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Hapa Haole Celebrities

With Don Ho on my mind today, I began pondering he Hawaiian term “hapa haole”, which literally translates to “half foreigner”, or “half white”. According to the urban dictionary’s definition, it seems the phrase — often shortened to just “hapa” — has expanded past the literal translation of “half”. The term now encompasses anybody of mixed race (50/50 or otherwise), and specifically refers to a combination of Asian or Pacific Island blood with something else, which is usually, but not excluded to, Caucasian. (What a mouthful.)

A quick Google search on the term landed me in a gallery of hapa celebrities. Among them are:

  • Don Ho, entertainment legend, Chinese, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Dutch, German
  • Eddie Van Halen, musician, Indonesian, Dutch
  • Jennifer & Meg Tilly, actresses, Chinese, Irish
  • Lou Diamond Phillips, actor, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Cherokee, Scottish, Irish, Spanish
  • Rob Schneider, comedian/actor, Filipino, German
  • Brandon Lee, martial artist/actor, Chinese, German, Swedish
  • Keanu Reeves, actor, Chinese, Hawaiian, British
  • Johnny Damon, baseball player, Thai, British
  • Kate Beckinsale, actress, Burmese, British
  • Yul Brenner, actor, Mongolian, Russian, Swiss
  • Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic speed skater, Japanese, Caucasian
  • Phoebe Cates, actress, Filipina, Russian-Jewish
  • Tiger Woods, PGA golfer, Chinese, Thai, African-American, Native American, Caucasian
  • Dean Cain, actor, Japanese, French-Canadian, Irish, Welsh
  • Kirk Hammet, guitarist, Filipino, Irish

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