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Meet Alex Chester-Iwata of Mixed Asian Media

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Chester-Iwata.

Hi Alex, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Growing up, I was a child actor in Los Angeles, and so often, I was told I was not Asian enough to play Asian, and I was not white enough to play white. The racist stories I could tell would take up this whole page.

This narrative of not fitting in and not being enough of my racial identity has stuck with me throughout my adult life. I was so tired of not seeing mixed Asian Pacific Islander representation in mainstream media. I also wanted a space for the mixed API community to share their stories and experiences and ultimately find healing within this space. That is why I started Hapa Mag in 2017, now known as Mixed Asian Media.

I am fortunate enough that many of my dearest friends happen to be of mixed Asian heritage and in 2017, I said to a few of them that we should start our own magazine, and fortunately, they thought it was a great idea and here we are, five years later and Mixed Asian Media is recognized by the Nielsen Consumer Report on Asian Americans and we are the leading media platform for the mixed API community.

Not only do we have a digital platform where we share articles, op-ed pieces, and exclusive interviews, but we also have a festival celebrating the mixed Asian Pacific Islander community through the creative lens. Mixed Asian Media Fest is happening virtually starting Sept 14th and in-person in NYC on Sept 16th – 18th.

Mixed Asian Media (MAM) is a collaborative media platform created by Multiracial, Mixed Asian Americans. We seek to build community by exploring what it means to be of mixed Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian descent. We engage our audiences through original editorial pieces, exclusive celebrity interviews, and photoshoots by highlighting achievements from the community and showcasing businesses, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
By no means has creating and running Mixed Asian Media been a smooth road. For one thing, we are a team of all volunteers, this is slowly changing thanks to other amazing Asian-led media companies like JoySauce who want to help and support MAM. However, my co-founder and managing editor Sam Tanabe and I probably work on MAM 40+ hours per week. This is on top of our acting careers -working on MAM – and having a life can be extremely taxing mentally. My Creative Director, Lauren Nakao Winn, also works outside of MAM as a professional photographer for major fashion brands and continues to make MAM’s aesthetic on point. Our writers contribute their time and energy by interviewing various celebs, and writing op-ed pieces, while also living their lives and working their jobs. Another challenge has been that none of us went to school for this aka running a business. We are quite literally making this up as we go. I, myself, have a BA in dance. Fortunately, I have found that many aspects of being an actor spill over into this entrepreneur world. All this is to say that while there have been many challenges, financially and emotionally, my team and I have never given up and it’s starting to pay off.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Mixed Asian Media?
Mixed Asian Media is a digital media outlet created by multiracial, mixed Asian/Pacific Islanders. We seek to build community through conversations about what it means to be of mixed Asian descent and establish our place in society.

Recognized by the Nielsen Asian American Consumer Report, MAM is the leader in the mixed Asian narrative. We engage our audience through original editorial pieces, exclusive celebrity interviews, and photoshoots by highlighting achievements from the community and showcasing mixed businesses, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

People of mixed Asian heritage are an untapped demographic, often overlooked in Asian American media. MAM highlights mixed achievements and amplifies mixed voices. We believe representation and diversity matter in all mediums. Through our platform, our stories are being told, paving the path for future generations of mixed APIs.

We have featured some amazing mixed API’s including Jessica Henwick, Cole Walliser, Jason Tobin, Michelle Zauner aka Japanese Breakfast, Kourtney Kang & Peyton Elizabeth Lee, and Andrew Koji to name a few.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
This September 14th – 18th, we are hosting our 2nd annual Mixed Asian Media Fest (MAMF.) MAM Fest will be an in-person and virtual celebration of mixed Asian & Pacific Islanders who express themselves through creative art forms — including film, theatre, art, dance, and more! The in-person portion of the festival will take place at Prime Produce in New York City, Sept 16th-18th.

To be part of this festival, at least one person of mixed Asian or Pacific Islander descent must be part of the creative team, producorial team, and/or cast.

Mixed Asian Media (MAM) is a collaborative digital outlet created by multiracial, mixed Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs). We seek to build a community through conversations about what it means to be of mixed Asian/Pacific Islander descent and find intersectionality in the search for our ever-evolving place in society.

To be mixed API is to be part of a diverse and growing population with many perspectives. We provide a platform to explore pertinent experiences, build powerful relationships, and discover sought-after clarity in the mixed-Asian narrative. We believe that representation and diversity matter in all mediums. From every issue of our magazine to the annual creative festival, we strive to capture mixed Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) stories and experiences through all of our current and future mediums.

For tickets, please visit http://www.MAMF.eventbrite.com

Contact Info:

Image Credits
AAPI Democracy Project with Alex Chester-Iwata & Sam Tanabe – Photo by Brittany Anikka Liu MAM Presents – Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner – Photo & Creative Direction by Lauren Nakeo Winn

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