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Bowen Yang Chases Lasagna With Diet Coke and a Martini, and Other Revelations From the Star’s Cover Shoot

Bowen wears a suit by Bode, shirt by Moschino, sunglasses by Le Specs, and earring by Cartier. Katherine Bernhardt, Dt. Teeth + Doritos, 2021.

Being a fan of Bowen Yang feels kind of like having a very culturally savvy, wry friend that you only talk to online. He has the welcoming expression and demeanor of someone you could easily approach at a party. And, evidently, people do.

“I’m a magnet for purses and handbags at a party. I’ll sit down and someone will just leave their purse with me,” he told CULTURED on the set of his cover shoot for the CULT 100 issue, slightly baffled by his own inherent trustworthiness in the eyes of others. “I never offered to watch over the purse. I could be a full kleptomaniac, and you are leaving me with your things. Thank goodness I’m not!” 

Yang’s cover story, written by author and journalist Jason Okundaye, charts the beloved comedian’s transition from cheeky outsider to the A-list. His high-profile run as an Saturday Night Live cast member, roles in Hollywood films, and successful Las Culturistas podcast have all positioned him at the nexus of New York society, even as Yang continues to poke fun at that same circuit in his productions. 

Bowen wears a shirt and shoes by Ami Paris, tank top by Cos, pants by Edward Cuming, necklace by Title of Work, and watch by Cartier.

“There is certainly a tension—it would be dishonest to say there wasn’t,” Yang told Okundaye, but his output of consistently diverse, fresh material stands as evidence of a changemaker’s ability to shift culture, as much as they risk being absorbed by it. That’s what earned Yang a spot on CULTURED’s 2024 CULT 100 list, a compendium of the moment’s brightest luminaries shaping the fields of art, film, literature, food, fashion, and more.

The cover star met photographer Lee Mary Manning for a shoot at New York’s STUDIOTWENTYSEVEN gallery, where he was promptly fitted in a series of looks from Gucci and Valentino. Between shots, CULTURED sat the comedian down for an installment of 5 Points of Culture, looking at Yang’s current roster of inspirations and touchpoints. Cole Escola, Eve Babitz, The Traitors, and Celcius drinks all make the cut.

Video by Austin Bailey