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July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

Editor in Chief: Audrey Magazine

In 2002, I had the privilege of launching the nation’s premier glossy Asian American women’s lifestyle magazine. Under my stewardship over eight years, the magazine grew in leaps and bounds, earning coverage in top media outlets such as The New York Times, Folio and Women’s Wear Daily. In addition to my day-to-day managing and editing duties, I served as the magazine’s spokeswoman, giving interviews on National Public Radio, in The New York Times and in The Chicago Tribune, among others. This blog represents just a small sample of my most recent editing and writing work.

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

Departments: Entertaining

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Though I enjoyed working on all of my departments, my favorite was the entertaining section. Food and drink, hosting parties, gift-giving — what’s not to love? This is from the newly revamped summer issue and covered mixology nights at a Century City bistro, Soolip Paperie owner Wanda Wen’s new book on some of the most beautiful gift-wrapping techniques I have ever seen, al fresco dining in its purest form, and an artistic duo determined to turn parties into something extraordinary.

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

The Charm Offensive

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One of my goals as editor in chief of Audrey Magazine was not only to report what was happening in the Asian American community, but also to highlight young Asian Americans. Enter Jamie Chung. This twentysomething was making a splash on ABC Family’s mini series Samurai Girl. It’s no surprise that this charismatic and charming former MTV Real World star went on to featured roles in the movie version of the popular video game Dragonball as well as other shows on television.

This editorial was shot by the very talented Natasha Lee, who has since moved to New York City, as all talented artists tend to do. I hired Natasha after she sent me her hot pink, velvet portfolio. This was clearly a visual artist, I thought, and it shows in her remarkably sophisticated photos. Natasha and I spent a few weeks searching for the right photo studio in which to shoot this cover editorial, which was made that much more difficult with a modest photo budget that barely covered gas to get there. However, Natasha pulled through in the end with a medium-sized studio loft in downtown Los Angeles.

Jamie was just as perky after several outfit/hair/makeup changes as she was when she arrived at the shoot. Though Natasha and her crew didn’t really need it, I was there to oversee the photo shoot, as well as take care of the business side with the studio owner. I also had the writer Rhea Cortado attend the shoot for some color and to discuss the overall direction of the story.

The photo we finally settled on for the cover was pretty obvious. It just hit all the right notes.

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

Departments: Beauty Kit

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In addition to managing all aspects of Audrey Magazine, I also had the pleasure of producing several magazine departments, including the beauty section. I was never a beauty addict, but this post quickly made me one. Over the years, I developed a talent for spotting beauty trends before they happened (nail polish du jour, eyelash growth stimulators and more) and always chatted with makeup artists to learn their secrets. These two pages reflect the magazine’s new clean design, which I orchestrated.

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

From the Other Side of the World

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On May 2, 2008, a massive cyclone virtually decimated Burma. On the other side of the world, we were just days away from going to print, but I knew that this was an important story that had to go in the June/July issue. Together with the associate managing editor, I directed a package of stories told from those on the ground in Burma. We were fortunate to know a freelance writer near Burma who contributed a full report on the military regime’s deplorable response to its own people in the wake of the destruction. We also contacted a human rights activist who had traveled there to build schools and a World Vision employee who both contributed eyewitness accounts.

We also included a sidebar on how our readers could help, even from thousands of miles away.

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

Clearing Out the Noise

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Despite its calm-sounding title, this story was a bit hectic to produce. After several weeks of talking back and forth with Tia Carrere, of Wayne’s World fame, her publicist and even her husband, the day of the photo shoot finally came. I had just gotten a new Prius and cautiously drove it up the narrow and winding single-lane road that led to Tia’s Topanga Canyon home. This trip tested the Prius’ navigation system. It was nerve-wracking to say the least.

I managed to safely park my car, though a bit precariously on a small ledge that plunged down into the valley, and made my way into Tia’s beautifully modern and simple home. This was an oasis that immediately calmed me, even with the buzz of stylists, makeup artists and a gaggle of assistants.

The photo above right was taken after everyone else had gone home. Tia asked our staff photographer Charlize Lin to stay after and take a few more shots. This was taken in Tia’s shower. The water droplets and frosted glass made for a beautifully thoughtful photo that I just had to put in.

And the cover:

July 29, 2010 / suburbanxisle

Journey Man

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Though I helmed Audrey Magazine as its editor in chief, I occasionally flexed my storytelling muscles with a profile or two. When I received the invitation to attend the press junket for Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s last film together, The White Countess, I couldn’t have been more excited. Though James Ivory wasn’t able to attend with the recent death of his longtime film partner, the film’s screenwriter, Kazuo Ishiguro, was on hand for brief 15-minute interviews in his hotel room at the luxe Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Of course, I was already familiar with Ishiguro’s famous The Remains of the Day, which Merchant Ivory set to the big screen, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The famous author was an absolute gentleman, trying to make me and my photographer comfortable. He even gave us extra time for a more complete interview and some extra photos.