House3
CLOSE
MENUCLOSE

How DJ So Super Sam Came To Terms With Her Asian Guilt

Music
Photographed By Joonie Jang.

An excerpt from the forthcoming issue of ‘Banana’ magazine

The following is an excerpt from issue 003 of Banana magazine, launching April 29. Read more about the project and its founders here.

“I laid a very helter skelter but solid foundation to be able to do what I’m doing right now. I don’t think I would be able to do it if I didn’t have all these very, VERY different experiences,” concluded Samantha Duenas.

Sam, under the moniker So Super Sam, controls two companies (an S-Corp and LLC), released the vocal EP Garden, and travels internationally to DJ her own sold out tours. She is a DJ/singer/dancer/ad executive/SEO copywriter/fashion publicist who grew up in the original “slash generation” before it became the movement it is today. As we ran through the laundry list of sharp twists and very wide turns—or as she calls it, “my little fucked up journey”—that got her where she is today, there was a gleam in her eye and conviction in her words that signaled a true moment of clarity. It was a realization that nothing in her drastic—and sometimes questionable—career moves had been accidental. Everything between the slashes is integral to the proverbial power suit she wears today.

Sam is a 5’1” Filipino American powerhouse who grew up torn between her left and right brain, while plagued with the oh-so-familiar Asian guilt that’s become part of the Asian American experience. Asian guilt takes on many forms, but a common feeling is that you’re not fulfilling the dutiful hopes and dreams your parents originally had for you. Sam did not grow up in a traditional immigrant Asian household—both her parents lived in Los Angeles after immigrating from the Philippines in the ‘70s, and her dad was even in a rock band. But Sam never got to witness firsthand the cultures and traditions that shaped her parents. They were reluctant to bring Sam and her sister to the Philippines, mostly for safety reasons at the time. Vicariously, however, Sam’s parents still held her to their Eastern values and she was taught to work harder than everyone else, focus on job security, and find a husband. “If you are not, in some way, shape or form, suffering, you’re not doing something right,” said Sam, explaining her parents’ expectations. “And that really fucked me up bad.”

Sam’s Asian guilt radar blinked furiously while pursuing a professional dance career in L.A. As she watched her parents head to work every morning, she felt she was failing to capitalize on the expensive degree they paid for, trading it in, instead, for Ashley Tisdale music video cameos. The guilt eventually drove her to give up on dancing and pursue a short stint in advertising. Though it satisfied Sam’s love for spreadsheets and provided her with job security, she yearned for a creative outlet. Eventually, she tried DJing, after a friend sold Sam his equipment. However, the guilt continued to loom, leading Sam to the aforementioned slash careers and a brief cross-country move to New York. It wasn’t until 2011, when she decided to hop on tour with Childish Gambino, that the vicious cycle finally ended.

“I jump on this tour bus and I’m like, 'I’m not getting a job, there is no fucking way!'” recalls Sam. “We played on this tour [where] I’m DJing and I’m like, there are 5,000 people here, and it was the first time I felt the warmth of the stage lights on my skin. [It was a feeling] I hadn’t felt since I was in a musical when I was 17. I was like, wow—I need it.”

This was the moment that spurred it all. After the tour, she moved right back to L.A. to focus on DJing as a career, quickly realizing that building So Super Sam as a brand actually encompassed elements of every job she’d worked. Being a dancer allowed her to perform better on stage; SEO copywriting helped her online presence; advertising and PR showed her how to market herself and operate a business. Everything tied together.

In 2015, Sam finally had the chance to experience her heritage firsthand when DJing brought her to her motherland. She described it as a trip full of collapsing emotion, immense realization, and a deep dose of guilt. Between the poverty, pollution, and corruption she saw during her short trip to Manila, she was moved to tears. Everything Sam thought she knew about the Philippines from her family and friends was different from what she saw with her own eyes.

"I was angry. I called my mom: 'I can't believe you guys never took me to the Philippines,'" said Sam. "I'm learning so much in the five minutes that I've been here, and I feel like I was robbed of my heritage for so long. But also I just felt really lucky that I was able to go to my mother country on my own, through a career that I built for myself, that afforded me this experience."

Hearing locals chant her name and sing along to every song she played made Sam realize that her voice and influence meant something to her native peers, and she describes that first trip to the Philippines as her most life changing experience. Since then, Sam has gone back to Manila a handful of times, but is yearning to stay longer and learn from her heritage. One of her goals this year is to return as a collective with fellow Filipino artists Mr. Carmack, Noodles, and Esta, to teach workshops and perform for the community. Though it’s a major undertaking, and Sam isn’t quite sure how to make it happen, something tells us her niche curriculum vitae will come in handy.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

True
FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

True
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

True
Asset 7
MORE in VIDEO
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

True