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Sandra Oh, Ke Huy Quan, Eva Longoria Welcome AAPI Heritage Month to Gold House Gala


“I am not who you think of when you imagine a winner,” said Ke Huy Quan, holding a gold knotted trophy in his hands. “I don’t fit the mold.” Instead, the image Quan described — “six feet tall with big muscles, handsome, and a ladies’ man” — sounded more like the K-pop idol that introduced his category, NCT 127’s Johnny Suh.

Still, on Saturday night is the Oscar winner Everything Everywhere Everything at once star added another win to his growing list at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, where Asian-American and Pacific Islander collective Gold House hosted its Gold Gala.

More than 700 attendees came together to recognize Gold House’s 2023 A100 list, which is announced each AAPI Heritage Month to highlight the 100 Asian Pacific leaders who have had the most impact on American culture and society over the past year. This year’s honorees included Quan, Eva Longoria, Sandra Oh, Iman Vellani, Netflix’s Bela Bajaria, K-pop sensation NewJeans, transgender advocate Geena Rocero and Beef leads Ali Wong and Steven Yeun.

The attendees were encouraged to showcase their culture through their fashion for the night. For Raya and the Last DragonDaniel Dae Kim, this meant putting on a hanbok. “I had nothing, but I did have this authentic Seoul 1988 Olympic pin from when I was a kid,” said shortcomings Director Randall Park, pointing to a red rectangle on his lapel.

The theme of the evening, ‘Gold Bridge’, was reflected in the connections between generations, cultures and industries both on and off stage. On stage the four leading women of the upcoming vulgar comedy Joy Ride honored the four leading women of the acclaimed drama Joy Luck Club, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Meanwhile, Longoria exclaimed the myriad similarities between Asian and Latin American cultures when she accepted the Gold Ally Award (“What we probably have most in common is that most of us have parents who don’t understand what we actually do for a living”), and Broadway star Lea Salonga lost her cool when she met Korean-American singer Eric Nam.

Salonga wasn’t alone in feeling starstruck. “I haven’t actually met a lot of people because I filmed everything during the pandemic,” Mrs. Marvel told actor Vellani The Hollywood Reporter before entering the event. “This is the first time I’ve been in a really big venue with so many Asian people, and it’s literally every single person I’ve looked up to growing up in the same place, so it’s going to be a lot of crazy tonight.”

To add depth to enthusiastic meet-and-greets, Gold House CEO and co-founder Bing Chen launched a game of “give-get” that lasted all evening. Each person offered something to give to others and asked to get something in return, leading to singer and TikTok influencer Bella Poarch requesting snowboard lessons from Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim and West world co-creator Lisa Joy gets a partner to join the writers’ strike. (Several stars showed solidarity throughout the night with the WGA, which went on strike on May 2 after failing to reach a deal with the AMPAS.)

For more material takeaways, each attendee was offered memorial quarters with Native Hawaiian composer, dancer, chanter and hula teacher Edith Kanaka’ole, courtesy of the first Native Hawaiian to lead the White House initiative, Krystal Ka’ai. Gift bags also contain copies of the recently released book Amazing: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who inspire us allto which Olympic ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani spent two years writing.

“We want to be able to share our community and educate people about all the incredible achievements and contributions that AAPI communities have made over a long, long time,” said Alex Shibutani. According to Maia, “The more people learn how beautiful our communities as a whole are, that becomes very special.”

Rocero provided an opportunity to do so when she accepted her award for activism and journalism. “I want to leverage what it means to be so proud as an AAPI person, especially as a proud Filipino trans,” she said. “I want to live boldly, create things we don’t expect, and never apologize for who we are again.”

Longoria also became a source of such knowledge that night when she mentioned Ralph Lazo, a Mexican-American who was the only known non-spouse and non-Japanese American to voluntarily move to a World War II internment camp. “An ally is defined as someone who gives you moral support,” Longoria said. “I will be more than that. I will be your permanent colleague. I will be your collaborator. I’ll be your cheerleader.

In the same vein, “Ultimately, what I love about our community is the support we have for each other,” said The cleaning lady creator Monica Kwok. “And I think that’s unparalleled.”

Also unparalleled was Chen’s energy throughout the night as he navigated the crowd with the relentless banter and boisterous support often associated with close-knit families, cracking jokes that, in his words, “could get (him) in trouble for saying that . ”

“Asians are wild,” said comedian and Joy Ride actor Sherry Cola. “Don’t underestimate us, okay? We are wild.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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