Tag: 2nd gen
Eric McDaniel was adopted at the age of four to a family in Kansas City, Missouri. On the car ride from the airport, his mom opened up a photo album showing four polaroid photos – one of a car, a big house, his Mom and brother smiling, and his bed. Having vivid memories of being abandoned, it finally clicked with him that he was getting a second chance and this was the family he wanted. Eric learned to adjust and quickly understood that fending for himself and fighting fire with fire was not the only way to live. By the time he entered high school, he had lost his Korean identity and became the catalyst to his own racism.
Jason Lee was born in Queens, New York but ended up moving around a lot with his family. He hated dancing because his friends said he didn’t have rhythm and wasn’t born with it – so he believed it to be a genetic thing. While attending college, he had the opportunity to see the Oprah Winfrey Show where they brought a choreographer to teach the basic steps of dancing. He felt inspired and put months of practice into simple choreographies that soon sparked his love for dance and eventually joining a street dance crew in Time Square.
Mike Kim was born and raised in a predominantly white town in the San Francisco Bay Area and felt he was constantly navigating between two worlds. Having conservative parents and being the first born in his family, he was expected to have deep connections to his Korean roots and focus on his education. However he embraced a more American mindset and culture and developed a passion for sports and the outdoors.
Growing up in California, Hayden Royalty felt pressure to pursue a career in medicine during her studies at university. As classes became more difficult, Hayden struggled to keep up which caused their mental and physical health to deteriorate. It was at this point they found asylum at the campus LGBTQ+ center, thus beginning their journey to understand their sexuality/queerness and Asian American identity. Upon returning home after graduation, Hayden decided to move to Korea to teach English by the recommendation of their cousin. This new sense of independence was liberating and brought much needed comfort allowing Hayden to remain in Korea for the next eight years. Motivated by their personal experiences and the lack of representation of queer and Asian counselors, Hayden plans to return to the States to pursue a career in social work. They hope to become someone who can support conversations between young queer Asian Americans and their families.
Danny Cho is a Korean American stand-up comedian, writer, and content creator. He was born and raised in Boyle Heights in East LA as one of the only Asian Americans in his community. Danny discovered his love for stand-up comedy the summer before his first year at UCLA when he performed at an open-mic; not only did it feel good to prove that an Asian could be funny, he loved the energy of the audience and continued to crave the rush. Comedy soon became a hobby after college but with the encouragement of fellow Korean American comedians it pushed him to quit his job as a consultant and pursue stand-up full time.
This morning at work, I was contemplating what I should write about for my second blog, something I actually have passion for, something I genuinely want to share with this community.
The Last Day
In the beginning of 2021, Mr. Baik and his family made the decision to close down their drop store in Midtown, NYC. March 26, 2021 was the last day. It’s been a year since we followed Mr. Baik, videotaped by his daughter, Deborah, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second and final part of their story.
Paul Jean was born and raised in San Francisco, California. After his parents’ divorce, Paul did not have much exposure and access to Korean culture or a community and grew up feeling disconnected and almost ashamed of being Korean.
As he got older, his curiosity of the world around him grew and allowed him to explore different ways of thinking. He continued to struggle to find his place in America and his desire for a greater purpose in life led him to move to Korea in 2006. For the first seven years, he was recognized as an American by his peers until he discovered jiu jitsu. Nobody at the gym cared that he was the Korean American, or a gyopo. Paul credits jiu jitsu in helping him connect with his Korean identity and keeping him motivated and grounded.
1st Blog Post: My Korean American Story
Hi! I’m Cara, a Production and Social Media college intern. Welcome to my first official blog! This is my Korean American Story. I am 19 years old, immensely proud to be Korean American, and incredibly passionate about sharing our experiences and stories.
Introduction: Cara Kim
Hello! My name is Cara! I am a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University studying Human and Organizational Development and Economics.
John Limb was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a relatively Americanized household where it was encouraged to speak English over Korean. As he went through high school in a predominantly white town, he was often aware of the noticeable differences between him and his peers.
In this Remote Edition of Legacy Project, John Limb sits down with his daughter, Erin, to talk about his personal journey as a Korean American and how he came to realize his true passion as the co-owner of a Korean American brewery, Hana Makgeolli. He expresses how grateful he is for Erin and her sister’s ability to embrace their Korean heritage and hopes that they find a path that will bring joy and fulfill them in every way possible.
Becky White was born in Omaha, Nebraska to a South Korean mother and an American father. Her parents met in South Korea when her father was there on military business and eventually moved to the U.S. after getting married. Growing up, Ms. White and her younger sisters were often caught in the middle of the conflict between their parents’ two different worldviews and mindsets; while her father was cerebral and academic, her mother was scrappy and had a lot of street smarts. Eventually, Ms. White travelled to Korea to learn more about her mother and herself but experienced being taken advantage of in her workplace for her biracial appearance and her language skill set.
The Rice Cooker
Umma asked me what I needed as a wedding gift. I said we didn’t need anything. She was offended.
Cedric Stout was born in Ohio to an African American father and Korean mother and grew up in a military town in North Carolina. When peers started to call him “Black Chinaman,” Cedric experienced phases of insecurity and questioning his identity. However, his father, who went through the Civil Rights Movement, taught him how to disregard hate and instead focus on treating everyone with respect. With two loving parents, they taught him how to love both his Black and Korean backgrounds, but also find identity in faith. In his late 20s, sparked by deep curiosity and a desire to understand his mother better, Cedric made a pivot in his life by moving to Seoul, South Korea. In this Legacy Project, Cedric speaks on the sense of being a perpetual outsider in Korea as a half Black and Korean man, even after spending several years in the country.
