One word that seems to never leave the side of K-Beauty is “trend.”
Because, let’s face it: like the many beauty routines and products that have come before it, Western beauty reporting tends to view Korean beauty as nothing more than a short-term blip, rather than a cultural movement based on generations of skincare and cosmetic rituals. But a certain Korean dark comedy thriller that’s swept the nation may seem to be (finally) challenging the dialogue.
ICYMI: Parasite was the film on everyone’s lips during the 2020 Academy Awards. Not only did the Korean film deservedly win a grand total of four awards during the night, but Bong Joon Ho’s epic film made cinematic history by being the first non-English film ever to win Best Picture.
“Writing a script is always such a lonely process; we never write to represent our countries,” said Bong via his translator Sharon Choi. “But this is [the] very first Oscar to South Korea,” adding a plea to moviegoers to overcome stigmas that come from reading subtitles.
So, how do multiple Oscar wins relate to beauty in any way? Well, it doesn’t, but the gleam on their eyes and their skin hints to something much bigger. What it really relates to is the bigger picture that shows minority cultures should be treated as more than just a “trend.” Parasite‘s recognition and popularity was a huge win not just for Ho, or just South Korea: it proved that minorities as a whole, regardless if we’re talking skincare or cinematography, can permanently resonate within Western culture for the better.
Standing alongside him for the award was actress Cho Yeo-Jeong, Park So-dam, Lee Sun Gyun, Choi Woo-Shik, and Song Kang-ho, who all glowed onstage. While the cast descended to the stage to give the final moving speech of the night, their faces literally lit up the room. Full of bouncy, dewy, beautiful skin, they proved the power of a 10-step Korean beauty regimen. So, what was the secret beauty product the Parasite cast used to have that prominent radiance that only grew stronger with each win? While most of the cast’s glam team has stayed mum on their beauty secrets (if only someone would spill on Bong’s skincare routine), we can only assume their beauty routine pays homage to their native country with Korean classics:
Yes, double cleansing is important, but toners are the final cleansing defense in K-Beauty skincare routines. But, not all toners are created equal: it’s important to go for one that detoxifies and hydrates that the same time, like the Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner, a fan-favorite.
Essence not only gives pores a soothing, hydrated “ahh” feeling, but they also add an extra boost of hydrating that your just-cleansed skin is begging for. Due to the dewiness of their skin, we’re guessing the Parasite team used the moisturizing power of the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.
Light, gel-like moisturizer:
But seriously, how did the whole cast get the same luminous glow without looking greasy on stage — especially when accepting the biggest award in film while making history? The answer: (probably) a water-based gel moisturizer. Tony Moly Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream was definitely (maybe) on their faces for a oump glow without the greasy residue.
TLC for the under eyes:
No matter how many sleepless nights the cast must have had while filming one of the world’s most jarring movies, they looked pretty rested and ready to take on the night. So, even if Bong celebrated by rightfully partying all night, his under eyes were most likely prepped and ready with a K-Beauty staple: the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Intensive Eye Cream, a top-rated eye product that can easily tackle dark circles and hyperpigmentation via the powers of licorice water and licorice extract.
Pore-perfecting BB cream:
There are two major anchors to K-Beauty: sun protection, and flawless complexions. So, why not fuse the two together? We can only believe that the Parasite cast reached for the ever-popular Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ to give their faces the perfect glow they had all night while protecting their pores from the harsh LA sun.
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I’ll never forget my Korean-American cousin Lisa’s heartbreak growing up when she felt the world refused to acknowledge her and her mother tongue.
She specifically recalls a story about translating for her mother at a doctor’s office with an obstinate and rather impatient doctor becoming more and more irate at my aunt’s lack of English proficiency.
“Is she slow or is it just that she doesn’t know what I’m saying?”
Such is the quintessential story of many children of American immigrant families who feel a sense of shame or “otherness” in their own country. It’s the onus of translating for your family when your translation skills aren’t even adequate. It’s dodging stares while speaking in your mother tongue in predominantly white spaces. It’s creating your own sense of belonging and community, one that isn’t completely American or ethnic.
As Asian Americans, we’ve had to suppress our voices in fear that they’d be too loud. We’ve had to acclimate to the idea that we hide in the shadows so that we don’t stand out from a crowd. Our people cower over as if acknowledging that yes, we are the perpetual foreigners that Americans perceive us as being.
