Aug 07, 2010
Message from Our President & Founder
When I created the Miss Asian America Pageant in 1985, I had the intention of sharing my personal experience of evolving from a shy and sheltered young girl into an active community leader. As the youngest of five children to a widowed, immigrant mother, the idea of one day becoming a pageant queen and community leader seemed like a far-fetched dream.
As a child, I found inspiration in Dr. William Gee, founder of On Lok Senior Services, and his wife, Marian. Dr. and Mrs. Gee assisted my mother in navigating through language and cultural barriers. They helped her apply for widow’s benefits and frequently checked in on her young family. After winning the title of Miss Chinatown USA in 1981, I became a vocal member of the Asian American community. This new public image enabled me to carry forth my inspiration from the Gees, and I dedicated myself to APA Family Support Services, an invaluable program that assists young, immigrant mothers. My participation in pageantry gave me a voice and enabled me to make a difference in my community by giving back the assistance that others had given my family so many years before. A pageant changed my life.
I was empowered by my experience and determined to share my dream with other young women in the Asian community. My objective in creating the Miss Asian America Pageant was to showcase young, Asian American women in a quality production that represented their culture, intelligence, and talent. What we have today is an event much more dynamic and compelling than anything I had envisioned twenty-five years ago. From its humble beginnings in 1985, we have grown to have a national presence with contestants hailing from dozens of states and partnerships with several state pageants from Florida to Hawaii.
As we look forward to new challenges and changes in the coming decade, it is important to reflect on the work and mission of the Miss Asian America Pageant. The first Asian American beauty queens swept away perceptions of the Confucian female and provided a modern and even American face to the public. The young women were symbols of the “coming of age” of Chinese Americans, attending anti-communism rallies during the Cold War and collecting funds for the first Asian American political candidates to run for office.
The Miss Asian America Organization continues this mission of service, empowerment, and cultural appreciation. We are constantly reminded that our current success is a product of generations of fortitude. For the past twenty-five years, we have built a community that includes over 500 contestants and hundreds of hard working individuals who have put their valuable time, skills, and talent into producing the show you see tonight. Through these efforts, we have produced a program that benefits the Asian American community, and that is why we are proud to call ourselves the “Face of Asian America.”
Thank you for being here tonight in support of Asian American women. I wish to express my gratitude to the Miss Asian America Pageant community, especially to our sponsors and my loyal friends – staff and volunteers who make this event possible. You have come through brilliantly to continue our mission of inspiring the next generation of Asian America women and leaders.
Finally, on behalf of the Miss Asian America Pageant Family, we wish to congratulate our 2009-2010 Queen and Court:
- Amy Chanthaphavong, Miss Asian America
- Victoria Pham, First Princess & Miss Asian California
- Kristine Law, Second Princess & Miss Asian San Francisco
- Carolyn Fung, Third Princess
- Tiffany Tam, Miss Talent
- Patherine Phattanathum, Miss Scholastic Achievement
- Serim Kang, Miss Community Service
- Angel Chang, Miss Congeniality
- Jane Hwang, Miss Photogenic
Thank you for being a part of our legacy and for carrying your titles with honor, grace, and beauty.
Together, let us build a stronger Asian American community for the future.
Source: 25th Annual Miss Asian America Pageant Program book