By Monique Le
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Starla Sampaco, who made the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list in 2021, and is currently a news anchor at KCTS Channel 9, was first runner-up at the recent Miss Washington USA 2022. Sampaco has written for Harvard Business Review and the Northwest Asian Weekly.
When asked how she felt after her win, Starla shared, “I’m proud of my placement,” Sampaco said. … “It’s not easy being ‘the only’—the only woman, the only person of color, or the youngest in the room. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously because I understand how impactful that representation can be for the other young women and girls who are watching.” While not sure if she will compete again, Sampaco said she “will continue to advocate for other women and people of color through my work in journalism, academia, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The Miss Washington and Miss Washington Teen USA 2022 pageant was held on Feb. 5, at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center.
Northwest Productions, run by David Van Maren and Maureen Francisco, a husband and wife team in Washington state, delivered yet another memorable event. David and Maureen are Filipino Americans. What was most interesting about the show this year was the number of contestants who came from communities of color. In the Teen Division, 51% of participants were from different minority groups, and about 34% in the Miss Division. At the 2021 pageant, both Miss Washington Christine Brodie and Miss Washington Teen Novalee Lewis are Filipino American and Japanese American, respectively.
Among the Miss Washington USA contestants, Pa Nou Chee Xiong, who is Hmong American, made the semi-finals.
In Miss Teen 2022, the semi finalists include Tara Le Gardner (Vietnamese American), Poorva Mishra (Indian American), and Angela Dela Cruz (Filipino American).