The following is an auto-generated transcript of the Brazn Azn podcast Episode 1. It also includes affiliate links that do not affect the price you pay, but allows me to recoup some of our costs. Please excuse any mistakes or misspellings as we do not have the time nor bandwidth to edit.

Show Notes

In the inaugural episode of the Brazn Azn podcast, hosts Virginia Duan and Stella embark on a journey to explore the identity, representation, and the multifaceted experiences of being a brazen Asian. From the origins of the podcast’s name to confronting stereotypes and embracing the resistance in existence, this episode dives into personal anecdotes, the evolution of Asian American identity, and the power of existing as an act of defiance in a world that often tries to box in Asian women. Join Virginia and Stella as they navigate the complexities of representation, challenge the status quo, and celebrate the diversity of being Asian.

  • The Origin Story
  • The Evolution of ‘Brazen Asian’
  • Representation and Identity
  • Challenging Stereotypes and Embracing Resistance

Listen to Brazn Azn Ep 01

Episode Transcript

Virginia: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the Brazn Azn podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Virginia Duan, also known as Mandarin Mama. I’m the entertainment editor for Mochi Magazine, as well as the author of my debut novel, Illusive.

Stella: And I’m your other cohost Stella.

Virginia: All right. So folks, this is the inaugural episode, so we don’t really know what we’re doing, but it should be fun because we always have fantastic conversations and everyone else always wants to get in on them. And we say, maybe if you’re nice to us, actually, we don’t say that at all. No one ever asks.

So today for our inaugural episode, we’re going to talk about what is a brazen Asian? Why do we have a podcast about it and what, yeah, who gets to decide what is a brazen Asian?

Stella: So on that note Virginia, I was meaning to ask you, what is the story behind how and why you started Brazen Asian?

Virginia: okay. So it has nothing to do with podcasting. [00:01:00] It’s a very weird — what is it called evolution? We’ll call it. I want to say that in 2019, I was at a big blogging conference called mom 2. 0 summit. And there were maybe a handful of Asian women bloggers there. And it was really, I always feel this way at blogging conferences.

And so it was really difficult in that sense. But I do have a ton of friends there, so it was fine. So the handful of Asian bloggers grabbed me and said, Hey, we’re going to go out. And I said, okay,

I said, no, but I really wanted to, but I was like to like, we can talk more about this later, but I was really intimidated by them cause they were huge bloggers and I was not that huge and they were really successful and they’re also like really cool. And I was not. that type of cool. So I was just really excited to be invited.

So, the short answer [00:02:00] is, I went with these fellow Asian bloggers, and we were all talking about how there aren’t enough Asian bloggers, and we wanted more of them. And we started talking about, maybe we should throw a conference for just like Asian bloggers. And then I was like, we should call it Brazen Asian, but spell it A Z N.

So. Yeah.

Cause it’s funny and they didn’t think it was funny.

Stella: The corniest thing ever. They didn’t think it was funny

Virginia: or I don’t remember because I was really fucking drunk. I was wasted. I had started drinking from like 1030 in the morning. So by the end of the night, I was 17 drinks in, which sounds like a lot, but it was 17 hours later.

So it was like a drink an hour if you just evenly spaced it out. So the fact that I reserved the domain while completely plastered, I reserved the domain and it’s socials. [00:03:00] And the next day I was like who did this? I did, I did, I guess I did because no one else wanted it. So yeah,

Stella: I mean, some people, some people go on shopping binges when they’re drunk, but you, you registered domain

Virginia: I do. I collect, I, I collect a lot of domain names. I have to say, I just park them and they’re really expensive because you not only have to pay for like the, the, like the actual name you have to pay for privacy, right? So people don’t like know where you

Stella: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Virginia: So, yeah, so that’s how it came to be. And then a few months later in early 2020, I went to a, a retreat put on by my business coach and, and I won some like pitch contest. I won second place. It’s like, they gave me a bunch of money to throw this retreat for Asian creators

Stella: Money, I

Virginia: I did not want

Stella: Yes.

