The good, the bad, and the ugly oxen
Which celebrity born in the year of the ox wears the mantle well?
Last updated 2-5-09 at 1:50 p.m.
Joan Chen, Andy Lau, and George Takei
By Ryan Pangilinan
Northwest Asian Weekly
People who are born in the Year of the Ox are subject to rather ambitious
qualities. Even though there are those who represent
these attributes well, there are certainly others who characterize the
The Ox is a born leader and dependable, as well
as someone who has the ability to achieve great
things. An interesting example of this is musician, author, poet, actor,
and television talk show host Henry Rollins (b. 1961), who began his
career (at least the well-known part of it) as the singer of the influential
punk band, Black Flag. Over time, Rollins has gone on to write several
books and is often tapped to do commentaries for cable shows in regards
to pop culture.
Another example is Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau
(b. 1961). While Lau is probably most well known
stateside for his role in “House of Flying Daggers,” like
many API celebrities, he’s worked in recording studios and has
a pop hit or two.
Another quality of the Ox is working hard, oftentimes
to benefit others.
Actress Portia de Rossi (b. 1973) is known mostly
for her catty and shallow character on the beloved,
defunct sitcom “Arrested
Development” as Lindsay Bluth Funke, but in real life, de Rossi
has worked with AIDS relief organizations and,
most recently, has been an outspoken critic of California’s Proposition
George Takei (b. 1937) is widely known for his
portrayal of Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek.” For anyone who is
familiar with the “Star Trek” canon, Takei’s Sulu
was revealed to be a captain in the sixth film, “The Undiscovered
Country,” ensuring the notion that Asian Americans will indeed
command the space ships in the future.
Off screen, however, Takei has been a political figure
by serving as an alternate delegate from California
to the Democratic National Convention, as well as a member on the board
of directors for the Southern California Rapid Transit District. Takei
has been a longtime supporter of gay and lesbian rights, and he married
his partner in 2008.
Actress/director/writer Joan Chen is one of the few
Asians who has been able to achieve crossover success
in both the Hong Kong film market and Hollywood.
Initially just an actress, she went behind the camera
for the Richard Gere/Winona Ryder tearjerker “Autumn
in New York” and appeared in Eric Byler’s independent feature “Americanese.”
As mentioned above, however, for many of these positive
traits, the Ox carries some darker traits. The Ox
is described as a polarizing personality of sorts, and for the great
amount of affection and genius that may exist inside, stubbornness
and anger looms as well.
One of the most public examples of this is erstwhile
celebrity Boy George (b. 1961), whose pop music fame
in the ’80s
took him to the heights of stardom. These days, amid
reported years of drug abuse (as well as several
arrests), George is in jail for assaulting a male
escort in his home.
Perhaps far less public, but still the fodder for
tabloids, is Tyra Banks (b. 1973), whose never-ending
fame began with her career as a teenage model in
the early ’90s.
In the last six years, however, Banks’ popularity has been linked
to her TV series “America’s Next Top Model,” a reality
show that gives women the chance to become professional models in the
form of a competition. The U.S. version has become so popular that
spawned several international spin offs, such as “China’s
Next Top Model,” “Philippines’ Next Top Model,” and
Kazakhstan’s “I’m Beautiful.”
But for all this public success, Banks is often targeted
by tabloid papers and gossip blogs for being a difficult
person to work with. People cite “Top Model’s” rotating
lineup of judges as proof. Of course, none of this is ever verified,
so for now it’s just rumor and hearsay.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the possibilities, especially given
Banks’ reported egomaniacal attitude. That being said, she’s
also given many women the opportunity to follow their
There’s much to be said about people who are born in the Year
of the Ox, and it will be interesting to see what
future celebrities born this year will be like.
Ryan Pangilinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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