When things don’t go as planned, it can be pretty disappointing. But other times it can be full of wonderful surprises.
While I was down in LA earlier this month, my friends had insisted that we go to the Huntington Library since we didn’t have time to go when I visited last October. But once we were en route we learned that it was closed on Tuesdays — take note in case you plan to go too! A few ideas were tossed around, and we ended up going to Descanso Gardens instead. I had never been, nor heard of it before, but I’m always down for a promenade amongst nature. 🌿
We spent time admiring the different types of camellias that bloom there, pointing at all the squirrels and ducks we happened upon, and watching turtles swim around and sunbathe. There was one baby that kept trying to climb on the back of another for what felt like forever, but we kept rooting for it until it successfully climbed aboard! We also spotted four that stayed in place for the longest time, so we said those were our turtlesonas.
I also had an amazing opportunity to partner with Dr. Martens, so of course I wore my Chelsea Boots to wander around for the day. At one point we walked up a steep incline, and my Docs helped me through it 😮💨 I’m usually a tennis shoes or ballet flat girl, but lately I’ve really been into pairing boots with dresses. I love the way my Docs compliment my gray maxi dress from Blackmilk Clothing with black birds and pops of yellow and pink flowers.
Afterwards we had brunch, and a few stores down we came across The Last Book Store’s Montrose location which is full of plants. We didn’t get to explore the store as much since we had to buy Liveplay tickets for one of the BTS concerts in Las Vegas (haha 😅), but had we gone to the Huntington we wouldn’t have seen all that we did.
This day was also really special as it was International Women’s Day and I got to spend it with some of my favorite ladies. If you read my previous blog post you know I’ve been going through a very hard time, so days like this are much needed.
:: OUTFIT DETAILS :: dress: Blackmilk Clothing (n/a) chelsea boots: Dr. Martens (buy here) jacket: A New Day (n/a) / purse: Coach (buy similar here) necklaces: Alex and Ani (buy here) & Karen Digital Shop (buy here)
I took these photos with Rory last Sunday. We hadn’t gone out and done a little photoshoot in awhile, and I was planning on coming back to this blog to write about it as an outfit post — the bag in particular as it’s from BTS’s Artist-Made collection. Instead, I’m writing about how I had to say goodbye to my beloved boy.
Going through photos and videos of him throughout the years has been very painful, so I’m just sharing these last ones we took together. I know I don’t have to write this. But I’m doing it for my peace of mind, so if someone asks what happened, I can direct them here. Because I cannot handle explaining my worst nightmare come to life to anyone more than once. I can’t even believe it happened at all.
Rory started coughing and hacking about a week ago, and I had thought it was his allergies acting up. Before that, he seemed completely fine. But the thing about dogs is that they don’t show they’re in pain until it’s really bad. The fact that he was considered a geriatric dog was also unfathomable to me. Not because I was in denial (okay… maybe a little), but because he still acted the same way he did when he was just a wee baby; still super playful, charming, and lively. I took him to the vet on Wednesday and learned that the left side of his heart had enlarged, and was pushing up against his trachea. I was aware that he had a heart murmur and was always careful about it. In the past, the vet told me to be mindful of it so whenever I took him out on walks — which I admit, wasn’t too often (because it’d be too hot, too dark by the time I got home when I worked, etc) — I shortened the route.
Yesterday morning, I gave him the medicine he was prescribed to help with his coughing and his heart. He was eager to get his Greenie too, so I thought he was fine. But around noon his breathing became more erratic than usual. I tried to stay calm because dogs can feel when you’re stressed, and I didn’t want to put that on him. I hated seeing him like that, and I couldn’t help but think, “What if I have to bring him back to the vet? What if this is it? What if I’m asked if I want to let him go?” I thought it wouldn’t be fair to make Rory suffer for my sake and began crying. How could I even think that?
