Two New Blasian Reality Show Stars Debut Today!

A new reality TV show featuring two blasians premieres Monday, September 3 at 11 PM ET/PT on Oxygen.  The ethnically diverse cast of Oxygen’s Girlfriend Confidential: LAincludes Eva Marcille (Puerto Rican / African American), Nikki Chu (Jamaican / Chinese / Canadian), Denyce Lawton (Korean / African American), and Kelly Marie Dunn (Korean adoptee).  The new series follows these beautiful and successful friends, as they help one another navigate the tumultuous waters of love and celebrity life against the backdrop of the Hollywood entertainment industry.

Eva, Nikki, Denyce, & Kelly

Nikki Chu is a high-profile design diva.  She is a dynamic interior and product designer and practices her love for art with her own company, Nikki Chu Design.  She is considered the virtual “it girl” of style.  The name “Nikki Chu” is synonymous with all that is fabulous.  Nikki Chu is a brand in which luxury has no limits and her style is in a class of its own.  Her flare for interior design has been showcased on E! Entertainment, HGTV, VH1, and the Fine Living Channel.  Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Nikki is of Jamaican Chinese heritage.

 Nikki with her mother and father. 

Actress Denyce Lawton is best known for starring in the series, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.  She has been the face of many advertising campaigns and has a number of television and film credits.  Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lawton is the middle child of three children, with an older half sister, who is full Korean, and a younger brother, who is also Korean-African American.  Her parents met when her father was stationed in Seoul with the US Army.  As a child, she lived a military life, traveling around the world.  She has lived in Germany, Kansas, Japan, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.

 
Denyce with her mother and father.
Denyce’s “Made in Korea” tattoo
Selected Sources:
* HalfKorean.com: An online community for mixed-race Koreans, “Interview – Denyce Lawton“.

Blasian Reality TV Stars

Lou Jing – who gained fame as a reality show contestant in China – got me thinking about Blasians on reality TV.  There haven’t been that many.  While Asians are rare, half Asians are few and far between.  Half-African American, half Asian reality stars are even more infrequent.  There have been three blasian reality stars – Melissa Howard, Lisa Wu, and Kimora Lee.

Melissa on Real World (2000) and with her daughter (2011).

Melissa Howard (Filipino-African American) became the first blasian reality star in 2000 on MTV’s Real World: New Orleans.  She went on to appear in other reality TV shows, including Real World / Road Rules Challenge and Battle of the Network Reality Stars.  Now Melissa Beck, she is married to Glassjaw guitarist, Justin Beck, and has a daughter, Shalom Mazie.

Melissa’s parents – Maurice “Shorty” & Narcisa “Mercy” – at the MTV Studios
Lisa Wu appeared in the first two seasons (2008-2009) of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Her mother is of Afro-Caribbean descent, and her father is Chinese.
                               Lisa Wu’s parents

Previously married to R&B singer Keith Sweat, she was married to NFL linebacker Ed Hartwell, while on the show.  They divorced in 2011.

Lisa Wu and her sons Jordan, Justin, & EJ

Kimora Lee – better known as a model and former wife of Russell Simmons – has starred in the reality television series, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, since 2007.  The most famous blasian reality star, she details her daily life with her three children and her husband, model/actor Djimon Hounsou.

Kimora and her mother, Kyoko Perkins

With a Korean-born Japanese mother and an African American father, Kimora was often a target of bullying and teasing as a child because of her height (5’10” by age 10) and her mixed heritage.  Her mom enrolled her in modeling classes when she was 11 years old, and Kimora was discovered at the age of 13.

Kimora married mogul, Russell Simmons, in 1998.  They officially separated in 2006.  She has been with Djimon Hounsou, a Benin-born Oscar-nominated actor, since 2007.

Kimora and her children, Kenzo, Ming, & Aoki

While there are many who view reality TV as a less-esteemed genre of television, it can be an excellent platform to share varying perspectives and provides exposure to different types of people and ethnicities.  Reality television is a unique opportunity to potentially see and connect with people who have similar stories.

Selected Sources:
* Melissa Beck, http://melissabeck.tumblr.com/
* The Real Housewives of Atlanta, “Lisa Wu Hartwell”, http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-atlanta/bio/lisa-wu-hartwell
* Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, “Kimora Lee Simmons”, http://www.mystyle.com/mystyle/shows/kimora/castbios/index.jsp