Our third annual Asian-American singles issue highlights 14 young men and women in the mile-high city. Whether they enjoy hiking and jogging or eating out on the town, these bachelors and bachelorettes show that it’s not too bad to be single in this city. More than a bustling nightlife and dynamic bar scene, Denver has scenic parks, gorgeous mountains, and the adventurous outdoors.

Mimi Lai, 24 Chinese-American Clinical Researcher
Mimi Lai, 24
Chinese-American
Clinical Researcher

Mimi, who describes herself as quirky, spontaneous and a tomboy, says one of the greatest risks she’s ever taken is telling Star Wars fans she hasn’t seen all of the Star Wars movie. Her biggest accomplishment is the fact that she’s traveled to more than 30 countries and islands.

In her free time, Mimi enjoys outdoor activities, pole fitness and Parkour. She also enjoys tending to her vegetable garden, cooking while watching her favorite TV shows and traveling whenever she can. A lover of any food that’s tasty and nutritious, Mimi says not a lot of people know that she’s crafty and makes delicious gluten-free goodies. Her perfect date would involve “doing something that neither of us have done before and a beer afterwards.”

Qualities that attract her: Laid-back, smiles and silliness
Dislikes: Phoniness, high maintenance, negativity and closed-minded
Can’t live without: Sunshine, good food and good company
Words she lives by: “Smile every chance you get. Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don’t have.”

Tony Nguyen, 31 Vietnamese-American Systems Test Engineer
Tony Nguyen, 31
Vietnamese-American
Systems Test Engineer

Tony’s achievements include graduating with degrees in computer science and economics from the Colorado School of Mines and finding a successful career as a systems test engineer, but he says his biggest accomplishment is performing improv regularly on stage. “It is a great outlet for being ridiculous, and it is very satisfying when the audience is genuinely laughing during a performance,” Tony says.

Tony, who describes himself as fun-loving, organized and humorous, says his mom had the greatest influence on him growing up. His mother’s experience coming to the U.S. as an immigrant and raising three children as a single mother remains an ongoing source of inspiration and motivation for him. Tony’s free time activities include exercising, enjoying happy hour, playing Magic the Gathering cards, traveling and performing improv. His perfect date would consist of a delicious dinner out, drinks somewhere quiet and great conversation that makes the night fly by.

Qualities that attract him: An easy going sense of humor, congeniality, intelligence, health-oriented and honesty
Dislikes: Negativity, flakiness and dishonesty
Can’t live without: Laughter, friends and beer—they often all overlap. Also glasses, I can’t see without them.
Words he lives by: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddhist proverb

Yukari Usui, 25 Japanese/Filipino-American Client Service Representative
Yukari Usui, 25
Japanese/Filipino-American
Client Service Representative

Yukari’s recent accomplishments include mastering the art of chess and baking banana bread, but she is also proud of the leadership and networking skills she acquired during participation in the Miss Asian American Colorado program.

Yukari has attended the Denver School of Massage Therapy and University of Colorado at Denver. In her spare time, Yukari enjoys going dancing, kickboxing, reading, watching kung fu movies and painting her nails. She describes herself as enthusiastic, open-minded and giving, and her favorite foods include sinigang, sushi, green tea ice cream, pistachio ice cream and soki soba. Yukari’s perfect date would consist of ice cream and an outdoor adventure—or both.

Qualities that attract her: Witty, kind, educated and ambitious
Dislikes: Selfish, arrogant, dishonest, pessimistic and condescending
Can’t live without: Family, iPhone and football season
Words she lives by: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

Ricky Chan, 31 Chinese-American Software Engineer
Ricky Chan, 31
Chinese-American
Software Engineer

Ricky, who describes himself as adventurous, optimistic and down to earth, says no one typically realizes that he’s somewhat of an adrenaline junkie. Skydiving is greatest risk he’s ever taken. His other free time activities include hanging out with friends, watching/playing sports, photography, riding his motorcycle, watching movies, playing board games, volunteering, exploring new restaurants, traveling and shooting.

Ricky considers becoming a Salutatorian in high school his greatest accomplishment. Although he worked at his parent’s Chinese restaurant every day after school and ended up giving up basketball and track, Ricky was able to keep his academics up and achieve the academic honor. His parents had the greatest influence on him growing up. “From them, I get my humbleness, strong work ethic and perseverance,” he says.