A Boy and His Baseball Bat
I immigrated from Seoul to St. Louis at the age of 4 in 1982. My first language was Korean and I slowly learned my third language, English. I quickly learned my second language, baseball.
Michelle Zauner is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who records dreamy, melancholic indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She’s also a talented writer whose debut book, a memoir titled Crying in H Mart, is being published by Knopf this spring. In it, she recounts her experiences growing up half-Korean in her mostly white town of Eugene, OR, her path to becoming a musician and her struggle to reclaim her Korean heritage after her mother’s early death from cancer. From her home in Brooklyn, Michelle talks to Catherine and Juliana about her idyllic childhood summers in Seoul, her tumultuous relationship with her mom, her channeling of grief into creativity and the importance of Korean role models in her life, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen Oh to You Tuber Maangchi. Stay tuned to the very end, when she shares her favorite snacks and staples from H Mart! Photo credit: Peter Ash Lee
Edward Lee is the acclaimed chef of several restaurants in Kentucky and the DC area, most notably Louisville’s 610 Magnolia, where he first made his mark on Southern cuisine almost 20 years ago using ingredients such as gochujang and soy sauce aged in whiskey barrels. He won a James Beard award for his 2018 book Buttermilk Graffiti and he was nominated for an Emmy for his work hosting the PBS series Mind of a Chef. Lee is also the co-founder of a remarkable nonprofit called The Lee Initiative, which during the pandemic has been supporting restaurant workers, struggling farms and other communities in need. Catherine and Juliana talk to Edward about how growing up in Carnarsie, Brooklyn—where there were very few Korean Americans—shaped his palate and his identity. He also shares stories about Clay, the hip Korean restaurant he opened in New York in the late ‘90s, his recent guest appearance on Top Chef: Portland, and his newfound mission in life to help others.
D. Haejin Bang
D. Haejin Bang grew up in Koreatown in the city of Los Angeles, California, surrounded by Korean American peers. Growing dissatisfaction with the Korean American community’s lack of empathy towards other marginalized groups led to their own personal struggle with their cultural and ethnic identity and eventual distancing from the community. Music had always been a source of strength and solace, but after a profound experience at a pansori concert, Haejin was led to redirect their studies to traditional Korean music. Through these studies, they found themselves reclaiming their cultural identity after spending several years away from Korean communities and learning more about the history of people in the Korean diaspora.
NAYA: David Kim
Meet classical violinist David Kim. A child prodigy since the age of six, David fiercely trained to be a world-class violinist under his mother’s intense supervision. In this first installment of NAYA, David graciously invites us to his home and the music hall where we explore his passion for music and the journey that led him to become the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. NAYA (나야), produced by KoreanAmericanStory.org, is a mini-documentary series that paints vivid, visual stories of unique Korean American individuals and passion for their craft.
Alison Choi was born and raised in Hong Kong, before permanently moving to the United States in 2015. Both of her parents grew up in the United States, and her American roots, coupled with her Korean heritage, gave her a unique cultural identity. While Ms. Choi felt in tune with her American identity, her Korean one was harder to reconcile with growing up in Hong Kong due to the relative lack of Korean-Americans in her community. It wasn’t until she began attending college that she was able to more directly confront and understand her Asian-American identity. She first immersed herself in the history of different ethnic groups in the United States before delving into Asian-American studies. Ms. Choi began to document stories not only about her own family but also about the intersection and interaction between Korean-American and Black communities. Her journey of discovering and exploring her identity speaks to her sense of purpose and her motivation to contribute to the community she is a part of.
All content has been recorded in advance prior to the US outbreak of COVID-19.
Born in Columbus, Ohio in 1966, May Lee faced a significant amount of bullying and discrimination growing up as an Asian American in her neighborhood. Like any other child, she sought to fit in and assimilate with the rest of her community. However, these challenges would build her character and the experiences she was able to bring to the table as a journalist. After realizing that medical school was not the right path for her, she was guided by her religious faith and began to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. Ms. Lee’s perseverance helped her secure her first job in Redding, California, despite the widespread anti-Japanese and anti-Asian sentiments of the time. At one point in her career, she confronted a group of verbally abusive and racist men while conducting coverage on a protest in Dayton, Ohio. Today, she hosts her own podcast, called The May Lee Show, that digs deeper into Asian and Asian American stories through open, honest, conversation. Her process of learning to embrace her own identity and combating racism throughout her life has shaped her devotion to social justice, truth-telling, and speaking up for the voiceless.
A member of Generation X and a second-generation Korean-American, Alexander Kim was born in Los Angeles. He currently works as a consultant working with local government in order to connect government and local communities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The 1992 L.A. “Saigu” riots had a significant impact on his passion for political science as he came to realize that there was a need for Asian-American leaders in office, not only in L.A. but also throughout the United States. After his college education at UC Irvine, Mr. Kim took his first job working for the city of L.A. at the mayor’s office. Throughout his 15-year career in politics, he gained experience working with different communities of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. His commitment to making his community a better place is a testament to his extraordinary drive and dedication.
Linda Chen was born in the United States, a few years after her parents immigrated to America and began operating a grocery store in East L.A. Growing up in a predominantly white school community in Arcadia, Mrs. Chen remembers her struggle to discover and embrace her identity. As a girl, she taught herself how to read and write in Korean and continued to take Korean classes in college at George Washington University. In college, she decided to participate in a summer program at Yonsei University in South Korea. Once there, however, she experienced the discomfort of prejudice against “foreigners” and became the victim of a traumatic assault. Despite all this, Mrs. Chen has maintained her love for her culture and her belief that one can be anything they desire. Her story is one that explores the importance and power of identity.
