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After being frustrated by Hollywood's portrayal of Asians, one woman took action.

'If you want to flip the script, sometimes you gotta do it yourself.'

Do you ever watch a movie and think, "Hey, that person looks just me"? Unfortunately, that rarely happens for this woman.

Meet Michelle Villemaire. She's an Asian-American Do-It-Yourself project guru living in Los Angeles. And don't let her friendly smile fool you — she's actually kinda annoyed right now.


Villemaire is not a happy camper. Photo from Michelle Villemaire, used with permission.

For as long as she can remember, Villemaire has wanted to be a television personality.

But for most of her life, she figured she didn't have a shot because there was hardly anyone on the big (or small) screen who resembled her.

Throughout history, and even today, many Asian characters are played by non-Asians. Villemaire calls it yellowface, and she doesn't mince words when it comes to how she feels about it.

"The practice of yellowface is just plain racist and disgusting," Villemaire said. "It has to stop."

That's why she decided to take on her most unique DIY project to date: calling out Hollywood's yellowface problem in epic fashion.

First, she found examples of white people portraying Asian characters in movies. Then she inserted photos of herself next to them to show the world that Asians can be amazing in the roles that were meant for them.

She called the project "Correcting Yellowface."

"I wanted to feel like I was a part of Hollywood history, if only for a moment," Villemaire said. "I didn't know if the results would look right, but apparently they did."

Check out four stunning examples of Villemaire depicting Asian characters. She appears on the right in all of the photo sets:

1. Luise Rainer playing the wife of a Chinese farmer in the 1937 movie "The Good Earth."

Photos provided by Michelle Villemaire and used with permission.

2. Myrna Loy as the Chinese daughter of Fu Manchu in the 1932 movie "The Mask of Fu Manchu."

3. Katharine Hepburn playing (you guessed it) a Chinese woman in the 1944 movie "Dragon Seed."

4. Yep, it happens in present-day movies, too. Emma Stone played a half-Asian woman in the 2015 movie "Aloha."

Photo by Matt Dusig, used with permission.

But that's not all. Villemaire has even more examples on her website.

Villemaire says the response to her work has been largely positive.

"There really has only been love and support," she said. "It just shows there's a collective desire for this."

Ultimately, her goal is to use her project to inspire the Asian community to never give up on their Hollywood dreams.

"One woman told me that she felt healed after seeing my photos," she said, beaming. "My heart is still fluttering because of that."

Breaking into showbiz is no joke, and Villemaire knows it can be harder if you're a person of color.

"But if you want to flip the script, sometimes you gotta do it yourself," she said.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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