Kimberly Ann Voltemas – Thai-German Actress

Kimberly Ann Tiamsiri Voltemas, born in 1992, is a popular half-Thai actress and model. She has a Thai mother who is from Chiang Mai and a German father. She is the youngest of four siblings, her sister is called Jennifer and her brothers are Thomas and Daniel. She is nicknamed Kimmy Kimberly which is also her stage name.

Kimmy Kimberly

Kimberly Ann Voltemas*

Kimberly Ann Voltemas*

Kimberly entered the Thai entertainment industry as a teenager in 2009. At first, she did some modelling and was featured in several music videos. As an actress, she debuted in Channel 3’s most popular TV series called ‘4 Huajai Haeng Koon Kao’ (4 Hearts of the Mountains).

Kimmy Kimberly*

Kimmy Kimberly*

This TV series was aired in 2010 and Kim played the role of Nam or Thipthara who is a warmhearted and compassionate doctor. In this movie, she acted alongside other well-known young luk kreung actors like Nadech Kugimiya and Urassaya Sperbund.

Acting in the role of Nam is this series has gained Kim many fans in Thailand and all over Asia. In addition, she has been constantly improving her acting skills, thus becoming an accomplished actress. Kim’s manager is Noom Piyachart and together they have succeeded in establishing her a fine reputation in the entertainment business.

In 2012, Kim acted alongside Prin ‘Mark’ Suparat in the roles as Cha-Aim and Khun Tam in the remake of Punya Chon Kon Krua 2012. Hence, both actors became very popular as an onscreen couple (‘koo jin’). Since then they have frequently been paired in series and modelling 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpT7qdgaqL8

In fact, Kim has been much praised by her fellow actors. Hence, she may be regarded as a young actress in high demand. Even acclaimed actress Ann Thongprasom thinks highly of Kimberly and her talents. Ann is of the opinion that Kim might one day replace her as a princess of Thai entertainment. Furthermore, she finds that Kim very much resembles herself and thus can even identify with her. Consequently, Ann also holds the view that Kim might reach same level of success as herself. Great compliment! 🙂

Hence, Kim has already starred in the series ‘Ab Ruk Online’ in which actress Ann Thongprasom is also in. Further, this TV series features her partner Prin ‘Mark’ Suparat and acclaimed actor Peter Corp Dyrendal. In fact, up until now Kim is the first and only younger generation actress who has been in three out of five lakorns produced by Ann Thongprasom. These are ‘Punya Chon Kon Krua 2012’, ‘Ab Ruk Online’ and ‘Piang Chai Kon Nee Mai Chai Poo Wised’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0icy0piyr0M

Furthermore, Kim has been the cover-girl of several magazines and has also featured in a lot of TV commercials like this one for United Almond, for instance.

Summing up, we may claim that Kimmy Kimberly is one of the most aspiring and promising actresses of the younger generation in Thai entertainment industry. She is not only popular with her fans but also with her fellow actors 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(*photo credit: Kimmy Kimberly, Official FB page)




Thai & Lao Culture in ‘Sabaidee Luang Prabang’

Sabaidee Luang Prabang (Good morning, Luang Prabang, 2008, directed by Sakchai Deenan) is a romantic drama movie starring Thai movie star Ananda Everingham who is of Lao-Australian descent. The special feature of this film is that it deals with the relationship between Thailand and Laos. What is more, it is also the first Thai-Laotian commercial film since 1975. In my view this is a special and beautiful movie because it shows the amazing landscape in Laos.

Sabaidee Luang Prabang

Sabaidee Luang Prabang, Sorn (Everingham) & Noi (Pallawong) (photo credit: nationmultimedia.com)

Sabaidee Luang Prabang, Sorn (Everingham) & Noi (Pallawong) (photo credit: nationmultimedia.com)

The plot of the movie is relatively simple: Sorn (played by A. Everingham) is a Thai photographer visiting Laos. There he falls in love with his lovely Laotian tour guide, Noi (Khamlek Pallawong). The film features and focusses on several tourist sites in Laos and points out the differences between Thailand and Laos. This contrast is already depicted in the trailer to the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOLgjH_xqhg

In fact, the film is shot primarily outdoors, thus using a kind of road movie approach. The settings in Laos contrast sharply with Bangkok because the latter is presented as a hectic metropolitan city whereas life in Laos appears to be more calm and harmonic. In addition, the Laotian scenery is green, pristine and unspoiled by modernity.