This is amplified with the fact that we’re rarely celebrated on silverscreens, to the Great White Way. Our music is muffled on radio stations even if BTS is the biggest band in the world. Our languages, beautifully tangled with cadences and breathy consonants have never been perceived as more than a mix of dissonant sounds. And as such, we’ve been taught to keep our pride for our cultures to ourselves as if somehow it’s safer that way.
All of that changed Sunday night when our mother tongue was spoken at Hollywood’s biggest night. It was Bong Joon Ho’s iconoclastic black comedy film, “Parasite,” that went on to make history, winning not only one, but four Oscars on Sunday.
“This is the very first Oscar to South Korea,” Bong said via his translator, Sharon Choi. He’d go on to not only win best film in a foreign language, but best director, original screenplay, and the biggest award of the night, best picture.
The moment sent chills up my own spine, as I realized this wasn’t just a win for South Korea, it was also one for immigrant family everywhere. It was symbolic of change, but more so, how impossible of a feat it is to be recognized if you come from someplace else. The reality is, for Bong and many immigrants, to be honored, you can’t only be good, you have to be better than good. You have to be near-perfect to stand on stages and win accolades. With “Parasite,” Bong not only shattered glass ceilings, tore down walls that kept foreign voices out, but forced others to listen to those who they may have once pretended not to understand.
Not only did it reaffirm our existence, but finally celebrated what we already knew about ourselves. Immigrants are magic.
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BTS is the world’s biggest music act since the Beatles.
They’ve sold millions of albums, have billions of music video views (“Boy With Luv” was the most viewed YouTube video in 24-hours), and have won over 200 music awards, including from the Billboard and American Music Awards.
But unlike the British imports, South Korea’s BTS is ushering another worldwide phenomena: triggering white supremacy en masse. With all of the visibility and fame, the 7-member Korean pop band has inspired xenophobia, homophobia, racism, and misogyny.
This week, hosts for Dzien Dobry TVN, a Polish morning television show produced an entire segment proving why members of BTS shouldn’t have topped TC Candler’s “100 Most Handsome Faces” list for 2019 (the band’s youngest member, Jeon Jungkook, came in at #1).
“He’s not very masculine,” one of the hosts remarked. “More like a little boy than a man.” The segment went on to interview people on the streets of Poland to support their thesis of anti-Asian sentiments with some questioning the sex of the members. Prompted on social media on why such a segment was produced, its host, Anna Kalczyńska-Maciejowska said this: “Jungkook wears lipstick, wears huge earrings and is experimenting with the look that I don’t find masculine.”
Though inexcusable, such hatred is predictable. Minimizing Asian male importance stems from a long history of white supremacy, promoting the idea that a certain person is more important than another. It’s also this long-held belief that only one form of masculinity can exist.
Koreans then, with their dewy complexions, their juicy red lips, their smokey eyes, and piercings, challenge Western ideals of men altogether. For them, power comes in the form of a white man who is gruff, rough, hyper-masculine. For a more fluid form of masculinity to exist has confounded some, enraged others. Coming to terms with Asian male sexuality threatens white male power, a concept that white people rarely have to experience. This place of discomfort – feeling eclipsed of power – instills fear.
After all, white people from around the world have long attempted to minimize Asian male sexuality in all forms. One only needs to look at American history and “Yellow Peril” to witness its devastating decades-long effect for Asian men. The entire movement was a deliberate campaign of Asian male erasure, one that was created to completely castrate Asian men of sexuality and desire. Sparked by white men’s fear that they were losing their white women to “foreign” powers, Yellow Peril was successful at minimizing Asian male existence. To this day, Asian Americans still feel the effects of emasculation, leading to psychological impacts that include thoughts of suicide, low self-esteem or self-worth. A recent study found Asian men to be the “least desirable” demographic in America by both straight and gay communities, in what’s now known as “sexual discrimination.”
There are parallels to BTS and 1910’s with Hollywood heartthrob, Sessue Hayakawa, who was the era’s biggest leading actor. A Japanese-born actor during the era of silent films, Hayakawa became a sensation after his role in 1915’s The Cheat. The role made him into a sex symbol and romantic idol, with a majority of American women perceiving him as the pinnacle of male desirability. All this changed after anti-Japanese sentiment that came along with Yellow Peril. The campaign no longer promoted Asian males as human, rather, villainized, emasculated, and otherized.