Virginia: I mean, yes. Yay for money. Yay for being second place, but boo for planning things. Cause I hate planning things. [00:04:00] And I had no idea how to pull off this Asian retreat that no one was going to

And then the pandemic happened.

So I didn’t have to do it at all. Yay. I mean, boo,

Stella: Yay.

Virginia: yay for no planning. And then I just, I pivoted to it being like a zoom panel. So I did one thing. I managed one event where I got, Some of my political minded friends who are in local politics to be on the zoom panel.

And that was the last I ever did anything with a name.

And now here

Stella: So that was like four years ago. Yeah, I was gonna say that’s like four years

Virginia: that was like four or five years ago. So, so then we were chatting and I was like, Hey, we should, I, I own this domain. Why don’t we do something with it?

Stella: Why don’t we start a pod like, if bros can start a podcast with webcam, I don’t know why women

Virginia: Exactly. Exactly. So I know that when we were in [00:05:00] talks about this first episode or even calling it Brazen Asian, you, Stella, were having some, I guess, internal struggle about it. I guess.

Could you tell us a little bit about what the struggle was?

Stella: Yeah, yeah, no, I, I think a lot of Asians are going to, like, Asian Americans are going to relate to what I have to say, which is this idea that, like, I love being Asian American more than anything. It’s, I love it. I would not trade it for anything in the world.

But sometimes. When I’m like, I don’t see myself represented in Asian American media a lot, and I don’t always relate to it. And I don’t always relate to like, it’s cool to see so many Asian American podcasts, so many books written by Asian Americans about the Asian American experience, like to see these shows. It’s amazing. But a part of me [00:06:00] is like, that is not my experience. And I do not relate at all.

And so I was very much like, do I want to be a part of something that’s So Asian themed with, you know, it was like a complicated feeling and I was like, is this leftover cringe culture from when I was growing up and it wasn’t as easy to be Asian at times despite living in SoCal in the 90s and 2000s. Is this like leftover, internalized white supremacy and cringe culture or is this me trying to figure out how to navigate these sections of Asian American representation that I don’t always connect to?

Virginia: Oh,

Stella: I think ultimately the place that I landed on was that I think a lot of Asian Americans feel the same. I think a lot of Asian Americans are afraid of being siloed,

Virginia: Mm

Stella: you know, and stuck in this space of like, Asian American as being their only identity.

And it’s hard [00:07:00] when, White supremacy doesn’t want to give us more space than that. You’ll see like a cast with a couple of Asian characters and people will be like, Why are there so many Asians though?

Like, it’s supposed to be a diverse show. And it’s like literally one character is East Asian and one character is like Southeast Asian and they’re different genders and one of them is gay and it’s too much Asian representation. You’re like, the fuck? And so, I feel like maybe what I need to do is keep putting myself out there as somebody who does have a lot of multiplicities in her

Virginia: hmm. Mm

Stella: and is still Asian and so proud to be Asian and happy to be Asian so that we keep getting more diversity and people realize that like being Asian is not a singular experience, right?

Virginia: so what were the types of representation that you are, that you appreciate [00:08:00] seeing, but you did not personally identify with? Like, could you give me some examples? Like I mean, I don’t personally identify with the monkey king, but, but at least, right? Like, like, that’s cool.

But I do, you

Stella: it is, isn’t it, yeah, but isn’t it so cool to see like a myth that’s such a huge part of a traditional culture that you belong

Virginia: Mm hmm.

Stella: to, see it like retold and reimagined? Like, it’s so fun, right? If somebody did that with like a Korean story, I would be like, this is amazing!

I think some of it is that a lot of the stories about being an Asian American center really strongly on identity integration.

Virginia: Oh,

Stella: They center really strongly on an Asian American who isn’t comfortable in being Asian at times. And is trying to figure out how to be, like, they’re stuck between two worlds, they go to an all white school, or like a PWI, like a [00:09:00] predominantly white institution, and, but their family is like super traditional and kind of conservative, and so like, those are like the binaries in their lives.

