One year ago, I entered in beauty pageant and while I felt that I didn’t fit the pageant girl mold, I decided to go for it and take it as a learning opportunity. Hey if I could take these free classes to improve public speaking, grace and etiquette, why wouldn’t I take advantage of it? And so the journey began…
As a Taiwan ambassador I took part in many community engagements, holiday parades, and networked with local council members in the greater Los Angeles area. Some events were more glamorous than others, and while I likely will retire from this world it did teach me quite a bit, but not in ways I’d expect.
I am who I am… by this I mean I’ve grown to accept that I am a multi-layered individual who is always going to challenge the status quo. I’ve never fit in anywhere and always stuck out – most of the times unintentionally. In some ways participating in a pageant, helped me understand that I was born to stand out, not blend in. I embrace my quirks and imperfections, and while I still have a long way to go in becoming who I’m suppose to be I think I’m heading the right direction
To all the current and future titleholders… Take advantage of every moment to shine, You are worthy and never let anyone tell you otherwise. I can’t wait to see where the new year will take you and how much you will grow along the way.
Wow! Has it been a year already? It seems like it was only yesterday when I was getting trying on gowns and heels to prep for the pageant. In about a month we will be crowning a new class of young men and women and as I wrap up my year of service I hope that the new royal court will take advantage of every opportunity given to them. Here’s my advice for the new 2016-2017 class.
BEAUTY AND FASHION
Pageant Gowns: Give yourself plenty of time to shop for two long evening gowns and a short cocktail dress. I highly recommend going to Santee Alley, a two block area in downtown LA’s Fashion District that sells both apparel, cosmetics, and everything fashion related.
Shop in June/July as it’s after Prom season and shops want to move their inventory.
Noell is a very popular store among pageant girls as they sell super glamorous gowns with extensive beading and elaborate designs. The showroom is an enormous two floor building and it’s definitely a splurge should you pay them a visit. If memory serves me right I think dresses start at around $400, but can go upwards to $1000 of dollars. Also do make an appointment as other customers have commented on being turned away even during business hours.
Personally, I purchased all my gowns at Atria Couture as they were more in my price-range. I budgeted about $200 a gown and while the designs weren’t as loud, the quality of the cloth material was thick and the stitching and design was cohesive. I definitely bartered with them so work on your negotiating skills.
There are many stores that sell gowns at different price-points; however, I’ve noticed that the dresses that were less than a $100 tended to be a thinner fabric and the sequences were glued on as opposed to sewn. To each his own, but I felt that if these were dresses that I would wear throughout the year, I’d chose to invest in pieces that I could wear multiple times.
Jewelry: Buy costume jewelry while you shop for your dress. It helps when you have your dress with you so you can see if certain earrings and necklaces match. Also, large dangling earrings look wonderful on stage. Silver crystals type of jewelry matched pretty much all of my outfits, but
Shoes: Wear heels that have a platform at the front and pick either clear or a nude color. It will help elongate your figure.
Hair and Makeup: I chose to do my own hair and makeup as it was an additional expense that I did not want to take into account, but I would recommend buying fake eyelashes to make your eye makeup more dramatic. I randomly stumbled upon this shop called The Makeup Shake, and they have some really great products including their own 3D silk eyelashes. “Eye Poppin” and “Mad Eye” are two of my favorite lashes to wear, and I always get compliments on how pretty my eyes look. They also carry some professional makeup supplies that I see at the Annual International Makeup Artists Tradeshow (IMATs), so it’s great that I can get some of my favorite products without having to wait until the tradeshow.
At the time I chopped off 8 inches of my hair, so I had no idea how to style a short cut. I practiced with my curling iron and do a classic french twist (with a ton of bobby pins) to give the allusion that I had more hair. Ha!
The dreaded Fish Bowl Question: You never know what type of question you’ll get, but I thought of it as I would prepare for a job interview. I wrote down my answers and practiced in front of the mirror my responses. Practice makes perfect. Sometimes I’ll even practice my answers in the car as I’m driving. 🙂
Additionally, since this was a Taiwanese pageant I made sure to have responses in regards to Taiwan current events and learned about different government officials locally and abroad.