When he was discharged from his appointment, the vet said he’d call the next day with his blood test results so I figured I would ask about Rory seeing a cardiologist as recommended when he did so. I was already thinking I should take him to the emergency vet, but I went ahead and called the vet to ask about the cardiologist and also that he was having trouble breathing and if I should bring him in. The vet was on lunch and was told I would get a call back. I talked to my sister for a bit about what was happening and she said if it’s been more than 20 minutes, call back and if they’re not helpful take him to the emergency vet. So I called again and the vet told me his heart was in really bad shape and that I could bring him in at 3 so he could prescribe him with a long term heart medication.
At this point it’s 2:15. I called my mom even though she was at work to see if she could come with me because I didn’t want to be alone. As I turned around to pick up Rory on our way out he looked completely miserable, almost unrecognizable. The vet is literally a minute drive from our house, and once we pulled up I felt Rory’s body become lifeless in my arms. His head rolled slowly to the side and his tongue was sticking out, tinged with blue. I screamed his name as I frantically put my hand on his chest to feel for a heart beat, but there was none. I blew really hard into his nostrils and he became conscious again.
Because of COVID, we couldn’t just go in. My mom tried calling, but she fumbled the numbers. I was able to call and a vet tech came rushing out to get him. Not too long after the vet came out and led me into the back room. Rory’s heart was failing, and he would need to see a specialist in UC Davis, but in his state he wouldn’t make it. He told me if it was his dog he’d let them go. This moment was the one I feared the most starting from the day I decided to adopt Rory 10 years ago. I asked if my mom could come in to say goodbye (she tried to come with me at first, but the vet said one person only) before officially saying to go ahead and let him go.
My Auntie Nelly and dad came to the vet and we gathered in an exam room with Rory’s lifeless body so we could see him one last time. I got to have a moment alone and I kissed his nose, forehead, and paw for the last time.
It all happened so fast. I wish I had more time. I thought we had more time. He was only 10 years and 7 months old. My mom and sister told me to not blame myself, but it can’t be helped. There are many “I should have” moments that will haunt my thoughts for the rest of my life. They tell me I was a good mom, but I feel like I should have been better.
Rory was my everything and I will always love him so fiercely. I dreamt of having a dog since I was a little girl and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect one than Rory despite his imperfections. Even if I came home with a friend and he’d run right past me to greet them instead, I knew at the end of the day he loved me the most. Sometimes when my mom would come to hug me, he’d growl in the most protective way. There were also times where he’d guard my things and run over to protect them from anyone who came too close — sometimes myself included. He would do this with his toys and treats as well; I called this “Dragon Mode”… which makes sense because he looks like a luck dragon.
He was so stubborn. If I called him over or said “halika dito” (“come here” in Tagalog), he would look at me, contemplate, then walk away. Or, he would stretch and take his sweet time walking over. Rory always barked at other dogs, but absolutely loved people. His side-eye game was absolutely legendary. When we went for long drives, he’d put all his body weight on my right arm and look out the window. He walked with such a dainty gait and would stand with one paw up like a dignified gentleman — this is why I would sometimes call him a Dandy Lion.
Rory drank water in the most unique way by bobbing his head up and down. He loved chicken. Words that perked him up were chicken, treat, cookie, outside, smoke (when my dad used to), and Uncle Ernie. If you said “cat” he would jump to his red chaise lounge by the window and start barking. Rory loved laying on that chaise lounge and watch the cars and people go by, and would bark at any cat or dog within eyesight. Even if a tv show my dad or aunt was watching had a doorbell sound, Rory would run to the window and begin to bark. He loved greeting visitors with a toy in his mouth.
Sometimes when I’d go out, I would come home to find him in my room laying on a pile of my clothes. My family said he’d stay in my room for hours when I was gone. When I worked from home or was video chatting with friends, he’d poke his head into the office to see what I was doing. I always picked him up and cradled him and would say in a sing-song voice, “I’m gonna hold you like a baby because you’re my baby!” If I blew raspberries on his chest he would give my nose kisses. I loved petting the bridge of his nose with my pointer finger followed by a “boopity boop” on his nose. Sometimes I’d kiss his forehead or muzzle and leave a lipstick mark, so when anyone asked what it was I would simply say, “my love.”
