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Visit springtime dotcom today that springtime dotcom springtime supplements where passion meets expertise. It's a beautiful film, you know, and people love Disney movies, but it's also like the timing of who the movie's about. You know, right now, the Asian community in America is facing one of its toughest times with hate crimes are just skyrocketing. Many prominent Asians in Hollywood saying, hey, we need to fight against this. Everybody needs to step up. And I've seen people on social media saying, let's work together to do this.


What do you think the significance of a movie like this is for kids and for people who just watch movies and might have a subconscious understanding of what they've seen?


Exactly what you said. You know, when you make a movie like this, you cannot control the environment in which it's going to be released and you absolutely no idea what kind of world you're releasing into. So to be able to be a part of this movie right now, when the news is a comment like because I'm lurking, lurking on the Internet, it's a constant barrage of attack after attack.


And I know for me, like, I just really hope that this is a moment where we can come together as a community and really recognize the pride and the joy that comes with celebrating where we're from. You know, we live in a world telling us we need to be afraid and we need to hide and we have to be ashamed. And to be part of this movie that is so clearly celebrating instead of hiding. Feels like such a proud moment for me.


And I hope that it's one that the community can celebrate.


I am not a young Asian girl. Spoiler alert, I know. But I found that I wasn't alone in connecting with the story in this film. It really is a love story that brings back everything we associate with high school and life and maybe even things we deal with today in society. Do you think the movie did justice to the book?


I think so. I hope so. I feel like the book is all about that kind of warmth and being cozy at home and being with your friends and family and first love. And I think the movie does capture that right.


You chose to be a part of the story and that was one of the conditions. And included in that is you said you wanted Laura Jean's character to be played by an Asian girl because that's who was in the book. Why was that so important to you?


You know, that's part of why it took so long to get made, because people didn't understand why that was important.


And for me, it was like that was what her spirit was, was that she was Asian-American and it didn't have anything to do with the plot, which is why people were confused, because they were like, well, you know, as long as the actor can get the spirit across, then it's you don't care about age or race. And I was like, but her spirit is Asian.


So it's important.


And, you know, it's really about it's not her whole identity, but it's like a part of her identity.


A lot of the time, people think that, you know, inclusion in stories is about just telling the stories of the color of the people in the movie. And so when studio executives said to you, oh, but she doesn't have to be Asian because she's not doing Asian things, you felt like it was about more than that.


I mean, I've never seen a movie, a teen movie, very few romantic comedies, even where the lead was Asian. So to me, I wanted teenage girls to have that experience. I never had to have. Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. I'm a big fan of yours from Silicon Valley and now. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now you've got the book and you've got crazy rich Asians, which is coming out to much fanfare.


People are really excited about this. Can you feel the buzz as well?


I've been feeling it for the last three weeks in this press tour and it's crazy. They actually spending money on us, which is which is amazing.


Like like they sent out three teams. Each of us hit like three different cities. And the reactions from each city is amazing. He got the really heavy Asian populated cities like, say, Boston, New York, we expect expected a good turnout from them. But then when we went to like Dallas and people still loved it and I barely saw any Asian people in the audience, it was white people, black people. It's just such a universally fun movie to watch.


Right. That I'm just so grateful to see everybody enjoying. It's really doing well as like what? Ninety four percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Everyone is enjoying the cultural significance of the film. It's funny because Ronnie Chang is on the show, is also in the movie. And when he came to me to tell me that they wanted him in the movie, he like really undersold. He's like, Hey man. So I might need to leave the show for a few months to go do this movie.


I think it might be a little bit big for, like, you know, Asian, the Asian community. And he sold it like it was going to be like a little indie movie in the middle of nowhere. And then I saw this.


Come on, I was like, runni, this is major. This is huge. And it really is, because for twenty five years we have not seen a Hollywood movie with a full Asian cast. That's a pretty big deal, says Joy Luck Club.


