Lela Lee

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Lela Lee
BornLos Angeles, California
OccupationCartoonist / Actress / Writer

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[edit]

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 the 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 women 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 2014, Angry Little Asian Girl had a short run on a cable network and is now a web series.

Acting career[edit]

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.



Year Title Role Episodes
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"
2001-2002 Scrubs Bonnie 3 Episodes
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 Felicity Pauline Episode: "Finally"
1998 Profiler Kathy Jung Episode: "Ties that Bind"
1997 Relativity Tour Guide Episode: "Billable Hours"


Year Title Role
2003 Exposed Missy
2002 Better Luck Tomorrow Slapper
2000 The Girls' Room Chloe
2000 Rave Lisa
2000 Kitty Bobo Maggie
2000 This Guy is Falling Alison
2000 The Medicine Show Incompetent Nurse
2000 The Moment After Sarone
1998 Shopping for Fangs Naomi
1997 Yellow Janet
1996 Flow Yel Fan

Personal life[edit]

Lee, the youngest of four daughters, spent her earliest years being raised on a chicken farm by her grandparents in Korea.[citation needed] 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 two sons.

Writing Credits[edit]


External links[edit]