Resilience Runs in the Family | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 5
For our final episode of Perilla Diaries, we asked Thomas and Andrew where they got the resilience to carry on throughout all these pandemic challenges. Without hesitation, they pointed to the strongest people they know – their mothers. We asked the two restaurateurs to phone them for a short interview about their respective journeys starting new jobs and lives in America.
To Those Whose Fear Is Crystallizing Into Xenophobia
To the woman on aisle 7 / Whose fear is crystalizing into xenophobia.. / Don’t play yourself.
William Oh was born in Kansas and later moved to Los Angeles, California. While growing up in LA, William shares how his tight-knit family shaped most of his core values and beliefs. By having deep conversations about human rights and justice together, William found a passion for people’s stories and politics and went on to major in Social Anthropology and Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights at Harvard University. At the time of recording, William had been serving as the Youth Organizer at Hana Center in Chicago, IL, empowering Korean American youth through community organizing to advance human rights.
Designer Carol Lim has been at the leading edge of American fashion since 2002, when she and Humberto Leon co-founded the retail shop Opening Ceremony in downtown New York. She and Humberto went on to design their own acclaimed fashion collection, also called Opening Ceremony, and to become co-creative directors of Kenzo, a position they held for eight years. In January 2020, Opening Ceremony announced that it would be coming under new ownership and closing all its retail locations. In a Zoom call, Carol chats with Catherine and Juliana about the major changes at the company. She also shares stories about growing up in Los Angeles, her favorite dress in middle school (Benetton), her SAT scores, her famous friendship with fellow Berkeley classmate Humberto, and her belief in the value of nunchi (눈치).
BLM From the Eyes of an Asian American Teenager
Being an ally means spreading awareness, signing petitions, donating if you have the means to do so, and calling out racist behavior. Being an ally as an Asian American means doing all of the above, while also looking at the specific ways in which we have either perpetuated or been compliant in allowing racial injustices towards the Black community to continue. Now more than ever, it is important for us to step up in support.
Crystal Kang Ahn
Crystal Kang Ahn was born in California, raised mostly by her grandmother, who boldly protected her by all means. When Crystal was just an infant, she was scheduled to undergo heart surgery due to a rare condition called pulmonary artery sling. As she was being set up in the operation room, her grandmother snuck in, took off her straps, and ran home, fully convinced by a spiritual vision she had about protecting Crystal from knives. Miraculously Crystal’s heart recovered on its own, thus giving her the title of “miracle baby.” With the burdensome label following her throughout her life, Crystal recalls struggling to meet expectations while also dealing with bullying and ethnic identity issues.
가까이 있어도 멀리 있어도. Even If You’re Near. Even If You’re Far Away.
아빠 곁에 떠난지 벌써 4년이다.
It’s already been 4 years since I left your side, Dad.
Margaret Cho needs no introduction. In 1994, the comedian was the first Asian American to have her own sitcom (All-American Girl, loosely based on her experience as a teenager growing up in San Francisco). After the show was cancelled, she returned to standup, where she built a reputation for her confessional, bawdy and subversive material, which targeted racism, homophobia, fat shaming, the entertainment industry, and most mercilessly, herself. From her Los Angeles home where she and her chihuahua, Lucia, have been sheltering during the pandemic, Margaret tells Catherine and Juliana about her minister grandfather, her dad’s deportation, becoming financially independent at age 18, a shaman’s surprising prophecy and her favorite K-dramas (Itaewon Class, Replay 1988, Mystic Pop Up Bar, Prison Playbook, Hospital Playlist, It’s Ok Not To Be Ok, Flower of Evil, Stranger 2).
Where You From
The question often brings a smile to my face and it also makes me a bit confused. Are you asking about my nationality or what team I root for during any sport’s season?
Embracing Koreanness in Black America
As a second generation Korean American, I grew up in Chicago with a single father that had a love affair with alcohol and the American dream. My mother committed suicide when I was too young to understand.
Day In the Life of a Parent During Covid-19
Julian Kim is an editor, producer, filmmaker, and father of Ian, his 20-month-old son. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have experienced a dramatic change within their household when it comes to parenting, especially for those with young children.
Almost a quarter-century ago, our dad became a “Gireogi appa.” Gireogi appas, or “wild goose fathers,” evoke both the migratory expanse of geographic distance and traversal of unknown emotional terrains that many Korean families experience.
Ben Baller & Jeanne Yang
Los Angeles-based siblings Jeanne Yang and Ben Yang have both made their mark on the fashion world, but in very different ways. Jeanne Yang is a highly sought-after stylist known for her work with Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Bale.
L. Song Richardson
L. Song Richardson was born in El Paso, Texas to a Korean American mother and African American father who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. Richardson grew up with strong influences of Korean culture from her mother who always stressed the importance of education which would later contribute to Richardson’s passion for teaching and research. In this Legacy Project, Richardson reflects back on the challenges of growing up mixed race and how her parents fell in love. L. Song Richardson is the current Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law with joint appointments in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and in the Department of Asian American Studies.
Diana Son is a television writer and producer whose credits include The West Wing, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Southland, Dirty John, Blue Bloods and Thirteen Reasons Why, where she served as showrunner. She first came to fame as a young playwright in 1998 with the acclaimed play Stop Kiss, which premiered at the Public Theatre and starred an unknown Sandra Oh. In a Zoom interview, Catherine and Juliana learn about Diana’s recent bout with Covid-19, her experience being the only Asian or Asian woman in countless writing rooms and her most recent project, an adaptation of the novel If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha into a series for Apple.