And I think going in I mean, Ronnie probably wasn't underselling because we didn't know we intellectualized it like we understood. It's important. It's, you know, statistically twenty five years for a studio movie. But we didn't feel how special was until we got to Singapore when you got, like, the most beautiful, talented, funniest Asian people from all over the world. Yeah. You got Asian Americans, Asian, British, Asian Australians from everywhere. You know, grainy Asian Malaysians.




Like which sounds amazing, but Asian, Malaysian, Asian, Malaysian, Asian, Malaysia, I'm not calling them in the office and I'm going to get a lawsuit via the movie is also great.


That's what I enjoy is, you know, like oftentimes when people talk about diversity, people always make it seem like a charity. But it's a great story.


And you play a character who seems like the most fun ever. Is it true that you you also try to go for the lead, like the really good looking handsome lead?


Thanks for putting it that way. Yes.


When I first got the script, not every day you get a script that's crazy rich Asians with a full Asian cast. So I thought to my manager, I picked up the phone right away. I'm like guys, I know I'm usually the funny guy, you know, like like the character actor. But let me this is an important movie. Let me try out for the leading role. And my manager is like, look, Jimmy, I don't know how to tell you this properly, but they're looking for a good looking guy for this role.


And, you know, here I am. I am so here with you, but you crush it in the movie because you play like a Versace wearing mad party animal.


Oh, it's awesome. It's awesome to play that because you get to go as big as possible. So just fill the screen with any energy you have kind of pent up inside. Yeah, because I think normally as as functional members of society, you can just go crazy. But but with a character like that with billions of dollars and he doesn't care about anything. Right. He lives his life like as if it's lawless. So it is just so fun and freeing to play somebody like that.


You also have a cost that is all Asian, but at the same time really diverse.


And don't get me wrong, I mean, I'm not saying it covers every single aspect of Asian culture, but it is interesting that you said so many people come from so many different walks of life when you're on set. Did you feel that? Because I remember when Black Panther was happening, people were talking about how the set felt different. It was a new experience as a symbol of crazy rich Asians.


There was some kind of magic when we're all just hanging out, eating dinner. I didn't have to explain. Oh, let's go to a Chinese restaurant. It's like authentic, but like not that exotic. You can handle it. You know, we all just so much on the same page.


We all just love the same kind of food. They all say karaoke every night. It was great. You haven't lived until you seen Ronnie Chang sing Backstreet Boys.


It's amazing, man. You are just giving me ammunition nonstop. Let's talk a little bit about the book as well, because I love how your book talks about your journey in America, How to American, an immigrant's guide to disappointing your parents.


It really is a universal story that is all about yourself becoming an American citizen and the journey that you went on. Why why do you think it's really been as difficult as it has been for you to understand the difference or the difficulty in duality, being an American, but then also being Asian and staying true to your roots? I moved here when I was 13 from Hong Kong. 13 is probably a tough age for anyone finding themselves. But I was in a new country with a new language.


I couldn't really speak English very well. And also one of the hardest things, aside from just making friends in school, was dealing with the pressure from my parents, the expectations of growing up Asian. And they value obedience. They value finding a real job.


Right? Well, I'm obviously not doing right. Right. But but in American culture, it's the complete opposite.


We value independence and we value pursuing your dreams. Whereas my dad, ever since I was little, has told me that pursuing your dreams, how you become homeless.


So how do you. Which one do I pick and how do I go about doing this? When I started doing stand up, like my dad thought I was crazy. He doesn't he doesn't know what stand up was. Right. We never watched stand up in Hong Kong. You know, my first stand up like that I watch was big comic view when I came here. Right. And that was like a cultural experience. Yeah. I can only imagine it wasn't just jokes.


It was like about culture. Like one day you're talking about why people do this. Black people did. I didn't know any of those stereotypes. Right.


But that was like broad strokes of America that I learned from TV and watching these comedians, which is in a way culture tellers. Yes. That's why I became really interested in doing standup.


And my dad still till today, calls it a talk show, which I guess I'm doing now. So it's fine. I'm actually doing a talk show. Have a great fourth with a great story. Congratulations on the film. Are you talk about your success, the grind that came behind. But then you talk about, like, just the experiences that you've had with someone you know, many people, in fact, try to reduce you to just, you know, yo, yo, yo effect.