Ananda in Luang Prabang*

Ananda in Luang Prabang*

The first part of the movie presents the protagonist Sorn as a small creature surrounded by the city skyline in Bangkok. However, in Laos, Sorn experiences an easy atmosphere of small towns where people have a simple lifestyle and are still connected with their local traditions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvkrQ4MssRw

Luang Prabang, which is also a world heritage site, is the central motif of the movie. Hence, it appears in the film title and it is the place where the protagonists move around at the end of the movie, showing the natural and historical sites of the town.

Ananda plays the photographer Sorn*

Ananda frequently plays the role of photographers*

Thus, the audience gets the impression of Laos being a place unspoiled by modernity compared to Bangkok city. What is more, the untouched towns stand for a kind of utopian space where everyone lives in contentment. Even though the settings in Thailand and Laos are opposed to each other, the movie also stresses similarities between Thai and Lao culture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_k9ZUfO4jc

For instance, the title of the film points out a similarity but also a difference between Thai and Lao language. In Lao, Sabaidee Luang Prabang means Hello Luang Prabang whereas in Thai it will rather say I’m fine Luang Prabang or in interrogative sentence ‘How are you?‘. However, although the literal translation of the title is not identical in Thai and Lao, the word ‘Sabaidee’ is understood as a greeting in both cultures.

Amazing sky in Luang Prabang, an unspoiled place*

Amazing sky in Luang Prabang, an unspoiled place*

What is more, there are many tourism elements in the movie that seem to encourage the audience wanting to go to Laos. For example, every time Sorn and Noi move from one town to another the caption will be shown ensuring that the audience knows where the place is. Sometimes it is also explained in the movie how to get to the respective places.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amNcdlKoQU0&list=PL07B3A24CFB128613&index=12

In addition, since Noi is a tour guide she often explains about natural and historical places to Sorn who is a photographer and thus captures the beautiful scenery on his photos. Thus, the film title and the intact scenery shown in the movie make it to a kind of ‘tourism film’.

Hello Luang Prabang (photo credit: viki.com)

Sorn & Noi (photo credit: viki.com)

In a nutshell, we may say that even though the plot is simple, Sabaidee Luang Prabang is a great film, admirable for its beautiful presentations of local Lao landmarks. Indeed, it can be called a ‘tourism movie’ because the viewer feels inspired to explore the natural scenery of Luang Prabang, Laos. In addition, the role of photographer Sorn seems to be tailor-made for Ananda Everingham 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Ananda Everingham, FB page




Ananda Everingham on Personality and ‘Hi So’ (High Society)

Ananda Everingham can be considered an outstanding Thai movie star, even though he is not Thai but of Australian-Lao descent. In addition, Ananda also seems to be a contradictory personality. You may already know all of this if you’re a devoted reader of this blog 😉

Hence, he calls himself a shy person who does not know how to entertain people well. What is more, in his youth he had troubles with the establishment but at the same time he was very much interested in classic world literature. However, nobody can deny that Ananda is a prominent and self-confident actor in many recent high-budget Thai films today, although he claims to suffer from stage-fright. Thus, one might be inclined to ask oneself how this all goes together and what it does reveal about his personality?