And I, I mean, I grew up, I mean, you know, because you were, you were in school in SoCal too. Like, I grew up in SoCal. I was born and raised there. I lived 40 minutes from K Town. I came of age in like the 90s, late, early 2000s, right? So for me, it’s like, I got to grow up with so much access to both like Korean culture, but also Korean American culture. I got to grope, right?

And so when people talk about like, oh, you know, I never saw Asian men being considered attractive until I got into K pop, like in the 2010s or 2015s, and I’m like, I got to see Korean men being actors and singers and songwriters and dancers, like, In the early 90s, late 80s, early

Virginia: Oh, through your

Stella: you know, my parents, [00:10:00] yeah, like my parents would pop like, like Music Bank videos from like, you know, the, the, the Korean video stores. And so I just, I always got to see it, like they were always watching Korean news. And so for me, like, It was like, of course, like, of course, there’s hot Asian guys. Of course, there are so many girls who are like way into Asian guys. Because for me, not only was that what I was seeing on the screen, But it was also like, we had a lot of Asian guys at my school, and there were people of all races interested in

Virginia: Oh. Mm hmm. Mm

Stella: Yeah, like, and so, like, yes, there was definitely still this element of dehumanization that I think Asian men experienced, even in my circles, but it wasn’t nearly as much as what you would normally see, right? And so, I’m like, oh, that’s not like this. And I definitely as a teenager did go through this like, oh, I don’t know how it feels to be Korean and Korean American, [00:11:00] but as I got older, I realized that the struggle I was experiencing was because I was queer, because I was neurodivergent, right?

Like we don’t see stories about.

I mean, now we see way more stories about queer Asian Americans. Trans Asian Americans, right? And I love it. We didn’t see that for a long time. And even now in mainstream Asian American, like, representation in the media, it’s not as common, which is why, like, you know, we love to see Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang being, you know, hot Asian gay men, right? But where are, like, where are the women?

Virginia: I mean,

Stella: Where are the women?

Virginia: Well, maybe it’s because I, I, I watch a lot of Asian American comics. So, I’m like, isn’t Irene too?

Or like, Sharon Cola, isn’t that her name? Isn’t she? Like queer, Asian,

Stella: Oh, yeah. I think so. But, and she? was in, what is it, Girls

Virginia: yeah, Girls. joyride, joyride,

Stella: Joyride. I want to [00:12:00] see that movie. I saw it. Have you

Virginia: I haven’t seen it. I feel so bad.

Stella: We need to do an episode

Virginia: Maybe. Yeah. Cause my friend, my friend’s friend wrote it, I think. Ah,

Stella: back to the original question, I think. that it’s hard sometimes when you’re a very weird Asian to find representation in the things that The other thing is, a lot of Asian Asian American representation is about like representation or identity politics. It’s about making us palatable or relatable to white people. And it’s about fulfilling this role where it’s like, this is how they fit into the fabric of America. And I’m like, but that’s not true for all of us. That’s not always the case. And that’s not how I want to fit into America,

Virginia: it’s

Stella: you know,

Virginia: yeah. It’s funny when you bring this up because I don’t think I’ve ever not felt Asian and I don’t [00:13:00] necessarily identify with. a lot of the Asian representation, but I don’t not identify with it. If that makes sense. I don’t feel underserved other than the fact that now I’m middle aged and I don’t see any moms and, or, or we just die like in the first like 10, 10 minutes so that we can, be some sort of jumping off point for the main hero, right?


Stella: Yeah. We get fridged.

Virginia: Yes, that’s the term, fridged, which is a delight.

Stella: We get fridged.

Virginia: I think instead of, for me, it’s not so much that I don’t identify with the story of trying to figure out my Asian American identity, because I, I guess I went through like a minor version of it, but it wasn’t that.

I grew up in the Bay Area, and, I went to an all Chinese church. I went to a Chinese school. I went to a school that you know, the top, my hometown was like 9 percent Asian, I think, but because I was in all AP [00:14:00] classes, my AP classes were 50 percent Asian. It really, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t have enough Asians.

