Welcome! I'm Natalie Ngai. I am a recent PhD graduate in Communication and Media from the University of Michigan.

I am broadly interested in media representations, aesthetics, celebrity culture, and gender and race. My doctoral dissertation studies cuteness in Classical Hollywood, Japanese kawaii culture, and contemporary digital media culture. My work emphasizes the liberating meanings of cuteness to individuals, especially girls and women, and disputes the notion that cuteness is childish, self-indulgent, only popular in East Asia, and if performed by women, anti-feminist. My research seeks to bring together the sub-fields of film and media history, global media studies, and digital studies.

My research has won 2022 The British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Best Essay by a Doctoral Student Award, 2022 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Fan and Audiences Studies Graduate Student Paper Award (co-authored with my cat Bean), 2022 The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Entertainment Studies Interest Group Top Student Paper Award and Anne Cooper-Chen Research Award, and 2022 The University of Michigan Department of Communication and Media Graduate Student Diversity Research Award. 

I have published original research in several academic journals, including Media, Culture & Society, Feminist Media Studies, Celebrity Studies, and International Journal of Communication, and the anthology Media Works, Mother and Motherhood. If you are interested in learning about my work and/or me, feel free to follow my twitter @nataliengai6 or get in touch at tlngai@umich.edu