It’s taken a decade for Asian males to reclaim their power and BTS and Kpop is leading that charge. But we need to collectively remember the deliberate anti-Asian campaigns of the 1900’s and be aware of how this has a real effect to Asian men’s lives. Poking fun at Asian males or dismissing their sexuality isn’t innocent, rather, nefarious and dangerous. It’s had lasting trauma for millions of Asian men around the world. Dismissing BTS’s beauty as being effeminate, calling them “boys,” or criticizing their style isn’t subjective criticism – it’s hateful and stems from white supremacy.
Let us not fall into white fragility and allow it to fester into something evil again. While BTS and their music might not be for everyone, we must be hyper-aware of racism, xenophobia, and fight hard so another mass anti-Asian campaign never exists again.
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As SNL comes back for its continued 45th season Saturday– with Adam Driver and Halsey as guests – we can’t help but look forward to what Bowen has for us next. After all, he’s making history. The 29-year old happens to be only the third openly gay cast member ever on the show, joining current cast member Kate Mckinnon. He also has the distinction of being the first Chinese American cast member in the show’s more than 40 years. But neither of those points make him the most important new cast member.
Bowen arrives at SNL at a time when the aging show, with a long and problematic history of not fully getting the joke when it comes to the LGBTQ community, desperately needs new faces and voices to bring it into the 21st century. Under the incredibly uninspired leadership of current co-head writers, Colin Jost and Michael Che, the last few years have seen the show involved in one controversy after the next when it comes to lame jokes targeting members of the queer community, the latest, as of the publishing of this piece, being a regressive swipe at Caitlyn Jenner (yawn). I’m not going to go on and on about how unfunny the current head writers of this show are when it comes to queer jokes. This isn’t a Michael Che hit piece(this is). But it is important to understand the environment in which Bowen currently operates to fully appreciate his importance.
What’s actually funny about being queer in a heteronormative world is usually hard to see for straight comedians.
Before joining the show as a cast member, he helped write two standout sketches that each caught the attention of the internet. The first, GP Yass, ponders a world in which your regular shmegular GPS’s voice could be dragified. The second, The Actress, takes us behind the scenes on the set of a gay porn film to hilarious effect. Both of these sketches perfectly exemplify what I have coined as “queer authentic comedy.” Queer authentic comedy isn’t just comedy written by gay people (although both of those examples were) it’s comedy that captures some sense of reality within the queer experience. The queerness involved in these sketches isn’t presented as the punchline, the situations in which they occur is.
This newer take on queer comedy stands in stark contrast to some of SNL’s most famous (or infamous, in 2019 anyways) LGBT coded characters. These include Stefon, Mango and Pat; two effeminate gay men and a gender non-conforming person, respectively the likes of which aren’t often seen in nature (and yes, I’m aware that the joke of the Mango character is that he’s not gay but…come on now). These characters, all written and performed by straight, cis people, are excellent examples of how easy it is to get queer comedy wrong when you’re not very knowledgeable about the queer experience to begin with.
Ever wonder why most standup comedians just get up on stage and start talking about their lives? Their childhoods and the people they know? It’s because when someone tries to joke about something they don’t know anything about, the result is usually awkward and unfunny. What’s actually funny about being queer in a heteronormative world is usually hard to see for straight comedians, so much of their queer content is based on the things that anyone can see; bright clothes, weird voices and strange behavior. And while I’m sure many, gay and straight, found at least one, if not all, of these characters hilarious, what can’t be denied is that, unlike Bowen’s work, the mere existence of these queer characters was setup asthe punchline. The audience wasn’t laughing with these queer characters, they were laughing at them. There’s a huge, harmful difference.