It’s just that I didn’t have, I did not experience beyond Chinese. Taiwanese, Hong Kong American. So I knew like two Korean people, Korean Americans. I knew like two Filipino Americans and like one Japanese American. And I think they were, you know what I mean? And the reason why I knew two is because they were, no, maybe they weren’t related.

Maybe. Okay. If I knew the related people, it would be like four, you know? But like, so yeah, so I think for me, I just didn’t, realize that other Asian people existed, if that makes sense, because, because Asian America is like AAPI, AANH, PI month is like really dominated by not only East Asian, but Chinese in specific.

Maybe It’s changing slowly because of [00:15:00] Hallyu and like Korean stuff the Korean wave I said, I guess. But I want to say that most people equate Chinese or Chinese American with the Asian American identity. Right. Which, I mean, there’s yay for yellow supremacy, I guess, but like, but also,

Stella: I mean, statistically, statistically, Chinese people make up an incredible portion of the planet.

Virginia: Well, yes, and also, you know, we’re 22 percent of the, the, the Asian American population, right? So I get and then I think next highest is Indian American. So I get why we are the face, but I don’t think it should be, and so, so for me, it was my understanding of Asian American evolved when I met more non-Chinese Asian people. You know what I mean?

Stella: Right. Yeah. And it’s like you don’t know what you don’t know.

Like, you can’t have any [00:16:00] concept of what else is out there if you don’t get the opportunity to kind of experience new things. And I think that’s why having so much diversity in media, having more and more stories, is really, it’s really valuable, right?

It gives people a window into what it’s like, but I do worry sometimes that a lot of these stories are either about, you know, Becoming palatable to white America or creating this concept of Asian America that’s about like pop culture and proving that we’re just as normal and as cool as white people or black people.

I mean,

Virginia: Black people are the gold standard of cool. Let’s, Let’s, let’s be real.

Stella: But right instead of really being able to come up with an identity that is uniquely Asian American, which is challenging, we are an incredibly diverse group, like, both regionally and ethnically. It’s just so broad. I don’t know if we could come up with like a, an Asian American identity that really fits us

Virginia: Yeah. And particularly, [00:17:00] particularly because we encompass so many, there’s Asian Americans who are here like fourth, fifth generations, right? Like my kids are, my kids are fifth generation Asian on their dad’s side.

Stella: Right. So, it’s like his great, great grandparents. Yeah. Like,

Virginia: fifth. Yeah. I think

Stella: We’re like born

Virginia: Yeah. They’re the, yeah. So they’re fifth generation Asian Americans on, from, from my husband’s side and their third generation from my side, right? But I feel like still the main stories we see are first or one and a half or second generation stories.

Stella: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I, I think that that’s like the narrative that mainstream America expects.

Virginia: because We can see the becoming of an American if that makes sense. Because it reinforces The lie of this this mythical American dream and it showed it’s it’s like propaganda to become American You know and again, nothing wrong with being American and also lots of things wrong with being [00:18:00] American.

So I wanted to also discuss of like, what you think of in terms of like brazen.

So I chose brazen Asian originally because brazen means shameless, right? It means audaciously and I associate with like being loud out and proud, which I realized is a queer thing, and it’s often lobbed at people that, Oh, you’re so brazen and it’s usually a negative connotation. So

Stella: Overly direct, aggressive, demanding. Yeah. All things that women are not often allowed to be, but particularly Asian. Yeah. Right. Right. Right. And I think that there is this mentality that because of the emasculation of straight Asian American men that they could benefit from being more brazen to fit in with white corporate America, but that Asian women, particularly like cishet Asian women, are really [00:19:00] punished for being brazen and I think we’re punished in multiple spheres, right? Both our home culture and, like, mainstream white American culture, neither of those really wants us to be a shameless, loud, demanding woman.

Virginia: Yes. And, but I think even as, as the years have gone by, my idea of brazen has changed. So when I first conceived of this brazen Asian name, I wanted like the splashiest, loudest. I wanted to say, Hey, we’re here. That’s why I also chose AZN because back in the nineties for you young children AZNs are like, are they like the like super cool Asians?

