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Culture > Entertainment

7 AANHPI Women Celebs Who Are Breaking Records & Inspiring Fans

As May marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, it’s as great a time as ever to reflect on the impressive achievements AANHPI women have accomplished on a large scale. AANHPI Heritage Month was created as a time to appreciate the different cultures and traditions within the AANHPI community, white celebrating the feats and resilience of AANHPI people and the contributions they’ve made to society. And it’s safe to say these famous women from pop culture absolutely deserve the spotlight for the gifts they’ve brought to the world, as well as the recognition they’ve gained for AANHPI women across fields.

From the recording studio to the gym to the big screen, AANHPI women can be seen crushing records and exceeding all kinds of expectations. Here are seven trailblazers who have become role models for all kinds of fans by breaking records and paving the road for other talented AANHPI women who will come after them.

Olivia Rodrigo

Filipino American singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo has been breaking records since the beginning of her career. At the 2022 Grammys, Rodrigo took home 3 awards: Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album for SOUR and Pop Solo Performance for her hit song, “Drivers License.” From GUTS, her sophomore album, the song “Vampire” made her the youngest artist in the history to have three straight No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the first artist to ever to have lead singles from her first and second albums debut at No. 1. Recently, SOUR became the all-time highest-streamed album by a female artist on Spotify.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong has many titles under her belt, from stand-up comedian to actress to director, who is perhaps best known for her Netflix specials. In 2023, Wong starred in the Netflix comedy Beef and won two Golden Globe Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards for her role, becoming the first Asian woman to win a lead acting Emmy.

Simone Ashley

Indian actress Simone Ashley is known for her roles as Olivia Hanan in Sex Education and Kate Sharma in Bridgerton. In Bridgerton Season 2, Ashley was the leading lady and made strides within the show as a South Asian character who highlighted South Asian culture. That season of Bridgerton broke many streaming records, including the best opening weekend of any English-language Netflix series at the time with about 193 million hours of viewing — and Ashley clearly played a crucial role in making that happen.

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim, a second generation Korean American has set the bar high for all snowboarders and athletes. She’s a two-time Olympic snowboarding gold medalist: At 17 years old, she won her first gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, making her the youngest woman to win gold in snowboarding. In the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Kim came back to defend her title and won gold again in the halfpipe event, making her the first snowboarder to win back-to-back gold medals in the event.

Chloé Zhao

Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, director of Nomadland and Eternals, is an absolute force in Hollywood. First, for her work in Nomadland, she made history by becoming the first woman of color to win best director at the 2021 Academy Awards in and the second woman ever to win the award. Then, Eternals marked the first Marvel movie directed by an Asian woman.

Norah Jones

As the top jazz artist of the 2000s, Norah Jones completely changed the music industry, especially the jazz space. Jones’ debut album, Come Away with Me, went certified platinum and won five Grammys: Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. This made her the first person of South Asian descent to win five Grammys. After her debut success, she has gone on to score another four Grammys.

Suni Lee

Suni Lee is a Hmong American Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast. In 2021, Lee became a household name as she won all-around gold at the Tokyo Olympics at 19 years old. She was the first woman of Asian descent to win the Olympic all-around title in women’s gymnastics. Lee went on to attend Auburn University and became the first Olympic all-around gold medalist to compete in collegiate gymnastics.

I'm Athena, a freshman journalism major at The University of Texas at Austin. I've interned at The Dallas Morning News and currently work at The Daily Texan. In my free time, you can find me at spin class, facetiming my friends, or listening to music!