Lela Lee in 2014
|Occupation||Cartoonist / Actress / Writer|
|Spouse||Ken Yamakoshi (2003-present; 2 children)|
Lela Lee (born in Los Angeles, California) is an American actress and cartoonist, television writer and the creator of the animated cartoons the Angry Little Asian Girl, Five Angry Episodes and the comic strip Angry Little Girls.
Angry Little Girls and Angry Little Asian Girl
Angry Little Girls was developed from Kim, the "Angry Little Asian Girl" a character she developed in 1994 when she was a sophomore at UC Berkeley. She developed the character after attending Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation with a friend. That same night after getting home from the animation festival, Lee stayed up drawing with typing paper and crayola markers and made the first episode "Angry Little Asian Girl, the First Day of School." Three years after initially creating the first episode of the Angry Little Asian Girl, she created four more, and sent the five episodes titled Angry Little Asian Girl, Five Angry Episodes to festivals where they were well-reviewed by critics of the LA Times and LA Weekly. Audience members came up to her after screenings saying that ALAG spoke for them and that they too had similar experiences growing up in America. She realized she had hit a nerve. She had a crazy idea to make a batch of t-shirts. She quickly sold out by word-of-mouth prompting her to launch a shop on the website www.angrylittleasiangirl.com in late 1997. She packed the shirts herself and mailed the orders every morning from the neighborhood post office. She also kept shirts in the back of her station wagon with a cash box and a card table and sold shirts wherever she could. The shirts sold out many times over. This experience of taking the shirts out on the road proved to be invaluable. Lee met many people, particularly females of all ages and ethnicities who responded to the anger that ALAG unleashed. She observed how women did not feel that they were allowed to be angry, but somehow, her character let them tap into their own anger in a funny and "harmless" way. During this time, people kept referring to the video as a "comic strip." Instead of correcting them, she took it as a suggestion and decided to expand ALAG to include other girls of different backgrounds and personalities. She took 2 years to teach herself how to draw comics with books checked out from the library. With the newly created characters, and an umbrella name of "Angry Little Girls" which included other girls; Deborah the disenchanted princess, Maria the crazy little Latina, Wanda the fresh little soul sistah, and Xyla the gloomy girl, Lee turned it into a weekly comic strip self-published on her website www.angrylittlegirls.com. She also began submitting her comic strips to syndicates in hopes of getting syndicated in newspapers. But after numerous rejection letters and realizing her work would never fit in the mainstream, she decided to buck the system and draw whatever she was inspired to. After finding her true voice, a publishing deal came quickly thereafter. In 2005, the first book of collected Angry Little Girls strips was published by Harry N. Abrams. By 2007, Angry Little Girls merchandise, especially tote bags and wallets were popular selling items in malls across the US. Lee has 6 Angry Little Girls books published as well as numerous merchandise licensees. 2014 marks the 20-year anniversary of ALAG's creation. Also in December of 2014, Angry Little Asian Girl had a short run on a cable network and is now a web series.
She is also a film and television actress, with roles in the 1998 film Yellow and the 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow. She was a series regular in the short-lived Sci Fi Channel series Tremors, and had a recurring guest role on NBC's Scrubs. Lee made a guest appearance in the first episode of Season Four of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, ironically playing an angry Asian woman, who launches a physical and verbal attack on star Larry David after he suggests 'Tang' is a common Chinese name. Lee was also in the episode "Animal Pragmatism" of Charmed as Tessa, a college student.
|2014||Angry Little Asian Girl||Kim, Maria, Deborah, misc voices||12 Episodes|
|2014||Growing Up Fisher||Mrs. Han||2 Episodes|
|2009||The Eastmann's||Mother||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2007||The Young and the Restless||Speech Therapist||Episode: "1.8672"|
|2005||Untitled Oakley & Weinstein Project||Officer Chin||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2004||10-8 Officers on Duty||Marilyn Choi||Episode: "Flirtin' With Disaster"|
|2004||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Bobbi||Episode: "Mel's Offer"|
|2003||Will and Grace||Ping||Episode: "Swimming to Cambodia"|
|2003||Tremors||Jodi Chang||13 Episodes|
|2001||What I Like About You||Waitress||Episode: "Holly's First Job"|
|2001||Friends||Wedding Guest||Episode: "The One With All the Cheesecakes"|
|2001||One on One||Reporter||Episode: "The Way You Make Me Feel"|
|2000||Rude Awakening||Joyce||Episode: "Yes Sir, That's my Baby"|
|2000||Opposite Sex||Judy||Episode: "Homosexual Episode"|
|2000||Charmed||Tessa||Episode: "Animal Pragmatism"|
|1998||Profiler||Kathy Jung||Episode: "Ties that Bind"|
|1997||Relativity||Tour Guide||Episode: "Billable Hours"|
|2000||Better Luck Tomorrow||Slapper|
|2000||The Girl's Room||Chloe|
|2000||This Guy is Falling||Alison|
|2000||The Medicine Show||Incompetent Nurse|
|2000||The Moment After||Sarone|
|1997||Shopping for Fangs||Naomi|
Lee, the youngest of four daughters, spent her earliest years being raised on a chicken farm by her grandparents in Korea. A few years later, she joined her family in Van Nuys before they moved to San Dimas, and cites her traditional Korean upbringing while growing up in an area with few other Asian Americans as a central influence in her work. She is married and has 2 sons.
- Angry Little Asian Girl (2014) – creator, writer, executive producer.
- The First Day of School (2014) – writer
- Dinner Party (2014) – writer
- Kim's Date (2014) – writer
- Mother Lee's Etiquette (2014) – writer
- Sistahood (2014) – writer
- Deborah's Diet (2014) – writer
- Occupy Placentia (2014) – writer
- Chuy, the Undocumented Chicken (2014) – writer
- Kim's Twinkie Defense (2014) – writer
- Fast Food Rude (2014) – writer
- Xyla's Therapy (2014) – writer
- Anger Management (2014) – writer
- Angry Little Girls
- Angry Little Asian Girl
- Lela Lee
- 1998 Angry Little Asian Girl Review LA Times
- 1998 Interview with AsianWeek
- 2001 IndieRag Interview
- 2001 Washington Post "Comic Strip of a Different Stripe"
- 2003 Interview with UCLA's Asian Institute
- 2003 Seattle Times 'Little Girls' presents big ideas without forgetting angry origins"
- 2004 Interview on PBS's Searching for Asian America
- 2004 Cincinnati Enquirer "Angry Girl bags carry an attitude"
- 2004 Sacramento Bee "Mad World"
- 2004 Move over, Hello Kitty: New characters are taking over the kingdom of cute"
- 2008 Lela Lee LA Weekly
- 2013 LA Times "Angry Little Asian Girl is sharing her feelings"
- Lela Lee at the Internet Movie Database
- Youtube Angry Little Asian Girl