From Going Against The Grain

Each month at Against The Grain, we highlight an Asian American who embodies “Going Against The Grain” in their life and work. These individuals tell a personal story, Q-and-A style, that demonstrates the challenges and successes in their chosen careers and callings and also inspires our community to pave their own paths to happiness and success. You can read these stories here, read about them in our monthly newsletter and get updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages. If you know someone who would be a great Going Against The Grain feature story, please email info@againstthegrainproductions.com. Enjoy!

 

Going Against The Grain: Ayden Nguyen

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Ayden Nguyen is a 7 year-old dancer, actor and model from Garland, Texas. From a very young age, Ayden has always been a natural performer, entertainer and lover of dance. Those characteristics have launched him onto a path that leads directly into the entertainment industry. He enjoys all aspects of performing and juggles a pretty hectic schedule of school, photo shoots, casting calls/auditions, rehearsals, soccer and dance training.

He has been in several print ad campaigns for department stores such as Belk, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus. He has also been featured in various industry videos for Chuck E. Cheese and Hasbro. His main passion is dance, hip-hop specifically, and has trained with some of the best choreographers in the world – even had the opportunity to dance on stage with Justin Bieber.

Ultimately, he’s just a little boy, with very big dreams. Follow Ayden on his journey, to make his dreams come true. Against The Grain had the privilege of featuring young Ayden at Fashion for a Passion this year. Stay tuned for our highlight video to watch his moves in action! Read more

Going Against The Grain: Danny Nguyen

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Lurid fluorescent light spills over a shadowy figure working deep into the night. Exacting needles, spools of fine thread, and luxuriant fabrics find their way in and around the dexterous hands of this diligent artist. Reckless passion is cast aside and replaced by the brutal will of a true fashion designer. To describe Danny Nguyen’s talents with words would be as futile as identifying infinity with a number. Read more

Going Against The Grain: Chef Uno Immanivong

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Chef Uno is the owner of Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves. She was on “ABC’s The Taste” competing on Anthony Bourdain’s team and a regular on EyeOpener TV sharing her unique recipes. She started her culinary career when she founded Foodie Couture, a cooking entertainment and catering company.

Ultimately Uno’s food journey was inspired by her mother who catered to make ends meet. Uno observed the art of creating every dish, along with the happiness that resulted from each bite. The kitchen is where Uno spent most of her childhood, learning and understanding Southeastern Asia ingredients while cooking with her mom. Chino Chinatown’s menu is a result of Chef Uno’s passion for cooking and her Latin twist on classic Asian dishes.

Talent runs deep in this family, too. Join us at Fashion for a Passion as Chef Uno’s daughter Emma joins our performer lineup with her group The Sun and Stars!

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Going Against The Grain: Miki Yamashita and LT Diana Tran-Yu

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Actress, comedian and lyric soprano Miki Yamashita is a singer and teaching artist with the Los Angeles Opera. She made her main stage debut in the role of Marcellina in “Figaro 90210”. With the LA Opera’s community engagement division, Miki has fused her New England Conservatory-trained voice with her unique comedy chops to perform roles as diverse as a hungry coyote, a grandmother bird spirit and Turandot.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Miki studied acting at Yale University and holds a B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College. Miki has performed the role of Connie Wong in the national tour of “A Chorus Line”, and the roles of Maria in “West Side Story” and Tuptim in “The King and I” in various respected regional theaters across the country.

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Going Against The Grain: Quentin Lee

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With great pride, we spotlight feature filmmaker Quentin Lee for this month’s Going Against The Grain, who will also join our amazing panelists for our 5th Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers in Las Vegas at the NAAAP National Convention on Saturday, Aug. 13th. A member of the Producers Guild of America, Quentin has a long list of accomplishments under his belt, including director of six feature films: SHOPPING FOR FANGS (1997), DRIFT (2000), ETHAN MAO (2004), THE PEOPLE I’VE SLEPT WITH (2009), WHITE FROG (2012) and most recently THE UNBIDDEN (2016) featuring prominent Asian American actors such as John Cho, Randall Park, Tamlyn Tomita, James Shigeta, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., Archie Kao and Michelle Krusiec. Read more

Going Against The Grain: Tiffany Pham

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Tiffany Pham is the Founder & CEO of Mogul, an award-winning worldwide platform connecting women to trending content, including stories, products, and jobs that are personalized to their interests. Mogul is visited by millions of women from over 196 countries and 30,000 cities worldwide. Mogul was listed as one of the Top NYC Startups to Watch in 2015 by Entrepreneur.com, listed as one of the Best Websites for Finding Top Talent by Inc.com, listed as one of the Top Websites for Marketing Your Company Online by Forbes.com, and has been honored and recognized by Bustle and Harvard Business School.

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Going Against The Grain: Quynh Chau Stone

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Quynh Chau Stone is an entrepreneur, manufacturer, consultant, international educator, motivational speaker, the host and producer of a radio and TV talk show “The Quynh Chau Show,” a wife, a mother, a friend and most of all a servant to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Quynh Chau escaped from Vietnam at the age of 12 with her four brothers in a small boat built by her brother. After 13 days stranded at sea, they were rescued and placed in a refugee camp in Malaysia for 18 months. Her father was already living in the U.S., working as a janitor and selling egg rolls on the side to raise money. After ten years, he landed a job at Nucor Yamato. Then, with the help of the First Baptist Church of Bytheville, her father was finally able to sponsor them to come to the U.S. with the hope of a new life. Quynh Chau only stayed with her family for seven months, which were some of the toughest times for her.

With the help of three wonderful families, the Johnsons, Brays and Reynolds, she found her new home and refuge at the ABC Children Home, having the opportunity to grow up experiencing America culture, graduating from high school and attending college where she met her college sweetheart and husband. In 2006, she had a second chance to reunite with all her brothers once again.

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Going Against The Grain: Kym Pham

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Photo of Kym Pham by Eskil Digernes.

Born in Paris, Kym Pham is a Wonder Architect + Experience Designer living on the road. Between summiting remote mountains in Kyrgyzstan, competing in 4,000km rickshaw races across India, and studying sacred plant medicine in Peru, Kym Pham has documented nearly 70 countries in her mission to reconnect humans to their child-like sense of wonder. One of her methodologies includes designing life-altering bespoke adventures for creatives, where transformation is imminent. 

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Going Against The Grain: Khai Vu

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Born in Vietnam in 1980, Chef Khai Vu came to the States at the young age of 11. His first love and passion has always been food. With his Grandmother’s cooking as his young inspiration and his father growing him to be a successful business man, his family’s shared love of food has paved the way for him to produce some of the most modern and high quality cuisine at his own kitchen District One Kitchen & Bar in Las Vegas today.

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