One-on-One with Shadowhunters’ Harry Shum Jr.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. here at the NOC. Ever since Mike Chang graduated from McKinley High, he has built quite the career — even though we might be sad that he wasn’t cast as Iron Fist. From starring in Netflix’s Crouching Tiger sequel to headlining YouTube Red’s Single by 30, Shum has gone on to become one of the busiest young Asian American actors in Hollywood. His highest profile role yet has been as Magnus Bane on Shadowhunters, the hit adaptation of The Mortal Instruments book series. The show’s second season winter finale airs tonight at 8pm on FreeForm.

Recently, I had the chance to chat with Harry and talk about what it’s like to represent so many communities — Asian American, LGBTQ, Warlock —  on genre television.

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One-on-One with “Oscars Tourist” Yulree Chun

When Yulree Chun stepped off Starline’s tour bus on Sunday, she didn’t expect herself to be in the center of attention at Hollywood’s biggest night — The Oscars. She and her husband, Patrick Tio, who recently returned from their honeymoon, were just planning on enjoying a nice day walking around Hollywood before they were asked by Starline “employees” to try out their new tour for free.

Chun and the other unexpecting tourists were told they would be viewing a special Oscars fashion exhibit but found themselves in front of the Dolby Theater among Hollywood’s elite.

While Chun and Tio were mingling with the celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Ryan Gosling, host Jimmy Kimmel called on Chun and asked for her name. Chun told him, “My name’s Yulree. Rhymes with jewelry.” This followed an exchange that would cause a bit of controversy on Twitter. Chun remained cool as she was too starstruck to think anything of it.

We got to chat with Yulree Chun about the event and how she’s now happy that everyone is able to pronounce her name correctly.

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John Jennings & Damian Duffy’s Kindred is now a #1 New York Times Bestseller

Last week, Abrams Books finally released the highly anticipated graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. Created by our friends John Jennings and Damian Duffy — collectively known as J2D2, the book has already shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover graphic novels! To celebrate this momentous occasion, revisit my conversation with them recorded last summer during San Diego Comic-Con. The conversation is also available via podcast from Soundcloud (embedded below). Please remember to subscribe to Hard NOC Life on YouTube or iTunes and leave us a rating and review so folks can find us there! And don’t forget to get your own copy of Kindred.

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Q&A with The OA’s Ian Alexander

by Jes Vu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

In a time where representation is such a hot topic in Hollywood, Netflix’s The OA does something few have done: cast an actual Asian transgender teenage boy as an Asian transgender teenage boy. Vietnamese-American teen Ian Alexander is one of multiple Asian actors in The OA’s main cast alongside Filipino/Puerto Rican-American Brandon Perea and British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (in a recurring role). Continuing the spotlight from his response to a viral anti-trans photo, Ian makes his on-screen acting debut as Buck Vu in the newly-released show having been cast from an online open casting call in 2015.

Growing up in places including Japan, Hawai’i, and D.C. have helped shape Ian. The fifteen-year-old high school junior has had more experiences than most teenagers his age, and his passion knows no bounds. He’s politically vocal, a huge admirer of actors and filmmakers like Jen Richards (Her Story) and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and relentless as a Marvel fanboy (he’s “Team Bucky” for those who are curious). Ian had time to sit down and talk about his upbringing and the show (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here).

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Thirsty for Representation: Osric Chau on TV and Diversity

Originally posted at CAAMedia

When it’s all said and done, 2016 may go down as the year Hollywood finally recognized Asian Americans. At least that’s what actor Osric Chau hopes. The Canadian-born actor — best known to fans as Kevin Tran on The CW’s Supernatural and now as one of the stars of BBC America’s newest hit, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency — recently returned from Lisbon, Portugal where he was speaking on diversity in media as a part of Web Summit, one of the largest tech-focused conferences in the world.

In an environment dominated by innovation and technology, Chau realized society at large had to take on similar thinking. “We’re surrounded by thousands of companies that are really pushing our society forward and we have to do the same thing with tolerance,” Chau said. “It’s not just about ‘tolerating’ one another anymore; it’s about accepting people, making diversity a normal thing.”

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Modern Filipino Children’s Stories Gets a Kickstart

The Philippines has 181 languages yet most children’s stories in the Philippines are written in only 2 languages, Tagalog and English. Sari-Sari Storybooks has Kickstarted a project to bring those under-represented Philippine language groups life through children’s stories. We interview Christina Newhard about the project.

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Critical Geekery: Talking Representation in Pop Culture with the Nerds of Color

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Now three years old, pop-culture criticism blog The Nerds of Color is going strong, with a range of contributors writing thought-provoking posts, speaking at major events like San Diego Comic Con, and turning the blog into a successful locus for Twitter activism aimed at increasing representation in pop culture.

Founder and editor-in-chief Keith Chow and writers Valerie ComplexShawn Taylor, and Alice Wong talked to us about their favorite shows, shifts in the media landscape, and how we can all support inclusive entertainment.


When was the first time you saw yourself in popular culture (if at all)?

Keith: One of my favorite comics growing up was G.I. Joe. As much as I loved the cartoon and toys, I loved the comics more. My favorite characters were Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, rival ninjas who were former friends. I didn’t know it at the time, but I subconsciously gravitated to those…

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Hard NOC Live from SDCC 2016: John Jennings & Damian Duffy

This January, Abrams Books will be publishing a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. At San Diego Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to talk with the creators behind the graphic novel, John Jennings and Damian Duffy — collectively known as J2D2, as they were signing galley copies of the book!

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