Another sketch that perfectly showcases both queer authentic comedy and Bowen, is the Sara Lee sketch, starring Harry Styles. In the sketch (penned by frequent collaborator, Julio Torres), Bowen plays a gay Sara Lee exec who dresses down Harry’s popper sniffing, Nick Jonas lusting, intern whose been using the company instagram account to send Sean Mendes pics of his open throat. The 4-minute sketch is chock full of quotes that no straight person would know like: “Destroy me King” and “Must get rid of toxic in community.” The sketch also went viral and was very warmly received by everyone, including actual Sara Lee executives. But the highlight of it for me was Bowen’s amazing delivery of the line “We think it would be healthy if Sara Lee stopped having threesomes.” I dare you to come up with a funnier line reading from the past 45 years of this show. Spoiler alert: You can’t!
Bowen’s natural charisma and razor sharp writing has already begun to turn heads in the industry. He was recently announced to be featured on Akwafina’s upcoming Comedy Central sitcom, Awkwafina Is from Nora Queens. But it’s his highly visible role on the iconic sketch show that I believe will have the greatest impact. His mere presence on the SNL stage is already helping to inspire a new crop of queer people of color to raise their voices. People of color who, much like Bowen himself, don’t currently see much of themselves reflected across the entertainment landscape and certainly not on institutions as legendary as Saturday Night Live.
No sane person would ever aspire to be a symbol of change for an entire community, and I’m sure Bowen hasn’t either but he’s in the right place at the perfect time to let the world know that America is changing, whether this administration likes it or not. Asian Americans and other people of color are on tv and can be anything they want: edgy, hilarious, outspoken and sometimes – beautifully, visibly, obviously queer.
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There’s Generation Z – then there’s Generation Zen.
Mitchell Hoog seems to be the latter. One of Hollywood’s newest “It Boys,” with a new movie out today called “Harriet,” alongside Janelle Monae and Cynthia Erivo, busy wrapping up three other films and a television show, the 20-year old is being mindful of how technology can disrupt life.
While most others in his generation are obsessively posting on the ‘gram, producing TikTok videos, or thirsting for attention, Mitchell’s mostly off of his phone.
“I have a cap on Instagram – it’s 20-minutes a day,” he tells Very Good Light over the phone. “I’m human yes, and sometimes I’m on there more, but I’m very conscious not to go straight to social media.”
But Mitchell refuses to allow technology to dictate his life. Though he has an Instagram and is on social media, he’s mindful of how it shouldn’t play a majority of his daily life. And it’s this self-awareness that he says has allowed him to find success in Hollywood and navigate his career without compromising who he is – someone who’s sensitive and thoughtful.
A competitive snowboarder from Fort Collins, CO, he was thrust at the mercy of the mountains as a child, where he’d practice on an around-the-clock schedule. At 13-years old, Mitchell was already gaining sponsorships and contracts, something that he says made him “mature really fast.” Through the chaos of competitive sports was his ability to quiet his mind, something he’d practiced since he was a child. His dad was a motivational speaker and his mother was spiritual, which allowed him to take part in their lessons. “I read a lot about Buddhism, Taoism from my mom and business books from my dad,” he says. “I was never into video games.”
As the youngest child, he recalls being imaginative and creating his own worlds, expressing himself through acting. His old brother and sister were both in theatre, and when he decided to take a stab at acting, he realized he had an innate ability to emote. It led him to Los Angeles where he was signed and began his Hollywood career. His first big role was as JC Snyder in Netflix’s “Walk. Ride. Rodeo,” a story about a teen who’s determined to get back into competitive rodeo after a spinal cord injury. Next was a Lifetime movie called “The Wrong Stepmother,” where he played a character named Patrick.
Finally came his biggest role yet in Harriet, a biographical film about slave-turned-freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. In it, he plays Vince Brodess, the son of a plantation owner who decides to sell Araminta Ross (Harriet’s given name at birth). It’s this that becomes the catalyst of Harriet’s decision to flee and run for her life.
The movie, Mitchell says, was transformative. “Working with Cynthia (Harriet) was so inspiring,” he says. “Being around people who are consumed by art or an idea and talking to them made me work two times harder. Cynthia is so accomplished at such a young age and I was eager to learn about her work ethic.”
Funny coming from Mitchell, who himself, isn’t even 21. Though not even legal to drink, Mitchell seems wiser than his mere two decades of life. For one, he’s very aware of his own power and encourages others to also discover theirs. “I think we’ve forgotten how to be bored,” he says. “We need to give time to sit down and let your mind explore and go to different places. To question things. That’s how we find empowerment.”
