My Point of Heu: Kardashian didn’t break the Internet

Paper Magazine

Paper Magazine

It’s been one week since Kim Kardashian attempted to “break the Internet” with her revealing cover story and photo shoot for Paper Magazine. And, while most haven’t actually read the entire article as I have, comical parodies and copycats are littering the Internet and perpetuating the eye-popping showcase of the reality star’s photographed assets. I thought I would share my perspective on this controversial topic since I am a woman of the same age, with a similar figure, just trying to get by in this age of digital, social and mass media.

First, let’s review the facts: Kim Kardashian is famous; she is rich; and she is beautiful. What is she famous for? She had a sex tape with someone who was semi-famous, or at least had a famous sister. Kardashian was also an assistant to someone who had the same kind of fame, Paris Hilton, who also had a sex tape and a reality TV show that seemed to launch her career, if you want to call it that.

Second, Kardashian uses the Internet and social media accounts, including Instagram (21 million followers) and Twitter (25.5 million followers), to broaden her reach as a celebrity. She doesn’t post pictures every day focused on ending hunger, finding a cure for AIDS or inspiring others; she instead showcases her greatest asset — herself — by sharing selfies, modeling shots, family images and fashion photos.

Paper Magazine

Paper Magazine

Third, when Kardashian opted to do the Paper Magazine spread, it was an editorial gushing about how flawless and attractive the reality star is. The photo shoot was her idea to go fully nude. She was in control of the wardrobe, or lack thereof, and she did the shoot for free. Is this genius or naiveté? Knowing the buzz and reaction it would get, I think there is a stroke of genius somewhere in there.

The images taken by French photographer Jean Paul Goude are reminiscent of a series of photographs he took back in 1976 of a nude African-American model balancing a champagne glass on her backside. At the time, the photographer was dating Grace Jones, and had what he called, “Jungle Fever.” Those were very significant images at a time when racial tensions ran high and interracial dating was still taboo. Kardashian wanted to work with him, and whether or not she knew the cultural relevance of the images, she has stepped into a new elevated world of provocative celebrity.

As a woman who is curvy, I applaud her for loving and showcasing her body as she does. Society puts too much pressure on women to be thin and even ultra-skinny — a size 2 or to hide their “bigger bones.” Whether it’s enhanced or natural, Kardashian appears confident, proud and eager to showcase and sell herself. I must admit she is showcasing herself too much and too often for my taste, but I choose not to follow her posts or watch her silly television show. I hold myself to a higher standard and haven’t posed nude or ever publicly revealed that much of my body. Funny thing is after I competed at Miss America 10 years ago, I received an email from a Playboy publisher, but declined because I knew I wanted to be respected and taken seriously as a business person one day.

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Some, however, point out that she is a mother and question how someone with a young child could reveal so much? But you have to admit it’s probably because of her sensuality and sexuality that her daughter was brought into this world. Kardashian had done Playboy and other revealing published photo shoots before, so why should she stop now? All-in-all, it’s her choice and her decision to objectify herself. Some might say this demeans women and objectifies femininity. I think this being 2014 and soon to be 2015, a woman can do whatever she wants, and if she is empowered to showcase her assets, let it be. You can chose to ignore it, appreciate it, applaud it or hate it.

As you can see, chatter about her full-frontal images and shiny derriere will continue until the next shocking Kardashian installment is made. And if she wanted people to talk about her and her body, it’s working… even though the Internet didn’t actually break. She just left a dent some might never forget, even if they wanted to.

I finally made it to the Kona Coffee Festival

Aloha Kona!

Aloha Kona!

First let me start by saying… I don’t drink coffee. You’re probably asking yourself, why would anyone go to a coffee festival if they don’t like coffee? Well, thing is… for nearly 10 years I have been invited to judge the Miss Kona Coffee pageant, but due to work conflicts and schedule issues, I haven’t been able to make it. Thankfully, this year I was able to attend and made a full weekend out of it, with lots of sightseeing, special events, judging, eating and adventuring. I even brought along my dear friend, Cameo Fong, so we could celebrate her birthday during this trip.

Congrats to the new Miss Kona Coffee Ariel Enriquez and Miss Aloha Hawaii Keahi Delovio.

Congrats to the new Miss Kona Coffee Ariel Enriquez and Miss Aloha Hawaii Keahi Delovio.

From coffee, to crowns and culture… Hawaii Island is abuzz right now with special events centered around the 44th annual Kona Coffee Festival. Kicking off the weeklong event is the annual Miss Kona Coffee and Miss Aloha Hawaii scholarship pageant, a preliminary for the Miss Hawaii and Miss America pageant. As a former Miss Hawaii (2004), this was my first time judging a preliminary pageant, and I was honored to help judge this event and the Kona Coffee Recipe Contest the day after the pageant. See the gallery for more details on that delicious event.

