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Alice An
MC / Show Host , Model , Stylist
137,986 views| 206  Posts

Why Miss Asia?

If you thought I left my days of Asian American community activities (and activism) behind with Altra... SURPRISE, I'm back. My newest incarnation is US Image Director of ATV's Miss Asia pageants.

I know, I know...

"What?!?"

"Alice...noo..."

Try not to judge! Before you start erasing my name from your list of favorite AA feminists give me a chance.

When I think of beauty pageants this quote from my favorite Asian American comedienne, Margaret Cho comes to mind:

"It's this idea of beauty as being a rumor that becomes true in the re-telling."

Growing up, blissfully living the American Dream in a predominantly caucasian suburb, I was never what you might call "disadvantaged." And I won't lie and say that I didn't have a healthy perception of my physical appearance either. My aunts and uncles doted on me, always suggesting that I'd grow up and compete in Hong Kong for one of the coveted beauty queen tiles. Or that I'd be Miss Chinatown, Houston.

But this in itself poses an interesting question: Why do I have to travel to Hong Kong to be beautiful? Why am I only beautiful within the confines of Chinatown? I didn't even live in Chinatown! Seeing nothing but Texas blond beauty queens on TV didn't help either. It was exciting for me if there was a brunette Miss America (Lynda Carter!), because that was the closest thing to an American role model who looked like me, and was praised for her beauty and to a certain extent, her intelligence.

This brings us back to what Margaret said.

One of those beauty pageants that my aunts and uncles fantasized that I would fly off to Hong Kong and compete in, ATV's Miss Asia, founded in 1985, is now acknowledging that there is a significant and important Asian population here in the United States. Originally only open to Los Angeles women, the competition is now open to New York and San Francisco, for the first time in the three years ATV has invited the US to send a representative over. We now get three representatives, three ladies to send to Asia and show how Asians who grow up in the United States are awesome enough to act as a representative of Asian awesomeness to the world.

So how does what Margaret said apply to Miss Asia in America, especially because it's still "Miss Asia," and especially because the girls who win the 3 US regionals still go to Hong Kong to compete for the final titles?

Well, because we aren't Asians in Hong Kong. We are Americans. We are ambassadors of our community, of our country. And the ladies who are chosen here, in the process of being chosen, they rally the community around them, they become role models.

Now that there are three regional competitions, the access has tripled. Girls from all over the US are welcome to apply as long as they are willing and able to travel to the respective locations for trials and the actual pageant. If you can come from Texas and compete in California or New York, even better. Bring your community with you.

For my generation and the generations before me, there were very few visible or popular Asian American role models. Asian American girls, like all other women of color were always forced to put their beauty in context. The producers of All American Girl told Margaret that she was "too Asian" looking and not relatable to the American public. Getting canned for not being funny is one thing, but fired for looking like you do, off a show based on your life?

I think it's about time that we had a forum here in America that is not just confined to individual communities, that is not just contained within the US, that encourages Asian American girls to embrace their beauty and gives them the opportunity to reshape the perception of "beautiful" in America. I think it's about time we had the opportunity to represent America in this capacity because Asian American women should be proud and know they are beautiful just because they are.

Represent. Apply. www.sundayusa.us/missasia/

almost 11 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares
Photo 43244
Does that mean that you are coming to HK? SWEET!
almost 11 years ago
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
good luck with it!
almost 11 years ago
Chungtsang 5b chungtsang
Come and bring some Spunky American Girls.
almost 11 years ago

About

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Languages Spoken
english, cantonese
Location (City, Country)
New York City, United States
Gender
female
Member Since
October 5, 2007