Chicago Riots and Community Efforts | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 4
Late May, Downtown Chicago took an unexpected hit from the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd. When things started to get violent near Perilla, Thomas and Andrew were left trying to figure out what to do next. With concerns for the safety of their staff in mind, they subsequently paused delivery services and boarded up the restaurant’s windows for protection.
Author David Yoon became a breakout star in 2019 with his critically acclaimed YA debut novel, Frankly in Love, which hit the New York Times bestseller list and has also been optioned for a movie. In a Zoom interview, Juliana and Catherine talk to David about his path to becoming a writer, the “surreal” experience of seeing his first novel take off, and his partnership in love and literature with his wife, YA superstar author Nicola Yoon. (“I feel like I won the love lottery with her.”)
Ashley Park is a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy-nominated musical theater actress who has dazzled Broadway audiences with her performances in Mamma Mia, Sunday in the Park With George, The King and I and Mean Girls. She has also appeared in Netflix’s Tales of the City and off-Broadway in KPOP and Grand Horizons. But Park didn’t waltz her way into stardom without struggle. As a teenager in Ann Arbor, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, necessitating eight months in the hospital. Ashley tells Catherine and Juliana about how her passion for performing fueled her recovery and shares some of the secrets to her success.
I’ve been in quarantine since March 16, as the school that I teach at decided to close a week earlier than DOE schools.
Facing Food Supply Shortages | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 3
With talk arising about the upcoming shortages in the food supply industries, Andrew and Thomas share how that would affect Perilla and their future. Still adapting to the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Andrew and Thomas give us an update about the changes they’ve made like becoming delivery drivers, creating an online shop, and adding pantry items to their menu.
To Be or Not to Be: Vegetarian
In the context of climate change and what individuals can do to take personal action, eating a plant-rich diet is often cited as one of the most important steps we can take to reduce our individual carbon footprints.
The four abstract works in this series explores the question, “Where are you from?” It is a question I have been asked too frequently in my life, and it is a question that is resurfacing now in our country during this Coronavirus pandemic.
One day out of the year, we have this beautiful opportunity to express our gratitude and show our love as our way to give back to those who give us more than we can ever repay- our moms. This letter is a small gesture to say that I love you, even if you think it’s too much sometimes.
Business As Usual
I Need The Sun Too
I see you,
Glaring at me
Covid vs Florida
“Are you sure we should still go to Florida?” I ask my husband. We had planned a three week trip to drive down to Florida from New Jersey with our son and 11 yr-old dog in tow.
Fighting Food Delivery Fees | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 2
It’s been about two weeks since our last video with Perilla. Since then, Thomas and Andrew have come up with a solution to streamline their services in order to support the business and the little staff they have left. But now they are faced with another obstacle – how can their business survive solely on delivery services?
Grandma writes back: I am ok?
followed by a string of punctuation her tired
fingers didn’t mean to type. This error
reveals a half truth. A question
she doesn’t realize she’s asked.
Effects of Covid-19 on Chicago Korean American Restaurant | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 1
Andrew Lim and Thomas Oh of Perilla | Korean American Fare in Chicago are just one of the few restaurant owners greatly impacted by the global shutdown. They lead us through how they’ve been battling throughout the current food industry crisis and lend their personal insight with us in this series. KoreanAmericanStory.org will continue following their story and update with regular content.
Juliana Sohn & Catherine Hong
Welcome to Season 2 of K-Pod! For our opening episode, we’re turning the tables on the show’s co-hosts, writer Catherine Hong and photographer Juliana Sohn. The longtime friends chat with the founder of KoreanAmericanStory.org, HJ Lee, about their first meeting (at summer school in the 1980s!), their work for magazines, and what’s most surprised them about doing the podcast.
Julian Kim is a video editor, filmmaker, and director of “Happy Cleaners.”
Jessica Park, current Project and Communications Manager at KoreanAmericanStory.org, was born in Arlington, Virginia
Vivian Lee, a current Board Member of KoreanAmericanStory.org, grew up in Toronto, Canada…
Ohn Choe is the current Board Chair of KoreanAmericanStory.org
Dr. Soong-Chan Rah grew up in the inner-city of Baltimore, Maryland, with three siblings and a single mother.
When Daniel Chung found himself surrounded by eight soldiers on the border of North Korea and China, he knew he had to figure his own way out somehow.
Jenny Kwak put Korean food on the map when she opened the restaurant Dok Suni in New York’s East Village in 1992 when she was just 19. Later, she opened a second successful restaurant, Do Hwa, where Quentin Tarantino was famously an investor. Catherine and Juliana catch up with the pioneering chef-restaurateur at her new Brooklyn restaurant, Haenyeo, where she’s flexing her creativity with dishes like cajun-inflected dduk boki. Jenny talks about her thwarted plans to be a painter; the rollicking early days of Dok Suni; her ambivalence about celebrity chef culture and her close relationship with her mom (who still keeps her kimchi recipe a secret, even from Jenny).
As a youngster growing up in the Mid-West he was frequently bullied by his peers for being Asian and was at a loss understanding how he was different
Mikey Fresh is the Senior Artist Relations Manager at Genius, a digital media company known for providing unique insight about the stories behind the most popular songs. From showing up awkwardly to a hip-hop magazine interview in a full suit and a fake resume, Mikey Fresh is now one of the top experts in the hip-hop industry. Mikey shares with Julie how he fell in love with hip-hop culture growing up as a young Korean American in New Jersey and how he’s found his way creating a unique career out of his nontraditional passion.