After arriving on Hawaii Island on Thursday, I spent my first day visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (the lava flow is in Pahoa, not anywhere near Halema’uma’u), then taking a quick drive through Hilo and back to Kona. On Friday, I conducted pageant interviews at the Sheraton Kona Resort, then took a tour of Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC). Saturday was a free day, so I swam at the pool, got a massage at the spa, then judged the pageant that night. On Sunday morning, I had the honor of judging the KTA Super Stores Kona Coffee Recipe Contest, which also took place at the Sheraton. Later that day, I went to the beach and drove around Kona with my friend and Kona resident, Kalei Akaka, then had dinner with her parents before heading to the airport.

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It was an amazing trip with great experiences, awesome memories, good food and fun! It’s the perfect time of the year to experience Hawaii Island, with so many things to do, see, try and taste — even if you don’t like coffee. Funny thing is I like the flavor of coffee, but the caffeine makes me jittery and nervous. I loved judging the coffee recipe contest, though, because I was able to enjoy the nice flavor of coffee without the overwhelming kick from caffeine. Typically, the Kona Coffee Festival is the first weekend in November. If you love adventure, coffee and good times, check it out next year.

Here’s a look at my Hawaii Island adventures:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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After arriving in Kona, I hopped in a van and made the 91-mile voyage to Volcanoes National Park to see Halema'uma'u, the steam vents and lava tube. I had been before, but it was nice to see such a beautiful sight again.

Our Top 5: Shoyu chicken

FullSizeRender-5-350x283When it comes to local-style plate lunches, shoyu chicken is my go-to comfort food. With a divine combination of sweet and savory, shoyu chicken has long been a Hawaii specialty. It’s one of those dishes you can make by throwing all the ingredients into a pot, letting it cook slowly for hours and enjoying for days… if it lasts that long.

For the past few years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best shoyu chicken in Hawaii. Although some of the best I’ve had was made by a family member or brought to a pot luck, I’ve long been on the lookout for sumptuous, home-style versions available at restaurants and take-out spots. I even reached out to my friends and family members on the Neighbor Islands for recommendations.

saint louis 3When comparing shoyu chicken, I considered the following: depth of flavor, color, and the sauce had to be the right viscosity, seeping though the rice, but leaving a delicate layer on top that didn’t disappear. Most of all, the meat had to be moist and practically fall off the bone. I want to suck the bone dry and lick my fingers afterwards. Note: this criteria doesn’t take into account accompaniments like mac salad or tossed greens and is based on chicken and sauce only.

With that, here are my top 5 picks for the best places in Hawaii for shoyu chicken. I apologize in advance if you get a hankering for some shoyu chicken after reading this post.

No. 5: Surfside Spirits & Deli

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Located in Kihei, this deli's shoyu chicken ($7.95) is well seasoned and moist with a good balance of shoyu and sugar. Not too sweet and not too salty... just right! The portion is a little small, which is typical of most shoyu chicken plates. I really love the color the chicken gets from the sauce; you can see the nice sheen on this chicken that makes it look like it was immersed in shoyu and brown sugar for a good, long time.

Surfside Spirits & Deli
1993 South Kihei Road, Kihei, Maui
808-879-1385

 

Want more of Our Top 5

Here’s our full roundup of Our Top 5 picks

Project Kuleana gears up for second installment

Artists taking selfies during the Project Kuleana 2 shoot

Artists taking selfies during the Project Kuleana 2 shoot

Have you heard the word kuleana before? Literally translated from Hawaiian to English, in its most simple form, it means “right” or “responsibility.” Project Kuleana is a statewide musical project created by three local men in 2011, then launched last year. The organization is aimed at perpetrating the Hawaiian culture, music and education in our community and throughout the world.

This team of influential educators started the project with the intent that it would serve as a catalyst for others to recognize their responsibility to allow music to become a cultural priority and remind others, of Hawaiian descent or not, they have a right to learn the history of Hawaii and responsibility to perpetuate the cultural legacy.

Robert Cazimero recording in East Honolulu

Robert Cazimero recording in East Honolulu

Sound familiar? This project was inspired by a multimedia, musical movement called Playing for Change, which started in 2009 and utilized the Internet and music to connect people and communities around the world with a message of peace. Project Kuleana was born with that same idea in mind. Together, Sean Naleimaile, Kihei Nahale-a and Kamakoa Lindsey formed Project Kuleana hoping to capture Hawaii musicians performing idyllic songs of Hawaii, recorded and shot on location, in places that were significant and meaningful to the artists. “So we began compiling a list of people we knew; it was a huge list… What we wanted to do was to feature the individuals who were not necessarily the ‘star,’” Naleimalie said.

