She speaks straight to our hearts in 2019’s The Farewell – not giving the audience a chance to pigeonhole her as a comic relief in movies. In the comedy-drama film, a story based on the director Lulu Wang’s life experiences, Awkwafina takes on the leading role as Billi, an aspiring Chinese American writer in her 30s. Billi has a close-knit relationship with her grandmother, although the latter lives miles away in China. Later in the story, her grandmother is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and predicted to have only a few months to live. Billi struggles in a constant debate with her family and also herself whether to disclose the results or hide the medical condition from her grandmother – a Chinese cultural belief in which they believe what kills is not cancer but the fear of dying.
Her emotionally poignant interaction with her Chinese grandmother throughout the film not only earned her the Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) award at the 2020 Golden Globes, but brought us to tears – at least for me! The film, which lays out the typical Chinese family belief of hiding from its matriarch the news of her impending death, also hit home for the Asian American actress as she was raised by her Chinese American father and grandmother after the passing of her South Korean immigrant mother. No wonder the star is such a natural at playing Billi.
Born Nora Lum, she is ‘just your average Asian trumpet player-turned-rapper-turned-actress – as she put it in her Saturday Night Live (SNL) opening monologue. Professionally known as Awkwafina, she explains that the stage name was inspired by her daily awkwardness. “I’m awkward, but it’s fine,” she told the South China Morning Post. The somewhat flamboyant moniker is an alter ego who oozes confidence and can’t care less – something the neurotic and passive Nora lacks. She explained to The Guardian that the duality between both personas is that Awkwafina is someone who never grew up. She’s one who never had to bear the brunt of all the insecurities and overthinking that come with adulthood. More than just a mouthful nickname, Awkwafina was a dream she was chasing and is still chasing after; even if that means she will come across endless setbacks. That aside, she jokingly shared on National Public Radio (NPR) that when people started calling her by the name, she couldn’t help but feel that it was a mistake, a memorable one nonetheless.
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YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME
“More than half of my time is spent with animals, but I enjoy it,” enthuses animal rescuer, Aileen Lee. The story of this selfless lady’s dedication and love for the fur kids she has saved will warm your heart.
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THE ONE WHO'S TAKING ACTION
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BORN TO ENTERTAIN
YOU MIGHT RECOGNISE HER AS THE GENTLE AND LOVING MOTHER IN LEE CHONG WEI, THE BIOPIC OF THE BADMINTON LEGEND, OR THE VULNERABLE YET RESILIENT TEACHER IN WET SEASON, WHICH HIT THE CINEMAS IN MARCH. SOME OF US MAY HAVE SEEN YEO YANN YANN ON THE BIG SCREEN PLAYING VARIOUS CHARACTERS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. STILL, SHE NEVER FAILS LEAVE HER AUDIENCE IN AWE OF HER ACTING PROWESS.
THE TRUTH BEHIND FAUX FUR
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A PAWSITIVE' Life
Like in many parts of the world, pet culture has seen exponential growth in Malaysia. In this issue, Lorraine Chai discusses pet therapy, a method of treatment that is gaining traction, and also some of the pet trends you don’t want to miss out on.
The Healing Power Of Unconditional Love
There’s a saying that goes, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” For one woman, these words resonated deeply. An unlikely companion came into her life at her lowest point and changed everything.
Even Pets Need Tummy Care?
For many, keeping a pet is more than just caring for an animal; pets are family members, too. We speak to veterinary surgeon, Dr Wafaa Abdul Washefffrom Pets Corner Sdn Bhd, to find out how your pets can stay healthy with a suitable diet
Beauty The Natural Way
With climate change rapidly threatening the future of Mother Earth, we urgently need to curb further acts of destruction. We speak to Law Hong Mei, founder of The Olive Tree, about building a beauty brand that is sustainable from the core.
Aukey EP-N5: Entry-level ANC that gets it (mostly) right
Good sound and decent active noise canceling for a wallet-friendly price.
A Big Sky Adventure
FROM THE MAGIC CITY OF THE PLAINS TO THE LITTLE BIGHORN AND THE “GRANDEST” TRADING POST OF THE FUR TRADE, A ROAD TRIP THROUGH EASTERN MONTANA OFFERS NO SHORTAGE OF FRONTIER FUN.
A heart for horses
Mississippi Horse Rescue offers a safe place for at-risk equines.
BILLIE EILISH, UNFILTERED, IN NEW DOCUMENTARY
If you’re coming to “ Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry ” hoping for a primer on the music sensation, you’ve come to the wrong place. Filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s two hour and 20-minute documentary about the “Ocean Eyes” singer and songwriter is not biography or reportage. It’s a verite-style plunge into her life, her home, her concerts, her process, her Tourette’s, her brother’s bedroom where they famously write all their songs and even her diary in the year in which she became a star.
Boys To Men
Twenty years after their Super Bowl win, the 2000 Ravens are still talking about what it all means.
Grammy Awards Shift To March Due To Pandemic Conditions
The 2021 Grammy Awards will no longer take place this month in Los Angeles and will broadcast in March due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
In Defense of Covid Billionaires
People love to hate billionaires. And they really love to hate large pharmaceutical companies.
POP CULTURE IN (UGH) 2020, FROM THE BIZARRE TO THE SUBLIME
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PARANOID ANGIE FEARS KIDS IN THE CROSSHAIRS
ANGELINA JOLIE lives in constant fear one of her six children will be kidnapped and held for ransom, according to her former bodyguard!
The WeWork Guy's Guide to Striking It Rich
Adam Neumann may be out of a job, but his wild rise is standard operating procedure in Silicon Valley.