Seven ladies represented their home cities and countries at the Vietnamese Student Association’s second annual "Miss Asia" pageant on April 27. The ladies were from Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Shanghai and Taiwan.
The VSA hosts began the event by streaming a video in the Multipurpose Room that introduced each of the seven candidates. The event room reached maximum capacity and many participants stood along the walls throughout the entire night.
When the guests settled in, the hosts introduced themselves and called the candidates to the stage one at a time.
They asked the candidates to describe what they loved most about their culture.
Carol Ao, who represented Miss Guangzhou, cited that her culture’s traditions help bring families together. Iris Leung, who represented Miss Hong Kong, similarly said that her culture prioritizes family.
Regarding her favorite aspect of Taiwanese culture, Miss Taiwan Charlotte Huang said, “[Taiwan is] a really small country so you can actually get places without a car or public transportation. And it’s really clean.”
Another candidate claimed that the stories she heard as a child about “dragons and wise turtles” influenced her and taught her about life.
At the end of that segment, the hosts announced the start of the talent portion. Prior to the start of the talent portion, another video streamed, this time asking each candidate to disclose the person who most inspires them. The candidates chose mostly family figures, such as grandmothers, grandfathers and mothers. Most of the candidates said that they chose their influential figure based on the obstacles they endured and challenges they faced.
Another video asked the candidates to reveal a stereotype about people who share their background. Some of the candidates said that they are expected to succeed academically and face academic pressures.
Following the videos, when the first candidate, Miss Guangzhou, was called up for the talent portion, she performed a dragon dance that followed the rhythm of a drum in the background. She maneuvered and twisted around the stage.
Miss Hong Kong performed an instrumental piece on the electronic keyboard that consisted of airy high notes. The crowd cheered her on when she took a pause. Miss Malaysia Yukie Wong performed a duet with a partner on stage. She sang Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” Miss Shanghai Ruthie Figueroa came out with a pink fan in hand and two backup dancers and performed a traditional fan dance.
Miss Philippines Janiza Gesmundo covered the stage in scarves in order to perform Filipino cultural folk dances. She first performed the Maglalatik, a Filipino folk dance also referred to as the Coconut Dance, which ordinarily consists of using coconuts to slap parts of the body rhythmically to create a repetitive, hollow sound. Another dance was meant to demonstrate how many ways a Muslim garment can be worn and another to mimic the motions of a bird.
Following the talent show, the fashion show, the last segment of the event, was introduced. Miss Guangzhou came out on stage in a flowy, white dress with gold adornments.
Miss Hong Kong wore a white dress whose top portion was covered in sparkles. The bottom portion was characterized by a deep leg slit. Miss Taiwan appeared in an off-the-shoulder cobalt dress, a short train directly behind her. Miss Philippines adorned herself in a navy blue dress with gold accents and a train. After she came out on stage, the crowd cheered for her and she was prompted to strut some more and do another loop.
The hosts asked the judges to deliberate after the fashion show, during which an intermission was announced when audience members had the opportunity to take pictures on stage.
When the judges finished deliberating, a winner was announced in each of four categories: Best Culture, Miss Congeniality, Miss Social Media and Miss Fan Favorite. Miss Fuzhou Ashley Mei Torrenti, was the winner for Best Culture. Miss Congeniality went to Miss Shanghai. The award for Miss Congeniality was a new edition to the event this year, and went to the person who performed the best. Miss Social Media went out to Miss Guangzhou, and Miss Fan Favorite to Miss Taiwan.
In order to determine Miss Asia, the judges held a question and answer session in which the top four candidates were asked a single question by one of the judges. Miss Philippines was asked to explain why she deserve to be crowned Miss Asia. “I joined this competition because of my mom and I want to make her proud. I did my best because I want to go home and show the sash to my mom because she thinks I’m transitioning into being an American now,” she said. “I want to make her proud and show her that I retained my Filipino culture.”
At the end of the night, Miss Philippines took home the grand prize and was crowned Miss Asia 2017.