Vogue shines a light on Yara Shahidi, Priyanka Chopra and maybe even the Khadra twins

Yara Shahidi was interviewed by Vogue. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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Vogue shines a light on Yara Shahidi, Priyanka Chopra and maybe even the Khadra twins

DUBAI: Vogue magazine is set to spotlight young talent in its August 2018 issue, with a feature on Iranian-American actress Yara Shahidi, possible photos of US-Palestinian DJs Simi and Haze Khadra and snaps of Bollywood-to-Hollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra.
The Khadra twins took to Instagram late last week to post a shot from their project with Vogue, which they captioned “(Behind the scenes) for @voguemagazine August issue.” The magazine has released scant information about the apparent collaboration, but it’s safe to say the final product will be interesting to say the least — the twins wore puffed up, oversized neon coats in the photo with each of their sharp hair-dos dyed to match the green and pink outfits.

Born in Saudi Arabia and partly raised in Dubai, Simi and Haze Khadra, known around the world by their moniker “SimiHaze,” are regularly seen with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez and the Hadid sisters.
The pair regularly play DJ sets at parties and festivals and have even played for eager crowds at this year’s Instagram-famous Coachella festival in the US.
Iranian-American actress Shahidi, of “Black-ish” fame, is also set to be featured in the hallowed pages of the magazine.
Shahidi, who hails from a highly accomplished family — one of her cousins is the rapper Nas, while another, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Iranian-American astronaut — talks about her astonishing achievements in the interview, which is available on Vogue’s website.
“She has discussed political activism with Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, is a brand ambassador for Chanel, and started a voting guide for young people called Eighteen x ‘18. She graduated last year from the Dwight School in New York, having received acceptance letters from every college she applied to, and will start at Harvard in the fall. She can tell you the year she becomes eligible to run for president off the top of her head,” an excerpt from the interview conducted by Vogue’s Carina Chocano reads.
The actress has, in the past, been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud black Iranian” — her father, Afshin Shahidi, moved from Iran to the US when he was eight-years-old, while her mother is a US-born actress.
“One of my greatest fears is living a self-centric life. I think this industry is bred to create that — especially if your physical body is your tool or your face is what makes you money,” the wise-beyond-her-years 18-year-old told the magazine.
She is as known for her political activism as her acting chops, and famously opposed the proposed US immigration ban that caused uproar last year, shairng a message on her social media accounts at the time saying: “If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers.”


‘Crazy Rich Asians’ hoopla elicits mixed feelings in Asia

Updated 21 August 2018
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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ hoopla elicits mixed feelings in Asia

  • The Warner Bros. film has grossed more than $35 million since its August. 15 world debut in Los Angeles
  • The film has drawn criticism for its inaccurate portrayal of Singapore’s ethnic diversity, with some calling it a misrepresentation of the country’s minority race

SINGAPORE: The craze for “Crazy Rich Asians” is hitting Asia, with a premiere in Singapore followed by openings in several neighboring countries later this week.
Much of the movie was set in this wealthy city-state. The red carpet premiere Tuesday night for the over-the-top romantic comedy was expected to draw an enthusiastic crowd after its box-office bonanza in the US
Directed by John M. Chu, the film was adapted from Singaporean author Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name. It follows Chinese-American Rachel Chu as she travels with her boyfriend Nick Young to Singapore to meet his family and discovers they are ultra-wealthy.
The movie is drawing a mixed reaction. Admirers of the film say that as the first majority Asian-cast film in over two decades to be released by a major Hollywood studio it upends Hollywood’s usual stereotypes of Asian characters. Critics say it misses a chance to showcase the city’s ethnic diversity.
The $30 million Warner Bros. film has grossed more than $35 million since its Aug. 15 world debut in Los Angeles and came out tops with its release in US theaters over the weekend.
That surpassed expectations, said Fiona Xie, who plays the starlet Kitty Pong as one of 12 Singapore-based members of its cast. It’s “liberating to just be part of a powerful positive movement,” she told The Associated Press.
“As an Asian actor, I think it’s great, and a step in the right direction,” Nat Ho, who plays a small role in the film, told The AP.
The film has drawn criticism for its inaccurate portrayal of Singapore’s ethnic diversity, with some calling it a misrepresentation of the country’s minority races. Even though a majority of its residents are Chinese, a quarter of its population are Malay, Indian, or Eurasians, with many migrant workers from surrounding countries like Bangladesh or the Philippines.
“There’s this whole notion of the movie being a triumph for representation, which is very problematic. The only Indians and Malays you see are servants,” said Nicholas Yong, a Singaporean journalist and author who saw the movie before its Singapore premiere.
Even though its glamorous depiction of Singapore could give its tourism a boost, it was not entirely welcomed.
“To us, ‘Crazy Rich’ should not just be about the opulence and luxury showcased in the film, but Singapore’s actual richness in terms of our diversity,” said Singapore Tourism Board’s spokesperson Lynette Pang.
While the country has enjoyed economic progress, the wealth gap in the city is widening, and the super rich with their extravagant lifestyle are a tiny, privileged minority.
Writing in the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong, which has more than its share of tycoons and elite wealthy families, commentator Alex Lo said he enjoyed the film with “guilty pleasure.”
“But amusement aside, it strikes me the whole purpose of the film exercise is to glamorize and legitimize the super-rich in Asia, many of whom are ethnic Chinese in real life,” he said.
“Should we, as the audience and hoi polloi, be tantalized and awed by the display of mega wealth, which has been described, by most accounts, as accurate. Or should we rather be repelled?”