I taught him to give me high fives with his left paw and hand shakes with his right. When I’d give him treats I would hold the chicken over his head and say “reach for your dreams.” Or I would play “Holy Grail” by hiding one chicken in a closed fist and ask him to choose which one it was in. If he got it right I would say “you chose… WISELY!” He got it right 95% of the time. I loved the way he sighed as if he had the weight of the world on his tiny shoulders. Rory was very much a cat trapped in a dog’s body. He would only come give cuddles if he felt like it, and when he did I felt so special. He preferred to sleep in between legs or by your butt — he didn’t care if you were uncomfortable. And despite being so small, he took up the entirety of the bed. I’m going to miss looking down the staircase to see his little face looking up at me, waiting to be taken on a walk. He liked to play hard to get once he saw the leash in my hand by running away when I told him to come over.
I would sometimes (horribly) sing the chorus of ‘Always Be My Baby’ by Mariah Carey to him because, as the song says, he will “always be a part of me/I’m part of you indefinitely/Boy don’t you know you can’t escape me/Oh darlin’ ’cause you’ll always be my baby.”
My Baby Bubbers, it was an absolute honor to be your mama. I hope you know how much I love you. I’m sorry for all my shortcomings. I wish I could’ve been better to you. Your Lola, Lolo, and Auntie Nelly love you with all their hearts too. I thought we had more years to come and adventures to go on. Wherever you are, I hope your journey across the rainbow bridge was a safe one and that you are eating all the chicken and running wild and free.
On this day 10 years ago I started Le Fancy Geek. How has it been 10 years already?!
2011 was an interesting year for me. At the beginning of the year, I was a fresh college graduate with absolutely zero idea what do post college. I moved back to my hometown and spent my days looking at job listings and being absolutely paralyzed with anxiety by them, and also marathoned lots of shows on Netflix (mainly Psych). Later on in the year I met my fur baby and soulmate, Rory. I also got into my first serious relationship. But out of all these things, starting this blog and Rory are the most important highlights for obvious reasons. lololol
Along with writing, I’ve always been very passionate about fashion and geek culture. Around this time, I was hella into Doctor Who and obsessed with finding ways to incorporate elements of it into my everyday wardrobe. So, as a means to have some sort of creative outlet, I decided to start Le Fancy Geek to chronicle my outfits and random musings. Looking back, it’s astonishing to think of how far I’ve come and what this blog has brought me. And I knoooow… I don’t blog on here as often as I did before, but I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing on here again.
The coolest opportunity blogging has led me to is becoming an ambassador for Jordandene and editor at its sister company Sartorial Geek! To celebrate Le Fancy Geek’s 10th anniversary, I’ve teamed up with Jordandene for a giveaway! Two lucky folks will get the chance to win a $50 Jordandene gift card.
Check out my post on Instagram to see how to enter for a chance to win:
Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last 10 years! I can’t express enough how truly thankful I am 💜
Instagram is easily accessible, so I’ve been using it over the years to microblog and share things the way I used to on here. But even then, my platform isn’t that grand and my reach is alright at best. So whenever I bring up anything regarding issues in the AAPI community, it feels like I’m standing on a soap box in the middle of a barren strip mall on a weekday afternoon, with the occasional passerby saying “YEAH! YOU SAID IT, GIRL!” and walking away. My words leave an impression on a few, and are forgotten within minutes by others. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to speak up and put my heart on the line like that. In the end, I always hit “Post” because what is the point of me having a voice if I don’t use it? If I don’t say anything, who will? My community has been silenced for far too long. I only hope I can add more fuel to the fire, however small it may be, to amplify our plight.
