21-year-old Taiwanese-born sex kitten has graced the pages of
"Playboy" (Aug 2000), "Photogenic Magazine" and
about a half dozen calendars. She's also been on "The Man
Show," MTV's "House of Style" and a video for the
Brian Setzer Orchestra.
shy yet articulate and can belt out a Mariah Carey tune like
nobody's business. Here is Kaila in what she called the most
"unique" interview she's had to date.
Yu, why is nudity such a big deal?
To me I don't find it to be a big deal. I don't think nude modeling
is any big deal compared to any kind of regular modeling. The stigma,
I think, is just in America more than in other countries.
you going to school right now?
I'm going to UCLA. I start on Thursday.
school isn't my first priority. It's something I'm finishing for my
parents' sake. So I'm more annoyed than anything (laughing). I'm just
annoyed I have to go to classes and do that whole thing.
said that you were double majoring in communications and computer science.
(laughing), I've changed my major four times. So right now I am
[majoring in] Asian-American studies. Just plain Asian-American studies.
does this major help you become a singer?
That's just for having a back-up degree. But I don't plan on using
the back-up, obviously. But if everything fails then...
be an Asian-American studies teacher...
I guess I could be a teacher. Actually, Asian-American study is
known to be one of the easier majors to get into UCLA at, and that's
why I chose it, to be perfectly honest.
posing nude helping you advance your career in singing?
it would be more harmful, I would think, than helpful. So it's
something kind of tricky. When I get to that crossroad, I'll have to
think of an extra strategy. Another singer who hadn't posed nude
wouldn't have to.
like karaoke. What's your favorite song to sing at the karaoke bar?
sing "I Still Believe" by Mariah Carey.
the average Joe like me have to be able to serenade you to have a
shot at a date with you?
The singing is a big plus, but not a requirement. My current
boyfriend doesn't know how to sing.
bio says you're into the rave scene.
I was very into it for a year and then it got kind of played out. I
just didn't have time to go this summer but I would have loved to go.
I actually like the smaller raves, but right now everyone's all about
the massive raves where there's like, thousands and thousands of
people. I like it better when there's like, maybe a couple hundred people.
those thousands and thousands of people there are probably thousands
and thousands of drugs.
you speak to the issue of illegal drug use at raves?
think drugs should be legalized. But if you're asking whether or not
I do drugs, I would have to say, "No comment." (laughing)
That's good enough for me. Your birth name is Li Ting Yu. Why'd you
no real story behind that name. I auditioned for this [character]
named Kaila and thought it sounded kind of cool. She also had the
same personality as me. I was trying to choose a name that no one
else would have.
was the play or the show that you auditioned for?
was actually for one of those HBO "B" movie films, which
I'm not going to do. But I did audition for one.
you ever done a "B" movie?
I don't think it's so bad, I've just seen so many people get stuck
in that genre. And I definitely don't want to be a "B"
movie actress. Boring.
with the Asian studies thing going.
You mean the weak back-up plan?
those are your words, alright?! You were born in Taiwan. What do you
think about the Chinese and Taiwanese relations? They're pretty cold
to the point where China calls Taiwan a runaway state. Are you
worried about it?
I'm really against the whole China takeover thing. Every Taiwanese
person is. My mom's really unhappy about it.
your mom still have friends there or do you have relatives there?
grandparents and four uncles live there. No one really talks about
it. I don't know if they're taking it too seriously--as if it's
really going to happen. Maybe everyone's just in denial.
they think the United States will watch out for them?
don't think they're going to intervene.
sweatshops are better to work for, Kathy Lee's or Wal-Mart's?
I didn't know Wal-Mart had sweatshops. Poor Kathy Lee, she's
probably getting a worse rap than she deserves.
you use your fame to help free the sweatshop people?
but there's sweatshop people here, too, for Chinese people in New
York. I don't know which ones I would help first, but, definitely,
Passing fad or the impossible dream?
dream! Communism was based on the fact that everyone works and gets
think it's everyone works for the good of the community. No one is
paid at all, you're just paid in what you need, through food and shelter.
China you're not allowed to want to succeed more than your neighbor.
You're supposed to suppress those kinds of feelings, which are
natural human emotions. So yeah, communism could never exist. If
you're going to work for the common good why not slack off and hope
your neighbor does it.
the oddest job you've ever held?
The shortest job I've ever had would be telemarketing. (laughing) It
really tore me up because I couldn't stand getting rejected a hundred
times a day. I took it personally.
were you selling?
was selling long-distance phone service, which is the most annoying thing.
Richard's an asshole.
were born in the year of the goat. It's said people born in those
years don't usually get off on the right foot with people, but once
you get to know them, they can be charming. Also, they're best suited
to be actors, gardeners, or beachcombers. Which would you prefer to be?
that one's too easy. I would rather be an actress.
you difficult to get along with at first?
I grew up I was painfully shy. It's hard to get to know me. People
think I'm stuck up sometimes but it's just because I'm shy. Hard to
get along with? I can be very bull-headed about my point of view, so
yes. But I'm willing to compromise in the end.
Wen Ho Lee an example of "the man" getting down on Chinese-Americans?
the guy who was wrongfully accused of smuggling information, right?
the judge apologized to him, actually.
have to say I think so. I didn't follow the case that carefully but
it's what the Chinese community and my peers are saying.
you a citizen of the United States?
you into Bush or do you prefer Gore?
I don't think either one of them will make a difference, but I don't
you following the Olympics?
is second only to the USA in overall medals.
Are you rooting for either country?
China, I'd probably root for America. If it were Taiwan, then I'd
root for Taiwan, but I don't know about China.
in your CD player right now?
Korn, Mariah Carey, and Coco Lee.
is Coco Lee?
Lee is, I think, the top-selling artist in all of Asia. She's from
Taiwan. She's called the Asian Mariah Carey. She released a CD here
but it kind of failed. It was produced by Sony but it's nothing
compared to her Chinese work.
you like her or Mariah Carey better?
Carey. She has the most awesome vocals there are. But Coco Lee as a
Chinese artist is the best. I don't think there's a Mariah Carey in
any other country. I'm just a big fan of Mariah's.
there something you wear when you want to seduce your man?
guy likes garter belts, so that's what I wear.
often do you try to seduce your man?
often as he wants. I let him initiate it more.
Brian Setzer a good kisser?
Setzer?! Oh, I don't know! (laughing) I don't like him. He hardly
talked to me.
was it like working on a music video with him?
was pretty cool. Music videos are always really hard work. They
always push you because it's basically, dance-cut-dance-cut for about
you ever dated a Chinese or Taiwanese guy?