So they went like, oh, you're getting you're successful just because there's like us. Because even now, just because you're pregnant, there are so many. There was a guy who I won't name names that he's not a very successful comedian. So I don't even know if you would know who he was. I don't.


But he came up to you. You wouldn't know you're you're out of there now.


But he came up to me while I was pregnant the second time, and he touched my belly with his, like, fat, sweaty hand, which is so gross to begin with. It's like it's like, why don't you finger me while you're at it. This is so not OK. Like, just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean it's OK for you to touch my belly. And he was like, oh, so this is your shtick. This is like your thing now.




And I'm like, I was like getting pregnant is not rainbow suspenders.


It's not a stick.


And then he was like, you're so lucky, Ali, because you get all of this attention because you're both a female and a minority. And I was like, yeah, because, you know, historically that's always been the winning combo for recognition and.


And he was like and he was like, you know what I mean? Like me, I'm just another white guy. And I was like, be a better white guy. There's so many successful. There's like there's Jimmy Kimmel, there's Will Ferrell, there's Nick Kaldas, John Mulaney I can name I can go on this whole show for like thirty five days. We'll do like just like comedians. Just be a funny white guy.


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This Netflix series has started off with a bang, people are loving it, why the title Ugly Delicious? Well, as you saw in that clip, I grew up eating really well. My mom cooked a lot of Korean things. And growing up in Northern Virginia, it wasn't that cool. In fact, I was like the butt of many jokes. So when I started cooking professionally, those were the foods that I never wanted to touch because I was ashamed of it or just didn't want to, like, embrace it.


And that sort of encapsulates a lot of the foods that I think are truly delicious. But Nina may not be cool or is looks good on a photograph.


Some, like a curry is a perfect example. Bootlicker is so good, but isn't something that's going to be on the cover of a magazine.


And for you growing up, your food was a part of your culture, but it was also something that people used to tease you about. Do you think that that's that's a big part of food is the cultural identity that comes with it?


Absolutely. Because we're at a not a crossroads, but food is more popular than ever before and it sort of intersects so many different parts of culture throughout the world. So in so many ways, you know, creating the show with Morgan Neville and Eric Schmidt, we decided that food could be sort of a Trojan horse to talk about many of the great things in culture and many of the bad things in culture.


Right. Like, for instance, with Chinese food, there's an episode where you delve into Chinese food and it feels like it's less about the Chinese food itself and about how Chinese people in America have had to assimilate and what that means and how the food has had to assimilate in many ways to fit in with American culture. What like what did you learn in that experience when looking at Chinese food on its own in America?


I mean, it goes all the way back to when they came to work on the railroads and how they were marginalized way back then and the eighty nine years or so. And without getting too much of the history, I feel like as delicious as Chinese food is, and it's like the most prevalent kind of food throughout the world, it seems it's never been seen as like as cool as other European cuisines. And quite frankly, I think that there has been a lot of sort of hidden racism in how people perceive not just Chinese food, like basically anything that's different than the mainstream America.


Right. You see that with MSG or how people see like cheap meats in Asian restaurants, Chinese restaurants. And a lot of that's not true. Right. They're just, you know, not even misperceptions. They're just wrong. Right.


It's interesting that you bring up racism with regards to food, because those are stereotypes that you see, you know, rearing their ugly heads all over the world. You know, people go, oh, watermelon, black people and chicken black people.


And they'll be like, oh, you eat this type of food if you're Asian and you eat this, there are certain ideas that come from food. There are certain stories that are told by the food. There's an episode where you talk about fried chicken and what I loved in the story. You know, your roots in the South, you're meeting with people who cook fried chicken, white people who make fried chicken. Do you find that it was interesting to speak to people about where the chicken came from, how it came to be popularized and how they saw the story as it related to the food?


Absolutely. And I think first and foremost about fried chicken. It's a story that, you know, a lot of people don't know about everyone. I think that eats chicken. We'll find it to be a you're going to be delicious again. The world over almost.


