Let us change into “California Gurls”

My friend Amy Lee from USC and her sister. They were born in America, and have lived in CA since high school.
My friend Amy Lee from USC and her sister. They were born in America, and have lived in CA since high school.

It is fairly easy to differentiate Asian students who have recently come to the US from American-born Asians by their skin tone. People may say “no way, they all have beige skin.” But the truth is that girls who have just come from Asia tend to have ivory skin while girls who are born and raised in California have tanned skin.

I have to say, girls in Southern California, no matter what their original skin color is, are crazy about getting tanned.  If you have heard the pop song by Katy Perry called “California Gurls,” she sings about how desirable California girls are with their “sun-kissed skin” and lives lived on the beach in bikinis.

It is indeed a revolution on the ideas that I have held for 23 years about beauty. Should I change my aesthetic taste a little bit and even try sun-kissed skin on myself?

It may not be a bad idea. The shared goal of international students studying in America is to harmonize western and eastern minds inside, so why don’t we try to get changed on the outside as well? If how you feel on the inside really is influenced by how you look on the outside, maybe we can feel better about adapting to the US if we get sun-tanned skin like the California girls.

Besides, let’s look at skin color from a practical perspective.  Even if you want to preserve a light skin tone, keeping fair and light skin in Southern California is not easy.

My friend Xintong(right) and I. Xintong immigrated to San Francisco two years ago, and I came to LA in May this year

If I hold an umbrella or wear a large hat to block the sunshine, like I would in China, people here will think something is wrong with me. So there is actually no way to block sunshine here, except for putting on sunglasses, which isn’t helpful for maintaining light skin color. You can definitely apply sunscreen, but we all know that it is more for the prevention of sunburn than for protecting fair skin.

Also, Southern California lacks cosmetics designed for Asian skin. The colors of foundation or powder offered by the brands that you find on the first floor of a department store, like Bobbi Brown, MAC, or Bare Essentials, are either too yellow or too brown. They are designed for Caucasians who desire a naturally tanned skin tone. Traditionally, what we Asian girls need is something that can create a fair and light coverage with a refined texture for our poreless skin – if we’re keeping the skin tone considered beautiful from the conventional Asian viewpoint, that is.

Changes happen all the time and everywhere, why don’t we start with trying out sun-kissed skin like Katy Perry suggests (maybe not “bikini on top” at first)?  It might unconsciously turn us into California girls, with that perfect harmony of eastern and western mindsets, and ideals of beauty.


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  2. I have to disagree with this. It is a broad generalization to say all California Asians have tanned skin and those who immigrated have light skin. It really depends where you live and your genetics. Generally Chinese from the south tend to be more tanned because of their proximity to the equator, but have met lots of Asians from the south with light skin too. Same goes for SoCal Asians.

    And you can wear a hat or bring an umbrella to protect your skin. Some Americans might think it’s weird, but actually the english equivalent of ‘yang san’ is parasol, so yes westerners actually use umbrellas to block shade too.

    As for makeup, try some Asian stores or import from Japan…

  3. Chineses would be fair skinned because China has all the four seasons like in the US. But since historical times, Chineses have ventured out to the rest of the world like in South East Asia and for them their skin would be darker because of the sun that is ever shinning for most of the days. Historically Chinese fashion was all covered up because of moral issues. As for their thinking, it will be different. Similarly if you are an American or an Oz or a British, you speak English but your way of thinking will be different.

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