Ananda Everingham

Ananda Everingham in 'Hi So' (photo credit: theguardian.com)

Ananda Everingham in ‘Hi So’ (photo credit: theguardian.com)

It seems that the actor does not want to reveal to much of his actual personality. Hence, Ananda is very versatile in his roles and filmmaking thus avoiding to be stereotyped. He claims that he does not want “(…) to get stuck in a genre and I don’t want to be stereotyped. I don’t want to be seen as the action guy or the comedy actor or even the cool guy. I like it when my personality has nothing that associates with the characters I play”.*

Scene from 'Hi So' (photo credit: frontrowreviews.co.uk)

Scene from ‘Hi So’ (photo credit: frontrowreviews.co.uk)

Thus, we might call Ananda chameleon-like when choosing his roles. However, in this context, I think it’s also interesting to take a look at the independent art house movie ‘Hi So’ (High Society, 2010) because Ananda plays himself in this film and thus it is very personal and intimate to him. Thus, he claims ‘High Society’ “a very personal film because I’m playing myself, but it includes my director’s (Aditya Assarat) past and his story”.*

In short, we may say that the movie ‘Hi So’ is about the cultural confusion of a young Thai man who has become a movie star and who never fits in anywhere. Thus, there seem to be two opposing sides of the protagonist Ananda. On the one hand, he is privileged and grew up in overseas (Australian) influence. On the other hand, he has lost connection with his native country. However, abroad he is Thai and thus a foreigner. His life seems to be torn apart because he is unable to deal with and adapt to the different cultural demands. In addition, in the movie, Ananda left behind an Australian girlfriend and hooks up with a new Thai girlfriend. However, she feels alienated by his English-speaking friends and Western ways.

'High Society' (photo credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk))

Feeling the alienation, ‘High Society’ (photo credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk))

In fact, in real life Ananda also went through some troubles finding his identity. This was because he held Australian citizenship, mainly grew up in Thailand and started his acting career there. He felt very much Thai but had to struggle with work permits because he was not officially Thai. However, a few years ago he was granted Thai citizenship. Nevertheless, I don’t think the ‘real’ Ananda underwent any kind of cultural confusion, although being a half-child and ‘luk kreung’. He seems to be very much integrated in Thai society and popular culture. Whether as model or as an actor, he cuts quite a figure 🙂

In a nutshell, we may say that Ananda Everingham prefers to be a chameleon when acting and choosing roles. Even though we might find that there is always a lot of Ananda in every character that he embodies, we will not be able to fathom his true dynamic personality.

Yours, Sirinya

(*Quotes from Bangkok Post, Ananda Everingham on Movies)




Thai Ghost & Horror Movies and ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’

As you might remember from my recent article about Father Red & Uncle Boonmee or A Thai Ghost Story, belief in ghosts and spirits is very popular, enduring and present in Thailand. This belief in the supernatural is also a part of Thai everyday life considering the popularity of Buddha amulets and spirit doctors, for instance. In Thai tradition, spirits are either protective and beneficent or evil and antagonistic. Hence, we may also claim that the belief in spirits (‘Phi’ (ผี)  in Thai) have contributed greatly to the overall popularity of Thai ghost movies (หนังผี).

The Thai horror movie genre

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai horror movie 'Phi Mak Phra Khanong' (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai horror movie ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

As a matter of fact, we may speak of an ongoing cultural relevance of the Thai horror movie since this genre has constantly been popular among the Thai moviegoers. Thus, Thai horror films are very often based on folklore, myths and legends. They refer preferably back to old Thai ghost stories such as the ‘Mae Nak’ (แม่นาค) ghost which is based on a tale about Lady Nak who is a spirit woman. Generally, female ghosts are revengeful because they have been done wrong and thus stand for human maliciousness and punishment. In addition, however, they also want to discourage people from committing evil deeds and actions.

For instance, you may remember the horror movie ‘Shutter’ (2004) with Thai movie star Ananda Everingham as photographer Thun who is haunted by the ghost of a young woman whom he run over and killed. This is an example of a revengeful female spirit who wants to punish the one’s who let her die.

Nevertheless, there are also Thai horror movies with some comic elements which hence cannot be taken too seriously as a ghost movie. An example is O.T. Ghost Overtime (2014), starring again Ananda Everingham and two partners who run a weird company and are hired to do a wedding party at an old hotel. It is a luxurious hotel but they don’t know that it is haunted by ghosts. This film can be regarded as a kind of horror comedy. However, ‘Ghost Overtime’ might also be seen as a thriller.

