10 Incredibly Badass Asian Men (And What You Can Learn From Them)

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There are many positive role models for Asian men. Who are they and what can you learn from them?

In the past couple of weeks we’ve been talking about insanely hot women, gorgeous couples, and positive Asian male representation on screen. All of these are nice, but what do they do for the man who is genuinely seeking to improve himself and become a better man? Not much. It’s hard to talk about self-improvement when you see hot guys or celebrities in front of you and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, wondering how you can compare to that.

But here’s a secret: there’s something you can learn from all of those men about how to be a badass.

Grant Imahara and his insanely hot girlfriend? Have you even looked at him lately? He didn’t get her by being a male model. Daniel Henney making all the ladies swoon? Did you know he had to carve out success without even speaking the language? What about the small-time poet who brutally cut down racist hecklers and became an instant internet celebrity?

These men all have one thing in common: being complete and total badasses.

If there’s one thing you should do to improve yourself and become a better Asian man, it’s learning the 10 lessons of success from these ten incredibly talented and badass Asian gentlemen:

Jose Antonio Vargas (Badass Political Author)


I could have included Jose Antonio Vargas in this list solely because he is an incredibly talented, Pulitzer-winning writer who could teach a man a thing or two about pursuing his passions to the fullest. But that’s not even why he’s on this list. I’ve included Vargas for the sole fact that the man possesses testicles of adamantium-plated adamantium.

Unless you’ve been living under a political rock for the past decade, you’re probably aware of the fact that Vargas is fighting for immigration reform and he was instrumental in campaigning for several amnesty bills granting clemency to children illegally brought into the US, allowing them to apply for residency and obtain college loans.

What you may not know is that Vargas is wanted by the US government. He is himself an illegal immigrant from the Philippines, and he’s open about it. That’s right: despite being an international political celebrity, Vargas openly admits to his illegal status and uses it to fight for children’s immigration rights.

Lesson learned: Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not because it will make you popular.

Jay Chou (Badass Musician)

Jay Chou

For the culturally unaware, Jay Chou is just that guy who played opposite Seth Rogen in the awful remake of Green Hornet. For those in the know, Jay Chou is THE jack of all trades in the Taiwanese music industry. A singer, writer, composer, actor, and dancer, he performs non-stop despite suffering from a debilitating spinal condition. And the rewards for his dedication have been completely unheard-of: although he is more or less the Mandarin pop scene’s main man, several of his compositions have been included in school textbooks. Those annoying dead guys your high school teacher made you read about? Jay Chou isn’t even 40 and he’s already got that legendary status. Imagine seeing Justin Timberlake included in American textbooks.

Lesson learned: Don’t let your limitations hold you back; the man who perseveres despite his limitations is more successful than the man who never even had them.

Jeremy Lin (Badass Athlete)

Jeremy Lin

I’m not even going to talk about Jeremy Lin’s professional basketball career, because if you have enough internet access to read this, you know who this man is. But let’s think about what his success means for Asian boys in the Western world. In previous decades, little Asian boys were led to believe they could grow up to be one of three things: a doctor, a scientist, or a martial arts expert. Excelling at sports was completely unheard-of. He certainly had the option to pursue a more traditional route (going to Harvard), but instead Lin decided to pursue his true passion, despite decades of media influence telling him he would fail.

Not only did he succeed to astronomical levels, he remained humble about his success, showing Asians everywhere that they truly could be anything they wanted to be, and earning the respect of non-Asians in the process.

Lesson learned: Don’t let other people’s ideas dictate your success or failure; instead, carve out your own future.

Tony Hsieh (Badass CEO)

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh is a man you may have never heard of, but if you ever want to learn how to run a successful business and become a self-made gazillionaire, his is a name you’re going to want to memorize. Founder of the wildly successful shoe company Zappos.com, Hsieh went beyond creating any ordinary business… he created a LEGENDARY company with quite possibly the best customer service rating on the planet.

Zappos.com is not formulated on the idea that in order to make money, all you have to do is have something people want to buy; instead, Hsieh’s philosophy appears to be that making the customer satisfied is the top priority. When the customer is number one, the money takes care of itself—and with a net worth of $840 million after donating billions to charity, this man is clearly doing something right.

Lesson learned: Don’t settle for just being a salesman; revolutionize the business.

Grant Imahara (Badass Engineer)

Grant Imahara
Fangirls everywhere rioted during the premiere of the latest season of Mythbusters when it was revealed that Grant Imahara would not be returning to the show, and it’s not hard to see why. Grant Imahara makes being a geek badass. He’s an official operator of the R2-D2 robot and is a robotic and mechanical engineering genius who builds literal deathbots whose sole purpose is to destroy other robots.

He also has a questionable fashion sense and is not classically attractive. But he doesn’t care. He does what he loves with passion and dedication, completely disregarding the opinions of others, and panties drop around the globe because of it. If anything, Imahara is living proof that if you can just be yourself and strive to become the best at the things you enjoy, you don’t need to be an underwear model to get the girl.

Lesson learned: Don’t listen to people who try to change who you are and take away what makes you you; the best aphrodisiac is confidence and passion, not conformity.

Continue on to the next page to see some more badass gentlemen.

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Written by Cindy Young