Pageant Experience: Quan Huynh- MVNCI Queen

Growing up in a family that works to put food on the table, I sometimes did not allow myself to understand things that my family considered to be extravagant. Beauty pageants were among those. I always had the impression that pageants were a way for people to show off beauty and their superficial appearance. However, recently, I was encouraged to participate in an academic-focused pageant, the Miss Vietnam of Northern California Intercollegiate Pageant. Through MVNCI, I have learned many valuable lessons about myself, my community, and my perspectives. When I was first asked to participate in the 2016 MVNCI...

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Pageant Experience: Savannah Pham- First Princess

On pageant day, my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I awoke slightly disoriented, having tossed and turned throughout the night. I went to my hair and makeup appointment and my artist did an incredible job. However, she had not taken into account the length of my hair, so she didn’t end up finishing until 9:40. I was so worried about arriving late and losing points. By the time my sister dropped me off at the theater, I ran over to where the other girls were standing. “You made it just in time!” they shouted. I looked at my...

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Pageant Experience: Y Nguyet Phun- Miss Talent and Second Princess

From the first day of practice to pageant day, I felt like I was on a very long and never-ending roller coaster. I faced many ups and downs during this journey but I learned to grow everyday with my pageant sisters. One month of practices passed by so fast, but I remembered every single detail of my experiences on pageant day. The night before pageant, I was sleeping over at a pageant sister’s house and both of us were extremely nervous and feeling anxious about pageant day. We practiced our introduction repeatedly and answered questions from previous pageants to...

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Pageant Experience: Rei Bao Chau Pham- Miss Photogenic and Miss Ao Dai

I’ve always associated pageantry with beauty, intelligence, grace, and everything I’m not. Sports was my main priority growing up, making me a tomboy who loves throwing on a worn out pair of sneakers, baby hairs that never cooperate, and constantly getting yelled at by my mother for slouching or for not walking in one straight line like a girl should. Walking into the first practice, I had no idea what to expect. While looking through pictures of past contestants and court members with their perfected hair, makeup, outfits, and pageant stance, I began to think about how much I...

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Pageant Experience: Viviane Nguyen- Miss Congeniality

I recall being abroad in Thailand and making the decision to be a contestant in the Miss Vietnam of Northern California Intercollegiate Pageant. As I reflect on my experience as a contestant leading up to pageant day and winning Miss Congeniality, the quote that best summarizes my four month experience is, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” While I was studying abroad, I went out of my comfort zone by doing two solo trips to Singapore and Myanmar. I was challenged to be independent in an unfamiliar country. Similarly, my first pageant experience...

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