As far as early movies from the 1950s and 60s of the horror film genre are concerned, female ghosts are prevalent since they are also dominant in Thai folklore. In contrast, male spirits (so-called ‘poo som fao sap’ ปู่โสมเฝ้าทรัพย์) are mostly ‘fictional’ and not based on legends.

However, let me elaborate on the recurrent topic of Mae Nak, the dead wife who becomes a spirit and haunts her husband by refusing to leave him. In fact, there are numerous movie versions of this story, more than 20 versions have been filmed over 50 years. The most recent one is called ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (2013) which is a comedy ghost film like O.T. Ghost Overtime. The main actors are the young half-Thai movie stars Mario Maurer as Phi Mak and Davika Hoorne as Nak.

It is a very cute story and some scenes are truly hilarious. What is more, the film has numerous anachronistic elements which contribute to the comic effects.

Lovely Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Lovely Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

The story is about the soldier Phi Mak whose wife dies during pregnancy while he is away to fight in a war. When Mak returns home the villagers behave strangely towards him and avoid him because they know that Nak has died and is a ghost now. Mak and his friends are ignorant of this fact. However, the friends are suspicious and want to go into the matter. When they realize that Nak is a ghost, they try to warn Mak but actually they get confused themselves and mistake Mak for a ghost instead of Nak. They turn to a monk in a temple for protection and guidance. In Thai horror movies, monks often function as antagonists to evil spirits.

Scene from Phi Mak (photo credit: enjoythaimovies.com)

Scene from Phi Mak (photo credit: enjoythaimovies.com)

Nak is not evil, she only wants to be with her beloved husband Mak and finally love wins against all odds. There is a comic and also romantic scene when Mak and Nak go to a fair, take a ride on the Ferris wheel and also go to a tunnel of horror 😉 What’s more, there is also a fun song!

Thus, the story differs from ‘original’ tales about Mae Nak because in this movie version Nak is neither bad nor is she the main character. Her husband Mak is he protagonist. In contrast to more traditional Thai horror stories, there is also a happy ending because humans and ghosts can finally live and be happy together. Thus, Nak is accepted as a ghost in the village and she can also do some acting in the tunnel of horror 😉

On the whole, it is a romantic story which is funny but also has some sad moments. This is for instance underlined by Palmy’s song ‘I want to stop the time’.

Summing up, we may say that the Thai horror movie genre is predominantly based on traditional beliefs and tales. Hence, it seems that the subject of ‘ghosts’ is highly popular over there 😉

What is your favourite Thai ghost film if you have one?

Yours, Sirinya




Nadech and Yaya: Ideal of The Perfect Couple

When I first saw Nadech Kugimiya (Barry) and Urassaya Sperbund (Yaya) in a clip to the Rising Sun Series (Roy Fun Tawan Deard), a series with a Japanese setting, I thought to myself that they are just to good to be true. Both seem so sweet and cute in whatever they do, it’s unbelievable.

Yaya & Barry (photo credit: NY Always Nadech & Yaya)

Yaya & Barry (photo credit: NY Always Nadech & Yaya)

In addition, Nadech and Yaya are extremely good looking, embodying the Thai beauty ideal of a light complexion, large eyes, tall and slender statue and somehow Western features. Being both ‘Luk kreung’, i.e. half-Thai people, this does not appear so surprising at all 😉

Nadech and Yaya – the Ideal Couple

The constant acting and pairing of Nadech, a Thai-Austrian, and Yaya, a Thai-Norwegian, have made them the most favourite and desirable couple in Thai popular culture. Thus, they are greatly admired by a whole generation of Thai teens. In addition, Nadech and Yaya have captured the hearts and imagination of people who dream of the perfect match.

