Tokyo Rose.

I've been working on this for the past few days. I'm trying to build my portfolio this year + I've even been making a collection (it may possibly be shown). Recently, I've been obsessed with Asian models. Merci beaucoup pour tous les comments, all of you are so amazing for being so open-minded about multiculturalism.

There are still gridlines from my enlargement. A work in progress, and progress of my work.

I would be writing something more prolific right now, but too depressed from the horrible news I received today. More later.


Asian Persuasion.

Living as a semi-expatriate for twelve years, I find it extremely fascinating listening to the opinions of westerners concerning Asians; specifically, Asian women. I've asked a hefty number of guys the first thing that comes to mind when I say Asian women, and the general consensus seemed to be either "exotic," "sexy", or "femme fatale." Secretly, I was laughing inside; this response would've horrified my elders. First, a little background: in most of eastern Asia (by that, I'm narrowing the pool to China, Taiwan, HK, Japan, and Korea, I've only traveled to those countries so far), the stereotypical teenage girl is decked out in Hello Kitty, any popular European athletic brand (Adidas, Puma, etc.), and does not usually flaunt her body shape. It makes sense; along with a history of cultural "prudence" and reservations, the public influences girls by deeming sexy as whorish, while being very "ke ai" (cute) is encouraged. Sometimes to a point where I have to rack my brain to understand why girls think this kind of stuff is fashion.A sad attempt at luxury during the SARS epidemic. At least we can't see the rest of her outfit.
However, I've noticed that Asian fashion is literally an ocean apart from Asian-American fashion, and I appreciate the latter much more after summers surrounded by Sanrio and razored haircuts that half resemble mullets. First generation girls are experimenting with style very successfully, in my opinion, and these femmes chics can be found nearly everywhere these days, whether west coast, east coast, or in between.

Soho, New York--amazing curves for an Asian girl. Source

Seattle--should I go into detail about the fantastic juxtaposition of plaid and wool, or can you figure it out for yourself? Source

Then, why is it that there is close to zero representation for Asian or females in American media? I bet I can name five African-American celebrities before anyone else can think of with one Asian celebrity. But then again, perhaps due to certain gross examples of Chinese actress Bai Ling, Americans' perceptions of Asian women are slightly misconstrued...

Patent leather leg warmers. Always a winner.

By my count so far, she's flashed her nipple probably... oh, 5 times now? There's a reason she's dubbed the Chinese Paris Hilton. She also claims she wants to die while having sex because she loves it so much. This is one classy broad. Source

Thank the pillars of Babylon that there's a plethora of classier Asian figures in the public to make up for her noxious but also hilarious attempts at dressing herself. Note the following; here's to betting a month's worth of shopping allowances that you haven't heard of them before, unless you're Asian or a diehard fan of la mode.

Ai Tominaga, a supermodel from Japan. 5'11" (a literal giant in Japan where girls are, on average, about 5'4"), walked all the major shows in Paris, Milan until she had a baby. Gorgeous face.

A more famous figure in the western world right now: Zhang Ziyi. Known for her roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, and Memoirs of a Geisha. (Stereotypical Asian roles though, I wonder if she can play anything other than a kung-fu master.) Currently the muse of Giorgio Armani.

Du Juan (left) and Hye Park (right), seen all over the runways in NY, Paris, Milan. Du was Miss China 2002, and Hye is actually a Korean-American from Salt Lake City. They're finding success all over the industry, with YSL and LV campaigns for Du, and a Roberto Cavalli ensemble ad for Hye. These two gave a running start these couple of years for rising Asian models.

Zhou Xun, one of the most famous actresses in China currently. Miuccia Prada featured her, with fellow Chinese actress Dong Jie, to star in Miu Miu's Fall/Winter '06 campaign. Also on my banner!

The point: with more Asian-Americans living in the U.S. and Europe, the pace with which Asian public figures are rising doesn't match the growing population. Girls are made to feel inadequate because what they see in Vogue doesn't fit with their body type and doesn't incorporate their heritage at all. Some can't wear eyeliner because some girls are born without eyelid creases (a very common characteristic on the other side of the Pacific), but every other page in the beauty section of American magazines teaches the fundamental principles of applying mascara, and you better follow those crucial directions step-by-step, lest you remain celibate the rest of your natural born life. Or move back to Asia.

Vogue China, Sept. 2006--Vogue China, Nippon, and Korea are making progress by actually starting to feature Asian models on their covers, but still insist on complying with western standards of beauty (as repped by Gemma and Sasha). Maybe Du can have her own cover one day?

When a magazine proclaims a pectorially well-endowed model on the cover, Asian girls--who have naturally slender frames, and therefore, no curves--can spend their time agonizing over their "shortcomings" (although I hope we're smarter than that). Beauty can be blue-eyed, curvaceous, yellow, biracial, alien. It's daunting, because African-American women are still struggling to appeal to American society, so as an even lesser thought-of minority, the Asian community is even more obscure. But still, I don't think it's too hard to ask for equal representation when there are 12,500,000++ Asians currently living in the U.S. alone, not counting Europe. Casting directors, Hollywood agents, Anna Wintour... take note.


My (cold) life in cartoons.

One of the reasons I am moving the soonest I can is because of the winters of where I live now. I've grown up in tropical/warm areas all my life until I was a teenager, when dearest mother packed us off to this Siberia-meets-Greenland refrigerator where she could enjoy great medical insurance, fringe benefits, and a respectable career. So I can't blame her... but I can blame global warming. Cheers for those polar bears! Anyway, no school tomorrow due to the ungodly chill (negative four is the high, -14 the low), which means the school will cut our spring break short. I have nothing to say to that, but I can make Mumsy write a convenient little sick note. *sniff*

Knowing that I wouldn't be able concentrate on anything except the exciting New York shows happening this week, I gave up on productivity; instead, trying to give up counting down the Marc Jacobs show, I read a bunch of Natalie Dee cartoons.
Then I stumbled upon this little jocular poke at Natalie's brain, and I thought how similar it was to my own thoughts!! Only a few things didn't match up, such as I don't really like Wu Tang Clan, and the area with Marc Jacobs is probably half of my cerebral mass. LAUGHOUTLOUD.Then I decided to spend the rest of my weekend online shopping. Because I have an unnatural attachment to Crate&Barrel, I looked at kettles and linens for two hours. Did you know that a china bowl costs $42.95? But at least my money will be going to a deserving child laboring in a sweatshop in China. Or maybe it will be distributed to all forty of them.
I'm thinking of wearing my new black coat with black pants, so that I have a whole Sylvia Plath suicidal thing going on. Without, you know, the whole death part.