As we enter Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are reminded of the great importance of notable Thai Americans and Thai Canadians.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is growing in terms of population and its visibility is increasing. It is no surprise that with this growth, the number of AAPI individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and nations are on the rise as well.
It should come as no surprise that these AAPI individuals have contributed significantly to our society. This month-long celebration, AAPI Heritage Month, highlights some of these contributions. Every year, we honor American Indians and Alaskan Natives for their rich history and culture by celebrating Native American Heritage Month. Similarly, we recognize the significant roles various ethnic groups from Asia – South Asians in particular – have played throughout their countries’ histories by celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month annually.
Kevin Tancharoen has touched almost every aspect of the entertainment industry since Britney Spears picked him to take over her choreography when he was only 19 years old. He has worked with Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, and *NSync’ He has directed FAME, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Supergirl, and The Flash, among other films and television programs.
Kevin’s work in the entertainment industry is an example of how much talent people with Asian heritage have to offer. If Kevin had been held back by racism and discrimination, the people would have missed out on some of the most visually stunning choreography the world has ever seen. Kevin’s accomplishments are a testament to the fact that Asian heritage is something to celebrate and be proud of.
Jennifer Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin
Jennifer Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin was born in Thailand and reared in Canada before moving to Bangkok as an adult and winning Miss Universe Thailand 2019. Jennifer, also known by her Thai nickname, Fahsai, finished in the top five in the global Miss Universe competition. She has also worked as a model, a DJ, and on Thai television programs.
As one of the most talented and influential Thai-Canadians, Jennifer Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin has paved the way for Thai people living in Canada.
Pangina Heals, often known as Thailand’s RuPaul, is an extraordinarily accomplished drag queen. After co-hosting Drag Race Thailand, she was featured in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. The World. Pangina also owns and operates House of HEALS, a drag bar in Bangkok.
As one of the most unique people of Thai descent on this list, Pangina Heals is a trailblazer who showed the world and the Thai people that they can be anything they want to be in life and be proud of it.
Nana Dakin is a Thai, queer director who has brought plays to life in Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Her work is fascinating and intelligent in its examination of social constructions and accepted conventions. Nana was the first Thai theater director to work at the Royal Court Theatre in London, a remarkable feat.
Her contributions to the theater world are nothing less than extraordinary. While Nana Dakin’s accomplishments as a theater director are exceptional, they also serve to inspire people of Asian descent to aspire to great things. When someone with Asian heritage living in America sees what Nana Dakin was able to do with her career, they will be inspired to aim for the same lofty heights as they work to make their dreams come true.
Tsunari defines her music as “what Rihanna, Jhené Aiko, and Doja Cat would make if they were stranded in Phuket.” Her unusual R&B compositions reflect her roots in the United Kingdom and Thailand. Tsunari’s most recent single, Dai Pao, was released this year.
This artist is one of the finest representations of just how much value people of Asian descent can bring to another country. Each song is a unique part of the beautiful tapestry of cultural influences. This makes her music richer, more meaningful, and ultimately more inspiring as it has such a unique and inimitable sound.
If you’ve ever laughed out loud during a television show, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong is a likely source, as she has worked on some of television’s funniest shows. She’s worked on sitcoms including Family Guy, American Dad, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, and The Orville as a producer and writer. Cherry’s other works include She’s So Money and Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices.
The fact that Cherry was able to become such a successful screenwriter and voice actor has inspired other creatives. There’s something truly extraordinary about the fact that someone with Asian heritage like Cherry Chevapravatdumrong was able to become such a key contributor to some of the most popular television shows in the United States.
Final Words on Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a celebration of the Asian and Pacific Islander community, and their many contributions to this country. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have excelled in a wide range of fields, from science to music to politics.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month aims to unite the Asian and Pacific Islander community around our shared heritage and celebrate the many ways that we have contributed to countries like Canada and the United States of America.