But the story of how it was born out of oppression and slavery, for the most part, the fried chicken that we all most commonly associate with. That's a really tough story to tell. Right.


And if we can't talk about fried chicken, how are we supposed to talk about other things that are problematic?


So and going back to the so the the popularity of fried chicken shops, there's a scene where I'm talking to my friends really and questioning them. The same questions I answer myself. And the reality is it's like it's a it's a responsibility that I think today in twenty eighteen that we should know more about and we should talk about. And it's it's not easy to talk about. I mean I think you have to watch the episode because I think we're not trying to answer anything.


We're just trying to start the conversation. Right. Because it's just too dense of a topic.


Do do you feel like that's something people could do, like at restaurants? Like the waiter should have to tell you about the history of the food when they give it to you. So you should be like, what are you going to have? I'll have the fried chicken.


Let me tell you about slavery and oppression. It's chicken over here. It comes from a long history of people being oppressed and like, I'm going to go with the rice. Can I go? Right. No, it's not about that.


I mean, certainly it could be. But we live in a world where there's so much information at your fingertips, like why not go down that rather than just a little bit? And, you know, there's a scene in that fried chicken episode where it's not about fried chicken, where I say to David Simon, great director of The Wire, where I'm like, hey, I would have a problem of someone that's not crazy and starts making kimchi. And he sort of smacks me down being like, you're an idiot, right?


Like America is about cultural appropriation when it's done, like, very well, if that makes any sense. And I thought about that and I was like, and he's absolutely right in the sense that the only way I'm going to get this person that's making kimchi to appreciate kimchi is to let them go down the rabbit hole.


Right. Right. And maybe they're going to be the biggest advocate of it. But if I'm there judging them, saying, like, you can't do this. Then I'm not making any progress there, so I feel the same way about fried chicken, and I think that I could have been that that fried chicken shop down in Nashville because I love fried chicken so much, because the first thing you want to do is pay homage. But it's a problem sometimes, right?


It's a what happens if you start killing the very thing that inspired.


You grew up as a child who was adopted, you were raised by white parents who love you to the ends of the Earth, but in this book, you talk about something that many people struggle with every day, and that is the relationship of being a child who is adopted, who is living in a trans racial household.


Why is that so difficult?


I think it's just difficult. I think, given that a lot of the first of all, a lot of people go into adoption, not necessarily fully prepared to talk about race, which is, of course, crucial in a trans racial adoption rights. Like my parents, for example, went in and they asked a lot of questions of a lot of different experts, social workers and judges and adoption attorneys. And they were basically told, don't worry about it.


You know, it's going to be OK no matter what. You don't really have to talk about this. It's not going to be relevant.


And of course, it very much was right, because you read in the book, you write about how you had this experience where your parents didn't talk to you about race at all. It was just ignored completely. It's never mentioned.


And many people would agree with that. They would say, what? Yes. Why why should your parents talk to you about race, Nicole? Because they don't see you as a color. This eyes Nicole their daughter. So why why do you think it would have been necessary or should be necessary for people to speak to their kids about race if they've adopted them?


It's completely natural in a way, for parents. Of course, it doesn't affect their love for their child. I wasn't like my parents didn't think of me as their Korean child or their adopted child. I was just their child. I think what none of us really knew how to talk about so much, especially when I was young, was the fact that, of course, even if it didn't matter to them, it was going to matter a great deal to me in my life.


It was going to matter. Other people wouldn't notice, they would comment. And I think also none of us were really prepared for all the questions that we got moving about in the world because we kind of stood out in my hometown. Right. Right. So often when I got those questions, I wasn't really sure what to say because in my life at home, it wasn't really acknowledged or spoken about.


Your book takes us through such a painful, exciting, loving, wonderful journey where you begin to explore who you are and you have that yearning to find out the rest of your story. And and that in of itself, I mean, you describe it in such detail is is scary, but at the same time really exciting. Why do you think it was so important for you to want to find who your biological parents were when you had these parents who loved you so much?