I think like anything you do you get out what you put in. Some contestants were very casual and didn’t prepare as aggressively as others, whereas others were diligent and gave it their all. I always give everything I do my 100% and as Miss Taiwanese World I had the opportunity to meet multiple government officials, celebrate community milestones, and use this as a platform with my family and friends to talk about Taiwan and build community relations. You can see a few of my cool adventures here (10/10 Black Tie Event, Monterey Park parade, Lunar New Year Celebration at TECO)
Whether you’re a natural on stage or someone who wants to try something outside your comfort zone the competition part was a great opportunity to improve my posture, poise, and speech. It’s definitely something I can check mark off my bucket list and I can say that I have some incredible memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
As an educator I support all types of college and career pathways, so when the royal court was invited to attend a Taiwan Education Fair I was thrilled about the opportunity. Held at the Culture Center of Los Angeles over the weekend we networked with different universities and also learned about the international education options.
Representatives from twelve universities flew in from Taiwan to educate prospective students and families on the various programs and majors offered by the institutions of higher learning. Each university managed a booth where they provided pamphlets and brochures that highlighted their school’s claim to fame. Representatives charismatically spoke about their undergraduate, graduate, and study abroad programs and it was wonderful to see families learn more their options after high school.
I think students who are interested in doing business or international relations would really benefit from attending a school oversees. Not only will you be completely immersed in another culture which will force you to hone in on your bilingual skills, but it will truly open your eyes on learning about the beautiful Taiwan culture. Bilingual speakers are incredibly valuable and highly sought after, so this is an excellent opportunity for students to experience something new and also build their resume portfolio.
What should students know about life after high school?
Some of my fondest memories as a child were performing on stage. One moment I was a graceful fish from the Dai Tribe and the next I was the rambunctious Monkey King from the Chinese legend, Journey to the West. Sometimes I played as humans *grins mischievously* like a country girl picking rice or a warrior prepping for battle, but it was always wonderful to depict a character from a different time periods. So when I was invited to attend “Splendor of Taiwan” dance performance at my alma mater, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Scenes from different dance numbers plus me ready to present flowers 🙂
The dance performance from the National Taiwan University of Arts Dance Department in Taiwan was spectacular at the very least. There were dynamic acrobatics as well as cohesive partner-work. I knew that all the dancers trained intensely; however, their movements were so effortless and graceful. My favorite piece was definitely the last number, which featured traditional Taiwanese tribal wear (red outfits).
The event welcomed over 900 guests to the Chapman Auditorium and at the finale, I presented the Artistic Director with a bouquet of flowers. Leaders from the Taiwanese community congratulated the dancers on their excellent performance and we all wished them great success on their upcoming tour for Taiwanese Heritage Week.
Birthdays are one of the best days of the year and with Monterey Park recently celebrating it’s 101st, you know a landmark date like that warrants an enormous celebration. To no surprise, Monterey Park dedicated four “Play Days” to capture the magnitude of this milestone. The royal court was invited to join the Play Day Parade on Day 3 and we couldn’t have been more excited.
Bright and early on Saturday morning the royal court along with local government officials, volunteers, and other parade participants met at the Monterey Park City Hall for a briefing and instructions on the day ahead. Journalists and local media stations also interviewed us to comment on the festivities.
After snacking on healthy breakfast treats provided by the Women’s Club and taking multiple photo shoots we loaded up on the shuttle bus and headed towards the beginning point of the parade.
Many different organizations including several community service organizations, middle and high school bands, as well as after-school programs and local businesses were preparing for the landmark occasion.
There were several vintage vehicles parked along the road and we were lucky to ride on a classic white 1958 Ford decorated with mini American flags. Guests were standing and sitting on both sides of the street taking selfies and videos. My favorite part of the parade seeing the face of small children light up when I waved at them. Some of them blushed while others waved with great zeal. It was adorable.
After we finished our route, we all headed towards Barnes Memorial Park to pose for photos and enjoy carnival games and rides. It was a bright and sunny day making it perfect for everyone to enjoy this beautiful and diverse city.
What do you look forward to seeing most on a parade? High School Bands? Cheerleaders? Floats?
One of the best things about serving as Miss Taiwanese World is the opportunity to connect with people of all backgrounds and learning about their culture and customs. The royal court was invited to the 35th Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Monterey Park earlier this month to enjoy this yearly event.
The day was a brisk and chilly one; however, considering the weather conditions and high chance of rain the festival attracted a diverse group of Asian, Hispanic, and Caucasian enthusiasts. Performers sang in Spanish and some audience members got up and danced allow to the melodious beats. It was really beautiful to see how regardless of language, music and the arts can really bring us all together.
