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One of the hard things about growing up Asian in this country is finding some semblance of yourself reflected in pop culture. I think things may have gotten better, but how much? It still seems like Asian kids today end up settling for “whoever’s Asian” on TV or in the movies or in a band rather than that totally rad person who seems like them–and who also happens to be Asian–who’s on TV or in the movies or in a band.
When I was a kid, pop culture role model pickings were slim. In fact, I had to improvise a little when it came to my choices. Probably the earliest role model I can remember having was–are you ready for this?–Marie Osmond, in doll form:
Alright, alright. You can stop laughing now. But seriously. There was a little part of me that believed–wanted to believe anyway–that Marie Osmond in doll form was Asian. (I had enough sense to know that Marie Osmond IRL wasn’t, in fact, Asian.) With her jet black hair, she was certainly more Asian than my Barbie. And instead of just standing around on her tiptoes all day long, she also rocked the mic! Even as a young girl, I understood the value of cool points.
Jump ahead a few years, a few long, sad, dry-spell years of having no one to look up to Continue reading Illustrated Comic Shows Why Claudia Kishi Was *The* 90′s Role Model For Asian American Girls
Filed under: Asian American Girls, Asian American Role Models, Baby-sitters Club, Barbie Dolls, Claudia Kishi, Feeling Invisible, Karate Kid II, Marie Osmond, Pop Culture Role Models, Representation, Role Models, Tamlyn Tomita, Teen Role Models, The Wonder Years, Winnie Cooper
I bonded with Phil (aka Angry Asian Man) this weekend over the decades we’ve spent crushing on Tamlyn Tomita. For me, Tamlyn is forever Kumiko from Karate Kid II, her film debut, with all of that wispy hair and that worried, downturned, but oh-so-pretty mouth. I’m pretty sure she’s the first Asian girl movie character I ever saw get the boy–albeit a skinny wuss who got his ass beat 12 times across three acts until the last 10 frames of the movie, but whatevs. Tamlyn has a Manchurian Candidate kind of effect on me, wherein I see her lovely face and then I break into an awful rendition of “The Glory of Love” that would most likely get me killed in Borneo.
Last night, Tamlyn had a cameo on the show we love to hate, Heroes, where she played Hiro’s mother, who dies when he’s a young child. And she looked goooooood. So good, in fact, that her playing the wife of George Takei seemed really creepy, as though George’s character had actually robbed the cradle. Tamlyn…what’s your secret, gurl?