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5.30.2009

30 under 30: diana nguyen


Diana Nguyen
Age: 27
Blogger, DISGRASIAN

Why she's influential: Because she writes sharp, clever commentary on racism, sexism and stereotypes... and makes you laugh while doing it. Diana Nguyen is one half of the DISGRASIAN duo, a pair of asskickers in the Asian American blogosphere. To tell you about Diana, I'm handing over the rest of this post to her partner in crime, the awesome (also-influential) Jen Wang:

Let's be very clear about one thing: the only reason I didn't make this list is because I wasn't able to doctor my birth certificate in time the way those adorable little Chinese gymnasts did theirs before the Olympics. But if I can't be on this, there's no one I'd rather see on it more than my partner-in-crime, Diana. (And I mean that...I've already turned the other 29 people's pictures into dartboards.) Because DISGRASIAN wouldn't exist without her. Literally. She invented the word years before we started the blog, to describe a co-worker who wore flip-flops with socks to work, slurped instant noodles at her desk every day at lunch, and committed what can only be described as a cardinal sin in Diana's holy book--the poor girl lacked charisma.

DISGRASIAN also wouldn't exist without Diana because, as we've always said from the beginning, it's a blog that, at its irreverent-and-often-bitchy heart, is an ongoing conversation between two people. I think if we'd set out to write an "Asian-American blog" or a "political blog" or a "feminist blog" or even a blog that we thought people would actually read, we might have gotten overwhelmed and scared and failed miserably, disappointing our Hardass Asian Parents yet again--after we explained to them what a blog was in the first place, that is.

And if I had to carry on this conversation alone, it would be far more brooding and dark (a wonderful byproduct of being over the age of 30, just so you know). But Diana brings the light. If I had to cast us as Beatles, she'd be Paul, writing songs that people belt out joyfully at bars, locked arm-in-arm with strangers, and I'd be John, writing songs designed to make people weep, which probably goes a long way toward explaining why I adore Yoko and Diana simply can't stomach her. But when, on a regular basis, you're writing about racism, sexism, stereotypes, and things that suck in the world, you can't cry all the time, it's too exhausting. Humor is sometimes the only thing that sustains you. And no one has made me laugh more in the last two-and-a-half years--since we've been doing DISGRASIAN--than Diana. I'm sure many of our readers feel the exact same way.

See the rest of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 here.