Ricky went on to acquire a computer science and economics degrees from Colorado School of Mines and a master’s degree in computer science from University of Denver. Ricky says the most valuable experience he gained during his educational career is time management.

His favorite foods include sushi, pho, Korean barbecue and ramen noodles (the authentic kind like the restaurants out in California). Ricky’s perfect date would be an outing to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “It’ll be an out of the world experience at the Space Odyssey Exhibit and planetarium show,” he says. “Get the heart pumping at Exhibition Heath, and then cap it off with a 3-D film at the IMAX Theater.

Qualities that attract him: Humor, compassion, open-mindedness, honesty, genuine, adventurous and laid-back
Dislikes: Materialistic, arrogant, self-centered and disrespectful
Can’t life without: My family, friends and phone
Words he lives by: “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” – Zoolander

Mai Kou Vang, 30 Hmong-American New Product Coordinator
Mai Kou Vang, 30
Hmong-American
New Product Coordinator

Because she’s always wearing a bright smile, Mai says people don’t usually pick up on her shyness. A graduate of Horizon High School, Mai benefited from a class structure based on the integration of English, history and science. She says the approach forced her to think outside the box and challenge her beliefs and view of the world. Mai says her mom’s strength and dedication to gender equality and her education had the greatest influence on while she was growing up. “She carries herself with grace, always knows the right things to say and always shows up with her heart,” Mai says.

Although Mai says she is still in the process of achieving her greatest accomplishment, she strives to live life on her own terms, even if it means giving up everything she knows. She describes herself as friendly, dedicated and fun, and loves to be in good company with friends and family. She enjoys Thai food, and doesn’t have a preference for the perfect date, as long as there is “chemistry and laughter in the conversation.”

Qualities that attract her: Funny, outgoing, laid-back, confident, smart, friendly, caring and honest
Can’t live without: My sister, who’s my soul mate

Tricia King, 27 Filipino-American Research Specialist
Tricia King, 27
Filipino-American
Research Specialist

Tricia, who describes herself as adventurous, quirky and open-minded, says most people don’t realize that she’s terrified of a lot of things. But fear rarely stops her, she says.

Tricia majored in anthropology and GIS at University of Colorado at Denver, where her professors challenged and guided her in pursuing her interests in research. With their help, she acquired a research grant and studied infectious disease with local tribes overseas for two summers. “I loved every moment!” she says. “And still do. In research, every day gives you a new perspective.”

Tricia says her mother had the greatest influence on her growing up. “She gets this look of calm defiance right before she faces whatever’s coming her way, as if she already knows she won’t fail,” Tricia says.

Traveling in a foreign country alone is the greatest risk she’s ever taken. In her spare time, Tricia enjoys hanging out wither German Shepherd mix, Siouxsie, traveling whenever possible, volunteering and catching up on episodes of New Girl, Bones and Criminal Minds. “I love the opportunity for new experiences—from hosting a sushi-making party to checking out the Science Lounge at Denver Museum of Nature and Science,” she says. “And if nothing else, having a notoriously bad sense of direction means every day is a chance for new adventures!”

Tricia’s favorite foods are Korean barbecue and Cassava Cake, and her perfect date is anything laid back and fun with good food and charming conversation. “Bonus points if it includes an activity neither of us has tried before!” she says.

Qualities that attract her: Respectfulness, generosity, cleverness, confidence and humility
Dislikes: Lack of ambition and negativity
Can’t live without: My family. We’re spread out all over the world but we still manage to stay close. And friends, the people who choose to be family. And Siouxsie, of course!
Words she lives by: “Never lose your childlike wonder and try everything twice!”

Cuong Huynh, 26 Vietnamese-American Systems Administrator
Cuong Huynh, 26
Vietnamese-American
Systems Administrator

Cuong, who describes himself as witty, confident and genuine, says his greatest accomplishment is founding Tennis Hope, a nonprofit organization that promotes youth development and diversity within the Denver tennis community. Cuong attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and works as a systems administrator.

Cuong’s favorite food is Brazilian steak and says most people don’t know that he can’t eat spicy food. His perfect date is “taking the lady out shopping and letting her buy everything until she takes my bank account down to zero.” Cuong enjoys playing tennis, basketball and football; hiking; running; snowboarding; going to the gym; and knitting sweaters for his cat.