It also feels weird to go back to business as usual on social media. Does anyone give a shit if I have a dope new Pokémon dress when my community is in distress? I originally planned to post these pics for St. Patrick’s Day with a punny caption like “What’s your [Pokémon] type? 🌸🌿”, but it didn’t seem right.
I ended up posting them a few days later with this caption:
Pokémon is a source of joy, and revisiting the anime has been a fun escape over the past month. But I can’t help but think of Jiansheng Chen — a 60 year old Chinese American immigrant that played Pokémon Go as a way to connect with his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. In 2017, he went out one night to play and a security guard shot him when he was parked outside of a clubhouse in Virginia. The reason? He felt threatened. That security guard had it all wrong though — *he* was the threat. My community has NEVER been safe. The violent attacks and senseless killings have been happening ever since we first stepped foot in this country. Over the years, countless members of my community have been verbally assaulted, beaten, or have had their lives taken just because they’re Asian. So many families are left to mend the shattered pieces of their broken hearts and figure out how to go on. Some can’t even stop to grieve because they have to look out for other people in their family. My heart goes out to all of them, including the loved ones of those Asian American women that were killed in the recent Atlanta shootings.
If I’m still thinking of Jiangsheng Chen after all these years when I see anything Pokémon related, then how must his family feel when they see Pokémon too? 😔
A REMINDER: if you also love Pokémon and other aspects of Asian culture such as food, boba, matcha, anime, k-pop, k-dramas, k & j beauty products, kawaii things like Sanrio and San-X characters, Nintendo, martial arts, yoga, karaoke, Buddhism, hell — even Star Wars (yes, you read that right) — you need to be better allies. Don’t think I haven’t noticed how some of you have been doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. What I get from that is that you love what our many cultures bring to the table, but not us. I no longer have room to give anyone grace. Do better.
It’s frustrating to have people literally comment on any of my past posts and tell me they hear me and are willing to learn and do better, and in turn literally post pics to celebrate Animal Crossing’s one year anniversary and bubble tea without one word about what’s going on. I want to believe people can be better, but I keep being proved wrong. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of people being performative in their activism. I’m tired of all the hate we receive for us as a whole, but the endless love and appropriation of the many entities Western culture has taken from us. Just love and support us the way you love Pokémon, dammit.
PS: Sources to help support the AAPI community can be found here. Please donate if you can, and if not please share.
PPS: In case you’re wondering, BlackMilk Clothing Pokémon dress can be found here and here.
One of my BTS biases, J-Hope, recently celebrated his birthday on the 18th! If you happen to follow me on Instagram you might’ve seen all my Hobicore related outfit posts to celebrate his special day 🥳 J-Hope (along with V) is my fave because of his super sunny disposition. He is sunshine personified, and is just the absolute cutest. Since falling down the BTS rabbit hole in November 2019, their style has trickled its way into my closet too. So much so, I even have an article in the winter issue of Sartorial Geek dedicated to the different types of BTScore style aesthetics! You can find that here.
Hobicore is all about being cheerful, colorful, with fun prints, rainbows, and happy faces. So when I was looking at Living Dead Clothing’s going-out-of-business sale last summer, I added this flower dress to my cart immediately because 1.) it screamed J-Hope and 2.) I thought it would look really cute with my J-Hope inspired beret by Avocado Pins. 💜💛💖
Along with BTS, I’ve been using shopping as a coping mechanism for… well, everything. Haha 😅 I’ve always loved supporting small businesses. Discovering new artists and small businesses at comic conventions is one of my most favorite things, but it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be getting to go to those anytime soon. So I’ve been trying to shop small or second-hand via Poshmark and Mercari as much as possible when I do find myself going into a shopping spiral. It makes me feel less guilty when I know I’m supporting a small business owner rather than a large corporation! lolol
:: OUTFIT DETAILS :: J-Hope pin: AmojinPH (buy here) J-Hope beret: Avocado Pins (buy here) purse: A Shop of Things (buy here) dress: Living Dead Clothing (n/a) | jacket: A New Day (n/a)
If you’re into BTS, who’s your bias and when did you fall down the rabbit hole? Or what are some of your favorite small businesses that you love to support? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Not only is today the last day of the year, but the decade! Oh, Time. Where have you gone? This decade has brought me love, heartbreak, disappointment, clarity, happiness, and friendships to last a lifetime. Though I often feel like I’m stuck in the same place and nothing’s changed, I have to give myself credit where credit is due. I’ve evolved. I can feel it. The hardships that have been thrown my way over the last 10 years have only made me stronger and changed me for the better.