I had thought about it for many years. And really for me, what was the final push was when I became pregnant with my first child. Up until that point, I thought, of course, about what it would feel like to have a child and to share my life and my history with them. But I hadn't really thought about how being adopted would affect them, like what questions they might have. And I remember so vividly sitting at my first prenatal appointment getting all these questions about my medical history and what my birth mother's pregnancy and her birth were like.


And I had no answers. I suddenly just felt like this deep sense of fear and inadequacy that this was information I needed to have that my children might need to have. So that was really the final push. You went out, you searched and you found your answers.


I want to give away a lot of the book, but but there is a beautiful connection that you made with a sibling who you discovered or your sister, I believe you have to write and a half sister and a physicist, as you call them in the book. But but you very close to your sister. That is that is a really interesting relationship to have somebody who has been a stranger your whole life and that you feel like you've known them forever.


Yes, she's an amazing person. And a lot of this book really it's her story as well as mine. You kind of get both stories on a parallel parallel tracks and then they intersect when we finally meet and find out about each other. And she's just an amazing person. I feel so lucky to have her in my life. My kids have always just known her because, like, we connected the same month that I gave birth. But it's been interesting to talk with them about it just in terms of like they kind of take it for granted that she's there, that we're together, that we have this family and these relationships we've recovered.


But really, we had to do a lot of work and it took a lot of effort and a lot of heartache to put our family back together in this way. So it's not something I'll ever take for granted.


It's a story about a character who is a man who just dreams of making it big on the big screen and what's what's what's beautiful and what resonates in the book is it talks about the challenges that he faces in so many Asian-Americans and Asians in America have faced with being represented on screen in a way that is not boiled down to stereotypes, right?


Yeah, I mean, it's his dream. So to Willis, his story is basically that he his job is to be generic Asian man on a show called Black and White. And so, you know, everyone's seen law and order. Right. And you have the two leads in the front and they're discussing the case. And way in the back, pretty much out of focus is like an Asian guy unloading a van.


Right. I was like, what if you told the story from that guy's point of view in the law, & order universe. Universe. Right. And I and I started to get interested in this world and exploring the world because the view from the bottom looks different than the view from where the leads are standing. It really is powerful because.


Ute. You talk about in this book One Man's Journey, but but really, a lot of this book deals with how Asians have been pushed to the side in America and a lot of storytelling. You know, some some people have argued, though, that that Asians have a good though because they go like, oh, at least Asian people have the model minority thing to them. So they're seen as less threatening and they're given more opportunities. But but you have a different view on that idea.


Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, the model minority is just sort of the age old strategy of divide, divide and conquer. And holding one group up justifies holding a group apart. And it's not just you're sort of saying Asians have it good. You're kind of showing the other groups you could do it, too, right? Right. And also, the fact is there are plenty of Asians who have not succeeded. There are the characters in this book are struggling economically.


They're struggling to assimilate culturally. And that's a story that we don't see as often we see in the media stories about Asians, Asian-American success, but not always.


This story in this book is is a character who dreams of just getting to play the lead in a kung fu film. That's that's what he's dreaming of doing. Interestingly enough, though, and I mean, I get why the is doing it, that's one of the things that you say, like always broke your heart in the smallest way when you'd be watching TV with your family as you'd look up when you see an Asian person on screen, you be like, wow, that's amazing.


And then they would always be distilled into like a few categories. Like, why do you think that that affected you so much, especially with your children, right?


Yeah, I mean, that is exactly what's happening now, is that I'm a dad and my kids are old enough that we watch stories together. And sort of I had made peace with being, you know, watching Asians on the side. But now they're old enough that I have to turn and explain to them, you know, why is that guy doing a funny accent or why is that person squinting their eyes and playing an Asian on TV? And, you know, there has been a lot of progress.


We see stories about Asians, but we still don't see enough. And we don't I don't I wanted to be able to explain to them. So I had to kind of work through it in this book. And, you know, for instance, I was recently watching the Golden Globes and I watched Aquafina get that award. And my daughter was sitting next to me and it was like I felt uplifted and so did she. I could see in her eyes that this was something that we'd both remember.


And at the same time, we see things on TV where you sort of can't believe that that's still on TV and you're 20, 20.


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