Nadech & Yaya (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Nadech & Yaya (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Nadech, born 1991 in Khonkaen, was adopted by the Japanese Yoshio Kugimiya and his wife Sudarat Kugimiya. He was discovered at the age of 16 and has been working as a model, actor and singer since then. What is more, he has been studying Communication Arts at Rangsit University. Hence, most recently he has presented his short film ‘Mr. Peters’, a project to complete his B.A. at Rangsit. The film is about the Nan’s forest conservation. Thus, Barry is ‘not just a pretty face’ as the Bangkok Post puts forward.

Here are Nadech and Yaya in a recent photo-shoot this month for Marie Claire magazine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4x-28PQKs8
Yaya, born in 1993, has a Norwegian father and a Thai mother. She was discovered relatively early in her teens, at the age of 14, and has been working as a model and actress ever since. She is the darling of the Thai entertainment industry, extremely popular, and one of the highest paid actresses in Thailand. Everyone adores her and even Thai movie star Ananda Everingham admires her sincere personality. Once in Woody Talk show, Ananda spoke of her as “Yaya who always has an aura of sincerity”.

photo credit: NadechYaya.com

photo credit: NadechYaya.com

In fact, Nadech and Yaya have been very successful together. The first time they acted together was in the movie Akkanee’s Heart (Duangjai Akkanee, 2010) which is a kind of ‘Romeo & Juliett’ story. In addition, they starred together in a number of other ‘lakhon’ (Thai term for ‘soap operas’), e.g. ‘Love Game Evil Game’ (Game Rai Game Rak) and ‘Who Own This Land?’ (Torranee Ni Nee Krai Krong).


Apart from acting together, both Nadech and Yaya have several contracts for advertising campaigns with different companies. Together they have also been advertising for Lays potato chips.

I think people are so fascinated by Nadech and Yaya because they appear to be perfect young adults and simply beautiful people who do everything they do effortlessly 🙂 We might also speak of a Ya-Dech Factor in this context. What is more, they also strengthen the assumption that half-Thai people are very popular in the Thai entertainment industry.

Nadech & Yaya in The Rising Sun (phot:o konchke.blogspot.com)

Nadech & Yaya in The Rising Sun (phot:o konchke.blogspot.com)

What do you think about them? Have you been captured by the Ya-Dech Factor? 😉

Yours, Sirinya




Ananda Everingham: Thai Movie Star

Ananda Everingham can be regarded as the foremost Thai movie star although he has no Thai origins. Born 1982 in Thailand, Ananda is in fact of Australian-Laotian descent and had Australian nationality until a few years ago, when he received Thai nationality. His father is the Australian photojournalist John Everingham who has lived in Thailand since the 1970s and his mother, Keo Sirisomphone, is from Laos. In his youth, Ananda travelled with his father through Asian countries and was a kind of assistant to his Dad who worked as a photographer.

Ananda Everingham

Ananda Everingham*

Ananda Everingham*

By the way, the meeting of Ananda’s parents was roughly dramatized in the 1983 NBC television movie ‘Love Is Forever’ or ‘Comeback’ with Michael Landon and Laura Gemser in the leading roles. The story is about John Everingham who dives in the Mekong river and rescues his girlfriend from the communist regime in Laos. Well, it might seem a pathetic tale but Ananda also enjoys telling the story in interviews like this one which is in fact quite amusing and entertaining 😉

Hence, it was a fine start for Ananda’s own career as an actor and model. Thus, he tells us in the interview that he was discovered relatively early in his youth, at the age of 14, when he was working in his parent’s Indian restaurant in Bangkok. Since then, he has had leading roles in numerous Thai movies but also in other Asian films.

Movie star Ananda Everingham*

Movie star Ananda Everingham*

It was the Thai horror movie ‘Shutter’ (2004) that made Everingham famous as an actor in Thailand. There was even a Hollywood remake of ‘Shutter’ in 2008. This movie is mainly about a young photographer named Thun and his girlfriend Jane who have a car accident with a young woman. They run the woman over and she dies on the street because they do not help her. It is a case of a hit and run accident. Consequently, the are haunted by the dead woman’s spirit and discover mysterious shadows and supernatural images in their photographs. The woman’s ghost is revengeful and this is also a recurrent theme in Thai horror movies. Here is a clip from ‘Shutter’ to give you an impression.