And I became a dog mom, which is probably the highlight of this decade!
2019 wasn’t a hot-garbage-fire year like previous ones. In fact, I feel it might be my best one yet! It’s only fitting for me to welcome the new year and new decade going out on a high note 🙂
A goal of mine for 2019 was to travel often and experience new things. This year alone I’ve…
watched Sarah Kaye + Phil Kay in San Francisco
watched Waitress the musical in Sacramento
saw Ken Jeong live in Stockton
met Karen Ashley, the second yellow Power Ranger at StocktonCon
went to a Kook’s concert in Oakland (my bff’s fave band)
went to Disneyland for a Bodhi Brigade reunion
flew to Las Vegas for Janet Jackson’s residency
went to Disneyland again for Marvel Night
I went to New York in April and watched Hadestown and White Noise
I went to Philadelphia for a day and went to the Franklin Institute to see the Marvel exhibit and the Museum of the American Revolution and learned about “diaper butt”
went to G. Willow Wilson’s book signing in Oakland and got to tell her how much I love Ms. Marvel
got to model for one of my fave small geek shops, Jordandene!
went back to Disney for a third time to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
went to my 13th San Diego Comic-Con International (or 12th? I can’t remember if I missed 2 or 3 between 2004-2019)
planned a “Basic Autumn Bitch” trip for the third week of October to visit Boston + New York — I fell in love with Boston and went to Salem for a day, and I watched Betrayal (with Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox, and Zawe Ashton) on Broadway, and Little Shop of Horrors off Broadway with Jonathan Groff (where I got a terrible selfie)
finally saw the original Winnie the Pooh toys at the New York Public Library which has been on my bucket list for ages!
watched Hamilton for the second time in San Francisco
unexpectedly booked another trip to New York for the first week of October after being invited to be on a geek fashion panel at New York Comic-Con thanks to the Sartorial Geek
was a panelist for the first time ever at a convention!
saw my one of my best friends get married to the love of her life
gained 2 furry nephews and a furry niece thanks to my other best friend
went to Feel the Force night at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
I did all that in a year! HOW CRAZY.
The biggest setback I’ve faced this year was getting laid off from my first “big girl” job. I worked for a fashion app for a good 3 years in San Francisco. I started as an unpaid intern and worked my way up to contract worker, to full-time as their Customer Success Manager. On top of that, I was also a stylist (and still am) on their app and earned many rave reviews. Of course I was sad and angry when it happened. It was a blow in all kinds of ways, but also a blessing because now I can figure out what it is I truly want to do. What that is, I haven’t figured out yet. Haha! But in the meantime I’ve been able to go back to a part-time job I never thought I’d go back to. And you know what? I’m feeling okay about it. It’s changed and so have I.
Here’s to more adventures and new experiences to come in the next year/decade.
I found this post just hanging out and collecting figurative dust in my drafts. It’s too cute to not share though! If you know me, you know I love getting dressed in theme when I go places or for certain days. I wore this outfit on September 1st aka Back to Hogwarts Day! Since it’s a Luna Lovegood outfit, why not post this on her birthday? 🙂
I’m a Hufflepuff through and through, but I’d like to think that Luna would be one of my best friends if I went to Hogwarts. We’d hangout and read the Quibbler together and I’d listen to her talk about nargles and other weird things, and we’d have fun craft sessions (making cool jewelry and papier-mâché headpieces for quidditch games).