Like Asian pride type of folks, but in a particularly somewhat isolationist sort of way, not, not allied type of way, but like a, as almost like a replacement for like an Asian supremacy, if you will. [00:20:00] At least that’s how I felt it that probably most people were probably just in it for the culture. But I just always found it amusing and also I kind of coveted it. And also I found it Weird and gross. So it’s like a combination of things. I’m gonna get like so many weird feedback from this. But

Stella: There’s I think there’s also an element of gang

Virginia: oh yes,

Stella: in AZN, yeah, because, you know, and both of us being from California, we know. Asian gangs are a thing. People who are not, I mean, maybe people from other urban areas would also be like, yeah, that’s obvious, but many people do not understand, like, Asian gangs are a

Virginia: Oh, yeah, I dated one. It was fun. Dated? Was it? Is it considered dating if you’re just messing around? Well, you just messed

Stella: Having a really good time.

Virginia: I wouldn’t say it was a good time, but it was interesting. [00:21:00] So, so yeah. So I really originally conceived of like brazenness, like just really loud, you know, and really in your face, really abrasive, almost really like what we consider the stereotypical activist. You know, like I’m in your face, you have to like it and you’re like, it’s very like an active defiant type of,

Stella: mm. Yeah, define. I think that’s a really good way to put it. yeah.

Virginia: So that’s kind of how I originally envisioned it. And I wanted us to be like, Hey, just kind of like flaunt our Asian ness if that makes sense. But as time has gone by, I’m just tired. I don’t really want to convince people that I deserve to be here. I’m just tired. Right? Like, like the whole like anti Asian hate thing.

I’m like, which obviously I’m not pro Asian hate, like no one, right? Like that seems counterproductive and bad. It’s just more like, [00:22:00] I should not have to convince you that I deserve to be heard. I should not have to convince somebody that I deserve to be seen, that I, my story deserves to be heard, that I am a person.

I. I shouldn’t have to do any of those things. And I feel like there’s so many expectations upon us as Asians, whether to represent like as a model minority so that we can have proximity to whiteness or we have to represent in a different way of like the super activism, type of way, you know? And then I was just like, but isn’t it kind of brazen to just exist?

And then I think when I, First heard my existence is resistance. I was like, yeah, yeah. Why? My existence is resistance, you know? And I feel like that is the kind of [00:23:00] brazen I want to embrace more of. And so I think that’s where I’ve kind of evolved now because I think when we were talking about this podcast, I was like, Oh, well, maybe we need an angle.

We need a hook. We need a thing like to be interesting. And I’m like, well, we are interesting and we’re Asian. And why can’t we be brazen in doing what we want, when we want, how we want. I feel like both of us kind of do that most of the time, but our brazenness is, is just existing, you know?

Stella: I mean, podcast bros don’t need a reason to exist. Do you know, I, it’s kind of like the, the, as we talk about this, I’m starting to realize that maybe my discomfort with the name Brazen Asian was really about the weight of having to represent us. When I don’t feel like I’m always seen and

I don’t feel like I’ve been represented.

And so it’s probably a good thing that we’re taking the [00:24:00] name because I’m, we’re just existing. That’s, that’s enough. That’s good enough.

Virginia: And I feel like as, as women, as women of color, As Asian women, it is pretty brazen like, to talk about ourselves,

Stella: Yes. To take up space in the room.

Virginia: Because what is the stereotype of Asian women, which if you know any Asian women at all is hilarious because no Asian women I know are meek and quiet and invisible.

I mean, some of them are yes, but , we’re not all one thing but like, I want to say the stereotype creator did not actually know. any Chinese women because isn’t that the joke? Isn’t that the joke? Like you should never, Korean men should never marry Chinese women because, because they both want to be the boss. That’s the joke. Isn’t that the joke? Like they’re both, like that’s the worst combination. Which is, which is, makes me so sad [00:25:00] because I have seven South Korean husbands who don’t know that they’re my husband. And,

Stella: What a cruel world

Virginia: What a cruel world everyone

Stella: a cruel world.