Qualities that attract him: Honest, caring, loving, smart, respectful, self-sufficient, outgoing, ambitious, athletic, witty, thoughtful, confident, funny, gorgeous smile, big eyes and the ability to swim (in case he’s drowning)
Dislikes: Deceptive, neglectful, inconsiderate, unintelligent, dependent, introverted, unenthusiastic, inactive, gullible, inconsiderate, weak-minded, unfunny, crooked smile, evil eyes and not knowing how to swim
Can’t live without: Putting a smile on someone’s face
Words he lives by: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

Lynda Saignaphone, 28 laotian-American public health Program assistant
Lynda Saignaphone, 28
Laotian-American
Public Health Program Assistant

A graduate of University of Colorado at Denver, Lynda’s greatest achievement is working full-time to put herself through undergraduate and graduate programs. “The experiences I found most valuable is that I can do a lot of things in life if I just put my head and my heart in the right place,” she says. “If I’m determined, ambitious and industrious, I can stretch my time and day to achieve everything I have in mind.”

Lynda also feels more accomplished knowing that her parents and family are proud of who she is today; they were her greatest influence growing up. “We went through a lot of pain and suffering together to get where we are in life today,” she says. “They are my daily doses of inspiration and motivation; I could not have done it without them.”

Lynda, who describes herself as decisive, considerate, adaptable, says a lot of people don’t realize that she’s very philosophical. Even though she’s an introvert and an observer by nature, she’s not just a dreamer and a believer, but also a doer. In her spare time, Lynda likes to gain wisdom by going on cultural or social adventures. Although usually always up for a culinary or outdoor escapade, she also enjoys relaxing with a good book or a glass of wine. A self-proclaimed foodie, Lynda says different places call for different favorite foods, but she does enjoy her mother’s cooking.

The greatest risk she’s ever taken is to live and embrace what life has to offer and to actually live it. “Life is full of unknown, and unpredictability but to be able to fearlessly live it, to me is the greatest risk that also offer the greatest rewards,” she says. Lynda says her perfect date would end with her and her date saying to one another, “Wow! That five hours just flew by; time sure flies when you are having fun. We must to do this again soon!”

Qualities that attract her to other people: Confidence, sincerity, thoughtfulness and sense of humor. I think when someone have those qualities it reflects through their smiles, laughter and the way they carry themselves. That’s what make them stand out, but a nice muscular body doesn’t hurt either.
Qualities she dislikes: Indecisiveness, laziness and closed-minded. When someone have these qualities it can tell you a lot about their character. It can be an indication that they insecure, fearful, and most importantly unsure about their own wants, needs and even who they are. These qualities will lead them to nowhere, and that’s definitely not attractive or fun to be around. What she can’t live without: My family, especially my nieces and nephew. They are these three little beautiful creatures that I never knew I needed until one day they just showed up and now I can’t live without them.
Words she lives by: My own quote I made up and live by today: “Get your HEART right by truly knowing who are and what want. Get your HEAD right by knowing how you want it. That way you can embrace life fearlessly.”

Jonathan Yeh, 27 Chinese-American Investment Wholesaler/Tennis Coach
Jonathan Yeh, 27
Chinese-American
Investment Wholesaler/Tennis Coach

Jonathan considers his position as a tennis coach a unique achievement. “Being a tennis coach is extremely gratifying,” he says. “It allows me to share my passion and love with someone who has similar aspirations.”

Jonathan describes himself as athletic, tenacious and a daredevil, and says not a lot of people realize that he’s very shy when it comes to approaching women he’s interested in. Jonathan’s perfect date would involve doing something fun, spontaneous and different than the standard coffee or dinner date. “Outdoor activities are always a hit,” he says.

A graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder, Jonathan was able to adapt to any circumstances thrown at him in college, a trait he found very valuable. The greatest risk he’s ever taken was moving to Los Angeles with a three-week notice. His dad, who he describes as wise, kind and very caring, had the greatest influence on him growing up, and when it comes to his favorite food, he says it’s hard to beat anything that his mom makes.

Qualities that attract him: Confidence, selflessness, sense of adventure and most importantly a sense of humor
Dislikes: Dishonesty, monotony and narrow-mindedness
Can’t live without: My tennis racquets. Playing tennis keeps me sane.

Jessica Tai, 25 Chinese/Scottish/Irish-American Centurylink Recruiter
Jessica Tai, 25
Chinese/Scottish/Irish-American
Centurylink Recruiter

A graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder, Jessica says that being well-rounded during her college career was a valuable experience. She was always involved in multiple organizations and athletics, and worked throughout college. Jessica’s mom had the greatest influence on her growing up. “She always taught me that character and doing the best you can in everything you do was very important,” Jessica says.