Both my Luna skirt and beret are from 1138 Clothing, a super cute geek small biz owned and run by my girl Linda. Linda sews all the dresses, skirts, and tops for 1138 Clothing and will even customize pieces to fit your exact measurements. The silhouettes/style of her garments have a retro/vintage feel with a geek twist as she uses fabrics adorned with characters from all kinds of fandoms — from Harry Potter to Disney to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — there’s something for every geek!
:: OUTFIT DETAILS :: skirt & beret: 1138 Clothing (buy here & here) glasses: Zenni Optical (buy here) | top: Old Navy shoes: Dexflex Comfort | belt: Lane Bryant purse: Kate Spade | bag essence: Tokyo Disney
Who’s your favorite Harry Potter character and what house are you in? Did you get sorted by Pottermore or did you figure it out on your own? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Welp, 2018 has come and gone and it was filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but I made it out alive (had my first bought of food poisoning the day before New Year’s Eve and wanted to die, but I’m here) so… yay?
I wrote a blog post last July saying I wanted to be better at writing on here, and after that I did a whopping 3 posts. ::cue sad trombone:: I’m gonna cut myself some slack though! On that note, I’ll try and be better this year. I feel like I did a lot of cool things in 2018 (went to Portland and checked out the Laika exhibit, went on my first business trip to NYC, read sooo many awesome comics, modeled in the Her Universe Fashion Show, oh and my hair is blue now!), so maybe I’ll do a few throwback posts throughout the year. We’ll see…
I’m pretty stoked for 2019 though — I have some fun things planned out already. Besides SDCC in July, I’m planning a trip to NYC in April!!! My plane tickets have been purchased and everything. My trip happened upon impulse after I had a mental breakdown about how I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, and I could probably do so many things, and I got really down on myself about my frivolous spending habits (this was sometime after Black Friday, and ooh lord, I spent sooooooo much). The amount I spend on food, clothes, Funko Pops, comics, and whatnot could totally be put towards traveling or going to shows. I cracked numbers in my head about how much I need to pay off my credit cards (even though I’m bad at math), and my friend Alice (Bodhi Brigade) had told me that tickets to Hadestown, a musical she had talked about on Twitter that I fell in love with, had discounted fan tickets before they’re sold to the general public. I didn’t know what day she got her ticket, but after my little breakdown, I picked a day and just fucking bought it.
I know. I KNOW! It all sounds crazy, stupid, and reckless, but Neil Gaiman said he hopes we make mistakes because when we make mistakes it means we’re trying new things and changing our world… or something like that. Anyway, my goal from that moment forward was to invest more in experiences. I want to do more things, not buy more things (except for books and the occasional clothing item).
Wanna know something else? I bought a ticket to watch White Noise, a play that Daveed Diggs will be starring in, at the Public Theater in NYC a week after I bought my ticket for Hadestown, so I was like, “Okay, yep. I am definitely going!” And by happenstance, my ticket for Hadestown is for the same day and time Alice and Cat are going. What are the odds???
