that people around me would compare me to others whenever I made a slight error.
  12. Anything that is too much is never good. Ever. 
  13. Do your very best in everything you do. If you’re going to half-ass something, don’t waste your time. Nothing great has ever come from anyone doing a half-assed job. If you really want it, you should be willing to do whatever it takes. If you are not in the position you hoped to be in, at least you can look back with no regrets and can say that you did your very best.
  14. Watch good films, listen to great music, read wonderful stories, drink the best coffees/teas, eat amazing food. Note: Spectacular activities either alone or with quality company. Life is too short to watch bad movies, listen to music other people tell you to – unless their recommendations are your jams and read books you have no interest in.  Don’t settle for that mediocre instant coffee or tea that is no good. The same goes for alcoholic beverages, I understand living on a uni budget and all but buy that fancy cocktail and drink nice wine if you can. Do things that enhance your being and not just because you don’t want to be like everyone else or on the flip side just to be different.
  15. Karma – in its own time. This one is awesome! What goes around will come around. You know what sucks? How nasty some people can be and yet they appear so pleasant – the wolf in sheep clothing. They will get a taste of their medicine… Just give it time. The same goes for really good people, firstly keep up the great work because people like you are making everyday life better for someone.
  16. Believe. In anything and everything and most especially in yourself. 
  17. You are enough. You were always enough and will always be enough and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  18. It is a gift to wake up every single day – make it count. You get one shot at this life, live everyday to the fullest.

 

With love and light always, Mon ❤


Edit: 18 instead of 17

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

 

#7

 

(Left to right) Helena, Anastasia, Connie

What makes you happy?

“FOOD! Hahahaha!” 😀 “Food, fashion and music.”

Happiness is…

“Being healthy and being around great people.” 

“Being around people that you love – it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re around people that you love, you’ll be happy always.”