Authentic. That’s the one word that comes to mind when you think of AJ Rafael. AJ, a musician who is known for his autobiographical songs as well as his candid nature, came onto the online music scene first with MySpace then YouTube. Since his start, he has released a full-length album and worked with non-profits such as Autism Speaks. AJ was kind enough to invite us to his home for a quick chat and a game of Ultimate Frisbee; read on to learn more about his love for music and the journey he’s taken so far.
James Kyson | “If it’s something you truly love, then work hard on your gift, and be willing to share it for a greater good.”
J.T. Tran aka The Asian Playboy | “People can learn it with enough hard work, perseverance, and practical application”
The OA team has a rather unconventional feature for you this week! Meet J.T. Tran, or better known as The Asian Playboy, he is an award winning dating coach who has helped tons of people improve their dating life. His work has been featured on ABC, VH1′s The Pickup Artist, LA Weekly, and more! On top of that, J.T. has won awards for the Worlds #1 Asian Pick-Up artist countless years. Read on as OA sits down with J.T. over sushi and he shares stories relating to his upbringing, his development as a dating coach, and the definition of “swagger”!
Ally Maki | “If you stay true to who you are and what you love, it will all come back to you in the most rewarding ways.”
We all have heard stories of how the road in entertainment contains a ridiculous amount of hard work, patience, and a little bit of luck. But when the road involves leaving home for Los Angeles at 14, popping up on our favorite network television shows, and longboarding through Hollywood it makes all the work worth it. Meet Ally Maki, our new quirky, yet edgy pal from iCarly, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bones (oh the list goes on!) as she shares her experiences as an actress in Hollywood with us.
What do you get when OA dines at the fabulous JJ’s in Monterey Park with the masterminds powering JustKiddingFilms? A rowdy table shouting answers to interview questions and cracking jokes into an iPad chilling on a table next to a dish of bomb Hong Kong food. If you think these guys are funny on camera, they are just as hilarious in person! But never fear, aside from an entertaining interview, these talented individuals shared deep stories regarding their upbringing and the underlying message behind their videos. Read on as OA shares one of their funnest interviews, as well as pictures from the silly photo-shoot they had after!
The Supply | “Believe in what you do. If not you, who? If not now, when? Just hold on tightly to idealism.”
The Supply is a group of slum-dog millionaires. OK, far from being millionaires. But slum dogs, sorta. They are a US based nonprofit organization that builds secondary schools for slum children all over the world. Why a fascination with slums, possibly some of the most vile places in the world? Founder Eddo Kim’s simple response: “no one else is doing it.” Constantly on the move, if you don’t find them trekking across the US teaching high school and college students about the lack of education in slums, you might find them chatting it up with locals in a Kenyan slum with KevJumba who recently went out on a trip with them. The Supply might be the nicest guys you find east of the Mississippi, but when it comes to their mission, they mean business.
Jennifer Chung | “Know that the fact that you’re different is beautiful, and you’re going to offer something that no one else can offer.”
Talented, down-to-earth, and bubbly. These are the general adjectives that come to mind whenever someone meets Jennifer Chung for the first time. It’s inspring to think that a simple girl publishing YouTube videos for her friends in a college dorm would eventually become a voice to the Youtube generation. Who would’ve known right? She has been able to engage an audience all over the world using her raw lyrics and powerful vocals balancing the whole shabang of student life –classes, loans, late night study sessions, part-time jobs. Now with school out of the way, she is now settling in with her new life in Los Angeles, with a debut album releasing VERY soon! Join OA as we sit down with Jennifer and she shares her experience as a pioneer in new media, her feelings about her video featured on New Yorks Time’s Square, and her development as an artist.
** Order Jen’s debut album 4 Years & Counting now **
“A melody is like a woman in a bar that you are instantly attracted to – the part that hooks you. The lyrics are what make you fall in love with that person.” As eloquently as Judy Stakee describes music, David Choi puts it into practice. The grandfather of YouTube and the unofficial spokesperson for Chick-Fil-A, Mr. Choi has the one-of-a-kind combination of exceptional musical talent, tenacity, modesty, effortless humor, and the ability to sing about a girl picking her nose and make us fall in love with her. It certainly helps that he’s not afraid to show off his endearing idiosyncrasies, and no matter how much he doesn’t smile, he leaves us grinning from ear to ear. From not having heard his first pop song until the 6th grade (Smashmouth’s “All Star” remember?!) to becoming one of the most beloved musicians on YouTube with television, film, and international acclaim, David still remains unassuming, humble, and treats each and every single person—Hollywood celebrity to high school fan—with the same respect and kindness. And if Clara C took home the Most Epic Interview trophy, guess who hands-down wins Most Epic Photoshoot? Prepare to be dazzled by 3 items underwater: a guitar, Melly Lee’s Canon 5D Mark II, and the David Choi.
Cornell on full scholarship. Harvard Business School graduate. Goldsea’s “120 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time.” CAPE board member. Producer ofPursuit of Happyness, Saving Face, Hitch…intimidated yet? Quite. But look past these extremely well-deserved accolades, Teddy Zee is the epitome of modesty, selflessness, and is just plain cool—black Prius-driving, P90X-doing, picture-tweeting cool. You just have to roll that way as one of the most admired role models in the industry and a passionate advocate of Asian Americans in entertainment, bringing to life countless projects and giving unparalleled opportunities to Asian American talent. As if Teddy had anymore time on his hands, he is also a devoted supporter of non-profits, particularly the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF). Be sure to support this wonderful organization and Teddy’s enormous efforts by voting to help them win a Toyota Sienna minivan on Friday, August 12, 3am-9am PST! www.votecpaf.org
Clara C | “I think anyone can do anything—you just have to put in the hours, labor, and elbow grease.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest titleholder for longest OA interview ever: Clara C, a walking ball of sunshine. Seven epic hours of dirty jokes, mountain-rock-tree-climbing, a planking photographer, losing our way in the dark, followed by a reenactment of 127 Hours, topped off with celebratory sushi for making it out alive. This lovably quirky singer-songwriter boasts a voice that would make an angel jealous and is the definition of “downess”—down to be adventurous, all the while keeping it classy. Sold-out album, nonstop touring, teaching as a behavior technician for autistic kids, winning first place in everything—all in less than one handful of years. We’ll see you at the Staples Center in no time Clara!
The most commonly used word to describe this week’s OA feature is beautiful. Jaw-dropping. Stunning. Gorgeous. So beautiful she was the face of Clinique’s international campaign. It’s hard to believe that she, too, has struggled with self-image; she, too, was shy; and she, too, has been pressured by society to alter her body. This explains why Arden Cho—multi-talented actress, model, and singer—is in fact one of the most down-to-earth, pleasant “dorks” whose mission in life is not fame or fortune, but to inspire the next generation, especially Asian American girls to accept themselves and pursue their passion. The world is beginning to witness the exciting fruits of her painstaking labor, and she is on track to becoming an international role model. Yes, Arden is the living breathing embodiment of OA’s mission.