I remember it distinctly. It was a dozen years ago, I was at a friend’s house when I first came across a copy of Asian Woman magazine. It stirred me. As someone who’d always felt British first and Asian a close second, I think I was ill-equipped for the feelings of familiarity and cultural pride that swelled within me as I thumbed the pages of the ‘brown and proud’ glossy. Six years later, fully converted I was overjoyed to be accepted into the inner sanctum as Features Writer at Asian Woman. Six years after that, today I am honoured to be in the position to lead this magnificent, trailblazing phenomenon as she celebrates her 50th edition.
Over the past 12 years the magazine has evolved with society and what was once a magazine by Asians for Asians is now compiled with loving diligence by a mix of both Asians and non for an audience of wide and varied backgrounds all sharing in common one thing, an admiration for the beauty and wealth of Asian culture.
The 50th issue pays tribute to Asian Woman magazine’s humble, yet ambitious origins with extra indulgent lashings of fashion, as per the original recipe. From our Sari Special showcasing the same kind of nine yards of simple exotic elegance that’s had Asian Woman flying off the shelves since issue one, to one of our modern day USPs - cutting-edge designer couture, hot off the catwalks of India and Pakistan. This was also the motivation behind our 50th issue cover. Despite having garnered a popular, sometimes controversial, but always talked about reputation for celebrity covers in recent years we thought it a fitting homage to what made Asian Woman great by reverting to the traditional template. Beautiful model, wearing spectacular Asian fashion. Granted, it’s five beautiful models but we wouldn’t be Asian Woman if we didn’t keep striving to outdo ourselves.
Lest we not forget the driving inspiration behind the founding of this ground-breaking title - the subversion of stereotypes of Asian women was honed to a fine art by my predecessors and today in 2012 we’re continuing to carry the torch, in this issue we highlight women around the world who have fought against male-dominated societal and cultural adversity, while closer to home in another feature we explore the varied and very real sexual fantasies of Asian women today.
Had you been anywhere other than under a rock when our TOWIE issue hit the shelves last December you’d know that we’re never afraid to push the odd boundary. So as deeply upsetting as it was- we refused to shy away when we learned of the horrific experiences of a young Muslim girl sexually abused by her religious teacher. If you hadn’t already gathered, dwelling idly and blissfully unaware in the realm of the comfortable is, for us, actually quite uncomfortable. The founders of Asian Woman wanted their magazine to have some bite, it did, and still does.
Meanwhile, with Asian beauty being recognised and envied the world over it stands to reason that our magazine has always been replete with beauty content. So as well as our regular essential skin and haircare features, in this issue we’ve also added a special beauty look book showcasing the most ontrend looks of the season and we’ve compiled our recommendations of the Top 50 beauty buys under £50 - because quite frankly the current economic climate is no excuse to leave the house looking like your face is in recession.
In keeping with the Top 50 theme, we also feature the must-see sights and destinations around the globe, (50 of them), that you must see before the end of the world - which according to some, is this year. It’s supposed to be December so you have a bit of time, though probably best to book early to get the best deal.
The biggest 50, in the pages of the new edition, is the aptly-named Big 50. Following hours of research, discussion, heated debate and hysterical giggles (standard practice at Asian Woman HQ) - the Asian Woman team together with some close friends of the magazine compiled our official list of the 50 greatest Asian women of our time, doing us proud in their various pursuits. Whittling down to 50 was no mean feat it was even suggested that we wait till our 100th issue to get more of them in. I can’t say I didn’t consider it. But considering the exponential rate at which Asian women are spreading and succeeding in every corner of society I thought it best to chart some of these women while we still had a fighting chance.
My favourite and proudest feature this issue is without question our special retrospective section. It was always going to be a monumental task looking back and summarising 12 years of Asian fashion, celebrity, events and achievements.
There was only one man up to the job.
Maybe it’s because the one thing Asians do best, other than insanely good food is family - the prodigal son returned. We are very privileged this issue to be joined by original mastermind behind Asian Woman, my predecessor and long-time idol, Shihab Salim who guest edited this milestone edition of Asian Woman magazine and compiled the retrospective section, a fascinating and nostalgic inventory of Asian success to date - entirely from memory I might add!
The Asian Woman magazine story so far is a reflection of how far we as a society have come. You, the reader, have achieved and will continue to reach new heights and we at Asian Woman magazine will continue to shine a light and celebrate your greatness. In the face of all this, I am humbled.
I am also rather exhausted, because after months of hard work and long hours with my spectacular team, the 50th edition of Asian Woman magazine has arrived. I hope you enjoy it