My parents are from China. My family moved from Beijing to New York when I was a little girl. My parents still live in China most of the time in order to take care of the family business there. I am fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese (Chinese and also have some knowledge of Japanese.
I won a $120,000 academic scholarship from DePauw University and graduated from in 2006 with a Bachelor degree in Economics and Finance.
I have been working as a financial analyst for a global investment bank in midtown Manhattan since graduation. I have just been accepted by Columbia University Graduate School of Business and will be returning to Columbia to pursue my MBA next fall.
2. What are your hobbies?
I am an avid poker player and hosts weekly poker tournaments in my apartment. It is my dream to make it to the world series of poker final table before I turn 40.
3. Why did you compete in Miss New York USA 2008 and 2009?
I think pageant girls have long been accused of being "superficial", "shallow" and "unintelligent". I entered the pageant to prove the stereotypes false as well as to rediscover myself.
4. What did you learn after competing in pageants? Was Miss New York USA your first pageant?
I am from a very traditional Chinese American family; I was never raised to be a beauty queen. My parents have always emphasized the importance of academic excellence and appropriate behavior as a young lady.
The Miss New York USA pageant was my first pageant and this is my 2nd attempt at the title. The decision to compete turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever made in my life. Not only did I befriend
with so many amazing young women, I was also able to throw the negative stereotypes associated with beauty queens out of the window.
I was so excited and honored. My immediate thoughts were to thank my parents, boyfriend and all the contestants for their support. I could never have done it without them.
6. According to past Miss USA history, no Chinese has ever won Miss USA but there have been Asian American winners. Being the first Chinese to win Miss New York USA, how does it feel? What qualities did
you think the judges saw in you that made you the winner?
I think my win sends out a very positive message to the Chinese American community and to all the Chinese American girls who compete in pageantry that the main stream American society recognizes their poise and beauty.
I think the judges want to pick someone who could a very positive role model for young women in this country. They liked the fact that I have a very busy professional and academic life outside of the pageant world.
I feel very appreciative and honored for their support. I do think it would make the perfect "American Dream" story if a girl from a very humble immigrant family could have the honor to be crowned the next Miss USA. It would perfectly demonstrate that the US is the ultimate land of prosperity and opportunity. It does not matter what background or culture you are from, if you work hard you will achieve recognition and success in this great country.
9. Lastly what message do you want to tell pageant fans that are reading this interview right now?
I want to thank all the pageant fans (no matter which candidate they support) for their support of the Miss Universe Organization. This pageant serves the purpose of empowering young women all over the world. The national competition will be a big party for me. I am looking forward to meeting more intelligent, ambitious, and beautiful young women from all over the country. It would always be one of the most cherished and celebrated memories of my life regardless of the outcome.
Comments: Thank you very much to Miss Chang and to Mrs. Kim Bass for organizing this interview. It was a pleasure to speak to you. As a Chinese myself, I am very happy to see New York be represented by a Chinese woman at Miss USA next year. I wish you the best of luck, wish you the best at Miss USA 2009!