Virginia: It’s I’m just joking folks, I I’m not delusional and I know that BTS is never going to marry me but give me

Stella: even making the joke, even making the joke makes you, like, makes people consider you to be brazen, right? They don’t even want you joking about it!

Virginia: I What did my husband say my husband said well you have three holes and two hands you can accommodate five. Use your feet. Accommodate all seven. And I was like, that seems too much work.

Stella: I’m pretty sure you once told me that he said he didn’t take you for a quitter.

So if anybody ever asks, like, well, what does Virginia’s husband think of all of [00:26:00] this like, of all of this stuff? She’s like, you know, she’s so into BTS, she’s so obsessed, she posts all these thirst traps, and I’m like, I would like to just remind you all that he was the one that said, I’m pretty sure you could handle all seven.

Virginia: he’s lying, he knows I’m lazy. I could never. And also to be, to clarify, when Stella says I post thirst traps, I mean thirst traps of BTS members that they themselves have posted, not thirst traps of myself.

Which, Yeah, those would just look

Stella: Maybe you should, maybe you should post. So I should have said you repost thirst traps to bring the, the, the attention of the populace to them. Like, hey, if you haven’t seen this half naked man yet today, this is for you.

Virginia: Chapter two is so great. [00:27:00]

Stella: I love that Tay was like, oh, Chapter two is not about us taking our shirts off, sir.

Virginia: Just The lies. the outright lies.

Stella: The lies.

Virginia: so yeah, we should probably cut this part because people be like what are you talking about?

Stella: Yeah, yeah.

I think we’re trying to come full circle on Brazen Asian, right? We were talking about how even you telling jokes about being in love with seven men from Korea is like unacceptable to me. It’s unacceptable. People, people get so up in arms about anyone, like women in particular, expressing interest. We, we really come down so hard on teen girls and young women, and then it gets worse as we get older,

Virginia: Yeah, they want to police female desire

Stella: right? Like female desire exists. You know what I’ve been thinking about? I’ve been thinking about how we, as who we are, exist as such a threat [00:28:00] to oppression and bigotry. Just by existing. Yeah, like just, yeah, just by existing, right?

Virginia: Right.

Stella: I think it comes back to this concept of existence as resistance. If we weren’t a threat to the oppressor, then there would be no benefit in oppressing us. There wouldn’t need to be any energy push towards that, right? But being brazen Asians, being women Being queer and neurodivergent, having desire and expressing it, wanting more for your life than being a wife and a mother, even if those are roles that you chose.

Those are all things that go so strongly against the cultural norms. That we’re stuck with right now. And so I think, yeah, like we really exist as a threat and we’ve got, we’ve gotten hate comments to prove it. And so I think the fact that anyone was willing to put effort into doxing you and sending you death [00:29:00] threats and all the hate comments we’ve gotten for just being a woman on the internet, I think, yeah, we exist as a threat. And I think that that’s a part of being a brazen Asian is that even if we don’t want to be a threat, even if we are trying to be as non threatening as possible, we will always be perceived as a threat.

And maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Virginia: Which is hilarious because. We were literally both stay at home mothers who homeschool our children.

I don’t see that’s threatening in any way at all.

Stella: We’ve made choices in our lives here in Virginia. Choices were made. We both had kids in our forties. Well, I was nearly forty.

Virginia: I had just turned 44, 45.

Stella: Which is also pretty brazen of us, I gotta say.

Virginia: What.

Stella: People have feelings. People have feelings about women who are of advanced maternal age having children.

Virginia: [00:30:00] Wait, so we’re bad people. If we. Have the baby, and we’re also bad people. If we. get rid of it, make it make sense.

Stella: Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much.

Virginia: Of course. It doesn’t hurt that we both came from Christian backgrounds and patriarchy. Is really. Ingrained into Christianity or at least evangelical Christianity. I would say.

Most Christianity.

Stella: And it fits so neatly with the Asian patriarchies that we’re already used to. They dovetail in so nicely. You’re like, wow, it’s like a perfect fit.

Virginia: Yeah.