Other goals I have this year are to create more, be more active, and read more books. Last year I told myself I wanted to write at least one thing and submit it for publication, and I did! Not sure of its status, but it felt so good to get back into writing anyhow. 🙂
::OUTFIT DETAILS:: t-shirt: Jordandene (buy here) | jacket: Old Navy (buy here) skirt: Hot Topic | shoes: Dexflex Comfort | belt: Walmart hat: H&M | glasses: Bonlook (sold out)
What are your plans for 2019? Have any trips lined up, goals, or resolutions? Are goals and resolutions practically the same thing? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
(photos by Jennifer Khut)
PS: I almost forgot! Jordandene has kicked off an official ambassador program and I’ve been asked to return! I’m hella excited to be working with them again because they’re one of my absolute faves; their shirts are soo comfy and the geek centric quotes printed on them often feel like armor. My Clever Girl scoop neck also looks hella dope with my fossil skirt if I do say so myself ;)You can use my coupon code LEFANCYGEEK to save 15% on a minimum purchase of $20
In the spirit of #AsianAugust, I must talk about Crazy Rich Asians. At the time of this writing, I have seen it 3 times! I watched it twice during its Gold Open, and again this past Friday. I seriously can’t get enough of this movie! 🙂
The theater was packed when I watched it the first time (actually, all 3 times!), and it was filled with predominantly Asian people of all ages. You know when you go somewhere and you can feel the energy in the room? What I felt in that theater was akin to every opening night showing of all the Marvel movies I’ve been to. It was contagious. People cheered, laughed, cried, and cheered some more. I took my parents who are both notorious for falling asleep during movies, and I’m happy to say both stayed up for the entire show. They were really excited to see Kris Aquino, a popular talk show host and actress in the Philippines, who played Princess Intan. I was excited to see Nico Santos reppin’ Filipinos, too!
As an Asian American, my emotions were even more heightened when watching this film. And it’s not just because I’m a super sappy and emotional person to begin with. It’s because for the first time in a long time I saw people on the big screen who look like me and my kin, and talk like me and my friends, front and center rather than in the background. They weren’t the stereotypical nerd, kung fu master, dragon lady, or subservient Asian tropes that Hollywood often portrayed us to be, but more so relatable (besides the crazy rich part). I saw parts of my culture reflected on the big screen in an authentic way, and I haven’t felt like that about since The Debut, an indie Filipino American film that starred Dante Basco (aka Rufio from Hook). The Asian diaspora experience isn’t something I’ve seen on screen very much either, which made Rachel Chu’s story, played by Constance Wu, relatable, too.
Growing up, I hardly saw anyone who looked like me in the movies and tv shows I watched. Claudia Kishi from the Baby-Sitters Club and Trini from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were the few fictional characters of Asian descent out there, and I truly saw myself in them. The lack of representation often made it feel like my story or my culture didn’t matter. So when I see characters like the Tico sisters in Star Wars, Ming Na Wen in everything she does, and now Crazy Rich Asians AND To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before… it’s a phenomenal feeling that I don’t quite know how to describe.
I’ve seen a lot people online say Crazy Rich Asians shouldn’t be considered “monumental” and that it doesn’t represent all Asians. Others are referring to it as the “Asian Black Panther.” Those who are criticizing it for its representation have valid reasons, and I won’t dismiss them. But we simply can’t expect one movie to sum up the Asian experience. It’s vast. We have so many stories that need to be told. And to those saying it’s our Black Panther — no, it’s not. To say that is to say each culture will have its own Black Panther — that one movie we can claim. We should all have multiple movies that we can celebrate. If white people can have a plethora of movies, why can’t the rest of us? Crazy Rich Asians is a step in the right direction, and with its success, I can only hope that Hollywood will wake the fuck up and stop whitewashing our roles and letting us be the ones who tell our own stories… which brings me to my outfit…
As usual, I came dressed in theme! Wearing my Asian AF white savior t-shirt was a no-brainer. It bares the names of white actors who have taken on roles of characters who are either of Asian descent or just a straight up white savior: Scarlett Johanson for Ghost in the Shell, Emma Stone for Aloha, Tilda Swinton for Doctor Strange, and Matt Damon in TheGreat Wall. I wanted my outfit to be somewhat decadent, so I paired it with my Kate Spade statement necklace, yellow floral skirt, and a Gucci bag that I inherited. It is by far the boughiest thing I own. So you bet your ass I stuffed a bag of Shrimp Chips and Hello Panda inside of it.
