Awkwafina on Her Family, Her Name & Crazy Rich Asians
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Awkwafina on Her Family, Her Name & Crazy Rich Asians


>>Jimmy: WHAT’S HAPPENING? HOW ARE YOU DOING?>>I’M DOING WELL, I’M DOING WELL. >>Jimmy: YOUR BIRTH NAME IS NOT AWKWAFINA, RIGHT?>>NO. >>Jimmy: YOUR PARENTS DIDN’T NAME YOU AFTER BOTTLED WATER?>>PARENTS DID NOT NAME ME AWKWAFINA, YES. I’M SURE IT’S A POPULAR BELIEF. >>Jimmy: YOU CHOSE THIS NAME?>>IT WAS A CHOSEN NAME, YES. >>Jimmy: YOU HAD TO COME UP WITH A HIP-HOP NAME, RIGHT?>>IT CAME PRETTY NATURALLY WHEN I WAS 15, 16, YOU KNOW, I WAS LOOKING FOR A PRETTY STUPID NAME. >>Jimmy: HOW DOES IT COME NATURALLY? WERE YOU AT THE CONVENIENCE STORE OR SOMETHING?>>I THINK — I WANTED SOMETHING — BY THAT POINT I NEVER THOUGHT THAT PEOPLE WOULD ACTUALLY CALL ME AWKWAFINA. >>Jimmy: I SEE. >>I JUST THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, IT WOULD MAKE ME AND MY OTHER FRIEND WHO AT THAT TIME WAS MY BRANDING MANAGER, AT 16. WE KIND OF, YOU KNOW — WE WOULD GIGGLE. >>Jimmy: WERE THERE OTHER OPTIONS? DID YOU GO THROUGH OTHER CHOICES?>>DASSANI, WITH TWO Ss. [ LAUGHTER ]>>Jimmy: NOT AS GOOD. >>WE NIXED THAT OFF THE BOARD, YEAH. >>Jimmy: YOU LIMITED YOURSELF TO WATER BRANDS?>>PRETTY MUCH. BEAM ACTUALLY — AWKWAFINA? AND IT’S LIKE THEY’RE CALLING ME THAT. >>Jimmy: DOES YOUR FAMILY — THEY DON’T CALL YOU AWKWAFINA?>>NO WHY. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING. >>Jimmy: IS YOUR FAMILY MORE INTERESTED IN YOUR MUSIC CAREER OR YOUR FILM CAREER?>>NEITHER. [ LAUGHTER ]>>Jimmy: REALLY?>>LIKE YOU KNOW, THEY’RE JUST COOL WITH IT. THEY DIDN’T KICK ME OUT OF THE HOUSE OR ANYTHING. BUT TO THIS DAY LIKE MY GRANDMA’S LIKE, YOU’RE NOT EVEN ACTING, DUDE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” SHE’S LIKE, YOU’RE NOT EVEN ACTING, IT’S JUST LIKE YOU. >>Jimmy: I SEE. >>I WAS LIKE, ALL RIGHT, WELL. >>Jimmy: MEAN GRANDMA. >>YEAH, MEAN GRANDMA. >>Jimmy: OR MAYBE THERE ARE JUST HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THEIR LITTLE BABY. >>YEAH. >>Jimmy: THAT SHOW BUSINESS SEEMS TRIVIAL. >>AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER WAS MY EXPECTATION. THAT’S WHAT MY DAD WANTED ME TO BE. >>Jimmy: THAT’S A WEIRD JOB TO CHOOSE FOR A KID. >>I WAS LIKE DAD, LAW SCHOOL? HE’S LIKE, DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL, BECOME AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, YOU’LL BE FINE. >>Jimmy: FORTUNATELY YOU DIDN’T. WHERE DID YOU SHOOT THIS MOVIE?>>WE SHOT IN SINGAPORE AND KUALA LUMPUR. >>Jimmy: WHEN YOU’RE FLYING ON THE THING DO YOU GET ON THE THING, HEY, GUYS, I COULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE WITH YOU? DID YOU GET TO EXPLORE OR WERE YOU WORKING THE WHOLE TIME YOU WERE THERE?