Returning for their big 20-year anniversary, Character Media’s Unforgettable Gala took place on Saturday, December 17th, at the Beverly Hilton. With a different theme for each year’s festivities, the 2022 event featured the theme “Illuminate.” The year’s gala shined a light on the AAPI community and the success it has seen in the past year. With representation on the rise now more than ever, “Illuminate” celebrated the brightest stars of the community, particularly those who have lit the way for the next generation.
2022 Unforgettable Gala Honorees
Actor in Film — Ke Huy Quan
Breakout in TV — Minha Kim
Breakout in Film — Stephanie Hsu
Director — The Daniels
Writer — Julia Cho & Domee Shi
Digital Influencer — Bretman Rock
Pechanga Athlete on Another Level — Chloe Kim
Lexus Legacy — Steven Yeun
Vanguard — Pachinko
With such an inspiring theme about celebrating the cultures of the AAPI community, those walking the red carpet showed up in beautiful gowns, suits, and traditional wear. APA writer Ephney shares her picks for best dressed, in no particular order.
Kicking off the list is Never Have I Ever actor Terry Hu. Their outfit was the embodiment of “Illuminate,” with a modern take on traditional Chinese clothing. The sparkling crop top and slit skirt combination made their outfit appear casual yet dressy. To tie the look together, the outfit was paired with a small clutch purse and combat boots.
The host for the evening, Eugene Cordero, wore a unique opera coat and matching trousers designed and created by VINTA Gallery, a woman-owned shop making items ethically in the Philippines. Other Filipino talent in attendance also wore pieces by the same designer, including Ella Jay Basco, Alyssa Rafael, and Bella Poarch.
Michelle Phan’s eye-catching outfit at the gala blew everyone away the moment she stepped onto the carpet with her sister Christine. Dressed in a beautiful red áo dài paired with a gold khăn đóng, the beauty guru proudly represented her culture with pieces that were custom-made by Vietnamese designer Thái Nguyễn.
Venk Modur wore a modern take on traditional Indian clothing, with something similar to a traditional Angvastra over a sleek velvet black suit. To complete the outfit, they paired the outfit with a small purse that had the words “END SYSTEMIC RACISM” on the front, making a powerful fashion statement with intent.
Adeline Rudolph wore a gold gown embellished with colorful beads to create the perfect red carpet look. Paired with sparkling silver earrings and shoes to match, the look was cohesive and shined brightly on the carpet. The dress was made by Jakarta-based designer Michelle Alphonsa.
Continuing the trend, Patrick Starrr also wore an outfit covered in sparkles, as he arrived in a royal blue dress and matching headpiece to go with his flawless makeup. His outfit was flawlessly tied together with matching royal blue drape earrings and rings.
Kelly Hu kept it a little more lowkey with a sparkling pale pink dress and silver accessories. Although one of the simpler outfits, it was still beautiful and striking.
Bretman Rock’s outfit was highly anticipated for the evening. Although he also went for a much simpler look than others walking the red carpet, his outfit still stood out. Wearing gold bangles to accent his outfit, Bretman went for a black dress with white web netting on the top, which he said reminded him of traditional islander looks to pay homage to his Hawaiian hometown. His outfit was also made by an Asian designer.
Completing the list is actress and writer Alicia Hannah-Kim. Wearing an olive-colored flowing dress, the main focus of the outfit was her hair. Being of Korean descent, the actress wore her hair in a traditional Korean styling, braided into an updo with beautiful red and gold accents. She completed her look with gold drape earrings to match her hair.