By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Dawn Cheung, a social worker, captured the 2015 Miss Chinatown crown on Sept. 20 at the Bellevue Meydenbauer Center, beating nine other contestants, seven of them University of Washington students.
A graduate of the University of Washington (UW), Cheung, 24, works for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), as a case manager for youth. Cheung also won Miss Congeniality. (In the past, there were contestants winning dual titles such as Miss Talent and 1st or 2nd princess; Miss Chinatown and Miss Congeniality).
Olivia Ding won 1st princess; Lucy Meng, 2nd princess. Ding, 19, a UW student, mixed kung fu with ribbon dance.
A reporter for AAATV, Meng sang.
A crowd of 600 was treated to a variety of performances. Although American-born, Cheung demonstrated Chinese calligraphy of her Chinese name, “Rising Star, Phoenix,” and also articulated the meaning behind the name. Since 1981, the Asian Weekly has covered many Miss Chinatown pageants. This is an original talent. Other talents featured singing, kung fu dance, Chinese zither performance, drama, piano performance, and even a basketball show.
Another UW student, Jessica Angela Lee, 20, won Miss Talent. She played the piano. A new category was added to the contest—the highest ticket sales. Sarah Liu who sold the most tickets for the pageant, received the Miss Spirit award.
The women needed to compete in Chinese evening gown and personality, talent, and showmanship, form and fitness (through a swimsuit competition, speech, and a separate interview with a panel of judges).
The question-and-answer competition was worth 50 out of 200 points, a significant portion of the contest.
Cheung, a communications major, was asked how she could integrate between Chinese and American culture.
Cheung was able to win the judges over by sharing her identity conflicts being a Chinese American when she grew up. She was able to use her experience to relate to youth and immigrants, who have been going through the same ordeal at ACRS.
Due to the language barrier, many contestants had asked the judges to repeat the question two to three times. The judges were Vi Mar, Kim Vu, Joe Gong, Janet Spangler, and Bruce Locke.
Cheung will receive a $5,000 cash prize. Her sponsor is Katie Au, a State Farm agent.
Organized by the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the scholarship pageant was founded more than half a century ago. (end)
Assunta Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.