Byron Kim is a Brooklyn-based artist who works in an area known as the abstract sublime. Part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, his minimalist paintings sit at the threshold between abstraction and representation, conceptualism and pure painting. Catherine and Juliana learn about Byron’s original plan to become a poet (he switched to art, thinking it would be “easier”); his physician parents, who immigrated to New York back in the 1950s; the gigs that got him through his early years as a struggling New York artist (four words: Skadden Arps graveyard shift); his career breakthrough at the landmark 1993 Whitney Biennial; and his ongoing series known as “Sunday Paintings,” arguably his most personal work to date.
As the mother of a third-generation Korean American daughter, Nancy Choi has faced coming to terms with the different styles of parenting that have come from her own mother.
In this #NotYourAverage, Athina and Florence share with Julie Young how they started from just a simple idea to being met with overwhelming demand from their Kickstarter that launched them into establishing their own company.
Romon K Yang aka Rostarr
Romon K. Yang — aka Rostarr — is a Brooklyn-based artist, currently living in Bali, who works in painting, drawing, sculpture, digital and film. His signature works are large-scale black-and-white abstract paintings that recall both calligraphy and street art. In 2016, he collaborated with Nike on a much-coveted collection of sneakers and apparel; he has also created work for the Standard Hotels group and Moncler. Rostarr tells Catherine and Juliana about his rebellious childhood in Virginia, his fraught relationship with his parents, and the years he spent as a break dancer, graphic designer and music industry art director before finding his calling as an artist.
Writer-performer Karen Chee is a rising star in the comedy world and the youngest member of the writing staff of Late Night with Seth Meyers. A 2017 graduate of Harvard, she’s known for smart, quirky humor that’s unafraid to take on issues of gender, race and politics. Thanks to the recurring segment “What Does Karen Know?” she’s also known for her millennial ignorance of fax machines and Nirvana. Karen tells Catherine and Juliana about her childhood as a “square” (she only watched PBS and C-Span), her early ambitions to be a political speechwriter and how she got her first big gig, writing jokes for Sandra Oh at the Golden Globes.
Peter Kim grew up in New Jersey knowing he wanted to do one thing in life: act. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, he made his Broadway debut in Thoroughly Modern Millie and has since built a solid stage, film and television career. This past fall, he astonished audiences with a funny and heartbreaking performance in the play Wild Goose Dreams at the Public Theater. Catherine and Juliana learn about Peter’s family (spoiler alert: his parents weren’t exactly thrilled about having a “gay actor son”), the casting challenges he’s faced, and his growing role as a mentor, teacher and activist.
Jessica Paek – Part 2
In part 2, Jessica shares her journey starting from graduating with a Historical Linguistics degree and pursuing linguistics research, to changing her career path in order to become a writer
Jessica Paek – Part 1
Jessica shares the story behind her various tattoos and how she fell in love with the art.
Sylvia is a lawyer by trade and also the Chief Innovation Officer at the Asian Pacific Community Fund based in Los Angeles.
Lillian shares her story of immigrating from Seoul to California as a young child with her family.
My Korean American Story: CJ Rooney – Owner of Aerilyn Books
The process of creating a book, regardless of the target audience, is deeply involved and requires a plethora of patience and many hours of revisions.
For this week’s #NotYourAverage Julie Young is joined by co-host Noah Oh as they hang out with Doug Kim – former World Series poker player now turned actor. From getting rejected from limited Asian American roles, Doug shares his story of how he took the road less traveled by funding his own series called Just Doug, giving him the freedom to be his own Korean American authentic self.
In this episode of #NotYourAverage, Julie Young chats with Jae Lee – a Korean American chef based in New York with 12 years of culinary experience under his belt. From working unpaid as a budding cook to becoming executive chef of NYC Rice & Gold, Lee is now promoting his new pop up restaurant Him 힘 which was inspired by his family’s immigrant journey from Korea.
For this episode of #NotYourAverage, Julie Young sits down with Jean Lee – a former magazine photographer and now artist agent representing professional photographers and stylists. From graduating art school to working for newspapers and magazines, Jean shares her story discovering a creative career she never even knew existed.
In this episode of #NotYourAverage, model, Shadowbox instructor, and medical student Joey Kim sits down with Julie Young to talk about how he juggles his eclectic career paths. Kim also shares the origin story behind his unconventional journey, including how growing up without Asian American role models pushed him to use modeling to combat stereotypes.
In our latest #NotYourAverage episode, TV host and actress Ellie Lee takes Julie Young through the ups and downs of her journey as a woman of color in the media industry. Lee, now the digital host for iHeartRadio, opens about the hardest moments in her career, including her on-camera audition for VH1 and her emotional breakdown after “going back to nothing.”
In our latest installment of the Not Your Average series, host Julie Young sits down with Donnie Kwak, the East Coast Bureau Chief at The Ringer, an up-and-coming sports, pop culture, and tech website. He discusses growing up in Glenmont, Md., with immigrant parents — his mom an ESL teacher, his dad a foreign services officer for the U.S. government.
Peter Chun, formerly with YG, talks about how he became interested in the music industry in high school, what it’s like to be the bridge and oversee Korean artists in the US, and why the job isn’t as glamorous as it seems.
Justin Chon, director of the film Gook, talks about why doing what you love is more important than leaving behind a legacy. He also shares why it was impossible to dream of being an actor while growing up as an Asian American. “I know what I’m capable of, which is so much more than what I’ve been allowed to do.”
Artist of “One Thing” Amerie sits down with Julie Young, and talks about her future music, how she was able to break into the music industry as a senior at Georgetown University, and why she can maintain a positive outlook on life.
