Ascend Zine

A monthly zine showcasing young Asian-American influencers.

In this issue, featured articles highlight the careers of comedian Ali Wong, biotech CEO Alice Zhang, and art collector Michael Huang.

All photography is self-shot.

  • Role Art Direction | Photography | Designer
  • Type Editorial Design

Meet Our Influencers

Focusing on people, I planned, executed, and shot my own photoshoots. Each influencer had a different concept based on the person’s industry and how they dominate in their scene.

Below are the opening spreads for each feature article.

The Motherload

The Concept

Inspiration originated from Ali Wong, whose humor demolishes any association with the “virginal mother.”

Her Netflix special “Baby Cobra” involved topics of her being a woman in comedy and how she uses motherhood as a tool in her jokes rather than a setback.

The shoot was take on the careless, undainty mom.

Photoshoot process. Feminine attire and child toys used to contrast with the subject’s apathy towards traditional motherhood.

Strobe lighting. Model/Ali Wong stand-in: Christina Ngo

We Want to Be Modern

The Concept

Michael Huang has been an art collector since he was 16. At 22 he is a co-founder of a private art museum in Beijing. He is all about art and luxury.

To make the subject interact with and be "one with the art," I projected art pieces onto his body.

Photo process shots using a light projector to place post-modernist art pieces onto the subject’s body.

The Concept (Revisited)

To have more connection between him and his love for art, I used patterns and his pull quotes to make him the art form.

Epson projector. Model/Michael Huang stand-in: George Gu

On the Verge

The Concept

Alice Zhang was nearly complete with her PhD in genomics, but wanted to go deeper into the field than what her studies had to offer.

She broke away from her program and broke stereotypes by becoming a woman Asian-American CEO.

I had the subject interact with DNA and deep thinking symbols to display the idea of breaking free and carving her own path.

Strobe lighting. Model/Alice Zhang stand-in: Yna Divinagracia


Issue 1 – Silly George

For its first publication, I wanted a fun interpretation on the USA’s first president. I had the “Ali Wong” be a proud Asian-American face to the traditional Washington.

(Intentionally tacky colonial hat and wig.)

Photoshoot process. Model: Christina Ngo

Issue 2 - Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz

Inspired by America’s classic sweethearts from “I Love Lucy.”

I enjoyed the show’s goofy nature, but drew more guidance from Lucy and Desi’s more brooding couple portraiture.

Photoshoot process. Traditional, happy-go-lucky 1950s couple. Followed by an old Hollywood vibe.

Models: Krystal Chong & Jalen Yoon

"Ascend" is to show Asian-Americans in roles that popular culture doesn’t often do.