Getting Real With Ali Wong Benefit Raises Critical Funds for CAAM

Ali Wong and cookie
Ali Wong posing with her life-like cookie, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

Over 30 of CAAM’s major donors, board members, and core supporters got a rare opportunity to meet their favorite comedian, writer, and actress at the Getting Real with Ali Wong benefit on Sunday, January 19. This intimate luncheon, which highlighted Wong’s personal journey and contributions to the field, kicked off a year-long slate of programs celebrating CAAM’s 40th anniversary.

CAAM’s Exhibitions and Festival Director Masashi Niwano interviewed Wong about how she develops her career and writes her edgy standup routines. 

Ali Wong and Masashi Niwano
Ali Wong with CAAM Festival and Exhibitions Director Masashi Niwano, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

Wong started off by thanking CAAM supporters. Growing up, she attended the Asian American film festival (now CAAMFest) every year with her father. Because of those experiences, when Wong was growing up, she never felt a lack of Asian faces or representation in entertainment. “I didn’t have to go through this struggle to believe that Asian Americans were capable of creating great art. I knew it. So I just wanted to thank everybody for supporting CAAM.”

She also shared about her journey from growing up putting on skits in San Francisco Chinatown to becoming a stand-up comedian, sitcom writer and actor, and star and producer of the hit Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe

Ali Wong
Ali Wong answers questions from CAAM Board Member Naja Pham Lockwood, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

The audience had a chance to ask Wong about topics ranging from mentorship to therapy to her wardrobe choices. In a sweet mother-daughter moment, CAAM Board Member Naja Pham Lockwood asked Wong for advice on how her 13-year old daughter Anly could break into entertainment. “Congratulations, this is your intervention! Welcome to Hollywood!” Wong deadpanned.

Vincent Pan and Debra Yau
CAAM Board Co-Chair Vincent Pan and Debra Yau, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


Steven Ko and Sophia Yen
Guests Steven Ko and Sophia Yen, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


Stephen Gong and Nite Yun
CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong and Nyum Bai Chef Nite Yun, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

The lunch buffet featured Cambodian specialties, including fish amok and prahok ktiss, by Nite Yun, owner and chef of Oakland’s Nyum Bai restaurant and desserts by Wendy Lieu, owner and chief chocolatier of San Francisco’s Socola Chocolatier.

Cambodian food
Fish amok, prahok ktiss, and Khmer chicken curry by chef Nite Yun of Nyum Bai, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


Wendy Lieu of Socola Chocolatier
Wendy Lieu of Socola Chocolatier, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


Rose Chung, Ravi Chandra, Marina Chu
Ravi Chandra, CAAM supporter and “Notes of a Superfan” blogger, chats with Rose Chung and Marina Chu, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


Kyla Westphal, Ali Wong, Brent Hall
Kyla Westphal, Ali Wong, and CAAM Board Member Brent Hall, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden


CAAM Exhibitions and Festival Masashi Niwano; supporters Claudine Cheng, Betty Louie, and Rose Chung; and CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

The event was a chance for long-time supporters, as well as guests new to CAAM, to see how their contributions are championing Asian American stories and ensuring that diverse voices are heard. 

Meggy Gotuaco, Dipti Ghosh, Jessy Mathew
Meggy Gotuaco, Board Co-Chair Dipti Ghosh, and Jessy Mathew pose with their CAAM Forward tote bag and Ali Wong trademark cat-eye sunglasses, Image Credit:Kelsey Ogden

Each guest received goody bags which included signed copies of Wong’s book Dear Girls and fun keepsake items, such as Ali Wong sugar cookies baked and decorated by nationally-recognized Jasmine Cho of Yummyholic and Wong’s iconic cat-eye glasses.

Ali Wong and cookie
Ali Wong posing with her life-like cookie, Image Credit: Kelsey Ogden

The “Getting Real with Ali Wong” benefit raised critical funds to sustain and strengthen CAAM’s work in building community, supporting filmmakers and artists, and presenting and producing stories that paint a fuller, more authentic picture of the Asian American experience.

CAAM 40th Anniversary

CAAM will be presenting more special events throughout the year to celebrate our 40th anniversary.

Keep moving with us by signing up to be the first to hear about exciting events. 


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