Asian hair

Do you know Asian hair is the most difficult to cut?

Four words: Black. Straight. Thick. Coarse.

And I was, all of the above. Plus I have more than three swirls in the back.

Why is it so hard?

  • Because it’s black, it’s heavy visually.
  • Because it’s straight, every cut shows. You can’t afford too many fuck-ups.
  • Because it’s thick, you need to trim a lot without making the client look like he just had a round of chemo.
  • Because it’s coarse, it tends to blow up if you never studied this type of hair cuticle.
  • And lastly, because you are dealing with swirls, you need to engage probably three or more different techniques (concave, overdirection, blending shears) to cut around or along.


In Shanghai, finding a legit hairdresser is not so much a scarcity issue, but more of a budget and vicinity issue. However, it was a nearly mission impossible when I moved to LA in 2015.

Why didn’t I grow my hair long like other Chinese women living abroad? Well, long hair was too much work for me because of my cursed greasy scalp. For the record, I did grow out my hair three tries before I called it a total strike-out.

I heard more than a few times how scarce good Asian-hair hairdresser was in the US. Then I arrived. It was, well, by and large the truth.

Here are some observations and lessons-learnt:

  • Unlike Shanghai where men dominate the hairdressing business; in LA, there are many more women cutting hair.
  • At first I went to a hair salon school for my monthly trim. It was cheap, good, although time-consuming. Because the hairdressers there were students who just began to learn cutting hair. I was their guinea pig.
  • Either the students cried for their sensei to save my hair, or I would end up screaming for supervisor to rescue me from some ballsy students’ attempts to be Edward Scissorhands IX.
  • Overtime, I learned a bank full of haircutting jargons, in order to convey what I want.
  • After I started working, I found a new hair salon in Westwood by a Vietnamese American couple, I gave it a try. It was expensive plus tip. But totally worth the money and the time. The hairdressers not only learned their techniques at the Vidal Sassoon Academy that is known for stylizing short hair, they also had trainings in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Before the Westwood joint, the owners used to cut hair in San Gabriel, where the Chinese populated.


In order to be the best, you need to cut as much Asian hair as possible. I asked my new Shanghai hairdresser today when a protégé can really start cutting hair that is not off the mannequin heads or their empathetic friends. He replied, “Three years. He can start cutting clients’ hair but it doesn’t mean he’s any good yet.”

Let’s do the math here:

  • You get a steady stream of Asian hair,
  • On an hourly basis,
  • Within a shop that opens from 10 am to 10 pm,
  • You take one day off per week,
  • You work through holidays like the Chinese New Year…

How much better and how much faster would you be comparing to the students in the LA beauty schools who may very well flip the fuck out when I’m assigned to them? And some really did…

The next question I’m thinking is:
So, where is the ‘Asian hair’ in the trade of screenwriting?


Yours truly,

The Likes

I changed my Facebook profile photo, finally.

I turned off the notification and hid it from the Timeline.

I thought I was in the clear until a friend texted, “Nice hat.”

Damn, the picture.

I was still getting those Likes.


I told the friend how I felt being exposed.

His reply opened me up.

It’s about being shameless and knowing what you’re willing to die on.

So what are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?

For example: I am willing to show people sloppy versions of my scripts because I want to be known as somebody who writes a lot. Somebody else might be more of a perfectionist and do twice as many revisions, but have half as many scripts and/or notes. But that’s what I sacrifice.

Since I’ve chosen to be on social media, I’ve chosen to give away some privacy for exposure and visibility.

If you don’t like to be Liked, don’t post.

If you don’t want to be read, don’t write.

If you don’t want to be criticized, don’t do a thing.


You do it, I do it, because we know we have a voice. We deserve to be heard.


Yours truly,

PS. Listen to the latest RBYZ podcast if you haven’t already. The guest is truly one of a kind! Episode show notes here.
PPS. Clocked in 103 words. Tallying 60,406 words. 14.8 days remaining.


Lost in translation

China has a counterpart of everything the world wants to sell her.

  • Alibaba > Amazon (inc. Amazon Studio) + eBay;
  • Baidu <<< ∞ Google (you see where my loyalty lies);
  • Tencent >>> ∞ Snapchat + Instagram + FaceBook + PayPal:
  • Xiaomi <?> Apple;
  • Ximalaya FM #wtf? Podcast.


Let’s talk about Ximalaya FM for a moment.

I just created my own Ximalaya [pronounce: Himalaya] account. Uploaded a photo with YZ holding her passport. It’s how IoT is done in China these days, making sure you’re legit before you get to be read, heard, or seen.

So dude, if you say anything inappropriate, we know who you are, where you live and your cell phone number. No pressure, just wanna make sure you watch your mouth.

That is to say, we show you the box and want you to think inside.  We’ll cut off the protruding tentacles if you dare try.

But that’s not my concern.

For my podcast, it’s interviews. And yet, when I select genre on Ximalaya, the best fit is actually “English.” Yep.

I clicked on the English section and see where my, quote and unquote, competition lies, they’re all about teaching English from grammar to American culture. The cover arts are in Chinese too.

What about the show description?

Here is what #RBYZ looks like in English:

Rock Bottom hits anybody at anytime and anywhere. The good news is, it discriminates no one. The bad news is, it’ll hit again. But the worst news is, nobody talks about it. Your host YZ bugs folks from all walks of life and zeros in on their Rock Bottoms. So we all gain some 20/20 before it’s hindsight.

In Chinese, it has to be one-sixth of the Twitter word limit (120 divided by 6) and let’s be catchy, shall we? Or at least, try.

That said, every Chinese word will carry the weight of some six English words, or more.

It’ll be something like this:

Shanghai-born bilingual screenwriter gurl (trying too hard?), chasing dream in LA, zero in on rock bottom, w/ creative souls around the globe.

Well, you get the idea…

Let’s see how my future Chinese fans would respond to my show. Soon I think I should record some Chinese intro to ease them into the program.

Gotta get Crazy Rich and find a PA like Andy Sachs.

And in my pitch-perfect Miranda Priestly impression:

That’s all. 


Yours truly,