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La Carmina

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La Carmina

La Carmina
Born Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Other names Carmen Yuen
Occupation Author, journalist, writer, blogger, TV host

La Carmina is a Canadian blogger, author, journalist, and TV host. She specializes in Goth and Harajuku fashion and Japanese pop culture,[1] and has been described as a "goth queen" by the South China Morning Post,[2] as well as “kind of adorable, in a somewhat bizarre way” by Andrea Walker in The New Yorker.[3] She appeared in one of the segments on the Tokyo episode of Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel.[4]

Early life

La Carmina was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Her parents are from Hong Kong.[5] She attended Columbia University and graduated in three years.[6][7] She was accepted into Yale Law School at age 20[5] and graduated with a JD.[8]

Fashion Blogging

In September 2007, she began her La Carmina blog about alternative and Gothic fashion, travel and subcultures in Japan and worldwide. [9] [10][11][12] She is a professional blogger, and has cited sales of direct ads, Google AdSense, affiliate programs, sponsorships, RSS, search functions, and her YouTube videos as among her sources of income.[13] Her blog has been quoted in Boing Boing[14] and Women’s Wear Daily.[15]

La Carmina is a journalist for CNNGo, where she contributes articles about Asian pop culture.[16][17] She is a travel journalist for Business Insider,[18][19] and also writes for AOL/Huffington Post Travel[20][21]

She was selected as one of the world's top fashion bloggers to attend LUISAVIAROMA's Firenze4Ever 2011 and 2012 events in Italy.[22][23][24][25]

La Carmina describes her sense of fashion as "Morticia Addams meets Hello Kitty," drawing from a mix of alternative styles.[26]

Alongside actor/model Sebastiano Serafini (with whom she has also contributed to LA Weekly), she released a line of t-shirts for their HOPE collaboration, with proceeds going to benefit Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims.[21][27] They also collaborated with jewelry designer Soho Hearts to create a panda bear Swarovski necklace to benefit Japan charities.[28] They worked together to raise money in Los Angeles for relief efforts in Japan, including the organization Doctors Without Borders.[29][30]

In 2012, she gave speeches at IFB Conference at New York Fashion Week,[31][32] Social Media Week in Hong Kong,[10][33] and PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference.[34][35]


La Carmina appeared in one of several segments on the Tokyo episode of Bizarre Foods, in which she and her friends dined with host Andrew Zimmern in a theme restaurant. According to Zimmern, the footage showcased the "exotic alternative lifestyles" of Tokyo and was originally intended for an episode of Bizarre World, but was later edited for inclusion in a Bizarre Foods episode instead, a process which refocused the segment onto the restaurant itself rather than the diners.[4]

La Carmina’s work as a travel and pop culture TV host on international networks includes Norway TV,[36] CNNGo TV[37] and a Canal+ France documentary about Japanese subcultures alongside Antoine de Caunes.[38][39] Among her other hosting work includes shows for Food Network and Discovery Channel.[40] She will be the Asia host for educational travel TV series, Project Explorer.[41] She filmed with Discovery TV's Oddities, and did press trips to Maui, Berlin, Leipzig, and Prague to make travel videos.[42] She has also hosted travel videos for the Mexico Tourism Board[43][44] In 2011, she hosted, scripted, arranged, and field produced the show Coolhunting Weird Wisconsin for Huffington Post Travel TV. In the first episode, she gave a tour of Dodgeville theme hotel The Don Q Inn.[45][46]

Japanese broadcaster NHK filmed a 20 minute documentary about her work in blogging and cooking.[47][48] She was also the subject of an episode of NHK Kawaii TV.[28][40]

La Carmina and the Pirates

La Carmina has a coolhunting, TV production, and promotion company that provides film fixing services to broadcasters worldwide.[49] She was interviewed and featured in the Spanish book Coolhunting Digital.[50]

La Carmina and the Pirates did the legwork for National Geographic Channel's Taboo episode documenting the body modification known as the bagel head - which she also hosted.[51][52][53] She also hosted, translated, and arranged a show in Tokyo for National Geographic and Fuel TV.[21][54] She appeared on CBS' The Doctors to speak about extreme body mods.[2]


La Carmina's first book, Cosmos in the Carrot, was published by Parallax Press. She made the deal without an agent, but was later taken on by a New York literary agency.[55][56] The book combines nutritional information and health advice with Buddhist notions of balance and moderation.[57]

In 2009, Perigee (a division of Penguin Books) published La Carmina’s Cute Yummy Time, a cookbook based on Japanese "charaben" ("character bento"), a style of bento in which food is decorated to resemble animals, cartoon characters, and other such figures.[58] She took all the photos and drew illustrations for the book.[59] La Carmina’s promotional tour included book signings in US cities[60][61] and an appearance on The Today Show.[5][62] The Guardian named Cute Yummy Time as one of the oddest book titles of the year,[63] and the Washington Post recommended it in Gift Guide.[64] Sarah DiGregorio of The Village Voice's "Fork in the Road" food blog wrote of Cute Yummy Time that "this kind of cute food (or kawaii food) seems less about eating and more about, well, looking cute and feminine while cutting food into elaborate shapes and not eating".[65]

Mark Batty Publisher released Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo in 2009, a hardcover book with full color photos.[66][67] In a review, The Vancouver Sun wrote, “Think of it less as a guidebook and more as a ghost train ride where whimsical, madcap and absurd images of some 30 theme restaurants materialize at every turn [...] Her tales flow effortlessly, with erudite explanations of what she sees in Tokyo's many subcultures [...] Brace yourself for a kitsch fix.”[56]

Personal Life

Lives with a blogging cat, Basil Yuen Farrow, previously owned by Ronan Farrow. [68] [69]



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