Profile of Karen Kim
This past July, Karen was elected President of KALAGNY. In her short time in the position, Karen has already brought a renewed energy and vision to the over 30 year old association.
Paired with succulent visuals of prime steak, watch Julie Young and Simon Kim, restaurateur and owner of Cote, talk about the trials and triumphs of making it in the fine dining industry. “Never in a million years had I thought that I would get a Michelin star.”
“For me, you know, fashion wasn’t always about clothing, and fashion is never just about how you look. Fashion to me is transformative.” David Yi, founder of verygoodlight.com, talks about the importance of men’s beauty and makeup, and why fashion is more than just appearance.
In a heartfelt and honest conversation on “Not Your Average,” host Julie Young and guest Danny Chung talk about the American dream, the complicated notion of family, and what it means to be a Korean American. He shares, “When you’re a hyphenated American, you tip-toe and you have to tight-rope between that hyphen of Korean and American.”
Chris Cho, chef and owner of Seorabol Korean Restaurant, went from dropping out of high school to being featured in various media platforms for showcasing authentic Korean cuisine. Chris’ father has also worked as a chef and has over 40 years of experience; Chris credits his father as the one who empowers him to keep going.
Far East Movement, Part 2
Far East Movement cannot be contained in one video! In this second part of Not Your Average with Far East Movement, Kev Nish and Prohgress share more about their transition into behind-the-scenes work, and their vision to build infrastructure to support up-and-coming creatives.
Far East Movement, Part 1
In our latest Not Your Average videos, Julie Young sits down with 66% of Far East Movement, known for being the first Asian-American group to produce a number one hit single that topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart – the unforgettable “Like a G6”!
Same Day Service
Each time I walk by a dry cleaners in the city and see an Asian couple behind the counter, my chest tightens. And here at my parent’s store on Long Island, where I intend to spend the rest of the day, I start to feel the pressure.
Julie Young sits down with Raymond John, CEO and co-founder of 12+, a non-profit organization that has a vision to “increase educational equity” by shifting school cultures and empowering students to achieve their goals of post-secondary education. Watch the video to learn how Raymond went from being a pre-med college student to becoming the CEO and co-founder of this awesome organization!
Carol Kim – SaIGu LA Riots
Carol Kim was a graduating high school senior when the LA riots broke out, but she was already a leader committed to overturning injustice.
KRB Podcast: Jimmy Lee
In this month’s KoreanAmericanStory on KRB 87.7 FM, Executive Director of Restore NYC, Jimmy Lee, talks about his personal journey of passion, faith and social change, starting from working on Wall Street, discovering a need to help women with AIDS in Africa, and coming back to the U.S. to start an NGO that brings shelter and aid to sex-trafficking victims in New York.
Esther Choi of Mokbar BK
Julie Young visits Esther Choi, Chef/Owner of Mokbar at Chelsea Market, to check out her new restaurant, Mokbar BK, in Brooklyn. Jaeki Cho joins Julie in a conversation with Esther and tasting of her food.
My Korean American Story: SoYeong Jeong
I’m a 21 year-old college student living in the Midwest. As the number of years I’ve spent in the States started to catch up to the number of years I’ve lived in Korea, my Korean-ness began to blur.
All in the Family: Nashville’s Korean American Music Duo, Chasing Lovely
What prepared Nashville’s folk-pop music duo Chasing Lovely for grueling hours as professional musicians and helped refine their stage presence? Competitive gymnastics. Sisters Taylor and Chloe, who are in their early twenties, began gymnastics at a young age and spent about a decade in the sport.
Colin Lee is a 16 year old rising lacrosse player who recently played for the Korean national lacrosse team U-19 in Vancouver.
KRB Podcast: Jeannie Park
In this month’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7 FM, Jeannie Park, founding president of AAJA-NY and a former executive editor of People Magazine, shares about her childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, and how she broke into an exciting career in journalism.
When you hear about an ice cream flavor that’s named “Sweet as Bae,” you might think that Hannah Bae, the ice cream maker and founder of Noona’s Ice Cream, is just as whimsical and fluffy. But this ice cream master is calm, grounded, and motivated by a deep sense of love and family.
KRB Podcast: Agnes Ahn
In this week’s episode of KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7. FM, retired OB-GYN Dr. Agnes Ahn talks about her mission: to teach accurate Korean history to K-12 teachers in Massachusetts. Through “Korea Studies” workshops, she has reached over 1500 students who have now learned the true history of Korea.
YOX: Touring with the Wu-Tang
The YOX interview was so full of great stories that it was difficult to choose only a few…
here is a bonus clip on how Rick Lee, aka Lyricks, came to tour with the Wu-Tang Clan.
Year of the Ox (YOX) sit down with Julie Young and special host Awkwafina. This rap duo is comprised of Rick Lee, also known as Lyricks, and John Lee, also known as JL. John talks about how he was first exposed to hip-hop, and Rick talks about navigating different parts of his identity: Korean vs. American, “Christian” life vs. being real.
KRB Podcast: Karen Lee
In this week’s episode of KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7. FM, Karen Lee, reporter at News 12 New Jersey, talks about her journey to become the reporter she is today. She also highlights the power of media to raise awareness about issues and to mobilize people to provide solutions.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid (PK), Aram Bae prayed specifically that she would never be employed by the church.
Diane Kang, Masterchef Korea finalist and vlogger, speaks with Julie Young on how her vlog is “an ode to [her] mother.” Diane started the “A Korean Girl Eats” vlog with the simple intention of sharing Korean food with others, but it ended up becoming a catalyst for unexpected opportunities.
Filmmaker Andrew Ahn reflects on his journey of merging his gay identity and Korean American identity.
