Brainy Beauty Queen Now Takes a Fling at MoviemakingEsther Hwang is a 23-year-old Korean-American model and former beauty queen. She is currently trying her hand at filmmaking as associate producer and star of Prodigy Entertainment's independent film, "Sleeping with the Lion," which is scheduled to begin shooting next year. The film's official Web page is at www.sleepingwiththelion.com.
"This is a project I've been waiting for my entire professional acting career," wrote Miss Hwang on her home page (www.esther.com). Although she has dabbled in television, this will be her feature film debut.
And she will be busy both on and off camera. In the film, she plays the role of Lucky Lucy, a dangerous seductress. Her co-stars include such Hollywood actors as Ernie Hudson from "Ghost Busters," Clint Howard from "Apollo 13" and Paul Provenza from the television hit "Northern Exposure." Behind the camera, as associate producer, she is in charge of promotion and marketing.
When she was first approached by producer Ray Robinson, Miss Hwang wrote, "Eagerly, I accepted. I've been approached by many 'B' rated films and have declined them all. I wanted to debut in a film that I could be proud of."
Raised by Korean parents who ran a grocery store in Los Angeles, Miss Hwang began modeling at 15 when she was discovered by a talent agent. With her good looks and vivacious personality, she soon gained international recognition, appearing in high fashion magazines such as Glamour and Vogue, and walking the runways for Gucci and Georgiou.
She then went from international fashion model to beauty pageant queen, changing the all-American face of beauty competitions. Some of her titles include Miss Korea San Francisco in 1995, Miss Asian America in 1997 and winner of the Honolulu Bikini Competition in 1998. She was also the first Asian woman to make it to the finals of the Miss California USA beauty contest in 1998.
Miss Hwang's achievements, however, are not limited to her external attributes. Describing herself as a "voluptuous, sexy but ambitious and determined woman living with great passion," she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a double major in English literature and Asian- American history in 1997.
A year later, she took a radical step into municipal service, working as scheduling secretary for San Francisco's mayor, Willie Brown.
She is also a successful businesswoman. Working hard to avoid the "bimbo" stereotype, Miss Hwang has expanded her career, defying prejudice and the restrictions that sometimes confront Asian females in business and in Hollywood.
Her goals are quite ordinary and unglamorous. She wants "to attend law school, teach literature, write books, get married to a wonderful man, have a family, be a champion dog breeder and ultimately help others through my love of God."
by Kim Jae-seon