In her free time, Jessica enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

Qualities that attract her: Good sense of humor, drive, ambition and someone who is genuine
Dislikes: Arrogance and ignorance
Words she lives by: “There is no passion to be had in living a life that is less than one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

Steve-Le
Steve Le, 26
Vietnamese- American
Electrical Engineer

Steve, who describes himself as responsible, fun and hardworking, says his greatest accomplishment is getting his engineering degree from University of Colorado at Denver, which he achieved by paying his way through college, studying hard and maintaining determination.

Steve’s greatest influencers growing up were his mother and father, who worked hard for little pay to raise six children. In his free time, Steve jogs, swims and hikes. He also enjoys watching movies and TV shows, playing games, hanging out with friends, listening to music, drinking and cooking. An Italian food lover, Steve says his perfect date would simply be dinner and a movie.

Qualities that attract him: People who are independent and can take care of themselves
Dislikes: Smoking, bad breath, laziness and procrastinator
Can’t live without: I don’t know why, but I am very attached to music. I seem to be listening to music throughout my day and sometimes even to help me go to bed.
Words he lives by: “Friends and family are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.”

Dennis Kyung, 30 Korean-American Retirement Financial Representative
Dennis Kyung, 30
Korean-American
Retirement Financial Representative

Dennis says he’s lucky to be alive after making some wrong decisions riding his bike, but he admits that flying a plane was much more nerve-racking than riding a bike for the first time. A graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in accounting, Dennis found meeting friends throughout college valuable because they eventually became his family. He also learned to chase his dreams. “Don’t sit around thinking about your dreams/success/goals you wish you had; go out and chase it now,” he says.

Dennis, who describes himself as optimistic, driven and full of integrity, says he wouldn’t be where he is today without his parents (and their constant nagging). His favorite activities include golfing, snowboarding, camping and fishing. He loves Korean barbecue and says his perfect date would involve “enjoying each other’s company no matter what the activity is.”

Qualities that attract him: Down to earth, genuinely nice and open to try new things
Dislikes: People who are mean and inconsiderate of others. Why can’t we all just get along?
Can’t live without: Delicious food
Words he lives by: “Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” – Steve Jobs

Allison Riley, 23 Filipina/Black-American AmeriCorps Financial Empowerment Services
Allison Riley, 23
Filipina/Black-American
AmeriCorps Financial Empowerment Services

Allison says she has a sense of boldness that people don’t often pick up on. She graduated from Metro State University in Denver, where she majored in journalism and minored in women’s studies. Allison greatly values her experience at the non-traditional, commuter campus, because it allowed her to truly experience diversity.

Although Allison says being the first in her family to earn a college degree is her greatest achievement, she considers moving out on savings after college and living without an income the biggest risk she’s ever taken. Allison describes herself as eccentric, mature and strong-willed, and lists chocolate as her favorite food. A lover of activities such as CrossFit, running, yoga and working out, Allison’s perfect date would involve an an active endeavor like ice skating or ziplining.

Qualities that attract her: Openness, respectfulness, intelligence, humor and athleticism
Dislikes: Ignorance, egotism, lack of humility and being fake or “shady”
Can’t live without: Exercise. I can’t go a day without doing something that makes me sweat.
Words she lives by: “Trust in the universe that you are where you need to be.”

Raj Verma, 34 Indian-American Policy Analyst
Raj Verma, 34
Indian-American
Policy Analyst

A policy analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Raj says people don’t usually realize that he’s quite shy. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder before attending University of Colorado at Boulder Law School and University of Colorado at Denver Graduate School of Public Affairs. Raj’s fondest experiences during his education include meeting new classmates and discussing various academic and policy topics. He also studied in Australia for a semester, a risk he’s glad he took.

Raj’s favorite food is pasta, and he enjoys playing tennis in his spare time. He also loves to read and dance, and volunteers on the Associate Board Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

Qualities that attract him: Humility, sense of humor and charisma
Dislikes: Arrogance
Can’t live without: Faith
Words he lives by: “Praise and criticism are like bubble gum, you can chew on it, but don’t swallow it.” – Rick Warren
“You can be oh so smart or oh so pleasant, I’ve been smart for 35 years, I recommend pleasant.” – Jimmy Stewart