Reality Bites Back:

Stacking up reality TV stars.

May 1, 2005

Don’t blink. You might miss that one Asian American on TV.

IT SEEMS LIKE the only Asian Americans on mainstream TV these days are in reality shows, from Survivor to The Apprentice. Some have made us laugh. Others have made us cringe uncontrollably. A few have made lasting impressions on pop culture—and not always in a good way. Here’s how five of the most memorable 15-minutes-of-famers stacked up. —Kuong Ly

America’s Next Top Model, Season 2

Episode 9

Episode 13

The audition


Host Tyra Banks lifts April’s hopes, telling her there is a demand for women of color in modeling. She’s eliminated before the final round.

Lucy Liu on defrost

Model Minority



Asexual Math Geek


Lack of personality.

Pursuing a modeling and acting career.

The Apprentice, Season 2

Dropping her skirt for $20.

Lisa Ling with spreadsheets

Good with numbers, not with ideas.

Pursuing start-up business opportunities.

ivana ma

Real World San Diego

Having a heart-to-heart talk with her Korean mother, whom she can barely communicate with.

Ming-Na gone Hooters

Uptalking? Like, all the time?

jamie chung

American Idol, Season 3

“She Bangs! She Bangs!”

Long Duk Dong

Turned down free body overhaul on Extreme Makeover.

Performing in Asia to raise money for tsunami victims.

william hung

Last Comic Standing, Season 1

First Asian American to win a competition in a reality television show.

Margaret Cho minus the colonic

Three years later, still telling the same jokes.

Performing stand-up through-out the U.S.

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