All posts tagged: Books & Culture

Women Who Inspire: Lela Lee

(Photo Courtesy: lelalee.com) NAME: Lela Lee AGE: 39 OCCUPATION: Creator of Angry Little Girls, Actress WHO SHE IS:  What is it like growing up Asian American? If you want the honest truth, you can turn to Lela Lee’s “Kim.” Imagine an unabashed little girl version of “Cathy” who curses like a sailor. Lee’s flagship cartoon, “Angry Little Asian Girl,” has evolved into a creative comic strip enterprise. In the comic, Lee features a cast of diverse characters growing up American but dealing with issues of ethnicity, assimilation and acceptance. From comic books, animated shorts to selling merchandise, Lee has grown her Angry Little Girls collection into an incredible business off an unconventional and zany cartoon. Her comic series is syndicated by GoComics and in 2012, was nominated for the comic industry’s “Harvey Award.” Lee is also a television writer and actress. She’s appeared in recurring roles on TV shows such as Scrubs and cast in independent films (Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow).  She also has worked on several popular TV programs — Felicity, Friends and Curb Your Enthusiasm, to name a few. Hailing from …

Women Who Inspire: Marjane Satrapi

(Photo Credit: Maria Ortiz) NAME: Marjane Satrapi AGE: 44 OCCUPATION: Writer, artist and cartoonist WHO SHE IS: The prolific writer/artist/cartoonist, who is perhaps best known for her the graphic novels Persepolis and Persepolis 2. In 2007, Persepolis was adapted for the big-screen (and won the 2007 Academy Award for best foreign language film). And though Marjane’s second movie Chicken with Plums — a story based on her book about a famous violinist who loses his instrument and with it the will to live — elicited a lukewarm reception at best, she was undaunted, and forged on to make The Voices, a thriller starring Ryan Reynolds that was screened at Sundance in 2014. WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: I cracked up at so many of the brilliant illustrations in Persepolis 2, which I read before its prequel, Persepolis. Her drawings hit home on so many levels for me: from the concrete (being the only girl with thick, dark body hair in the  land of the fair-haired — that was me, an Indian growing up in Switzerland), to the more esoteric, intangible …

Women Who Inspire: Jhumpa Lahiri

(Photo Credit: Elena Seibert/Random House) NAME: Jhumpa Lahiri AGE: 46 OCCUPATION: Author/novelist WHO SHE IS: Jhumpa Lahir is a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of two short story collections (Unaccustomed Earth and Interpreter of Maladies) as well as two novels (The Namesake: A Novel, and her most recent, The Lowland, which was published in September 2013). Her simplicity of storytelling has earned Lahiri accolade upon accolade. The Lowland was a nominee for The Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction, and Lahiri serves on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: So many other writers — particularly writers of South Asian heritage – lay the metaphors on thick and try to impress with dazzling language and complex turn of phrase, but Lahiri’s work is the writing equivalent of a perfect Picasso; a few strokes of genius on a blank sheet — and voila. Her understated, modest persona is an inspiration to any writer (this one included), published or aspiring.

Women Who Inspire: Isabella Rossellini

(Green Porno Season 2, Limpets / sundance.tv) NAME: Isabella Rossellini AGE: 61 OCCUPATION: Filmmaker, actor, model, graduate student WHO SHE IS: Fact: Although she spent most of her life acting and modeling, this world-famous beauty and daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini has always loved biology. Now 61 (and still stunning), she has found a way to combine her love of science and theater in a series of spectacular short films: Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas — all while raising a family and pursing a graduate degree at Hunter College in Animal Behavior and Conservation. Why the fascination with biology? “The secret to success is not perfection,” she says, “it’s diversity. [If you are “perfect] and the environment changes–bang! You’re dead.“ WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: I’ve admired this elegant, strong and effortlessly beautiful woman since my days as a Lancôme counter manager in the early 90’s. But after seeing her live at BAM last month, I am even more smitten. She is wickedly funny, frighteningly smart and believes that beauty is about the weird and wonderful—in animals, in …