Kim Lee: Female DJs ‘have a lot to prove’
'Asian Kim Kardashian' describes challenges of being a hot woman in the industry
From hot club DJs like Jade Rasif from Singapore to Malaysia's Leng Yein, there seems to be a type of look that a woman needs to adopt to make it big on the nightlife scene.
Vietnamese-American DJ-host-model Kim Lee has the sultry looks and enviable curves.
She has even been dubbed the "Asian Kim Kardashian", which she takes as a compliment.
The Los Angeles-based 30-year-old told to The New Paper: "Kim K's a whole lot more of a woman than me though."
But an overtly sexy image often leads to female DJs being criticised as incompetent and attention-seeking.
Lee defended her public image, saying: "People have to understand that this is show business. I am here to entertain, and that includes dressing a certain way - to get gigs and really sell them."
Lee, who burst onto the scene in 2012 and was mentored by apl.de.ap of US hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, is certainly not short of talent.
She opened for US producer-DJ Steve Aoki, spun at Ultra Korea and Ultra China, and landed a residency in Las Vegas.
She has appeared in the music videos of Kanye West and Jay-Z, Far East Movement and LMFAO, and graced the pages of men's magazines like FHM, Maxim, GQ and Esquire.
And she was in town last week to promote her latest hosting gig on hip-hop music series Yo! MTV Raps, where she appears alongside local rapper-songwriter Yung Raja and segment presenters and rappers Joe Flizzow and Zamaera.
It airs over MTV Asia (StarHub TV Ch 533/Singtel TV Ch 350) on Tuesdays at 8pm.
Even though Lee admitted looking hot helped her get noticed in the industry, it was her "skills, stage presence, right attitude and good reputation" that sealed the deal and furthered her career.
She said: "Realistically, you also need to have something unique about you. I'm able to interact with the audience. It is my energy that people feed off when they come to my shows.
"I want them to be happy, because they came to see me. And it is my job to really deliver and make sure everyone has a good time."
Then there are the occupational hazards of being a woman in a man's world.
Lee called out the DJ scene for being sexist - "I have guys who are jealous of me being booked for the main stage at a festival" - and thus female DJs "have a lot to prove" at the end of the day.
She is also no stranger to unwanted male attention and sexual harassment, especially in an environment where alcohol and drugs are rampant.
She said: "I just avoid it or have my security handle it. Nothing crazy has happened, but (drunk men) have tried, of course. When I come out to pour drinks for the crowd, all the guys try to get handsy.
"That is the toughest thing I have to deal with, but it comes with the territory.
"I am around a lot of nightlife people. There is a lot of wildness and craziness. It takes a lot of self-control.
"That is what I feel I have - the ability to say no. No means no, don't get influenced.
"At the end of the day, it is how you carry yourself. When people meet me at my shows, I don't get them disrespecting me."
Despite her best efforts, Lee still has her share of problematic fans. When she was in China in 2017 for a music festival, a man found out which hotel she was staying at and followed her back to her room.
She recalled: "He actually came to my door and knocked. I looked through the peephole, and he tried to hide at the side.
"I called security and he got scared when they came. He was there for 15 minutes outside my door. It was pretty scary and creepy."