A-pop is a monthly column about all things Asian in popular culture
By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Happy spring! This month brought some new beginnings for some Asian celebrities. In Tiger Woods’ case, he attempted to turn over a new leaf. Padma Lakshmi introduced a new baby girl to the world, Zhang Ziyi opts out of a film, and the cast of “Glee” is invited to the White House. I will also update you on how Asian American U.S. Olympians finished!
Tiger Woods apologizes
On Feb. 19, Tiger Woods held his first pseudo-press conference. By that, I mean Woods spoke for 14 minutes and no one was permitted to ask questions.
Woods’ wife Elin was not present. The golfer presented his carefully rehearsed, PR-proofread speech, but the real test was what came afterwards. The reception was mixed. Bloomberg reported on Feb. 26 that 69 percent of Americans would support Woods representing the United States in golf at the Olympics (not that golf is even an Olympic sport, but that’s beside the point). Nike has continued to stand by Woods, but Gatorade decided to drop him.
“We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship,” a Gatorade spokeswoman told The Associated Press. “We wish him all the best.”
Tiger, save your tears for someone else. I don’t buy it.
Welcome to the world, Krishna Lakshmi!
A few months ago, I reported that “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi was expecting. On Feb. 20, the Indian model, author, and host became a proud mom to Krishna Thea Lakshmi.
Congratulations to Lakshmi! Her baby was considered somewhat of a medical miracle as she suffers from endometriosis. The baby bears Lakshmi’s last name so the question is: Padma, who is your baby’s daddy?
Ziyi Zhang drops out of a film
It’s been a while since Zhang Ziyi was on the big screen, and it looks like there may be fewer opportunities for her. The Chinese actress has pulled out of “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” due to a neck injury while filming martial arts film “The Grand Master.” Chinese actress Li Bingbing has replaced Zhang in “Snow Flower.”
“Glee” is going to Washington, D.C.
“Glee” just keeps on rising, doesn’t it? The cast of the Golden Globe-winning television show has been invited to perform at the White House’s Easter Egg Roll event on April 5. Production on the show has been rearranged to fit the performance because, really, who turns down the White House? Start lining up for tickets to see Jenna Ushkowitz and the rest of the gang alongside fans including Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama!
Asian U.S. Olympians soar
As the Winter Olympics wrapped up, Asians on the United States team have a lot to be proud of. Not only was there a great showing of Asian competitors, there was a great showing of medals!
Half-Japanese short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno made history as the most celebrated U.S. Winter Olympian with a record of eight medals. During the Vancouver Olympics, he added a silver medal in the 1500m, a bronze medal in the 1000m, and another bronze medal in the 5000m relay to his pile. Rumors are swirling that this could be the last Olympics for the Federal Way native. I guess there isn’t a whole lot more to prove. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Apolo!
Ohno’s teammates half Filipino J.R. Celski and Korean American Simon Cho also won the bronze in the 5000m relay. Additionally, Celski, a 19-year-old skater, brought home a bronze in the 1500m. Unfortunately, Celski was disqualified in the 1000m semi-finals. At 19, this Federal Way native will surely be back for 2014.
Over on the figure skating rink, 16-year-old Japanese American Mirai Nagasu held her own against those who were more experienced to finish fourth place in women’s figure skating. Nagasu is already being hailed as the future face of American figure skating.
Women’s hockey player Julie Chu helped the American team win a silver medal as well. This is the Chinese American’s third Olympics and third medal.
Congratulations to all of the Olympic medalists! See you next month for updates on Ohno’s possible retirement and other pop culture news! ♦
Ninette Cheng can be reached at email@example.com.