everything's fine with Jenny Yang
everything's fine with Jenny Yang Podcast
he said "you can't be an actor. your nose is too big."

he said "you can't be an actor. your nose is too big."

joke's on you. i'm acting in a netflix show now. muahahahahahah!
this has been my official and only “acting headshot” for a few years. i think i still look like that. i should probably get new photos taken lol. photo by my sister the genius kim newmoney

my taiwanese immigrant family didn’t really have friends. they were all work friends from my dad’s job at China Airlines who had to move their families to Los Angeles for work just like us. back when we all socialized, there was this barbeque during one of the summers when I was back home from college.

one of the kids, let’s call him Burton, was my age and we were catching up. Burton arrived “fresher off the boat” than me. he got to Torrance when he was like 13 years old. i immigrated when i was 5. his English and socializing skills didn’t quite catch up until senior year of high school. my friends started noticing him because he was a tall Asian guy and getting handsome. turns out after high school, Burton started pursuing acting and singing back in Taiwan.

what? oh yeah? i never knew you wanted to be an actor, Burton. i was shocked. he was so shy! well, i guess you can get kinda shy when it’s a whole new culture and you’re still working on your english.

he was like, yeah. i’ve been auditioning for tv and commercials in taiwan.

oooh. how do you like it?

it’s fun and i get to hang out with cute girls lol.

how did you know you wanted to act?

i don’t know. it’s cool to be on tv.

i took a beat to process all this. i didn’t know what compelled me to say this but i asked him, do you think i could be an actor on tv?

he looked at me, inspecting me, then hesitated to say something so I was like, what?!

he said, dead serious, you can’t be an actor. your nose is too big.

what? what are you talking about?

you have to look a certain way that’s all. and your nose it’s too big, he said with a chuckle.

i’m not sure how i reacted in that moment. what i do recall is that conversation stuck with me. why? i didn’t want to pursue entertainment until many years later! i was still in my “i want to save the world” and devote my life to “The Cause” phase. (i mean i still wanna save the world but also save myself so i don’t just obliterate into nothingness in this life and get to feel some happiness and joy and shit).

but it was the commentary on my damn nose. that one hurt.

keep reading! but hey if you like this post so far, it is public so feel free to share it.


it was always painfully clear how far my looks strayed from the pretty girls on tv. i didn’t need some dude to point this out in casual conversation. because as a young girl i always felt this kind of body policing and judging from everything everywhere all at once (dope movie btw).

like this one time. my mom had a friend who was younger and more girlie than her. unlike my mom, this auntie wore bright makeup, tight clothes and flirted with everyone. i was a chubby middle school kid just minding my business watching tv while mom was chatting with auntie. all of a sudden their attention turned to me.

you know if you get her tighter pants and a belt you can train her waist to look smaller.

oh yeah? my mom considered this and laughed. you think that’s something you would do, daughter?

i’m like no why would i do that?

so you can look more girlie and prettier.

auntie was the doctor of femininity and couldn’t be stopped with her prescription.

she should also do this regularly. every day. pinch you nose so it gets smaller. i do this whenever i’m watching tv and before i go to bed at night. it’ll help with her nose.

what the hell is happening? i’m just minding my business and now i got shit to do?

all this is to say, fuck you, Burton. hahahahahahahahah. my ass got cast as a Taiwanese assassin of an organized crime family for Netflix called The Brothers Sun and my big ass nose is gonna be all up on a tv screen for you to see.

i didn’t get into comedy and entertainment after dropping a successful career in politics for this moment but let’s just say i did because that feels delightful. this is now my revenge saga origin story.


a coda: i got my nose from my dad. he passed away late last year and was a huge pain in the ass but i miss him every day. i’m so sad that he’s gone. today is father’s day and i’m reminded that we don’t all get the fathers we needed to feel loved and nurtured. and that it’s okay to feel complicated things when everyone is posting their loving tributes to their fathers on social media.

so just for today…if you managed to read to the end here (congrats to you thank you for your commitment!) comment on this post and call me DAD. i will reply with a loving affirmation you wish you would’ve always wanted to hear from you own pappy.

Leave a comment

everything's fine with Jenny Yang
everything's fine with Jenny Yang Podcast
everything’s fine with Jenny Yang is your weekly reminder to find joy in an unjust world. jenny’s thoughts and stories about love, grief, weird shit, and doing what we can to feel okay. this thing may morph into something else. who knows? i hope to touch your heart and tickle your sphincters. and if you like it, please share this with a friend and subscribe and comment.
<3 jenny