Pageant Crown [Image: Google Images]

The First All Asian-American Reality Show on American Television

ASEAN Philippines

Filipino media giant — ABS-CBN International — introduces its first English-language reality show that will be showed on American TV. The People’s Queen centers around two pageant coaches who are training five contestants to compete for crowns. The show premiered October 24, 2018 and it is the first reality show with an all Asian-American cast that is American produced. It is also one of the first TV programs in general to feature an all Asian-American cast on American television, alongside others such as Fresh Off the Boat. The show is described as a cross-over between Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and America’s Next Top Model.

One of the pageant coaches on The People’s Queen said that Filipinos are enthusiastic about pageants because they present a chance for a diverse group of women to be represented, something that they say is needed in American media. Pageants are becoming more evolved and show women with various body types, skin complexions, and hair textures. Pageantry is no longer about simply looking beautiful, now it focuses on contestants’ personalities and values. If contestants want to be successful, they must overcome self-doubt, making the show not just empowering for Asians, but all women.

Of the estimated 20 million Asian Americans in the United States, 36% identify as being from ASEAN, with Vietnam and the Philippines being the most popular places of origin.

Asian-Americans have long been a part of the film industry. The annual Asian-American International Film Festival boasts America’s first and longest running film festival of its kind and features Asian-American as well as indie Asian cinema in the hopes of promoting diversity in the film industry.

Asia has also been a large revenue source for Hollywood. China in particular has recently beat American box office totals in 2018’s first quarter with China at $3.17 billion and North America at $2.85 billion. This is not the first time that China’s sales have surpassed America’s. In 2015 films like Pacific Rim and Transformers: Age of Extinction brought in more box office money from China than their American counterparts.

Asia has become such a big influence that American media companies are beginning to remake Asian dramas. In particular, Korean dramas has become increasingly popular with Americans in recent years and ABC even based their new show “Somewhere Between,” on the Korean drama “God’s Gift.”

Celine Mahne is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington. She is a third-year undergraduate student at the George Washington University studying International Affairs, concentrating in Security Policy and minoring in Korean.