It all began when two lovely MAS staff members, Lily Chen and Sarah Lew approached me on a Thursday evening in September. They were telling me all about Miss Asia Sacramento, and I thought, what a great opportunity to spread Asian awareness! These ladies not only helped me from day one, but supported every single contestant every step of the way.
The beginning of January came along, and it was the first unofficial event for MAS—getting to know the staff members at the MAS Holiday Party. It was also the first time meeting current Teen Queen, Michelle Thach; she was such a mature, smart, and beautiful young woman that represented herself very well, especially for a fifteen-year old. We were the only contestants there, and until this day, I would have to admit that we were both pretty shy. It was such an honor to meet the 2011 Queens—Miss Namy Herr and Miss Christina Yan because not only did they let us ask them countless questions about the pageant, but also they answered these questions gracefully and humbly. It was also my very first time meeting every single staff member—Debra, Susan, Sherry, Lily, Sarah, Wip, Phet, Liz, Namy, and Christina. These lovely ladies made me feel very welcomed even coming in as a total stranger, and that was when I knew joining MAS was the right decision.
The process leading up to the beginning of the pageant was quite eventful. I was able to bond with my mother, someone who I appreciate and love more and more each day, by shopping and travelling to various dress shops and shopping malls to find the perfect accessories, dresses, and shoes. Never in my life have I ever shopped so much—from finding the best deals, to trying on numerous gowns and shoes, and just appreciating the fact that I am so blessed and thankful to be able to go through this process.
Next was the second unofficial event for MAS—volunteering for the UC Davis Bone Marrow Drive for AADP at the Davis Chinese Christian Church on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in early February. This was my very first time meeting contestants Jamie Bautista, Samantha Termizi, and Christina Lee—beautiful young women who had such good hearts to do such good deeds. Volunteering for the Bone Marrow Drive was such a fulfilling and satisfying accomplishment because complete strangers are so willing to help without anything in return, and that they can potentially help save lives.
Then came the end of February—when the pageant officially kicked off. It started with the Contestant Orientation Luncheon at Oshima Sushi Fugu Lounge in Natomas, where I was able to meet all the contestants for both Miss and Teens, all staff members, and all of the 2011 Queens—Mrs. Sabrina Chen, Miss Namy Herr, and Miss Christina Yan. This was the first time that all the contestants were pampered with gifts from the lovely queens, an etiquette session with the brilliant etiquette instructor Ms. Terri Johnson, a workshop on how to save money with Anita Johnson, CPA, and Mary Vosika, Investment Advisor, a skincare and makeup instruction with Ms. Christine Conzales of Shiseido, and lastly, a presentation on the fashion industry with Grace Ballesteros, professional photographer. This was also the time where we randomly chose our contestant numbers, and lo and behold, I had #1. Throughout this entire day, I learned so much from such inspiring women, whom I am thankful to meet for helping me kick off this exciting journey.
Rehearsals took place all througout the month of March, and these were the times I cherished the most because I was able to mingle and get to know each of the contestants and staff at a personal level. We would all help each other as if we were sisters, from brushing up our platforms, to walking gracefully and talking with confidence. Not a single person held back from helping, which made me feel thankful to have met such a great group of girls.
In the beginning of March, it was photoshoot day at Salon Bravissimo in Sacramento. It was the second time that all the girls were pampered with professional hairstylists and makeup artists in transforming us into beautiful young women in preparation for our photoshoot with Grace Ballesteros. This was yet another event where I was able to learn more about the contestants, having to take pictures on the side with numerous digital cameras and phones, to seeing their makeup and hair trials, as well as their photoshoots. It was also the day where all the girls donated many items for the My Sister’s House charity. Thank you to my hairstylist, Julia Montgomery, and make up artist, Sandra Bandimere, for doing such amazing jobs in making me look my best. Thank you to Grace for taking great professional pictures of all the girls with such patience and guidance.
The next major events were Community Service Day and the Media Launch Party at Oshima Sushi Fugu Lounge in Natomas. The day started with Community Service Day, where all the girls packed tons of gift bags for the My Sister’s House charity. It was really fun because all 12 of us were shuffling tissue paper, gift boxes, make up products, cleaning products, jewelry, etc as if we were throwing a slumber party! After this mini-event, Debra, the Executive Director and her mom fed us with delicious finger foods at her beautiful home. The girls were then pampered again for the third time with professional hair and make up artists in preparation for the Media Launch Party later that evening. Thank you to my hair and make up artist Anna Le, for taking your personal time out into making me look stunning that evening. The Media Launch Party was a great success because MAS was able to exceed its goal in fundraising for AADP. All the amazing sponsors, family, friends, and most importantly our special guest of the night, Janet Liang were in attendance. Thank you to all the staff for bearing us in surprising gifts! Thank you to all who donated and contributed to AADP!