>>I WAS NUMBER FIVE ON THE CALL SHEET SO I HAD A LOT OF TIME. >>Jimmy: OH, THAT’S GOOD. >>TO EXPLORE. WE WENT EVERYWHERE. WE WENT TO THE BIRD PARK. SANOYA GOT CRAPPED ON BY A BIRD. IT’S JUST RECYCLED PAPAYA. >>Jimmy: IT RUNS THROUGH THE BIRD FIRST, IT’S FILTERED PAPAYA. >>EXACTLY, IT’S BETTER. >>Jimmy: YOU GOT CRAPPED ON BY A BIRD, OH, IT’S JUST PAPAYA? THAT’S A SENSE OF OPTIMISM I DO NOT POSSESS. [ LAUGHTER ] THAT’S REALLY LOOKING AT THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE. >>NO, IT IS, IT IS. YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW. >>Jimmy: HAD YOU BEEN THERE BEFORE TO THAT AREA?>>NO, NEVER. >>Jimmy: YOU’D NOT BEEN THERE BEFORE. WHAT IS A BIRD PARK? IT’S LIKE A PRESERVE FOR ANIMALS?>>LOTS OF BIRDS. YOU KNOW. THEY HAVE SOME THAT DON’T FLY. KIND OF LIKE A — AN ASIAN TURKEY, IF YOU WILL. >>Jimmy: I SEE. >>YEAH. KIND OF WADDLES. >>Jimmy: IS IT JUST A REGULAR — IT’S NOT A TURKEY, IT’S AN ASIAN TURKEY?>>YEAH, IT’S NOT AS FESTIVE LOOKING. I MEAN, THEY’RE MORE FESTIVE. A DIFFERENT FESTIVITY, NOT THANKSGIVING-LOOKING. I FEEL LIKE A TURKEY HAS THE COLORS OF THANKSGIVING. >>Jimmy: AND THERE ARE NO COLORS?>>NO COLORS. IT’S JUST — YEAH. >>Jimmy: SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT TRIP, REALLY.>>YEAH, IT WAS. YOU KNOW, YEAH. >>Jimmy: HAD YOU BEEN TO ASIA BEFORE? WAS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME THERE?>>I HAD BEEN THERE WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL. I STUDIED THERE. THEN I LIVED THERE FOR A YEAR. >>Jimmy: WHERE DID YOU LIVE?>>IN BEIJING. >>Jimmy: WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?>>IT WAS COOL. >>Jimmy: WHY WERE YOU THERE FOR A YEAR?>>I STARTED TO WRITE FOR A GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED FOOD MAGAZINE. >>Jimmy: REALLY. >>YES. >>Jimmy: WAS THE FOOD GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED? OR THE MAGAZINE?>>THE MAGAZINE. >>Jimmy: ITSELF WAS. >>YES. >>Jimmy: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED?>>LIKE IF I SAID SOMETHING WAS SUBPAR, THEY’D BE LIKE, NO.>>Jimmy: OH, REALLY. >>SO EVERY RESTAURANT GOT A 5 OR A 6. YOU KNOW. 2s GOT A 5. >>Jimmy: IT GOES UP TO 6? THAT’S WEIRD TOO. >>IN A GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED CHINESE MAGAZINE, YES. >>Jimmy: IT GOES UP TO 6. >>YES. [ LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE ]>>Jimmy: THIS MOVIE IS — THERE HAS NOT BEEN, AS FAR AS I KNOW, A BIG-BUDGET HOLLYWOOD MOVIE WITH AN ALL-ASIAN CAST SINCE “THE JOY LUCK CLUB.” WHICH WAS A LONG TIME AGO. >>HILARIOUS MOVIE. >>Jimmy: A BIG SUCCESS TOO THAT MOVIE. >>A HUGE SUCCESS. YEAH, I MEAN — IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THAT’S 25 — A 25-YEAR-OLD ADULT IS JUST WALKING AROUND WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, YOU KNOW. >>Jimmy: RIGHT. >>AND YEAH, I MEAN — IT’S SO IMPACTFUL FOR ASIAN AMERICANS. ASIAN AMERICANS COME OUT OF THE SCREENINGS AND THEY’RE, YOU KNOW, CRYING AND THEY DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHY. AND I THINK IT’S THE POWER OF REPRESENTATION.>>Jimmy: YEAH, FOR SURE. [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] WELL, I HOPE IT’S A VERY BIG HIT AND YOU DO MANY MORE OF THEM.

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