Ananda has starred in a number of other Thai horror films, for instance in Ghost Delivery (2003) and most recently in O.T. Ghost Overtime (2014) which is a horror comedy. However, he also starred in romantic dramas like ‘Bangkok Time’ and ‘Me…Myself’ in 2007. Another important movie in his career so far is ‘Hi So’ (High Society, 2010) since he plays himself in this film. It is quite striking that Ananda requently plays photographers in films, thus also in ‘Happy Birthday’ (2009), a role for which he was awarded ‘Best Actor’ by the Thailand National Film Association Awards. ‘Happy Birthday’ is about love and hope, to put it in a nutshell.

An important movie in Everingham’s career so far is the 2008 Thai-Lao romantic drama ‘Sabaidee Luang Prabang’ (Good morning, Luang Prabang) because it deals with the relationship between Thailand and Laos and it is also the first Thai-Laotian commercial film since 1975.

Ananda plays the photographer Sorn*

Ananda often plays photographers in his movies*

In this movie, he also plays a photographer from Thailand who visits Laos. In fact, photography appears to be very important and thus a recurrent subject in his films. If you take a look at Ananda’s Instagram account, you will notice that he enjoys taking beautiful landscape photos among others 😉

What is more, Ananda has been in numerous TV series and starred in a variety of different film genres. For example, he was in the historical fantasy adventure film ‘Queens of Langkasuka’ (2008) and the very popular Thai romantic drama ‘Eternity’ (Chua fah din salai, 2010).

Getting ready for a historical movie like the 'Queens of Langkarsuka'*

Getting ready for a historical movie like the ‘Queens of Langkasuka’*

In this movie, he starred alongside famous Thai actress Laila Boonyasak (Ploy Chermarn). ‘Eternity’ is about the young man Sangmong (Ananda) who falls in love with his uncle’s wife Yupadee (Ploy). This is a tragic story since Yupadee finally commits suicide and Songmong becomes mad with grief and agony.

In conclusion, we may say that there is a lot of Mr. Everingham in each character that he plays. I think he can identify with the figures that he embodies. Thus, he claims that it’s his task to find truth in each movie script and character. He chooses his roles according to the physicality of the character and dreams of doing some slapstick and situation comedy in the near future 🙂

Ananda*

Ananda*

I think Ananda Everingham is a charismatic actor and always cuts quite a figure. Somehow he reminds me of Jhonny Depp. In addition, he is also a half-Asian person and may thus be regarded as an example of a ‘luk kreung’ who has become very successful in Thailand. Do you know any of his movies? Which one do you like?

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Ananda Everingham, FB page




‘Luk kreung’ and Concepts of Mixed Race in Thailand

Recently I’ve written a post about Thai beauty ideals and the desire for ‘fair skin’ pointing out that in Thailand, Western beauty concepts prevail even though the country has never been colonized by a European nation. In this context, it is interesting to note that there is nowadays a considerable number of part-Thai people who are successful and prominent in Thai popular culture. We might be justified in speaking of a rise of the so-called ‘luk kreung’ in Thailand’s entertainment industry.

Concepts of Mixed Race

Hugo & Palmy (photo credit: music.mthai.com)

Hugo & Palmy, successful Luk kreung, mixed race people (photo credit: music.mthai.com)

In fact, in the time of the Vietnam War, during the 1960s and 70s, a large number of mixed race children were born from Thai women and American soldiers. Literally translated the Thai colloquial term ‘Lukkreung’ (ลูกครึ่ง) means ‘half-child’. It is used to refer to people who are of mixed Thai and European origin. Nevertheless, according to the official dictionary of Thai words, the term describes “a person whose parents are of different races, also called khrueng chat (ครึ่งชาติ)”. That is to say a ‘half-child’ does not necessarily have to be Eurasian.

