Arden Cho and YUNA are ready to live. The Avatar: The Last Airbender actress and R&B singer have partnered with the clothing brand Love, Bonito for their new brand identity called “Ready-To-Live, Not Just Ready-To-Wear,” which aims to pay homage to the brand founders’ Asian heritage, along with uplifting fellow Asian voices.

J-14 exclusively spoke to the two stars via email, where they spoke about breaking Asian stereotypes, what “ready-to-live” means to them and being proud of their heritage. Keep reading for our exclusive Q&A with Arden and YUNA.

First, tell us about your partnership with Love, Bonito.

Arden:  I’ve been a fan of the brand, and I love supporting a woman CEO! Additionally, I align with Love, Bonito’s mission of empowering women and amplifying our stories. Throughout my entire career, I’ve faced obstacles, and I’ve heard “no” more times than I can count. However, I’ve committed my career to changing the way people perceive Asians. Growing up, I encountered racism from teachers and experienced it in classrooms and public spaces. Sadly, even as an adult, I’ve encountered racism more times than I can count, even on set while filming. I’ve had to work with people who didn’t believe someone who looked like me should be a lead which led to vast discrimination and terrible treatment. Despite these challenges, I’m immensely proud of my Asian heritage, and I’m here to stay. I will continue to fight for our stories to be told, our faces to be seen, and, of course, because I love acting and storytelling.

love, bonito
Love, Bonito

YUNA: I feel deeply connected to Ready-to-live. I am a go-getter and passionate about life, always striving to live my best life, so I was drawn to it and thrilled to work with Love, Bonito for the first time. Having worked in the music scene for 15 years—3 years in Malaysia and 12 years in the US — I can confidently say that as an Asian Muslim woman, you have to work twice as hard to get your work noticed, though it shouldn’t be that way. When I first started my career in the US, I was uncertain and felt very lonely because I didn’t conform to the Hollywood norms. I feared my career would be short-lived. However, it all worked out in the end. I’m proud to say I’m still true to myself, rooted in Asian values, while professionally evolving. In the entertainment industry, artists are often pressured to sacrifice their identity and values to fit the Hollywood mold, something I strongly oppose. I’m fortunate to have a supportive team and family who have encouraged me and reminded me of my purpose every step of the way, boosting my confidence to be authentic.

I love that Love, Bonito is all about empowering women and creating a safe space for the community. Partnering with such a passionate brand is an incredible opportunity, and I proudly represent my Asian values, cultures, and heritage.

What does “Ready-to-live, not just ready-to-wear” mean to you?

Arden: Ready-to-live, for me, feels like it’s about NOW, living in the present moment. It’s about embracing the now rather than constantly deferring happiness to some future milestone like being more successful, losing weight, getting married, or any other ‘fill in the blank’ goal. We all have aspirations, but it’s essential to appreciate the journey and find joy in the present. So, be ready to live now and find contentment with who you are at this moment. Embrace all the imperfections that make us truly beautiful and unique.

YUNA: To me, “Ready-to-live” means going out there and being yourself no matter what, handling the daily challenges while remaining your most authentic self.

What do you hope to accomplish with this new brand identity?

Arden: I want to share with the audience that nobody is ever fully prepared, so there’s no need to fear. What I love about being in my 30s is that I’ve reached a point where I no longer concern myself with others’ opinions. I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin and body, without comparing myself to anyone else. Don’t let your fears and insecurities hold you back, the only one stopping you is you. You have to believe in yourself first for the world to believe in you. I recently had a conversation with a young woman I mentor, who is incredibly hard on herself – a trait common among many women. We tend to be our own harshest critics, saying things to ourselves that we would never utter to others. This self-criticism carries significant weight and profoundly impacts our self-perception. It’s imperative to break this habit. Stand before the mirror and affirm to yourself that you are amazing, you are great, and you are crushing it! Reiterate these affirmations until you start believing it because it is true! Armed with this positive mindset, you can confidently navigate life, work, and relationships; ready to win and ready to live.

YUNA: I want to share with my fellow Asian women who feel like they are not ready for life’s moments, encouraging them to view it as an opportunity to seize the day. We don’t have unlimited time; we are like burning candles, like shooting stars—we shine for that one moment. So, it’s up to you and you alone to make your time in this world worthwhile.

love, bonito
Love, Bonito

Arden, tell us about working on Avatar: The Last Airbender!

Arden: It’s been a truly amazing experience. So great to see the love and response from fans after the premiere of season one. I’m so excited to hear we’ve already been renewed for seasons two and three and hoping we’ll get to see more of June!

YUNA, are you working on any new music that you can tell us about?

YUNA: Last year was a big year for me musically, I put out two EPs Battle and Masih Sunyi – which I’m trying to let breathe in the music sphere a little bit more. That said, I am currently in writing sessions with some of my favorite collaborators and producers and working on new material. In the meantime, I do have a Malay-language single featuring a special guest, which I’ll be releasing around July/August, so keep an eye out for that.

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