I was getting into the holiday spirit a few weeks ago when I started hearing buzz about a Netflix Original Rom-Com Christmas film called Love Hard, featuring Asian American Jimmy O. Yang as the romantic lead. And it was the #1 film in the USA for a few days!
After loosely following Jimmy’s career over the years, I was thrilled to find that an Asian male got a lead role for once in a film that depicts him as romantically desirable. Despite the moderate ratings of the film and some unnatural bits of dialogue, I was thrilled for Jimmy and felt that this was a great step in the right direction for Asian American men trying to counteract negative romantic stereotypes.
This got me inspired to read Jimmy’s book How to American. Yes, my hardcore blog readers know I wrote an article summarizing and reviewing this book a few years ago. But that was more of a quick blurb. I didn’t read all of the book cover to cover. I read large portions and jumped around.
This time, I was determined. I got the audiobook, and that usually means it’s game over. I rarely ever fail to finish an audiobook.
Anyhow, Jimmy’s memoir was fantastic, and this podcast hopefully pulls out some entertaining, witty, and informative discussion on his life. I hope you’ll be entertained by his intriguing immigrant story as much as I am, but also learn some life lessons from some of the things I highlight in this ~50 minute episode.
If you’re an immigrant or you’re Asian, there’s plenty of funny, but relatable stories here: everything from highly critical parents to choosing passion versus something practical. You’ll also find some moments when I review parts of the book and add my own thoughts on things I agree with or things I experienced in a different or very similar way as a Chinese American born in the USA (Jimmy moved here when he was 13) from immigrant parents.
And even if you don’t find anything relatable or informative, at least you’ll be entertained. Jimmy unveils many embarrassing, but vulnerable and inspiring stories of failure, including performing for his idol Arsenio Hall on his show, only for the show to be canceled a couple days after, and becoming a strip club DJ to try to get laid only to find out it’s the opposite of the glamorous life he envisioned.
If nothing else, I hope my message comes through that you are okay as you are. You can and are accepted as an American and as an Asian. There are people who love and respect you out there. And maybe it’s okay to bumble and fail your way through middle school, high school, college, and your first few jobs, like Jimmy, because you might still end up alright. Perhaps, that’s not accounting for survivorship bias, but hey, I’m still happy that at least someone out there like me was able to succeed in multiple fronts (career, passion, income, and relationships).
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