Julie Young sits down with beatboxer Sung Lee, a Not Your Average Korean-American. He chats with her on making a full-time career out of his art after winning first place at Amateur Night at the Apollo in 2014 and participating in other competitions and showcases.
KRB Podcast: Matthew Oh
In this week’s episode of KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7. FM, Matthew Oh, founder of FOREFRONT, talks about how he started the organization to develop sustainable communities in India with his background in water engineering and passion to help people.
Rob Lim, skateboarder and head designer of fashion label Saturdays NYC, talks to Julie Young about growing up in Texas and California, fully realizing his Korean identity, getting into skateboarding, and his parents’ separation.
Charles Youn, Executive Director at Korean American League for Civic Action (KALCA), shares how certain negative childhood experiences and the influence of his parents shaped who he is today.
KRB Podcast: Joon Chung
Joon Chung, comedian, filmmaker and editor from Staten Island shares his experience with KoreanAmericanStory, KRB 87.7 FM.
KRB Podcast: Linda Lee
In this week’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7.FM, Linda Lee, Executive Director at Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCSNY), talks about the services provided by the organization, her own Korean American experience and how to bridge the gap between 1st and 2nd generation Korean American leaders.
KRB Podcast: Diana Yu
In this week’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7 FM, Diana Yu, Staten Island native, talks about the concept of virtual law, and the importance of wills for the Korean American community.
After getting all of the degrees her parents wanted her to have, Eugena Oh worked nonstop at a big law firm, becoming the unhappiest she had ever been.
KRB Podcast: Julie Kim
In this week’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7 FM, Julie Kim, Community Organizer at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, talks about the various programs and free services available for the community, including IDNYC.
KRB Podcast: David You
In this week’s Korean American Story with KRB 87.7 FM, David You talks about his journey as a young Asian American musician and wows listeners with his original music.
Charlotte & David Cho
Julie chats with Charlotte & David Cho, co-founders of the online K-beauty shop Soko Glam. The couple shares about their life prior to starting their successful business, their passion for bringing Korean beauty and skincare products to mainstream America, and Charlotte’s book The Little Book of Skin Care.
In this installment of Not Your Average, Julie Young sits down with Phil Yu, founder of popular blog Angry Asian Man. Among the many things they discuss, Phil dishes on his love for movies, the origin behind his now 15 year-old blog, and items on his bucket list.
Steve Choi grew up as that nerdy-looking Asian kid who was always overlooked or looked down upon in school—giving him a “chip on his shoulder” that motivated him to excel and prove people wrong.
KRB Podcast: Diana Oh
In this week’s Korean American Story with KRB 87.7 FM, actress and musician Diana Oh talks about the creative profession, her My Lingerie Play, and what it means to be a queer individual.
KRB Podcast: Lili Kim
What does it feel like to discover that your parent has Alzheimer’s – and that it’s too late to make up for lost time? In this week’s Korean American Story with KRB (87.7 FM), Lili Kim shares about how she struggled with those questions as she saw her own mother succumb to the effects of the disease, and how she was able to overcome the sense of shame and guilt that she felt as a daughter.
Julie Young and Nina Lee (the daughter of KoreanAmericanStory.org founder HJ Lee) sit down with rapper and actress Awkwafina at Maru Karaoke Lounge in New York. Awkwafina, or Nora Lum, born to a Chinese-American father and a Korean mother, talks about losing her mother at a young age, her grandparents, her acting career, her passion for making music, and more.
My Korean American Story: Lili Kim
What’s the worst part about living with a parent who has Alzheimer’s? Their repetition of words and phrases is a simple annoyance, the frailty of their human body is understandable, and their inability to feed themself is predictable.
Eddie Song of Korilla
Julie and Rekstizzy sit down with Eddie Song, founder of Korilla, New York’s first Korean BBQ truck. The proud owner shares on Korilla’s inception and his personal background & aspirations.
Jannie Chung – Part 1
On Christmas Day, Jannie Chung and her family got a phone call telling them her father had suddenly died of a heart attack, forcing them to immediately fly out to Korea.
Jannie Chung – Part 2
During a more rebellious phase of her adolescence, Jannie Chung sneaked away from home to hang out with her friends.
Jannie Chung – Part 3
When Jannie Chung’s brother was barreling out of control with drug use, partying, and violent behavior, her mother—desperate to turn his life around—took him to a remote Buddhist temple in Hawaii
Jannie Chung – Part 4
What Jannie Chung thought were Braxton Hicks contractions turned out to be real labor—happening three months too early.
Esther Choi of Mokbar
Julie takes rapper Rekstizzy and her cousin August to Mokbar (먹바)—a hot spot for modern Korean cuisine located in New York’s Chelsea Market—where they meet chef and owner Esther Choi.
In this “Not Your Average” episode, Julie interviews Jonathan Park, aka Dumbfoundead, who was born in Buenos Aires to Korean immigrants, smuggled into Mexico, and raised in K-town LA. Dumbfoundead is a Korean-American hip-hop artist who has gained wide international recognition. Nearly 400K YouTube fans from all over the globe are hooked on Dumbfoundead’s hip-hop music and lifestyle.
Sabryna Ro & Leah Rice
Sabryna Ro and Leah Rice are both 17 years old and they met at Sejong Camp, a cultural camp for Korean adoptees and American born Koreans
Zoey + Jasper: Profile of Photographer Grace Chon
At the end of 2008, as the economy was collapsing, Grace Chon decided to quit her full-time job at a major ad agency to pursue her dream: pet photography.