Nevertheless, ‘luk kreung’ were perceived sceptically and also paradoxically in the 1960s and 70s. On the one hand, they were regarded as the offspring of Thai prostitutes, ‘rented wives’ or ‘mail-order’ brides and American GIs, even though this was not always true, since some of the American soldiers formed lasting relationships with Thai women and settled down in Thailand. On the other hand, ‘half-children’ have been seen as desirable, modern and attractive racially mixed people.

On the whole, we may say that in the 1960s and 70s racially mixed children faced some discrimination but generally society in Thailand was accepting. However, today there are many racially mixed people who have attracted Thai public attention, with growing numbers of celebrities, television stars and actors of mixed origin. Some examples of these stars I’ve recently mentioned in my posts. Think of Hugo Chakrabongse Levy, the ‘royal rocker of Thailand’, Palmy, the popular Thai-Belgian singer, David Usher, Thai-Canadian singer and creativity expert, Thai movie star Ananda Everingham, actress and fashion model Florence V. Faivre , the lovely actress Mai Davika Hoorne, actor Mario Maurer, singer Chin Chinawut or the Thai-Danish entrepreneur Michael Corp Dyrendal who is the younger brother of the well-known half-Thai singer, model and actor Peter Corp Dyrendal. And think of the ‘Princess of Thai Entertainment’ Ann Thongprasom and popular Thai-British actress Paula Taylor. Indeed the list is long… 😉

David Usher, Thai-Canadian singer went from 90s rocker to today's creativity guru (photo credit: lametropole.com)

David Usher, Thai-Canadian singer went from 90s rocker to today’s creativity guru (photo credit: lametropole.com)

Thus, today the majority of ‘luk kreung’ people in Thailand are born of relationships and marriages when Europeans come to live and work in Thailand. Another possible case is when Thai people go abroad to study in Western or foreign countries and settle down and start a family there. Hence, in the last decades Thailand has become quite enamored with half-Thai people. That is to say that many mixed race, part-Thai people have ridden a wave of popularity in the Thai media and entertainment industry.

There are different reasons why ‘luk kreung’ people are successful in Thailand today. A very important factor is their Western features and often proficient English language skills. In fact, half or part-Thai persons also match the predominant Thai beauty ideal of a Western look (i.e. light skin colour, large eyes and a tall physique). These are features that are generally considered attractive and desirable in Thailand. An extremely prominent example of this popularity is the acting and pairing of Urassaya Sperbund (Yaya) and Nadech Kugimiya (Barry). They have captured so many fans in Thailand where the two are now the most popular ‘couple’ of this generation. Both Yaya and Barry are half-Thai people. Yaya Urassaya is Thai-Norwegian and Nadech Kugimiya is Thai-Austrian.

Nadech & Yaya (photo credit Amat Nimitpark via asianfuse.net)

Nadech & Yaya (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark via asianfuse.net)

Thus, today Thai youth and teenage culture is deep in love with the looks of the ‘luk kreung’. For this reason, it doesn’t seem surprising that part-Thai people are prominent in Thai popular culture and are thus also important in constructing Thainess.

Nonetheless, the prominence of half-Thai people in Thailand today does not only apply to those who are of Thai and European heritage. If we consider the example of the world famous golfer Tiger Woods, who is of Thai and Afro-American origin, we realize that he has become a symbol that linked success to Thai identity. In addition, he was portrayed as a cultural hybrid through his career and international golfing tournament success. Hence, this shows that although dark skin is generally less popular in Thailand than fair skin, people of racially mixed origin with non-European heritage can become acknowledged and grab Thailand’s public attention too.

Tiger Woods (photo credit: people.com)

Tiger Woods (photo credit: people.com)

Summing up, we may claim that today mixed race people with part-Thai origin are acknowledged and quite popular in Thailand. This is particularly true of Thai-European people matching the predominant Thai beauty ideal of a light complexion and a tall statue. What is more, there also seems to be proof that half-Asian people have general advantages

What do you think about the rise of ‘luk-kreung’ in Thai popular culture?

Yours, Sirinya