By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome back to another action-packed recap for Asian American celebrities! Last month, Jon and Kate Gosselin’s family drama unfolded in the tabloids while “The Amazing Race” crowned Asian winners. Young “Slumdog Millionaire” stars lost their homes and Tila Tequila is rumored to be pregnant. Asian Americans are also prevalent in a number of magazine listings, in the box office, and in NBA results.
Mom and Dad at it again
Marital troubles were the talk of the town for Jon and Kate Gosselin of “Jon and Kate Plus 8.” Jon, who is half Korean, was accused of leaving a nightclub with 23-year-old schoolteacher Deanna Hummel. While both parties initially denied the rumors, Kate admitted that the couple’s marriage is in trouble. She, too, was accused of having an affair with Steve Neild, a married bodyguard. Rumors of divorce run rampant. The season premiere of “Jon and Kate Plus 8” on May 25 had 9.8 million viewers — double the viewership of last year’s season finale. Are Jon and Kate really in trouble or was it all a publicity stunt? The real victims here are the children. Someone get this family and their scandal off the television and magazines pronto.
A winning duo
Meanwhile, over at CBS, Victor and Tammy Jih made me proud by bringing home a victory on “The Amazing Race.” During the finale, the Chinese American siblings made their way from Beijing to Maui, which included carrying a 135 pound pig across the beach to receive their final clue. The Harvard Law School educated siblings already have a use for the prize money: Tammy plans to use the money to pay off her law school debts.
New home for rising stars
On a somber note, child actors from “Slumdog Millionaire” Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali lost their homes in the Mumbai slums this month. Weeks later, director Danny Boyle set up a trust fund for the Ismail family, which bought them a new home. USA Today reported that Boyle hopes to also buy the Ali family a home before the summer monsoons hit. Boyle criticized the media on raising expectations on what he could do for the children, as the pressure is laid on thick for him to transform their lives. I’m not sure what to think in this case — Boyle has a point, but at the same time, I feel for Ismail and Ali. Also, where are the charitable donors from India and the Bollywood industry? In the meantime, my hopes are for Ismail’s family to enjoy their new home and for Ali to have a safe home soon.
A shot at love, with fruitful results?
Singer and reality TV star Tila Tequila has news for her Twitter followers: She is pregnant. The star tweeted on May 19: “I’m gonna tell y’all something REAL FAST, then delete it ok?” she wrote. “Since nobody is awake … the reason why I’ve been feeling sick on and off lately is because yes, I am pregnant!” Tila claims the father is an A-list hip-hop star who she urged to step up to the plate. Following this post, Tila’s reps have not confirmed her pregnancy. There is speculation as to who the father is. I, for one, will not be speculating, as I could really care less.
They might have had Yao Ming on their side, but the Houston Rockets’ NBA Playoff dreams have come to an end. In the Western Conference semifinals, Yao’s season was ended early by a hairline fracture on his left foot that he suffered during the third game of the series. Despite a good fight, the Rockets ended its run with a 4–3 series loss to the LA Lakers. Better luck next year!
Asian Americans on the big screen
Last month’s big screen stars made an impressive showing at the box office.
“X-Men: Wolverine” co-starring Daniel Henney opened at number 1 and grossed $165 million. John Cho’s “Star Trek” opened to an incredible $76.5 million with its current gross at $191 million. “Terminator: Salvation” lost the box office race to “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” at number 2. The film, co-starring Moon Bloodgood, is currently grossing at $65 million.
But a number 2 opening doesn’t make Moon Bloodgood any less appealing. The model and actress was the highest ranked Asian American on Maxim’s “Hot 100” of 2009, closing in as the 20th hottest female. Fellow Asians joining Bloodgood are Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls, Freida Pinto from “Slumdog Millionaire,” Jamie Chung from “Greek,” and Padma Lakshmi from “Top Chef.”
Last month, I reported Frieda Pinto as a member of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful 2009” list. The list has been released in full and I am proud to report a number of Asian Americans making the list. Along with Pinto, her boyfriend Dev Patel (who also starred in “Slumdog Millionnaire”), Ziyi Zhang (“Memoirs of a Geisha”), Lucy Liu (“Charlie’s Angels”), and Moon Bloodgood appeared in the issue.
I’m glad to see so many beautiful Asian Americans, but hopefully, there will be more men next year.
See you next month for more news. Who knows — maybe it’ll get crazier! ♦
Ninette Cheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.