Chris Todd & Steven Yeun
Chris Todd, 31, was born in Seoul, Korea and adopted by a Caucasian family when he was a baby. Steven Yeun, 31, was born in the US, and grew up in Long Island.
Introspective with Dan Choi
In this film Dan reflects on his journey as an activist as well as a gay man seeking acceptance from his mother and father who are conservative Christians. His father is a Southern Baptist minister in California. Dan talks openly about the challenges of being a full time activist, the emotional and mental toll which has resulted in him being hospitalized for mental health treatment, and the Christian values that enabled him to get through the difficult times even as he felt abandoned and ostracized by the Christian community in which he grew up.
Jonathan & Jeremy Kahng
Jonathan is a 24 year old graduate of Miami University of Ohio and Jeremy is a 22 year old student at Berklee School of Music.
My Korean American Story: Jacquelyn Chappel
Growing up, my mother did not teach my sister and me about Korea. She did not teach us Korean. She did not feed us Korean food, and by middle school, my sister and I balked at her stinky jars of kimchee.
Janice Paik was born and raised in LA’s KoreaTown, and currently works and lives in downtown LA.
The Boss of Sauce: Top Chef Brian Huskey
“I love cooking because of the gratification of pleasing people. You know immediately if your food was great. You know even faster if it’s shit,” says Brian Huskey, 33, who emerged among the top five in Top Chef’s Season 11: New Orleans.
The New “Model Minority” Profile of Rekstizzy
Rek’s love for music has been with him since his youngin’ days and he has always been drawn to many different genres. He loved 90s Kpop and was into learning the choreography.
Profile of Artist Julia Kim Smith
Smith is an inter- and multi-disciplinary artist whose work engages with themes of memory and identity as well as political and social landscapes. Her work has been featured in GQ, The Atlantic, Hyperallergic, The Washington Post, and Angry Asian Man, among others.
Divided Families: Profile of Filmmaker/Physician Jason Ahn
“Divided Families,” the documentary that Ahn co-directed and co-produced, tells the stories of Korean American immigrants who have been separated from family members in North Korea for more than fifty years as a result of the Korean War, which divided the country into north and south.
Profile of Illustrator/Graphic Novelist Ian Kim
As a child, comic books were Kim’s gateway to art. Some of his favorite comics included Akira (“the greatest work of graphic fiction ever!”), Blade of the Immortal, Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball, X-Men and Generation X. Kim states, “Comics remain my main inspiration. I’m equally interested in storytelling and writing fiction, and comics are a synthesis of those two.”
The Kimchi Effect
“What’s your middle initial?” adults would demand as they filled out my forms.
Irvin Paik was born in Bakersville, CA in 1940. His father came to the US in 1905 with the first wave of sugar plantation workers to Hawaii. His mother came to the US in 1914. This is a rare recording of a Korean American who can recollect what life was like during the early period of Korean immigration. Irvin also recollects a high school play that he was in with George Takei, the Japanese American actor. This interview was conducted in Los Angeles on August 31, 2013.
My Korean American Story: Mark Ro Beyersdorf
Ever since I left Southern California for college in Connecticut, my mother has always waited while I wind through the airport security line. She smiles and waves wildly until I make it past screening and turn around to wave goodbye one last time. Except once.
The Will To Win
“I have to say – and I say this with a record of unblemished heterosexuality – Will Demps is smokin’ hot.”
Profile of Lt. Dan Choi
You may already be familiar with the story of how Choi helped to bring about the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), the U.S. policy that banned openly homosexual individuals from serving in the military.
My Korean American Story: Eugenia Kim
The day after my father attended a PTA meeting at my high school, a teacher stopped me in the hall. “Your father is a remarkable man,” she said. I thought my father, who rarely went to PTA meetings, was an embarrassment.
Profile of Dr. Paul Oh
Robots may once have been reserved for the world of science fiction, but they exist among us now and, more quickly than we realize, are becoming a more prevalent and vital part of our society. Today, around the globe, there are robots that dismantle bombs, aid surgeons and even fight wars.
My Korean American Story: Christine Lee
I grew up in Culver City, Calif., close to the MGM Studios. I was fascinated by the studios’ larger-than-life presence in my hometown. As I noticed the lion on the logo when we drove by, I dreamed of one day being a part of that exciting world.
Heard ‘Em All by Ameriie
Ameriie is a popular Grammy nominated singer who is half Korean and half black, and this music video is a companion piece to the Profile of Ameriie written by Julie Young.
Just as the Sky Is Blue…I Am Who I Am: Profile of Ameriie
I have said this many times and I am here to say it on record. Ameriie is one of the most under-appreciated singers – ever. Full stop. Girlfriend can truly sing. She is blessed with a voice that, for the life of me, I can not grasp why it has not brought her the same notoriety as those other less.
My Korean American Story: Kimberly So Jin Kim
I was never that type of Asian girl in elementary school, you know, the quiet one that has all the answers to the math problems. But I always felt like I should. Well, my father did, at least.
My Korean American Story: Won Kang
Virginia Boys State is held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The same Liberty University founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971.
My Korean American Story: Soo Yeon Grace Kim
I used to be a bit speechless when someone asked me what my ethnicity was- perhaps an American-Korean or a Korean-American?
Just a Nice Korean Girl From Delaware: Profile of Diana Son
Diana Son is an award-winning playwright, a writer and producer for television, and a screenwriter. Her plays Stop Kiss and Satellites premiered at The Public Theater.
My Korean American Story: Dennis Byun
Like many Korean-American families, my parents expected certain things from me as I was growing up. I had to be a good Christian; I had to be a good son and brother; and I had to study hard and attend a good college.