Hapa Mag STAFF



Alex Chester


Alex Chester is a California gal living in NYC. She has been acting since she was a little girl. A few years ago she decided to create a blog about being hapa called MeSoHapa.com. Alex is the creator and producer of the theatre company WeSoHapa - a theatre based on diversity and inclusion.

She is a New York City based columnist for On Stage Blog and contributing writer for ManhattanDigest.com and HuffPo. She also hosts a podcast with fellow writer Melissa Slaughter,  We're Not All Ninjas.  Follow her on Twitter/Instagram @AlexFChester if you like food and cats. www.alexchester.com


Sam Tanabe

managing editor/WRITER

Sam grew up in South Florida and is a NYC-based actor and writer. This kawaii yonsei hapa bb loves the sun, ocean, and Publix chicken tenders subs. His interest in other cultures, languages, and good food led him to connect with the Hapa movement, but struggling to find his identity as a Hapa performer in the entertainment industry led him to Hapa Mag. Sam was part of the original Broadway company of Allegiance, the musical inspired by George Takei’s experience in the Japanese Interment Camps.

You can usually find him around Manhattan with a bubble tea in hand or eating @NoodzofNewYork. Sam is online @Tanablems and www.SamTanabe.com

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Melissa Slaughter


Melissa has lived in all four time zones in the contiguous United States. A former actor in Seattle, WA, Melissa now resides in NYC as a content creator. She is the producer of the We're Not All Ninjas podcast, which she also hosts with fellow Hapa Mag writer, Alex Chester. Melissa also writes for online blogs Nerdophiles and The Nerds Of Color. She loves sushi, crafts, and theatre, but her favorite thing in the world is Doctor Who and yes, she's over the moon for a female Doctor. You can find her @NotAllNinjasPod.


Lauren hardie

content editor/WRITER

Lauren is a Jamaican-raised American who doesn’t consider herself “exotic” because she’s a writer/actor living in Brooklyn. She’s “really from” South Florida (yep, like, born there). Her “English is pretty good” for a person with an MA in journalism and a few years of copyediting experience at major news outlets. Aside from referencing silly things people have said about her otherness, Lauren enjoys talking about her unborn cryokids and playing with other people’s dogs. She’s lived in a bunch of places, but her favorite is @warlaur.


Alison Lea Bender


Alison Lea Bender is a multi-hyphenate who defies conventional categorization and refuses to be pigeonholed. She is an avid champion for diversity, representation, inclusion in the arts, and the AAPI & POC communities. Some have called her the voice of a generation, some have called her a dangerous threat to society, but most of us just call her "my friend." The self-proclaimed "Hello Kitty meets Marilyn Monroe," Mizz Bender has performed on many a NYC stage as a muse to her many theatre friends and family. She can be followed on Instagram @AlisonLeaBender


Matt Blank


Matt is an arts journalist, educator, designer and lecturer. He most recently spent a decade on the editorial team for Playbill.com and as Editor-in-Chief of PlaybillArts.com, publishing over 7,000 articles and covering five Tony Award ceremonies.

Follow him on Twitter @MattBlankPlease and Instagram @brdwymatt.

Olivia Chen

Olivia Chen


Olivia was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, went to school in Indiana, and has lived in South Carolina, Colorado, and now Connecticut. Despite the scarcity of Iowan Hapas, she grew up familiar with the term as a result of her parents' honeymoon in Hawaii. At her day job she coordinates small business loans for a nonprofit lender, but her passion is (and always has been) writing. Olivia has tried her hand at screenplays, plays, creative nonfiction, children's fiction and more, but her published work has appeared in Catapult and The Write Launch. Her goal is to write a hit debut novel that will go on to fund the rest of her writing career. 


Autumn Henry


Autumn Henry was born in Missouri, raised a Navy Brat and now calls Brooklyn home.  Her career in esthetics was born out of a desire to perform humane Brazilian Waxing but quickly graduated into a full fledged career that focuses on holistic skin care and healing of the individual.  Autumn is a fierce advocate for "graceful aging" vs "anti-aging" in a culture obsessed with unrealistic beauty standards.  She is a proud wife, sister, daughter, cat mom and soon to be mother of an actual human.

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Rebecca Lerman


Rebecca Lee Lerman is a New York City based writer and performer. Her plays and screenplays were featured at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, The Midtown International Theatre Festival, Universe Multicultural Film Festival and We So Hapa, which celebrates people of mixed race. Most recently, PheLerm Productions, for which she is writer, participated in the 72 Hour Shootout competition, and their short film was selected as the top 40 out of 400 to be screened at the Asian American Film Festival. www.RebeccaSings.com




Matt Park is a songwriter, guitarist, poet, and actor.  He co-wrote music for Ma-Yi's production of Peer Gynt and the Norwegian HAPA Band at ART/NY in the winter of 2016. He played lead guitar in Diana Oh's My Lingerie Band and performed in My Lingerie Play at The Rattlestick Theater in the fall of 2017. He is 1/2 of the band CUTE with Diana Oh and co wrote 24 Punk with her which was performed at The New York Musical Festival, Joe's Pub, and The Bushwick Starr. He is currently working on orchestrations for Rebecca Lee Lerman's Heartbreak Hotel which is being works shopped at the Tank and Gallery Players in the winter/spring of 2019. 

Gen Parton Shin

Gen Parton Shin


Gen was born in London, raised in England, Japan, and Korea. Gen made his debut in the Japanese musical theatre scene before coming to the US, starring in the Official Japanese cast of RENT (Angel), Next to Normal (Gabe), Rocky Horror Show (Rocky), Dracula (Jonathan), Bare (Jason) and Mitsuko. US credits include Miss Saigon (Thuy), Monte Cristo (Benedetto), 167 Tongues (NYIT nomination) and The History Boys (Akthar), as well as numerous readings and workshops including Other World and Kpop. Gen is also the host of cable show TV Japan Club and NYC comedy show Batsu!. Upcoming releases include TV mini series Hodo Buzz. @genpartonshin


Mei Edwards

managing director

Mei is a digital strategist that grew up in Texas, currently resides in Brooklyn, and loves food, travel, design and pups. She is the Managing Director for Hapa Mag and knows how to get work done (according to Sam)! You can find her on Instagram @the_texanese.

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Lauren Nakao Winn

Creative Director

Lauren is a pop culture whackjob who works in fashion. She's obsessed with the 80's and un-ironically shimmies to Pat Benatar... usually while taking photos of people who are much hotter than her. If you want to get on her good side greet her with a Lacroix or follow her on insta @laurennakaowinn.