The Buzz: June 12

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Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Hot or Not?  Happy Early Birthday to the talented Vera Mindy Chokalingam aka Mindy Kaling who is the creator, writer, director and star of the Mindy Project. She admits she likes to cast hot guys so she can make out with them. Brilliant… for a busy, single woman!  She was born in Cambridge, Mass to an architect Tamil father and a Bengali gynecologist mom who wanted a cute American name for their daughter (hence “Mindy” from Mork and Mindy). Kaling went to private schools and graduated from the prestigious Dartmouth  College. But it wasn’t always happy and rosy for the young, chubby Mindy who was the dutiful daughter of immigrant parents.  Mindy’s Memoir: Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me (and other concerns) is a recommended easy read for any adolescent seeking to find their way and looking for a happy ending.

Old Actors Never Die, They Just Go Down Under:  James Hong is back and coming to theaters next month as “Grandpa Chen” in the sci-fi  R.I.P.D., a Dark Horse Comics series, dedicated to tracking down souls who refuse to pass on. The film stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds who work together as former detectives patrolling the underworld. Over the past five decades, Hong could be found playing the token Asian in over 500 movies and TV shows. Early in his career, he unsuccessfully auditioned as Sulu on Star Trek, but no worries,  he and George Takei are probably two of the most highly recognized API actors today.  Hong was born in Minneapolis’ Chinatown, moved to Hong Kong briefly and returned to the US at age 10. He went on to study Engineering at USC and even worked as an engineer for the City of Los Angeles before deciding to devote his full time attention to his acting career.  As a pioneer, he was one of the founders of East West Players, the oldest Asian American Theater company in LA. Today, he and his daughter April (a professional child actor who was tutored by proud papa)  pass on their wisdom to other aspiring actors at the Hong Acting Workshop in Beverly Hills.

James Hong was a VIP guest at the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainmen

James Hong (center in fedora hat) was a VIP guest at the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment. Photo by Steven Lam.

From Lost to Lust:  Yunjin Kim continues to impress audiences as therapist Dr Karen Kim in Mistresses on ABC Monday nights at 10 pm.   Fans may remember her as Sun, a tough woman of privilege who crashes on the beach and survived the entire 6 years on the show “Lost.”   Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Staten Island, New York.  She performed in her 7th grade musical of My Fair Lady and went on to attend the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the London Academy of Performing Arts and  Boston University. She is also a trained dancer and martial arts fighter. She served as the Goodwill Ambassador for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, representing Korea and has been called “The Korean Julia Roberts.”

Ms Nong Aryaphon Southiphong was the keynote speaker at last month’s API Wellness Center’s annual gala in SF inspiring the audience to take hold of one’s life. It was July 27, 2010 when a 23 year old gay designer named Andy South competed against 17 other aspiring designers on Season  8 of “Runway.”   He ended up a Finalist and doors opened up to him:  the Andy South label can be found in Neiman  Marcus stores today.  However the former Andy South is now a glamorous, humble Ms Nong living life on her own terms.
Proud Mom:  Fremont City Councilmember Sue Chan emailed me an update on #1 son Scott – who produced the Google Mother’s Day Video with over 3.5M views – if you look carefully, you’ll see Sue twice!  Scott Chan is founder of Whirled  – the creative ad agency that has done work for President Obama, Black Eye Peas, Lady GaGa, David Beckam, Yahoo and many others.

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