Awkwafina is Going Strong

November 13, 2019


When we saw Crazy, Rich Asians, the smash romantic comedy of 2018, we all agreed that one of the standout performers in the movie was Awkwafina (Nora Lum) – she was a definite scene-stealer. By the way, where are the sequels? The latest rumor is that filming will start with two movie sequels filmed back-to-back in 2020. Don’t bet the rent money. But never mind, when they do come out I’m sure they’ll knock our socks off.

Awkwafina in her Dolce & Gabbana gown serving a triple burger at Vinnie’s Pizzeria and Brooklyn Standard Deli located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY where the actress worked before she hit it big. (If you don’t think this shot is hilarious, you don’t have a pulse.)


In Elle magazine of August 2019 the actress reveals that she was so moved by the script for Lulu Wang’s The Farewell that she hired a Chinese tutor. Most of the dialogue is in Mandarin (with English subtitles in the movie).

Awkwafina feeling her oats – and having a great time

Photos courtesy of Bazaar magazine

The story focuses on a family’s attempt to keep their grandmother from learning the truth about her cancer diagnosis. They do this by staging a wedding in order to gather everyone in China to see the matriarch one last time. At the film’s heart is the special bond between the American-raised Billi (Awkwafina) and her grandmother (known as Nai Nai).


In the August 2019 issue of Harper’s Bazaar I ran across this one-page interview with these two talented Asians. Cho asks, “After Crazy Rich Asians, did things feel very different? Awkwafina replies, “I thought that I had a good fan base, and then Crazy Rich Asians came out and I was like, “Oh, okay!”

The actress notes that, “After Crazy Rich Asians, people would come up to me crying – it was almost a bittersweet joy for them seeing a movie like that and realizing how important representation is. Asian-American actors have told me that, before this movie, they couldn’t get one audition. Now they’re getting tons.

Kevin Kwan surrounded by his Rich Angelenoes

Cho remarks that, “This is such an American movie, but it’s largely set in China and most of it is in Chinese. That’s what is revolutionary about it. It speaks to everyone. My folks never explained anything. We weren’t encouraged to speak Korean – my parents wanted American kids.”

I haven’t seen this movie yet BUT I’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians and have read all three books so I’m in the loop – in time I’ll close it.

CLICK HERE to read the Adea blog where I wrote about the last two books in the series (February 2019). You’ll also find a link to a blog (January 2019) that discusses the first book.

TWO UPDATES – The FIRST is that we finally saw The Farewell on Thursday, August 29th at our favorite Kips Bay Theater on Second Avenue. We passed on the Angelika on West Houston and the Chelsea way over on West 23rd – for us spoiled Eastside gals both were akin to going to the North Pole.

I would describe The Farewell as a “gentle movie” that reveals itself slowly – the dialogue and interaction between the characters could be ANY family, in particular, an Irish one. And yes, the English subtitles work very well.

The SECOND is an article by Kevin Kwan in the September 2019 issue of Harper’s Bazaar titled Crazy Rich Angelenos (great idea for the author of Crazy Rich Asians). I’m commenting on this piece because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen (in print) a writer say that, initially they heard many negative remarks about LA that affected their thinking. But now he says, “I totally love my new life and how different it is from what I expected.” He also has new film and TV projects so his career is booming. 

Kevin Kwan notes that everyone complains about the traffic in LA but he says, “It’s worse in Mexico City.” I totally agree. We landed in this city at midnight: it was a sweltering 95 degrees with bumper-to-bumper traffic AND adding to this mayhem was a panhandling fire-eater in the middle of a main road. Even worse, every bank we passed had two guards – each with an Uzi. The next day we went to a Ralph Lauren shop that had a guard with a gun outside.

This dramatic ad for Dolce & Gabbana appeared in Vogue, August 2019.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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