Stella: And you and I both spent a large portion of our college and young adult years being in evangelical spaces, mostly Asian evangelical spaces, but also like diverse ones, multiracial cult spaces, as it were.

Virginia: Oh, my gosh Colt spaces. [00:31:00] Well, Yes. I mean, I was part of InterVarsity, which is a para church. Organization, I wouldn’t call it a Colt, so to speak. But there were, you know,

You could also argue that it was, I suppose. The thing is I learned about social justice and wanting and demanding justice through InterVarsity. And for that, I’ll always be incredibly grateful. aNd also because of that, to me, Jesus and social justice. A go hand in hand they’re inextricable for me, even though I’m sure. It is possible to want justice without Jesus.

Stella: Hmm.

Virginia: Of course now I don’t believe in Christianity at all, but. At least the desire for justice remained I would like to think that even without christianity or Jesus, I would have been pro. Pro justice, if that makes sense.

Stella: Yeah. It’s so funny because I didn’t go to Ivy when I was in college because I thought they were a little too [00:32:00] liberal. Which just goes to show you, like, exactly how fundamentalist some of my youth, like, college groups were. It was, it wasn’t great. It’s okay, though. We live and learn. I was on a podcast with Liz Lynn for PAC and she asked like, where did you learn your concept of social justice? Like when was it introduced to you as a thing that people could be doing? And I was like, Oh, definitely the Korean immigrant church.

Virginia: Really.

Stella: Yeah, which is, it’s fascinating to think about now.

And I think a part of this is my parents general approach to life, which is that we’re all interconnected, and it’s important to help out your fellow humans. And so, like, even now, when they’re, like, what, in their 70s, they still go out to L. A. to do breakfast for the homeless when they can, and on the weekends and stuff.

And for them, they’re just like, that, [00:33:00] they’re just like, that’s what, normal, decent people do, that they care about those who don’t have enough and try to, you know, try to do their small part to provide and that it’s like a community effort. And so my church growing up, it was just this concept like, Oh yeah, like it’s really important.

We feed the people that come and there’s this sense of like collectivism that I think is, it’s kind of weird because Korea is also like hyper capitalist and super competitive in some ways. But I think that a lot of that is. It’s kind of more of a modern thing in trying to keep up with globalization, but culturally, I want to say we valued collectivism and community for a really, really long time, that that’s like an older value of ours.

And so for my parents, they’re just like, that’s how we survived. That’s how we survived all these years. You know, people took, and like, obviously not everybody, there are shitty people everywhere in every community. But I think for my [00:34:00] parents, they were like, that’s a given. That’s just how you try and treat people.

That’s how you try and care for others. And that’s how a lot of like their friends at church were. And when we, like youth group stuff, it was a lot, a lot of times it was centered around collectivism. And so it is really interesting though. But some of, but our church was a little smaller. Some of these bigger churches, especially now, I’m like, mm, those are some, you guys have learned some real lessons from these white evangelical churches, and I don’t think they’re the ones I would have wanted for you.

Virginia: I find that so interesting because I went to an all Chinese church and it was mostly folks from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Because this was when I was growing up in the late seventies and eighties and even early nineties. That’s where most of the Chinese population came from, right from Hong Kong and Taiwan, because. The visas available to mainland China. Weren’t as prolific sign of phobia.

Yay. But, [00:35:00] yeah, I would never ever describe the Chinese church as collectivist and I think it’s probably the specter of communism hanging over us. Like our people. It just. Yeah. Anything that smacked remotely of communism was, was frowned upon.

Stella: There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of trauma there. Like your people went through it. I was going to say, like, for Koreans, we are a little nationalist, and sometimes that nationalism expresses itself through, like, Koreans being the best, but it also expresses itself through, again, like, this collective ideal, right, that, we have to be together and do things together. And that’s partially because Korea, especially now, is a much smaller country.

Virginia: Yeah. And. China. I mean, if you think about the Chinese church, It was mostly either you were either from Hong Kong or Taiwan, and then later folks from China came over, like from the mainland. And time is huge.