After the first Project Kuleana was complete, the crew had created new versions of classic Hawaii songs “Kaulana Na Pua,” written by Ellen Keho’ohiwoakalani Wright Pendergast in 1893, and “All Hawaii Stand Together,” by Liko Martin. These profound music videos were shot from the green pastures on Hawaii Island to the white beaches of Kauai’s north shore and featured such voices as Keali‘i Reichel, Palani Vaughn and Lady Ipo Kahaunaele.

When you watch these videos the music is enchanting and the editing is flawless. It gives me chicken skin every time I hear and watch them. To see these powerhouse performers collaborate and share the same message, it is very moving and empowering. “We had no idea what impact the videos would have,” Nahale-a said. Together all the videos created garnered close to half a million views online.

In the recording studio

In the recording studio

Now in the midst of their second installment, Project Kuleana has some new faces and some familiar ones joining the cast of their musical lineup, affectionately known as PK2. Artists like Robert Cazimero, Raiatea Helm and Taimane Gardner appear for the first time in the project. Each of the musicians volunteering their talents, their mana and their passion for Hawaiian music.

“We believe that there are so many opportunities to connect to music, to community and then back to the land,” Lindsey Asing said. The team is still shooting, recording and on location capturing PK2 across the state. This is thanks to a grant from Hawaii Tourism Authority, production partners ‘Oiwi TV and OHA who has lent support for the project.

At the end of November the team will travel to the 2014 Nga Pae O Te Maramatanga International Indigenous Development Research Conference in Aotearoa. There they will speak about the use of media, from the Project Kuleana perspective, and how it can engage healthy families and the community. Also at the conference they will showcase a soft premiere of the new videos being filmed and edited right now.

Project Kuleana is aiming to launch their new campaign by the end of the year, so look out for it in December. In the meantime you can follow their adventures and updates on Facebook.

Here’s a gallery of images for a sneak peek at what the new videos will feature and look like, plus scroll down to view the videos they released in 2013. To this day many people will say, “I love this song,” when they hear it, myself included.

Project Kuleana

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Uncle Piggy Kaleohano at the Merrie Monarch Stage

Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K are reunited

Amy and Willie reunionIt’s a project long overdue: Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K. have reunited to again create beautiful music together.

Hawaii’s powerful musical duo have spent the past year in Willie’s Maui recording studio, crafting lyrics, writing music and collaborating on a completely new original album titled, “Reunion.” The CD officially drops on Nov. 11, but Melissa Chang and I last night celebrated with the artists at a preview event at Washington Place. There, the two sang a few new songs, along with some past favorites, to revive the mele. And yes, it felt and sounded good.

After being partnered in 1993 by Mountain Apple Company’s Jon DeMello, Amy and Willie worked together, toured together and were even in a relationship for nine years. There was great synergy in their sounds and spirits. But the pair then split up and ventured into separate directions, personally and professionally. While Willie went to Europe, Amy headed to Japan, and their careers and new personal relationships blossomed separately.

As luck would have it, two years ago at a wedding, the two were asked to sing the Hawaiian Wedding Song. They hadn’t performed together in a decade, and it was that night that the concept of coming together to produce a reunion album was born.

“We are stepping outside of the hula skirt,” Willie says, explaining the new album started with 52 songs and had to be whittled down to 10. “We’ve updated our genre and style, added her R&B flare and my rock-n-roll influence; it’s still a Hawaiian contemporary album, but with some traditional and personalized influences.”

Amy describes the reunion as like riding a bike. “Coming back into the studio with him was emotional, refreshing and comforting; I could do songs in one take,” she says.

Eager to share their new project with the world, the pair will soon tour across the islands, the East and West Coasts and Europe. “We want people to be entertained by the music and not just hear another CD; it’s going to make them laugh and cry,” Willie says.

Amy and Willie performed at Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signing of the same-sex marriage bill last December. That was a bit of a teaser for the album to come. On Wednesday, Abercrombie surprised them by proclaiming Oct. 15, 2014 as “Amy Hanaialii and Willie K. Day in Hawaii.”

Here’s one of the new songs they performed at last night’s event, showing Amy’s R&B flair with Willie’s rock-n-roll style:

A look at the scene at Washington Place last night for their album launch:

Amy and Willie reunion

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—Photo by Melissa Chang