Unbeknowst to me, a Mandarin cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow” plays during a pivotal scene in the movie. It almost didn’t make the movie, but I read a letter that director Jon M. Chu penned to Coldplay to get permission to use the song. Now knowing the intention behind it and how the song’s lyrics helped Chu reclaim the word yellow moved me even more when I watched it the second and third time. Wearing my yellow skirt was like a happy accident 🙂
::OUTFIT DETAILS:: t-shirt: Asian AF | necklace: Kate Spade skirt: ModCloth (buy here) | shoes: Report | belt: Old Navy Purse: Gucci
I feel like I could go on, and on, and on, and on about Crazy Rich Asians and how representation matters, and how awesome it is the see Asian men as hot love interests because they always get the short end of the stick, or the sweet justice I felt when I found out Crazy Rich Asians beat a Mark Walhberg movie senseless at the box office during opening weekend, buuuut I think I’ve written enough… for now 🙂 Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians yet? Were you just as emotional as I was when you watched it? How many times have YOU seen it?! Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Bodhi Rook is one of my faves in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so it was pretty upsetting to see how he got (and still does get) the short end of the stick when it comes to being represented in Star Wars merch. ‘Cause if you know me, I’m the perfect consumer; I want to buy all the things that feature my favorite characters! Plus, knowing that the ensemble cast was comprised of so many POC actors was so important to many Star Wars fans, myself included. And the fact that they cast Riz Ahmed, a Muslim actor, in a heroic role rather than a stereotypical terrorist one is of utmost importance. POC of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds want to see themselves represented in the types of stories we love (in roles that aren’t one dimensional and stereotyped) because it makes us feel like we matter. And when it’s something as epic as Star Wars, we want the merch too!
It’s been a couple years since Rogue One came out, but even now his absence on merch featuring the core team is absolutely noticeable. Even when Disneyland had their Season of the Force event going on in Tomorrowland a few years ago, every character from Rogue One could be found in banners and displays except for Bodhi. He played an integral role in Rogue One — he’s the one that delivered Galen Erso’s message about how to destroy the Death Star and came up with the Rogue One call sign a.k.a. the movie’s damn title for eff’s sake!
So one day last year, I tweeted about it:
After that one tweet, Alice, who I became friends with through Instagram, retweeted it and CC’d s her sister Cat. And Gladys, who I’ve been internet friends with for years, also chimed in on her disdain for the lack of Bodhi. I remember Syl, another longtime internet homie, chimed in too, but I can’t find her tweet!
From there, the Bodhi Brigade was born! Its members include myself, Syl, Gladys, Alice, Cat, Laura, and Amber. Originally, we had a few other members but they have since left (we still have much love for them though!). We didn’t officially christen ourselves with the Bodhi Brigade name until months of back and forth tagging each other in every single Bodhi/Riz Ahmed related thing we came across (shout out to OG member Gwen for coming up with the name); we eventually made a private chat on Twitter to make it easier to share all the Bodhi/Riz news 🙂
Sometime before the private chat was made, I proposed that we start a Bodhi related gang complete with denim jackets/vests, because I sooo badly wanted to be in a cool girl gang with the apparel to show it off, and we practically were one, so why not?! Luckily, everyone was on board with the idea! Alice and Cat (I think) found the perfect vests that were reminiscent of Bodhi’s jumpsuit at Target, and I searched Etsy for a place to make a custom patch (WrightCreationsPA made our gang name banner, half Rebel/Empire, and Bodhi backpack patches!).
A majority of us were going to be at SDCC so we decided to meet up and debut our awesome Bodhi swag! Laura came through and made a life-size Bodhi cutout so we could take pics with “Riz.”
The Bodhi Brigade is still going strong! Our love for Bodhi Rook/Riz Ahmed brought us together, but our love for Star Wars, passion for representation of POC in the shows and movies we love, porgs, and Rose Tico are a few other things that’s brought us so much closer. And through sickness and personal triumphs, we’re all constant cheerleaders in each others lives and I couldn’t be happier to call these women my friends and sisters ❤