Miss Chinatown Crowns New Winner

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Miss Chinatown USA 2013, Leah Li, seated with her court and other contestants.

Twelve beautiful young ladies from all over the U.S. competed for the title of Miss Chinatown USA 2013 at The Palace of Fine Arts this past Saturday, February 16.  Practicing for weeks back in their own hometowns, these young ladies arrived in San Francisco almost a week prior to the pageant and came together to collaboratively rehearse the program for five days.

The Miss Chinatown USA Pageant has been a part of San Francisco’s history for 56 years and the pageant presented by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce continues to provide young ladies the platform to promote self-empowerment through public speaking, acting, dancing, singing, etc. The pageant also strives to keep the preservation of Chinese culture, and allows the young ladies to participate in the community through various services and actions of goodwill.

On pageant day, the competition was intense as it should be as twelve strove for the coveted title of Miss Chinatown USA, the shiny crown, and a scholarship prize. The pageant’s theme for the year was “Reflections of Beauty” with special guest performers: Princess of China Music Oriental.

Leah Li (Mercer Island, WA) presents her ethnic costume during the opening sequence.

Leah Li (Mercer Island, WA) presents her ethnic costume during the opening sequence.

Contestant Grace Shao of San Francisco shows off her ethnic costume.

Contestant Grace Shao of San Francisco shows off her ethnic costume.

The pageant was broken up into four parts: Introduction and Poise, Fitness and Form, Talent, and Question and Answer portions. During the introductions portion, in keeping with the pageant’s theme, each contestant spoke about who in history has been a great influence/role model in each of their lives.

 Angela Feng (Brooklyn, NY) models this year's pageant swimsuit.

Angela Feng (Brooklyn, NY) models this year’s pageant swimsuit.

Anna Zhang (Houston, TX) performs her very colorful ribbon dance.

Anna Zhang (Houston, TX) performs her very colorful ribbon dance.

Erica Lee (Honolulu, HI) answers her question during the Q&A segment of the Miss Chinatown USA pageant.

Erica Lee (Honolulu, HI) answers her question during the Q&A segment of the Miss Chinatown USA pageant.

Katherine Chu (Los Altos Hills, CA) is asked a question during the Q&A portion by Miss Chinatown USA 2011 June Quan

Katherine Chu (Los Altos Hills, CA) is asked a question during the Q&A portion by Miss Chinatown USA 2011 June Quan

The results of the Program are as follows:

  • Miss Chinatown USA / Miss Talent: Leah Li (Mercer Island, WA)
  • Miss Chinese Chamber of Commerce: Katherine Chu (Los Altos Hills, CA)
  • Miss Chinese San Francisco: Sanyee Yuan (Concord, CA)
  • 2nd Princess: Anna Zhang (Houston, TX)
  • 3rd Princess: Kendy Cheung (Chicago, IL)
  • 4th Princess: Erica Lee (Honolulu, HI)
  • Miss Congeniality: (TBD at the MCU Coronation Ball)

 

The contestants line up before the announcing of the queen and princesses.

The contestants line up before the announcing of the queen and princesses.

Following the pageant, Miss Chinatown, along with her court and the other contestants paid their respects by visiting a select number of family/benevolent associations throughout San Francisco’s Chinatown. These family/benevolent associations have family and cultural ties back to the family names and villages (hometowns) in China. Some associations that were visited paid tribute to their ancestors.

The annual tossing of the volleyball by Miss Chinatown USA with the Chinese Athletic Association.

The annual tossing of the volleyball by Miss Chinatown USA with the Chinese Athletic Association.

 

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Anna Zhang and Kendy Cheung pay respects with members of the Jeong Family Association.

Anna Zhang and Kendy Cheung pay respects with members of the Jeong Family Association.

Throughout the week leading up to the Chinese New Year parade, Miss Chinatown, her court, and the other contestants will travel throughout San Francisco and other local cities to become brand ambassadors and will give back to the community through goodwill actions and visitations.

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Jeong Family Association.

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Jeong Family Association.

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Yeong Wo Benevolent Association.

Miss Chinatown, her court and contestants, along with members of the Yeong Wo Benevolent Association.

These young ladies will then go on back to their own hometowns following the parade and will then be goodwill ambassadors to their own communities.

Sanyee Yuan is presented with a gift from one of her family associations.

Sanyee Yuan is presented with a gift from one of her family associations.

Follow Michael Jeong on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf 

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