Stella: China’s enormous. China is huge. Like. [00:36:00] You know, and people come from, really different regions in China when they immigrate, right? And so trying to find, like, a collective identity, I think, is really challenging when people will speak completely different dialects.

Virginia: Okay. I think we’ve kind of gone a little. A little bit off topic.

Stella: It’s because we have so much cool shit to talk about. We really do, right?

Virginia: That’s right.

Stella: Yeah, and because we’re interesting, it’ll be fine.

Virginia: It’s funny because we’ve been recording for like an hour and a half, but I bet after all like our mishaps and. Like editing. It’ll be down to like 30 minutes.

Stella: I feel like, you know, short is good, right?

Virginia: Yeah. And people have like no attention span nowadays. So short is, I think short is better than too long. So now that we’re kind of done with our debut podcast episode. Stella. What do you want folks to get from our podcast? What do you hope our podcast. Will be for people.

Stella: I think what I want most is for us [00:37:00] to have a good time and the listeners to be like, oh yeah, no, that was fun. That was fun.

Virginia: Oh, I like that for me. I, I kind of envision us like, you know, someone sitting next to us in a cafe and they’re just kind of eavesdropping in wanting to insert themselves into this conversation.

Stella: Right. Eavesdropping a little.

Virginia: Yeah. And because we’re both kind of weird. Or not maybe the stereotypical Asian, or even if you are the stereotypical Asian, whatever. I hope people can see themselves in us and not feel as alone. I hope people. Can feel a little bit seen. And represented.

Stella: Yeah. And maybe we’ll feature some of our friends who are fantastic.

Virginia: Or even, you know, new people.

Stella: We can make new friends.

Virginia: Yay.

Stella: It’s a blessing. As the evangelical, the former evangelical in me would say

Virginia: Um, I cut. Nope, no. No. That’s awful.

Stella: Think part of why we would [00:38:00] struggle to keep on a theme is that you and I are genuinely interested in so many things. It would just be impossible, like we cannot be contained. Maybe that’s also why we’re brazen Asians. We refuse to be contained. And I think that’s, I love that about us. I hope other people who listen and enjoy this.

Honestly, it’s a little bit more of a pilot episode, like, let’s be real.

Virginia: I like pilots. Folks, that’s what you’re going to get in every episode. Dirty jokes and puns. That’s what you’re going to get.

And on that note. We’re going to wrap up this episode. I’m Virginia what is a brazen Asian? Why do we have a podcast about it and what, yeah, who gets to decide what is a brazen Asian?

So on that note Virginia, I was meaning to ask you, what is the story behind how and why you started Brazen Asian?

I went with these fellow Asian bloggers, and we were all talking about how there aren’t enough Asian bloggers, and we wanted more of them.

They center really strongly on an Asian American who isn’t comfortable in being Asian at times. And is trying to figure out how to be, like, they’re stuck between two worlds, they go to an all white school, or like a PWI, like a predominantly white institution, and, but their family is like super traditional and kind of conservative, and so like, those are like the binaries in their lives.

Isn’t that the joke? Like you should never, Korean men should never marry Chinese women because, because they both want to be the boss.

I’m pretty sure you once told me that he said he didn’t take you for a quitter.

People, people get so up in arms about anyone, like women in particular, expressing interest.

existence as resistance.

People have feelings about women who are of advanced maternal age having children.

I think what I want most is for us to have a good time and the listeners to be like, oh yeah, no, that was fun. That was fun.

Maybe that’s also why we’re brazen Asians. We refuse to be contained. And I think that’s, I love that about us.

Dirty jokes and puns. That’s what you’re going to get.

I’m Virginia Duan also known as Mandarin mama. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter and threads. At the Mandarin mama, or you can follow my official author profile. At Virginia Duan underscore official.

also known as Mandarin mama. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter and threads. At the Mandarin mama, or you can follow my official author profile. At Virginia Duan underscore official.

What about you? Stella, did you want to share your socials?

Stella: No, I think I’ll keep it low key for now, but I’m Stella, and this was [00:39:00] Brazen Asians, Episode 1.