For those who don't belong in the 1.3 billion (me!), that's "hello" in Chinese; Mandarin dialect to be specific. Now, not only can you greet one-fifth of the planet, you can say a proper "hi" to the fine Asian specimen spread out in front of you. Residing in L.A. by way of Taipei, Taiwan (Yes, we know the political intricacies of China-Taiwan relations, but we're not going to get into that. You are reading Import Tuner, not Import Relations magazine), English is a second language to Maureen Chen-"Sexy", being her first. Zing!
Interview By Carter Jung
When did you leave Taiwan for the States?
I remember the exact date: February 12, 2008. I'll never forget because my mom and I were crying at the airport.
Sad, but astounding! For only two years, your English is remarkable! How did you learn to speak?
I started learning English in school when I was 12, but I learned a lot from music and movies when I was young.
Do you remember the first English word you learned?
'Fuck'. [laughter] Some of my classmates were joking around with it.
It is the most versatile word in the English vocabulary. What's the equivalent in Taiwanese?
'Gan'! It sounds very gangster, right?
Gan yeah! What's a good pick-up line in Taiwanese?
Li Jing Shwee. It means you are so pretty in Taiwanese. Every girl would love to hear that!
Taiwan versus mainland China, what's the cultural difference between the two?
Taiwan is more liberal, while mainland China is conservative. For example, you can watch Youtube in Taiwan, but not in China.
Which side does Panda Express hail from?
Neither! It's more like American-Chinese food. Like how Taco Bell is not real Mexican food.
Maybe not, but Mexican pizzas sure are the bee's knees. Can you cook Chinese food?
Yes! My specialties are beef stew noodle, Ja-Jiang Mein, and stir fry dishes.
So why do we get hungry after an hour of eating Chinese food?
Our servings are smaller! And you Americans have bigger appetites.
Yes! Everyone deserves to have freedom.
What's your favorite American restaurant?
I love In-n-Out's protein burger, and little bacon cheeseburgers from Five Guys Burgers.
For a girl who likes burgers, how do you keep your body in shape?
I do Tae-bo, cardio, and a lot of crunches with 10-pound dumbbells everyday. I have a collection of DVDs at home.
Besides the burgers, what else do you like about the States?
The mixed demographic and the California sunshine-it rains a lot in Taiwan.
What do you miss most about Taiwan?
I miss my family and the awesome food. I also miss the nightlife there and how everything is cheaper-no tax or tips!
Bai Ling and Lucy Liu: do you think they're hot?
I think they're hot in their own ways. Both of them are a great inspiration to the Asian American women out there. Bai Ling is a little too wild for me, though.
Those two have to be the least attractive Asian women, ever. Who's the hottest Chinese celebrity?
Bruce Lee. He needs some water 'cuz he's still sizzlin'. WATTAAAAA!
If you had to pick: Jackie Chan or Yao Ming?
Jackie Chan because he can be my body guard and teach me how to do flips. Yao Ming is too tall and slow for me.
What was the biggest American culture shock?
I never understood why Americans wear their outdoor shoes inside the house.
Because we like our floors like our women-dirty. Did you start modeling back in Asia or here in the States? How did you start modeling?
I started modeling in Asia. I was recognized by an agent while I was eating on the street.
A street vendor? In the States it would have been the mall. Did you end up booking a gig from the encounter?
Yes, I ended up being a host for a traveling show, and I was also in a commercial for the MRT (Metro Rapid Transportation).
What were your favorite and least favorite experiences working the travel show?
The best was staying at a five-star hotel for free. The worst was having to eat birds and chicken testicles.
I almost had to eat cock balls in Tokyo. Couldn't do it. It started oozing white stuff on the grill. Gross. What other modeling did you do in Taiwan?
I did lingerie, bikinis, and bridal catalogs. I was also in commercials, was a spokesmodel for tradeshows, and did a reality show. In addition to that, I was also a radio co-host and a dancer for a techno music dance group.
Once you were in the States, how did modeling come about?
I was getting booked by photographers who spotted me at a modeling website.
What was your first car show?
The Nisei show in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
And I met you at Formula D. What did you think of drifting?
Drifting looks much more difficult than other types of racing. It's amazing to see the drifters-it's like they're floating on the pavement!
Are you into cars?
I love cars!
What's your favorite?
I like the Lexus IS F-it's fast, roomy and affordable.
Well, I should mention that we, in fact, have an IS F Lexus so graciously loaned as a project car. We just need to go over to Tein and pick it up. What do you do for fun?
I like to play video games and cook.
What games do you play?
Little Planet, Rock Band, and Modern Warfare 2. Sometimes it's good to be a bit violent at times, but only in video games.
Do you have any special talents/abilities?
I can naturally cut people's and my little puppy's hair. I also do nail art.
Have any secrets?
I like walking around the house naked, but my mom is Buddhist and she gets pissed. When I'm at home, she thinks I should put on some clothes because there's a Buddha statue in the living room.
I don't think Buddha would mind. Have any embarrassing drunk stories?
There was this one time I drank so much that I tried doing the Moonwalk in heels. Don't ever try that . . . trust me.
Up close and personal:
Styling By Diana Chan
Make Up By Val C For Iconimage.Net
Birthday: August 13th
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
My mom for raising me; my family; Garrick Chai; Tony Lee; Stephanie Chai; Randy Ly; the wonderful Import Tuner team: Val, Diana, Odessy, Andy and Carter, and all the 2NR readers!