(Photo by Brandon Jameson)
He also mediates – a lot. “Meditation is a constant, almost a job, and you have to work on it,” he says. “Sig down, have your legs crossed and close your eyes. It doesn’t have to be at home, either. You can practice active meditation through security in an airport to anywhere you’re at. Just concentrate.” Social media, he says, has “interrupted the thought process and focus.” He says he wants to simplify his life and his day. And so he’ll paint or read. He’ll text to friend to have face time – real face time, not on your iPhone – and invite them over. He’ll deconstruct the day and dissect how it went.
“Life for me is about being present, practicing vulnerability and empathy,” he goes on to say. “It’s very hard to be vulnerable and I’m trying my best myself, but I hope I can continue being present.”
Watch Harriet, which premieres today, in U.S. theaters.
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With premium television at its peak and new box-office offerings every week, streaming, watching and bingeing can get overwhelming.
Fortunately for you, Very Good Light has pulled together all of the must-see movies and TV shows for the fall starring our favorite guys. From Ben Platt to Yahya Abdul-Mateen, we’ve got you covered. Take out your blankets, get your sheet masks out, and get ready, set, watch!
Timothee Chalamet, 23
Where you’ll see him this fall:Opposite Robert Pattinson inNetflix’s The King (October 11) and in Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Little Women adaptation, out Christmas Day (December 25)
Where you’ve seen him before: Call Me By Your Name (Oscar, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee), Lady Bird (SAG Award nominee), Beautiful Boy (Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee). Oh, also making out with girlfriend Lily-Rose Depp.
Next big thing: The lead role in a 2020 remake of the 1984 sci fi classic Dune and part of the star-studded ensemble in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch.
Bet you didn’t know: He’s fluent in French and learned Italian for Call Me By Your Name.
Where you’ll see him this fall: Waves (November 1) and Shia LeBeouf’s autobiographical Honey Boy (November 8)
Where you’ve seen him before: Plenty of prestige pictures:Oscar-nominated performance in Manchester by the Sea, Golden Globe-nominated performance in Boy Erased, Ben is Back with screen mom Julia Roberts, Oscar-winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Oscar-nominated Lady Bird
Next big thing: Steven Soderbergh’s latest, Let Them All Talk with Meryl Streep and French Exit co-starring Michelle Pfeiffer, both due next year
Bet you didn’t know: His screenwriter-director father Peter Hedges directed him in Ben Is Back, which he also wrote.
Where you’ll see him this fall: Animated spy comedy Spies in Disguise (December 25) alongside Will Smith
Where you’ve seen him before: As web-slinging Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, lots of Marvel crossover movies, The Lost City of Z, The Impossible
Next big thing: More Spider-Man sequels and The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle with Robert Downey Jr. (2020),
Bet you didn’t know: His father Dominic Holland is a well-known stand-up comedian in their native England.
Henry Golding, 32
Where you’ll see him this fall: As elfin Emilia Clarke’s love interest in holiday rom-com Last Christmas (November 8)
Where you’ve seen him before: He made his movie debut in the history-making Crazy Rich Asians and was also in A Simple Favor with onscreen wife Blake Lively
Next big thing: Guy Ritchie’s latest, The Gentleman (2020), opposite Matthew McConaughey and as the title character in G.I. Joe franchise spinoff Snake Eyes (2020)
Bet you didn’t know: There’s a cool story behind his Jewish-sounding surname: “My grandfather during the war was in London and as the story goes, he was possibly adopted by a Jewish family by that name,” he explained in a 2018 interview.
Where you’ll see him this fall: The CW’s new Nancy Drew series, premiering October 9, plus a film: The Kill Team (October 25) co-starring Alexander Skarsgård
Where you’ve seen him before: If you’re a theater buff, his stage résumé is long and impressive, including a run with the Royal Shakespeare Company; Florence Foster Jenkins with Meryl Streep; TV’s Shetland
Next big thing:Nancy Drew is his American television debut.
Bet you didn’t know: To research his character’s criminal past, Kasim worked with a group of reformed prisoners in LA.
Where you’ll see him this fall: HBO’s comic book adaptation Watchmen (premieres October 20), opposite Oscar winner Regina King
Where you’ve seen him before: In huge pop culture projects across TV and film, including Netflix’s Black Mirror, DC’s Aquaman, Jordan Peele’s Us and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale
Next big thing: He’ll play the title horror icon in 2020’s Candyman reboot.
