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

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.

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.


Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.

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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.