Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | I admit it, Ada Wong’s Asian American journey has got me DVR-ing “The Biggest Loser”
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I admit it, Ada Wong’s Asian American journey has got me DVR-ing “The Biggest Loser”

Here’s Ada Wong‘s audition for “The Biggest Loser.” She made it to the Final Four contestants out of 21 this season the episode that aired tonight. Her personal story of family dysfunction — hard-ass Asian parents who criticized her all her life and didn’t support her three-month stay on the Biggest Loser ranch — has made her a favorite with other contestants and trainers. And, her story has resonated with Asian Americans who identify with her struggle against cultural values and family pressure.

Her talk with her family about her feelings (which she’d aired on episodes and in media interviews) was frank and satisfying, with her parents finally realizing how they’ve battered her soul.

It was as moving for me to see her dad tell her he loves her (even though he doesn’t show it) as it was for her. And it made me laugh to see her dad hug her in that oh-so-Asian dad way, with the tentative Asian pats on the back.

Favorite moment: She had to use a port-a-potty halfway through the marathon and poop on national TV. How embarrassing — but how real.

In the end she didn’t lose as much weight as we’d hoped, so it’s up to viewers to vote for her to be one of the finalists next week. I hope she gets in. This is the first time she’s been below the “Yellow Line” because of the low percentage of weight loss at the weigh-in, and I can only imagine how she feels. It’s like getting a B and you know your parents are gonna say, “Why didn’t you get an A?”

But win or lose, she’s a terrific role model, for everyone, but especially, for Asian Americans. You go, girl.

(Cross-posted from