The last event was bonding day with the girls and staff at Raley Field to see the Oakland A’s play the Sacramento Rivercats. We had a personal tour of the field, from the VIP sections, to seeing all the signed baseball bats by celebrities like Rihanna, Hillary Duff, Nick Lachey, and more. This was the final event before pageant day, and the lovely staff members surprised all of the ladies with MAS t-shirts! Thank you staff! We were all seated at the “foul ball” section—eating hot dogs, nachos, burgers, pizza, and popcorn, as well as taking many pictures with each other and the lovely mascots. The night ended with a beautiful firework show!
And here comes the most important day—pageant day! The day started at eight in the morning to prepare all the dresses, accessories, shoes, etc to bring to the hotel. All the girls arrived by noon to start the first two phases of the pageant—interviews and platform. After this phase, the lovely staff bought about 15 whole pizzas, sandwiches, and water to feed us, thank you staff! From the time after the first two phases until the start of the event, we had some time to go through dress rehearsals in order to perfect the event. After dress rehearsals, it was time to be pampered one last time with our hair and make up artists.
Now it is show time! The evening started with the most important phase—ethnic phase, where all the beautiful ladies and I dressed in pretty gowns in representing our own unique cultures. It was also the first phase where we introduced to everybody who we are. The next phase was the swim phase. This phase was the phase that all girls put in the most effort in designing our own swim top. The theme this year was high-tech fashion, so the more bling the better. We strut our creative walks with “Fashion,” by Lady Gaga. The swim tops brought out our individuality and unique personality.
The next phase was the optional talent phase. In preparation for this, thanks to my lovely music teacher, Mr. Jason Chan and I started rehearsing since December. I decided to sing “I Only Care About You” by Teresa Teng because this song not only represented the Chinese culture, it was also an inspiration to me in recalling all those good memories when my mom used to sing Teresa’s songs to me throughout my childhood. At this phase, I felt I was able to engage with the audience the most; I was able to sing comfortably and freely.
The last phases were evening gown and final question. This was the phase where all the beautiful ladies and I walked gracefully in our evening gowns, and answered questions to the best of our knowledge.
To wrap up the evening, it was time for coronation. To me, all the beautiful ladies are all winners because not only are they brave enough to do a pageant, but they are intelligent, beautiful, and good-hearted young women. I would like to take this time to congratulate each and every one of you—Helena, Jenny, Christina, Pinhwa, Kalai, Samantha, Regina, Rica, Jamie, Michelle, and Brook, for being such great inspiration not just to me, but to the community. Congratulations to Teen Queen, Michelle Thach!
SPECIAL THANKS TO…
Most importantly, I want to personally thank my family—Mom, Dad, Nancy, Jenny, Jin, Noah, and Abby, for always being so supportive througout my life in loving and caring for me. Thank you for always believing me.
Big thanks to my sponsor—Heat Shabu Baru—Anthony, Mike, Tone, and Joy for supporting me every step of the way. Thank you all for always being so down to earth; I could not have done it without you all!
Thanks to all the MAS staff members and volunteers—Debra, Lily, Sarah, Susan, Sherry, Suzy, Sabrina, Namy, Christina, Phet, Winnie, Wip, Erika, Jessica, Jeannie, Emily, Shanshan, and Grace, for producing such a successful pageant! Thank you for giving the best to me and the rest of the 2012 girls!
Thank you to all the lovely judges—Ms. Terri Johnson, Miss Jasmine Nip, Mommy Penny Wong-Belleza, Mr. Ognian Gavrilov, and Mr. Tom Bhe for taking out your personal time in sharing this unforgettable event with all of us.
Thank you to my lovely hair and make up artist, Anna Le, for perfecting my looks and running everywhere possible to do touch ups.
Lastly, I would like to thank my strong group of friends—Johnny, Jennifer, Wendy, Albert, Jackson, Cindy, Rob, Serena, Melanie, Johnson, Jimmy, Raymond H., David, Miyako, Jerry, Warren, Nick, Chris, Mandy, Cheri, Calvin, Raymond Y., Allen, Danny, Timothy, Jaimee, Lawson, Bruce, Jason, Andy, Gloria, Kathy, Jon, Darren, Kendrick, Jessica, Milton, and Biron just to name a few. Thank you all for coming all the way to Sacramento to support me!
I feel extremely blessed, honored, and thankful to be crowned as Miss Asia Sacramento, and I look forward to what is ahead of me this year.
2012 Miss Asia Sacramento