As goodwill ambassadors the royal court presented Friendship flags to the event Chairman Jesus Ortiz and Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian to continue relationships and support the City of Monterey Park. Photos were taken and we enjoyed the good company and energetic entertainment for the remainder of the afternoon. In addition to performances they also raffled off some cool prizes which included giftcards to haircuts, restaurants, and other local businesses.
May 7th marks the beginning of Taiwanese Heritage Week and the Taipei Economic and Culture Office (TECO) in Santa Ana celebrated their 11th annual kick-off celebration at it’s headquarters on Sunday.
In attendance were government officials, local community leaders, Taiwanese students, as well as prominent newspapers who covered the event. While the heritage week is a weeklong occasion, two weeks worth of events have been scheduled to showcase the Taiwanese culture. One event that I’m greatly looking forward to attending as a goodwill ambassador is the “Celebration Ceremony” held at my alma mater, Chapman University, on May 16th.
Following introductions and the formal certificates of recognition ceremony, volunteers and leaders enjoyed delicious traditional Taiwanese food prepared by generous volunteers who worked tirelessly to highlight some of Taiwan’s best dishes. I’m a firm believer that food brings people together and that you can learn so much about a culture through the cuisine. One of my favorite memories is actually going to the Taiwan night markets and snacking on cart food, which this feast featured extensively.
Have you been to Taiwan? What’s your favorite memory?
The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) held its Annual Officer Installation in old Hollywood glamour at the Brandview ballroom in Glendale, CA. Members of the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County chapter arrived in black tie apparel along with representatives from organizations such as the Taiwanese Junior Chamber, Asian American Professional Association, and Asian Youth Center to name a few.
To kick off the evening the royal court greeted guests at the door and posed for photos. It was a great opportunity to meet Asian Americans from all different industries as well as reconnect with old friends. The event was packed one, and guests had the opportunity to socialize and pass out business cards before heading to the ballroom.
Once 7pm hit, guests sat at their assigned tables and enjoyed a lavish 10 course Armenian meal, which included a healthy and a generous selection of appetizers and an enormous plate of kabobs. The royal court visited tables to sell raffle tickets and successfully raised funds to help support NAAAP’s future projects and expenses. US Congressman Ted Lieu swore in the newly elected Southern California officers as they committed themselves to a year of service, and the formal ceremony concluded with cultural performances, music, and dancing. It was a rockin’ party and one that I will remember.
What kind of events do you like to attend? Socials? Professional Development?
A press conference at the Culture Center of Los Angeles was held on Sunday April 23rd to publicize the 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Celebration Concert hosted by our foundation. As Miss Taiwanese World, I attended with my Preteen and Teen royal court as local Chinese news stations and reporters learned more about the community event. As the event’s sophomore year, the program has grown exponentially and is packed with vocal and dance performances. Starting at 12:30pm the concert at Culture Center of Los Angeles will feature talented mothers in the greater Los Angeles area. This free event will also present the Mother of the Year to a very well deserving woman. My mother also attended this press conference with me and I’m reminded on how her influence has helped shaped me as the young woman today. I’m forever indebted to this beautiful (inside and out) woman and I feel so blessed to call her my mom. I feel that the greatest lesson that I’ve learned from her is to always laugh, smile, and to never take life too seriously. I love you mom!
As Miss Taiwanese World part of my duties is to connect communities and further support education initiatives. So when I was asked to help sell raffle tickets benefiting future professional development workshops for the Chinese American Construction Professional (CACP) organization I gladly accepted the role; the event was held on a Friday evening at 888 Seafood in Rosemead. When I arrived I was introduced to several former Miss Chinatowns and together we enthusiastically promoted some amazing prizes which included a big screen tv, wine, and more to maximize raffles sales.
During this annual fundraiser guests were served a 10 course meal featuring a traditional cold plate appetizer, lobster, a whole fish, etc. The attendees savored the family style meal and their eyes were entertained by local and international performances. Some government officials also made appearances including: Councilmen Ed Chau and Congresswoman Judy Chu. The evening ended raffle winner announcements and dancing.
It was a festive and delicious way to celebrate the new year! We raised a lot of money for future programs and had a great time doing it. I hope I’ll get more opportunities to work with these beautiful ladies and support a great cause!
What’s an important cause that you’ll support this year?