Bet you didn’t know: The UC Berkeley alum is an architect by trade and worked as a city planner before attending the famous Yale School of Drama.
Ben Platt, 26
Where you’ll see him this fall: Netflix comedy The Politician (premiered September 27) with co-star Gwyneth Paltrow
Where you’ve seen him before: He originated the lead role in Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen, winning a Tony for his work in 2017. He’s also been in Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, plus TV’s Will & Grace.
Next big thing: Currently filming Richard Linklater’s Broadway-inspired film Merrily We Roll Along with Beanie Feldstein.
Bet you didn’t know: Last year, he teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda for Found/Tonight, a Hamilton/Dear Evan Hansen mash-up song.
(Photo by Jessica Chou/ Very Good Light. Ritesh is wearing: HUF; Shoes by Vans; Socks, Stylist Own)
When Ritesh Rajan landed the role of Farran on Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” he didn’t know just how big it’d become.
That is, until he started getting texts from his friends at all times on one morning. “Oh shit, did someone die?” Ritesh recalls. It was an article from Buzzfeedwith the headline: “Farran From ‘Russian Doll’ Is So Hot It Threw Me For A Loop.” The article essentially explains how Ritesh is a walking “thirst trap,” one whose aesthetics are so, well, handsome, it’s pleasantly distracting.
While the article does state the obvious – Ritesh is unquestionably attractive – it was important because it gave a glimpse into our shifting Western gaze. It’s one that’s painted our collective lens into perhaps viewing America as a country whose people were white-only, reflected by the television shows and movies made. For every Kit Harrington and Zac Efron, are Asian men who’ve long become the butt of the joke. But whether he knows it or not, Ritesh is changing all of that. He’s redefining what a leading man can – and should – look like.
“I feel we’re finally starting to leave that mentality that if you find an Asian man attractive you might have a ‘thing’ for Asian men,” Ritesh says to Very Good Light. “It’s not about that any more. We have the ability to play characters across the board that’s not defined by stereotypes. We’re not ashamed to show where we come from.”
A child of Indian immigrant parents who are both doctors, Ritesh grew up in upstate New York, about an hour away from the city, and always knew he wanted to act. It was in middle school that he began booking roles onstage and landing lead roles. “I was like, I guess i’m good at this!” he recalls.
It was after eventually going to NYU for acting that his parents knew he was serious. “They were really nervous at first because they want what’s best for their kids,” he says. “But they were fully supportive from the beginning.” What’s best about his parents, he says, is their radical candor. “They’ll tell me if I suck if I really do,” Ritesh says with a laugh. “It’s very Asian of them. But if I’m going to go for something, they expect 200%.”
Eventually, Ritesh moved to Los Angeles where he immediately booked an ad for Pepsi India. From there, it was the last season of “Law and Order,” which led him to star in “All My Children.” At the time, he recalls being one of a handful of working Indian actors. Though stark, it was much more progressive than his childhood where the only brown faces he saw onscreen was Kal Penn or Aladdin. But he didn’t know what was possibly until HBO’s “The Night Of” premiered. The show centers around South Asian American character who’s accused of murder. It’s a thrilling “whodunnit” type of show, but what truly makes it vibrant is the complexities of the main character’s Asian American dual identities. “I was like, whoa, this is what it means to seen and feel something,” he says. “To see an experience of a brown kid in a post-9/11 word who’s racially misunderstood was new to me. It was so empowering. It was this visceral reaction.”
(Photo by Jessica Chou/ Very Good Light. Ritesh is wearing: Jacket by Levi’s; Shirt by H&M; Pants by H&M; Shoes by Converse courtesy of Urban Outfitters.)
It allowed Ritesh to realize how powerful he was as a vessel for change. “For so long we’ve been watching white stories,” he says. “It’s time for them to see ours. Ours is beautiful as it’s rooted in American culture but also another culture as well. There’s so much depth.”
It’s what makes him feel unabashedly Asian. “No matter how hard you try to run from the old, your parent’s country or their culture, you’ll never get any from that,” he says. “To be able to merge two worlds? That’s powerful.”